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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 Thursday, February 5, 2009

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From Comics Buyer's Guide #1649:

"The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they're okay, then it's you."

- Rita Mae Brown

I spent the first weekend of October at Mid-Ohio-Con with so many of my friends that I soon lost count. There were friends who are like unto family to me, friends I hadn't seen in as much as two decades, friends I don't see nearly often enough, and, as always, new friends. I love this convention.

Mid-Ohio-Con is now under the auspices of brothers James and Bill Henry of GCX Holdings LLC, though founder Roger Price remains a big part of the show. What impressed me most about this year's event is that the Henry Brothers absolutely get what has made Mid-Ohio-Con such a great show for over 25 years. I was excited to be a special guest of the show and I look forward to continuing my own long association with Mid-Ohio-Con.

I did three panels during the show: a Jack Kirby tribute panel hosted by Mark Evanier; a "Men of Bronze" panel with fellow guests Len Wein, Roger Stern, Keith Pollard, and Arvell Jones; and "Tony's Tips Live," a live-action version of my monthly column. As part of the last, I held a trivia contest where attendees who answered my questions correctly received fabulous prizes. If you want to test your knowledge against that of my Mid-Ohio-Con audience, here are the questions I asked them:

Who was the second person to apply for membership in the Fantastic Four and what was that person's special ability?

What is the name of the teen hangout in Riverdale?

What Mid-Ohio-Con guest wrote The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan for Gold Key Comics?

What Mid-Ohio-Con guest wrote Mod Wheels for Gold Key Comics?

Recently-engaged couple Mark and Abby appear in what ongoing comic-book series?

You'll find the answers at the end of this column.

I had more special moments at Mid-Ohio-Con than I can recount in these few paragraphs, but here's a few of them...

Seeing friends Chris Claremont, Bob McLeod, and Dean Mullaney for the first time in decades. Chris and Dean looked great and Bob looked like he'd barely aged a day since we worked together in the Marvel Bullpen in the 1970s.

Having a wonderful conversation with comics legend Joe Kubert on his work and on Robert Kanigher, a writer whose talents we both have a great deal of respect for.

Spending time with the Toth family, especially artists Layne and Peri. Young as they are, these girls are natural storytellers and I love watching them grow as creators.

Watching Joe Kubert watching Layne Toth draw. Now there's a photo I wish I had taken.

Seeing Billy Tucci's sensational pages for his Sgt. Rock mini-series. I can't wait to read it.

Chatting with Mike Grell and Beau Smith about comic books that we all love.

Giving out candy to anyone who came by my signing table and cracking up when Sean McKeever told me that's how people end up on Dateline: To Catch a Predator:

"Mr. Isabella, what did you think was going to happen when you offered Sean McKeever candy?"

Meeting the Black Lightning fan who was literally jumping up and down because he was excited to meet the writer who created his favorite character.

This is where I have to drag myself away from my fond memories of the convention or this column will go on forever. Let us leave it at this:

Mid-Ohio-Con remains my favorite comics convention. I loved being at this year's event and I plan on returning to the show as often as the Henry Brothers will have me.

Mid-Ohio-Con 2008 earns the full five Tonys.

The dates for this year's Mid-Ohio-Con are October 3-4. The show will again be held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. For the most current information and updates, you should visit the event's website at:

Finally, here are the answers to the "Tony's Trivia" questions asked at my "Tony's Tips Live" presentation:

Willie Lumpkin, who could wiggle his ears real good.

Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe, though, given how the spelling of the shop's name has been inconsistent at times, I would have accepted any answer that sounded like this.

Mark Evanier.

Len Wein.

Love and Capes, the delightful superhero sitcom by my friend Thom Zahler.

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

Tony Isabella

<< 02/04/2009 | 02/05/2009 | 02/06/2009 >>

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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840 Damon Drive
Medina, OH 44256

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