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

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TONY'S ONLINE TIPS
for Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Megasnake

The above promotional art has nothing to do with the actual MEGASNAKE that made its debut over the weekend on the Sci-Fi Channel. The snake isn't that big, it never gets to a big city, and the Air Force doesn't make an appearance. The movie is another cheesy Sci-Fi Pictures original...

...and that's perfectly okay by me.

I love my cheesy monster movies. I'm happy to live in a world where there are so many giant spider movies that the Sci-Fi Channel can show them all day long and not run all of them. Now, following in the proud slime trails of Boa, Python, Python 2, and Boa Vs. Python, we have Megasnake.

One should serve an amusing wine with this particular hunk of cheese. It's cribbed from a bunch of other monster movies, but it has its moments. I thought writers Robby Robinson and Alexander Volz were clever to have the hero's family be members of a church that handles deadly snakes as a sign of their faith. I hadn't seen that one in a movie of this type.

The hero's idiot brother gets the carnage going when he steals an ancient snake in a jar from a Native American snake expert and seller. The brother promptly disobeys the first two of three vital rules for this snake: never let it out of the jar and never let it eat anything living. Goodbye, kitty.

Goodbye also to the mother, the family dog, the idiot brother, a bunch of chickens, a herd of goats, a family of campers, at least four police officers, a pair of backwoods snake hunters, a trio of stoners, and an assortment of county fair visitors.

The third rule is not to fear the heart of the snake. This is called foreshadowing.

If the deaths are predictable, the vigor with which the hero, his estranged girlfriend, and the Native American snake guy pursue the giant snake is entertaining. The snake at the fair scenes are pretty sweet, even if the creature's size changes depending on the scene. With a bigger budget, the county fair stuff could have been spectacular.

One of my main reasons for watching Megasnake - besides my hopeless addiction to giant monster cheese - was the guest shot by Feedback (Matthew Atherton), winner of last year's Who Wants To Be A Superhero competition. On that show, it was said that the winner would star in a Sci Fi Pictures movie, which I assumed meant a Feedback movie. Nope, they just shoe-horned our buddy Matt into this movie.

Feedback is at the county fair to give a safety demonstration about electricity to an audience of kids. His first scene is about five seconds long, and I was getting ready to send an harsh e-mail to Stan Lee. But Matt's second scene was terrific and respectful of Matt's character.

The giant snake slithers onto the outside stage, ready to chow down on Feedback and his audience. Feedback zaps him with some of the electrical cables, buying time for the audience to escape while Mega writhes in pain. While making his own escape, the hero helps a few stragglers to safety. The scene doesn't make up for the lack of an actual Feedback movie, but I liked it.

The final confrontation between man and Megasnake takes place in one of those "Tunnel of Fear" attractions. It ends the movie on a decent if utterly predictable note.

On our usual scale of one to five Tonys...

Oh, who am I kidding? I can't rate this kind of cheese with a straight face. It's not a good movie, but it's a fun movie, just the ticket for a lazy afternoon. You either love this stuff or you don't. You know where I stand.

******

COMICS IN THE COMICS

Editorial cartoonists love the Peanuts characters of Charles M. Schulz. Rarely a month goes by without good old Charlie Brown or Snoopy making an appearance.

Digging into the "Comics in the Comics" files, here are a pair of Tom Toles cartoons from October/November, 2006:

Tom Toles

Tom Toles

Thanks to TOT reader Dave Potts for the above.

Here are two from cartoonist Steve Kelly. They're from January and May of this year:

Steve Kelly

Steve Kelly

Finally, Bob Gorrell went to the Shultz well for these editorial cartoons from March and August of this year:

Bob Gorrell

Bob Gorrell

Look for more Peanuts-inspired "Comics in the Comics" in the next edition of TOT.

******

GET MORE TONY

"America's Most Beloved Comics Writer and Columnist" has been interviewed by The Comic Book Gazette.

You can read it here:

www.comicbookgazette.com/interviews.htm#122918008

Meanwhile, over at the CBGXtra forums, you'll find new installments of "Tony's Other Online Tips." I haven't written one for today yet, but, on Monday, I reviewed Dynamo 5 #1-6 by Jay Faerber and Mahmud A. Asrar.

"Tony's Other Online Tips" are located at:

www.cbgxtra.com

******

ONLINE

It's been claimed that when a political candidate appears on The Colbert Report, he or she receives "The Colbert Bump" in the polls. Let's see if we can create an "Isabella Bump" whenever I mention a website I enjoy.

Today's recipient is Glyphs, "The Language of the Black Comics Community" by Rich Watson. I'm very interested in the news Watson covers there and the site is one I try to visit every day. It's always informative and, this week, it's hilarious to boot as Watson presents haiku reviews of the comics he picked up at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Here's a sample:

A Taste of Bootywoman
by "Snook #85"
Nth Level Entertainment, $3.95
Why did I get this?
Heroine with super-ass?!
How dumb can you get?!?

The reviews of comic books Watson liked are equally amusing. So, make with the "Isabella Bump" and visit him at:

www.popcultureshock.com/pcs/blogs/glyphs

******

TONY POLLS

Most every week, I post Tony Polls questions for your balloting entertainment. A while back, you voted on the nominees for The 25th Annual Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Awards. Let's see how your choices compared with those of CBG's readers.

Of these CBG Fan Awards nominees, who would you pick for FAVORITE EDITOR?

Karen Berger.....28.57%
Tom Brevoort.....24.29%
Dan DiDio.....24.29%
Stephen Wacker.....18.57%
Joe Quesada.....4.29%

I voted for Tom Brevoort because I think he's the most consistently good editor in comics, but I was very impressed by the sure hand of Stephen Wacker as well. The CBG readers voted for Joe Quesada, a good man, but, like, Dan Didio, not really a "working in the trenches" editor.

Of these CBG Fan Awards nominees, who would you pick for FAVORITE COMIC BOOK WRITER?

Geoff Johns.....45.95%
Stan Lee.....22.97%
Bill Willingham.....17.57%
Brian Michael Bendis.....13.51%
Joseph Michael Linsner.....0%

Any time I can vote for Stan Lee, the man who more than any other man got me into comics professionally, I'm gonna do it. Bendis, Johns, and Willingham were impressive this year, too. As for Linsner, I suspect his continued appearance in these CBG polls is the result of an organized campaign. He's talented, but not in all the categories in which he gets nominated. But, if there is an organized Linsner campaign, it's not as bad as the one organized by the Carl Barks Studio several years back, a campaign which had all sorts of non-comics people filling out ballots in an almost totally successful attempt to give a new but so-so Barks story a sweep in the awards. Through no fault of Barks himself and those who worked on the story, that year's result remain a black mark on the history of the CBG Fan Awards.

If you saw me present one of those awards at Heroes Con that year, yes, that was utter disgust in my tone and on my face. Thank God the perpetrators are no longer in the comics industry.

I almost forgot: CBG's readers also selected Stan Lee as their favorite comic-book writer.

Of these CBG Fan Awards nominees, who would you pick for FAVORITE COMIC BOOK PENCILLER?

George Perez.....50%
Darwyn Cooke.....30.26%
John Cassaday.....17.11%
Jim Lee.....1.32%
Joseph Michael Linsner.....1.32%

All good candidates. I voted for Darwyn Cooke and the CBG readers voted for George Perez.

Of these CBG Fan Awards nominees, who would you pick for FAVORITE COMIC BOOK INKER?

Jerry Ordway.....52.17%
Terry Austin.....36.23%
Scott Williams.....7.25%
Bob Smith.....2.90%
Joseph Michael Linsner.....1.45%

I can't remember who I voted for it, but it was either Jerry Ordway or Bob Smith. The former is one of my favorite artists and I'd maim an editor to work with him, the latter does an outstanding job inking Stan Goldberg and other Archie Comics artists. The CBG readers voted for Scott Williams.

Of these CBG Fan Awards nominees, who would you pick for FAVORITE COMIC BOOK COLORIST?

Laura Martin.....43.64%
Alex Sinclair.....25.45%
Richard Isanove.....20%
Joseph Michael Linsner.....10.91%
Eva Hopkins.....0%

I voted for either Laura Martin or Alex Sinclair. CBG readers voted for Eva Hopkins, colorist on Linsner's Dawn. I wonder if there was a power struggle.

I'll have the rest of these CBG Fan Awards results in the next TOT. In the meantime, I urge you to cast your votes on the current Tony Polls questions by going to:

www.worldfamouscomics.com/tony/poll

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

Tony Isabella

<< 08/27/2007 | 08/28/2007 | 08/30/2007 >>

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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THE "TONY" SCALE

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.

Tony
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.

TonyTony
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?

TonyTonyTony
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.

TonyTonyTonyTony
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?

TonyTonyTonyTonyTony
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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