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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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for Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Question Mark

"Thanks...I think."

Looking back over three dozen years in comics, I've received my share of welcome bouquets and less-welcome bricks to the noggin. I've also received compliments that make my brain hurt if I try to make sense of them.

Flashback. An editorial person from one of the major comics outfits is telling me the company thinks my work is so good it would happily accept work 70% as good as what I've been doing. The company would like me to bring the quality down about 30% so that, in theory, I can write 30% more comics for them. Try as I might, even with a full body search and x-rays, I just can't find the dial that would allow me to accommodate this request.

Flashback. A few years later. A sleazy publisher wants me to write for him. He explains that, even though he would be paying me much less than DC or Marvel, it would be better for me to work for him...because what he paid me would be a much bigger part of his budget than DC's or Marvel's budget. Therefore I'd be much more appreciated at his company. Even had I been inclined to embrace such wacky logic, the fact that this publisher was months behind in paying some friends of mine would have given me pause.

One more flashback. An artist of considerable talent but with a rep for hacking out substandard work offers me half-ownership of a creative property in exchange for negotiating a contract with his publisher, and then writing, editing, and promoting this property. I draw up a contract between he and I, start negotiations with the publisher, and begin plotting the launch issue.

A couple days pass. The artist phones me. He has clearly had second thoughts about our deal, but he won't say that. Instead, it's somehow my fault we don't have a contract with the publisher who, in those pre-Internet days, probably hadn't yet received the proposed contract. Moreover, even though the artist hadn't signed our own agreement, I should have already given him the plot for the launch issue. I try to explain these things to him as patiently as possible, but he's not listening. He screams at me:

"All you bring to this series is quality!"

How could I argue with that?



Your friendly online tipster is doing battle with deadlines on multiple fronts, so the rest of this week's columns are going to be on the short side. However, in the silver lining department, they won't be charged to the fast-dwindling "Tip Your Tipster" account. At present, there are only enough funds in that account to pay for six more full-length TOTs. Once those six columns are written and posted, you won't see any more new ones until reader donations pay for them.

Thanks for your past and (we hope) future support.

Tony Isabella

<< 07/08/2008 | 07/09/2008 | 07/10/2008 >>

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

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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.

Please send material you would like me to review to:

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840 Damon Drive
Medina, OH 44256

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