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

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for Monday, March 23, 2009

Bruce Little Blue Spruce

From last December...

Image Comics and most especially Jim Valentino's Silverline imprint continues to delight me with its variety. While recovering from my Thanksgiving food coma, I read two recently-published Silverline children's books.

Bruce the Little Blue Spruce [$9.99] is a charming, poignant tale of a blue spruce in a forest of green Christmas tree and its yearning to be part of Christmas for that special family. Bruce is mocked by field mice, encouraged by a friendly rabbit, and suffers rejection from families who only want green trees for their celebrations. Written by Kristen Koerner Simon and illustrated by Valentino with colors by Avery Butterworth, this hardcover book is actually a hardcover comic book, telling its story via traditional comic-book panels, captions, and word balloons. I think it would make a great gift for young readers of all ages, as well as a fine addition to your local public and school libraries.

Dear Dracula

Thinking ahead to next Halloween, Dear Dracula [$7.99] is another terrific comic that looks like a child's hardcover book. It's written by Joshua Williamson with illustrations by Vincente "Vinny" Navarrete. Sam, this book's young hero, is a big fan of Dracula and vampires, and can't wait until Christmas to get a new Dracula action figure with its "sixty-two points of articulation!" Instead of writing to Santa, he writes to Dracula. However, while writing, he changes his mind about the toy. What he really wants is to be a real vampire for Halloween. I don't recall ever using "heart-warming" or "touching" to describe a Dracula tale, but those words fit this one perfectly. Again, this book would be a great gift for young readers of all ages and an equally great addition to your local public and school libraries.

Bruce the Little Green Spruce and Dear Dracula each earn a full five out of five Tonys. I loved them!

Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony



TGIF is a weekly feature at The website's online editors come up with a question, ask past and current Marvel writers, artists, and editors to respond, and post results every Friday. Your beloved Tipster has become a semi-regular contributor to this fun exercise.

Late last year, TGIF skipped a week because the editors didn't receive enough responses. However, since I don't like anything I write to go to waste...

The editors asked:

With Ultimatum just around the corner, for this week's TGIF column on, we'd like your predictions on what will happen to the Ultimate Universe at the story's conclusion, or what you'd do if you were responsible for ending the Ultimate Universe."

Here's my response:

This is how the Ultimate Universe ends.

A weary Joe Quesada comes into the small apartment, covered with snow from his long hours on the loading dock. The elderly Ralph Macchio is there and tells him "the boy had a good day, as good as any, I suppose."

We pan to see a lost-in-his-own-world Brian Michael Bendis holding a snow globe and fascinated by its contents. We zoom into the snow globe and see Ultimate Spider-Man swinging by.

It turns out the Ultimate Universe was never real. It was a figment in the mind of an autistic child.

What can I say? I was feeling silly that week.



Today's frequently-asked question:

Will the Tony Polls return?

Maybe. The Tony Polls are more work than most folks realize, but I'd bring them back if more readers voted on them.

Let's do this:

I've reactivated the Tony Polls page to ask if you'd like to see them return and how often you'd like new poll questions to be posted. If I get a good response to the questions, I'll bring them back on whatever frequency proved to be the most popular. You can cast your votes here:

The questions will remain active for two weeks. Let's see what kind of results we get.

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

Tony Isabella

<< 03/20/2009 | 03/23/2009 | 03/24/2009 >>

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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