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Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
"America's Most Beloved Comic-Book Writer & Columnist"

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for Wednesday, May 9, 2007


I voted yesterday. There were two issues being put before the citizens of Medina County, so I knew it wouldn't take more than a few minutes out of my day. Not that it would have mattered if I'd had to wait. In my book, voting is a must...especially if a fella complains as much as I do.

I almost voted by absentee ballot. For years now, I've been vexed by an elderly elections worker who thinks he's a stitch when he makes ethnic cracks and jokes about denying folks their right to vote. Last November, he became angry when I told him he'd crossed the line. I reported him to the elections board.

He wasn't there yesterday. Maybe he was on a break. Maybe he was fired. Maybe he quit. Maybe he's moved to another city or to another plane of existence. I don't know and don't care, save that his absence made voting more pleasant for me.

One of the two issues was a no-brainer:

The Medina County District Library is seeking a 10-year, 1.25-mill replacement levy for current expenses.

I use the Library a lot. Via the Internet, it lets me request and reserve books, then lets me know when I can come and get them. Our local branch has an automatic checkout machine that, on those occasions when I'm pressed for time, gets me in and out of the place in five minutes or less. The library is a terrific resource, so I'm happy to support it with my vote, especially when that vote is for a levy renewing what I've already been paying for the past ten years. It's one of the best bargains in town.

The other issue was far from a slam dunk:

Medina County voters will decide whether to pass a 30-year, 0.5 percent sales tax increase for permanent improvements for all public school districts in the county.

I've never voted against money for public schools, not before I had kids of my own and not since. But, this time, I had doubts and good reasons for those doubts:

I'm not confident of the school board's competence. I haven't trusted the current superintendent since, when he was principal of the high school, he allowed military recruiters speak to classrooms without giving either the kids or their parents a chance to opt out of the sales pitch. Not much later, he spoke out against a silent vigil honoring our war dead when the local GOP-holes bitched about the vigil being announced in the high school.

In addition, there is an "elitism" in Medina and it extends to the school system. It often seems as if decisions are made which benefit one school over another...and it's usually a school in one of the more affluent parts of the city that receives that benefit. That never sits well with me.

Finally, this was a 30-year sales tax with no allowance for a repeal should Ohio finally fix the current, ruled-unconstitutional funding of our schools. Three decades is ten times longer than my daughter Kelly will be in Medina schools. That kind of commitment didn't seem prudent to me.

I was still on the fence when I got to my polling place. Just outside the building, sitting just beyond the distance set by law, I spotted the superintendent and several others. Among them were two people I knew well: the principals of the elementary school and the middle school my kids had attended. Both were good people and both had done right by our family. I could have voted against the superintendent, but I couldn't vote against educators I respected. The school district got my vote.

This column has to go to Justin before I have the results of Tuesday's voting. I'll have those for you tomorrow.



Most every Tuesday, I post new "Tony Polls" questions for your balloting entertainment. Here's how you voted on the questions you were asked in April:


The National Cartoonist Society has announced the nominees for the awards to be given out at the 61st Annual Reuben Awards Banquet in Orlando on May 26. Who would you pick for OUTSTANDING CARTOONIST OF THE YEAR?

Bill Amend (FoxTrot).....56.25%
Dan Piraro (Bizarro).....35%
Dave Coverly (Speed Bump).....8.75%

I voted for Bill Amend because 2006 was his last year of daily and Sunday strips, but Coverly and Piraro are outstanding cartoonists as well.

Who would you pick to win for COMIC BOOKS?

Marisa Acocella Marchetto (Cancer Vixen).....60.42%
Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese).....22.92%
Marjane Satrapi (Chicken With Plums).....16.67%

All three of these graphic novels are amazing works, but, odd as it might sound, Marisa Acocella Marchetto made my heart sing with her downright spritely tale of facing cancer on her own terms and sending the bastard packing.

Who would you pick to win for NEWSPAPER PANELS?

Hilary Price (Rhymes With Orange).....68.42%
Tony Carillo (F Minus).....22.81%
Keiran Meehan (Meehan).....8.77%

I passed on this category. The only feature with which I was familiar was "Rhymes With Orange" and that's because it runs in one of my local papers. Ironically, The Plain Dealer runs the feature as a strip and not a panel.

Who would you pick to win for NEWSPAPER COMIC STRIPS?

Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine).....63.08%
Mark Tatulli (Lio).....23.08%
Bill Griffith (Zippy The Pinhead).....13.85%

Though I've only been reading Lio for a short time, I like it a lot. So I voted for Mark Tatulli

V for Vendetta

Shifting gears...

This year's HUGO AWARDS will be given out at Nippon 2007, the 65th World Science Fiction Convention to be held in Yokohama, Japan, August 30-September 3, 2007. Of these nominees, who would you pick to win the award for DRAMATIC PRESENTATION/LONG FORM?

V For Vendetta.....40%
Pan's Labyrinth.....35.38%
Children of Men.....12.31%
The Prestige.....7.69%
A Scanner Darkly.....4.62%

Who would you pick to win for DRAMATIC PRESENTATION/SHORT FORM?

Doctor Who, "Girl in the Fireplace".....27.14%
Battlestar Galactica, "Downloaded".....24.29%
Doctor Who, "Army of Ghosts" and "Doomsday".....21.43%
Doctor Who, "School Reunion".....17.14%
Stargate SG-1, "200".....10%

I didn't vote on either of the Hugo Awards questions because I haven't seen any of the above movies or TV episodes.

Assuming I remember...I'll revisit these results when the NCS and Hugo Awards are given out in, respectively, late May and early September. We'll see how the Tony Polls crowd compares to the NCS and Hugo voters.

New Tony Polls questions were posted yesterday. In a mirror image of the Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Awards, we're asking you to choose your favorite nominee in the categories of...

Favorite Letterer
Favorite Cover Artist
Favorite Story
Favorite Comic Book
Favorite Original Graphic Novel or Album
Favorite Character
Favorite Publisher

You can cast your votes at:

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

Tony Isabella

<< 05/08/2007 | 05/09/2007 | 05/10/2007 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Message Board. Also, read Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined and view my Amazon Wish List.

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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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