...but I'm okay with that. I would have thought the photo of the crying baby at the top of Friday's column would have clued you to the not entirely serious nature of my wailing. However, after a couple of my beloved readers thought I should be put on a suicide watch, I figured I'd better make it clear.
I'm not going to Comic-Con and I'm okay with it.
Some of my best friends *are* going to Comic-Con and it would please me if you stopped by their respective booths/tables/panels and said "howdy" to them.
Justin, the wondrous web-wizard who makes this feature possible, will be set up in Artist Alley. Last week, he posted a note to that effect on my message board:
If you're near Artist Alley at Comic-Con, stop by my table to say "hi" and grab a free WFC sticker to wear proudly. I'll be at table BB-07.
If you wanna impress me, wear some swag represent'n:
Thom Zahler, creator/writer/artist/publisher/everything else of the wonderful Love and Capes will also be there and set up at Booth #2000 at Hall C in the Independent Publishers Pavilion. His Maerkle Press booth will be shared with Paul Merolle and Toon Tumblers.
Thom designs most of Paul's glasses and they are sweet items, indeed. I have a bunch of them, including glasses featuring Ghost Rider and Luke Cage.
Thom will have lots of terrific stuff at his booth. Among the giveaways will be Love and Capes buttons and a new set of Love and Capes bookmarks.
There will be a limited number of Love and Capes Toon Tumblers available, as well as Love and Capes t-shirts. The complete run of the Love and Capes comic books will be available, including, if the gods of shipping are kind, the fifth issue of the series.
Besides Thom, Bob Ingersoll and Roger Price, my brothers from other mothers, are likely to be found at the Maerkle Press booth. Ask Bob about the Star Trek novelette he wrote with Thom and ask Roger about this year's Mid-Ohio-Con:
As always, the nigh-legendary Mark Evanier, one of my first and best comics fandom friends, will be hosting a vast array of interesting panels at Comic-Con. I would list them all, but the ever-prepared Evanier has already done that here:
If the name weren't already taken, I'd call the above gents my Super-Friends. If you've met them, you know what terrific people they are. If you haven't, you're in for a treat.
On a less cheery note...
I got an e-mail from a well-meaning Black Lightning fan last week and it alarmed me. He told me he couldn't wait to get in the faces of Dan DiDio and Paul Levitz at Comic-Con and demand they put me on a new Black Lightning series. I was pretty sure the fan was exaggerating for effect, but I was quick to respond to his e-mail with the request he do no such thing.
It's a matter of simple courtesy.
DiDio and Levitz will be sharing Comic-Con International with the same 100,000-plus attendees you will. I've no doubt that they will both have killer schedules of meetings, panels, and the like. If they have a rare moment to sit at the DC booth to chat with fans and maybe sign a book or two, the last thing they need is someone making them even the least bit uncomfortable. Whatever differences exist between me and DC, the con isn't the place to air them...even with the best of intentions.
So don't do it.
Look. Anyone who reads these columns knows that I would like nothing better than to write Black Lightning stories the rest of my days, especially if I could again team with Eddy Newell and Trevor Von Eeden on them. If you want to politely let DC editors know you would like to see new Black Lightning stories from me, that's cool. But do so respectfully and don't take offense if you don't get the response you were hoping for. Thank them for their time and enjoy the rest of the convention.
Honestly, I don't know if such requests would be appreciated or considered. I don't pretend to know what the folks at DC Comics think about anything. But, if you want to make such requests, and that is certainly your right as a DC Comics customer, then do so in a manner that brings credit to Black Lightning fans and, for that matter, my fans and readers.
Comic-Con International should be an example of the best that comicdom has to offer. Do your part to make it so.
Have a great time in San Diego.
After today's column, TOT will be going on a brief hiatus while Justin is in San Diego.
Our extended hiatus of May and June was necessitated when I suffered what can best described as a "tiny stroke" of some sort. My blood pressure was so dangerously elevated I ended up in the ER. This "stroke" caused or triggered a "fourth degree palsy," which had an adverse effect on my vision, giving me double, blurred vision. What followed was what you might expect: loss of energy; inability to spend more than a few minutes working at any time; all sorts of tests; a regimen of medications to reduce my blood pressure to safe levels; more tests; and the like.
The good news...I was very lucky. I bounced back from this quicker than anyone thought I would. My blood pressure is down to safe levels and staying there, though I'll taking blood pressure meds for the rest of my life. My vision is almost 100% improved, though I have to wear sunglasses in sunlight or under harsh light of any kind. Save for the occasional bad day, my energy is good to great. I'm back in action.
I met with a neurologist last week. She told me that my MRI revealed "spots on the brain." She doesn't know what they are, but said that they are common with people who have high blood pressure. They were not a matter of concern to her. Then again, they aren't on her brain. Me, I'm hoping they foreshadow a developing mutant power. Soon I will be invincible.
If the whole "mutant power" thing doesn't work out, at least I have a ready-made excuse for everything:
"I completely forgot to mow the lawn, dear. It must have been those spots on my brain."
"I ate all the strawberry cheesecake ice cream because I have spots on my brain."
"Your honor, I'm not responsible for mooning President Bush. I have spots on my brain."
I may even get my own telethon. Please send your suggestions for celebrity hosts to:
Spots on the Brain Foundation
P.O. Box 1502
Medina, OH 44258
Or e-mail me at:
With your help, I can milk -- I mean, find a cure for -- whatever this is within my lifetime. My long, happy lifetime of rolling in your charitable contributions.
God bless you and God bless America.
This column has gotten a little light on the reviews over the past few years. I hope to turn that around in the upcoming months. I've never going to be one of those reviewers who goes to the comic shop every week, flips through their comics, and knocks out a two-line review. Even less-than-stellar comics deserve more than that. So I'll be covering more comics and comics-related items in future editions of TOT.
Toward that end, I also plan to run guest reviews on occasion. Sometimes these will be second opinions on comics I've reviewed in the recent past; sometimes these will be reviews of comics that I haven't reviewed and/or won't be reviewing myself.
To answer some frequently asked questions:
Yes, I do take requests. If there's something you'd like me to review, drop me an e-mail. I'll do my best to accommodate your review suggestions.
If you're a comics creator or publisher, your best chance of getting your books reviewed here are to send it to me at:
P.O. Box 1502
Medina, OH 44258
I receive well over 200 review items a month, so I don't have to go looking for things to review. I do, but your chances go up when you put it in front of me. Heck, one creator friend of mine was passing through town and hand-delivered an advance copy of his new graphic novel to me. I don't necessarily recommend this, but you know I'm going to review his book.
Because of my working methods, I generally need hard copies of whatever I'm reviewing. I go back and forth between the review I'm writing and the material I'm reviewing, so trying to review an item from its online presentation is a problem for me. As long as it's complete, the material in question can be photostats of a soon-to-be-published work. But I need that hard copy.
Yes, I'll review web-comics. But the same thing applies. You have to send me hard copies.
Yes, I'll review DVDs. Animation, documentaries, movies, TV. If you've been reading TOT for any length of time, you can probably figure out the kinds of things I like and are therefore more likely to review.
I will never guarantee a review, much less a favorable review of anything sent to me. My first obligation is to my readers and not the people who make the things I review. However, if I review your comic book or other work, you have my permission to use that review in your promotion.
Besides TOT, I also write Tony's Other Online Tips for the Comics Buyer's Guide forums:
Send me your comics and other things yearning to be reviewed. The children of your teeming imaginations. Send these to me, and I will burn my lamp long into the night trying to read and review them. Because I have spots on my brain.
Our current Tony Polls questions, wherein we ask you to rate your enjoyment of various things I write about in this column, will remain active until sometime after midnight tonight. I know such questions aren't big on the laughs, but your responses to them will help me decide what I write about in the future.
Our next batch of Tony Polls questions will ask you to pick your favorites from the nominees for this year's Emmy Awards. We won't be listing all 642 categories there, just those I give a rodent's posterior about. But, since there will still be a lot of these questions, they will remain open for two weeks.
Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back next month with more stuff.
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.
Please send material you would like me to review to: