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

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for Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Holy Sh*t

I ask could a comics-loving maniac like me pass up a book called Holy Sh*t! The World's Weirdest Comic Books [St. Martin's Press; $12.95]? Compiled by Paul Gravett and Peter Stanbury, this compact hardcover presents covers of and commentary on over 60 "classic" comics of the past.

According to the back cover, obviously written for readers who haven't been around the comic-book block as often as I have, "You won't believe your eyes...when you peak inside Holy Sh*t at some of the wildest, most depraved stories ever. These outrageous comics are guaranteed to offend and amuse!" It's in that mission statement that the book loses me just a bit. The authors weighed in heavier on the side of offense than on amusement...and the book is less entertaining for that. Several of the comics and covers are just plain unpleasant to behold.

The foreign comics in the book are a poor representation of the weirdness to be found around the comics world. Conversely, there's an over-representation of informational/promotional comics, religious comics, and, when it comes to it, comic books that aren't all that weird. Brain Boy and Kona (Monarch of Monster Isle) were fairly typical fare for their times.

There are some fun comics in this book. Titles like Cosmo the Merry Martian, Herbie, and Godzilla Vs. Barkley always bring a smile to my face. There are fun political comics: The Great Society Comic Book and Reagan's Raiders. There are even comics I've never heard of before and, now that I've seen them, I want them. Still, when I close this book, I'm left feeling Gravett and Stanbury could and should have done much more with the weirdness that has always been a part of comics.

Holy Sh*t! The World's Weirdest Comic Books receives a decent three out of five Tonys. It's not a must-have for your home comics library, but wouldn't be out of place there either. Okay, it wouldn't be out of place for my home comics library.

But I've already copped to being a comics maniac.

Tony Tony Tony



I'm working pretty far ahead this week, so I still don't have the results of our previous Tony Polls questions. But I do have this week's questions...
How would you rate DC's Final Crisis, including spin-offs?

How would you rate Marvel's Secret Invasion, including spin-offs?

Which of the events did you enjoy more?

Should the United States military drop its "gay ban" and allow gay men and women to serve openly?
These questions will remain active for one week. To cast your votes, head over to:



In March 20 review of The Joker: The Greatest Stories Ever Told, I wrote:

"However, we do get 1978's brilliant "The Laughing Fish" two-part thriller by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers..."

Our pal George Nelson responded:
Totally with you here. Probably my favorite Batman story and definitely my favorite Joker tale!. Was probably about 14 when it first came out and it was likely a reason I never moved away from comics. This will always be the Batman I think of as "my" Batman. Definitely a must for any collection of Joker stories.
My mailbox is always open for TOT readers. You can send your comments and questions to me at:

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

Tony Isabella

<< 04/07/2009 | 04/08/2009 | 04/09/2009 >>

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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