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

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for Thursday, January 22, 2009

CBG 1647

From Comics Buyer's Guide #1647:

"We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified."

- Aesop (620 BC 560 BC)

I've been spending many months writing a book on comics and, in the process, have revisited and even reread many of the issues and stories that inspired me to pursue a career in this industry. While I certainly never reached super-stardom in my chosen field, I'm happy with most of the work I've done and delighted that many readers seemed to have enjoyed it as well.

Of all the things I write about here and in my online columns, my tales of "comics that never were," comics that didn't turn out as I had hoped they would and comics I pitched without success, are among the most popular with my readers. If those readers had been editors, some of those pitches might well have made it into print as full-fledged comic books. Sigh.

Several readers have asked me to write about the comics I most wished I could write. It took me a while to figure out how to best respond to their requests.

If and when I return to comics writing - which I've never left entirely, having done some ghosting for comic books and newspaper strips over the years - I want to concentrate on new characters and concepts I can exercise more editorial control over than I could if I were writing Superman or Spider-Man. I have nothing against the big outfits and their classic characters, but their interest in me is roughly equivalent to my interest in them. I could be swayed by some character I love or an editor or artist I'd love to work with, but I'm not actively pursuing such assignments. Having reached the wise old age of 57, there's a physical and mental limit to how many hoops I can jump through.

Outside of Black Lightning, I don't have a strong interest in returning to characters I created or wrote. I had a Living Mummy story I always wanted to do, though I don't know if the character's present circumstances would allow for it. I have more Satan's Six stories in me. But, much of what I would have done with characters I previously wrote would serve me and my readers better if I found a way to do those things with new characters.

For a while, I wanted another crack at, of all things, my old "It! The Living Colossus!" book and to do something that would blow the minds of every editor and reader who thought they had me pegged as a writer. The more I worked on the concept, the more I realized what I really wanted to do was purge it of all its Marvel Universe elements and make of it an original creation I could take anywhere I wanted. It's on the long list of projects I'll be tackling once my book is finished.

However, always striving to please my readers, I have come up with a list of the five comics I wished I could write, but which I will almost certainly never get the chance to write. Then again, in comics, who knows what can happen?

1. Spider-Man: "Lots More Days!" I'd love to write the story that undoes the amazingly ill-conceived "One More Day." It's not that I hunger for the married Peter Parker per se. It's that I am offended by so many of my favorite characters living in a universe where Mephisto is clearly the most powerful force in that universe. What a hopeless existence that would be, living in a universe where no equivalent force of good stands in opposition to and reigns over the Lord of Darkness.

2. Batman: "The Death of the Joker!" Not a dream, not a hoax, not an imaginary tale. The single most unbelievable thing in the DC Universe is that no one - no prison guard, no fellow criminal, no cop, no costumed hero - has killed the Joker. No jury in this country would convict the Joker's killer; they'd probably want to give him a medal. This story would rid the DCU of its most boring and overused villain - Darkseid, Lex Luthor, you're on notice - and clear the decks for a new and far more interesting Joker.

3. Ghost Rider: "Ghost Rider in Space." I was feeling goofy one day and came up with the idea of retooling Johnny Blaze - as he was when I wrote him in the 1970s - as a cosmically-unaware super-hero. Possessing "the power cosmic," he'd have epic intergalactic adventures. But he wouldn't understand them and, most often, he'd just sort of muddle through them.

4. George W. Bush Comics. I won't attempt to dance around my political leanings. You know what they are. Over the past seven years, I started three different satiric scripts starring our soon-to-be-ex-President, including one in which he was actually a hero. None of them worked out and it would be pointless for me to pursue them further. However, the last one I attempted had some elements I may be able to use elsewhere.

5. Iron Man: "The Trial of Tony Stark." Yes, I'm still sore over Civil War and that the bad guys won. I might feel differently once I've read Secret Invasion, but, for now, I want Stark, Reed Richards, and their ilk to pay for their crimes. Besides, I think it would be very interesting to see what life would be like for the other heroes and their world with so many of their big guns behind bars.

Those are five stories I wish I could write. Maybe they would be modern-day classics or maybe they would just prove the truth of Aesop's words.

Only the Watcher knows!

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

Tony Isabella

<< 01/21/2009 | 01/22/2009 | 01/23/2009 >>

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.

Please send material you would like me to review to:

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