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for Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Dreaded Deadline Doom is kicking my behind but good as I juggle family responsibilities, Mid-Ohio-Con preparations, and my various writing gigs. Still, regardless of the chaos that is often my life, I remain committed to putting something new on this page every day, Monday through Friday, even when I can't present a full- length column. Leave us proceed.



Essential Marvel Horror

Another of my early stories is reprinted in ESSENTIAL MARVEL HORROR VOL. 1 [$16.99]. The book reprints what seems to be all the "Son of Satan" and "Satana" tales from the 1970s; the former come from color comic books, the latter mostly from the black-and-white magazines. My sole entry is a Satana tale - "This Side of Hell" - from THE HAUNT OF HORROR #4 [November, 1974].

My memories of the story are somewhat shaky. Satana had been appearing in VAMPIRE TALES, but, prior to my becoming the editor of HOH, it was decided she would be a better fit for that title. Her previous adventures - save for the Roy Thomas/John Romita debut - had been written by Gerry Conway, but he was no longer on the strip by the time I became its editor. His departure was likely abrupt, which is why I ended up writing "This Side of Hell." I needed the script quickly and I was good at "quickly" back then.

My intent in writing the story was to somewhat clear the decks for Chris Claremont, who was my incredibly capable assistant editor and, in my estimation, one of Marvel's most promising writers. I couldn't wrap up everything in 12 pages, but I could move the story to a better starting point for Chris.

I was living in Brooklyn at the time and wrote the story in a single evening. Paul Kupperberg, one of several young comics pros who lived in the neighborhood, dropped by my apartment and came up with the story's title. Among my other friends and neighbors were Paul Levitz, Carl Gafford, Anthony Tollin, and Duffy Vohland. It was a pretty cool time in my life.

Flipping through ESSENTIAL MARVEL HORROR, my recollection of the stories reprinted therein is more shaky than my memories of the one I wrote. This isn't a bad thing; it'll just make reading the book that much more fun.

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back soon with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

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Zero Tonys
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.

ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.

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