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

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for Thursday, May 21, 2009

This week in the Tony Polls, the second round of our "They're Not Dead Yet Comics Idol!" competition is underway. From an initial list of twenty 1970s comics writers, your votes narrowed the field to ten writers you'd like to return to their signature features on a regular basis.

Here are the results of the first week's voting:

Steve Englehart (Batman).....13.53%
Paul Levitz (Legion of Super-Heroes).....10.97%
Roy Thomas (Avengers).....10.60%
Jim Shooter (Avengers).....7.13%
Doug Moench (Master of Kung Fu).....6.95%
Elliot S! Maggin (Superman).....6.22%
Marv Wolfman (Tomb of Dracula).....5.85%
Denny O'Neil (Batman).....5.67%
Steve Skeates (Aquaman).....5.67%
Len Wein (Swamp Thing).....5.30%
David Michelinie (Iron Man).....3.84%
Cary Bates (Flash).....3.29%
Jim Starlin (Warlock).....3.29%
Don McGregor (Black Panther).....3.11%
Michael Fleisher (Jonah Hex).....2.56%
Gerry Conway (Spider-Man).....2.38%
Stan Lee (Silver Surfer).....2.19%
Mike Friedrich (Justice League of America).....0.73%
Gary Friedrich (Ghost Rider).....0.55%
Marty Pasko (Superman).....0.55%

If you're waiting to see how I voted, don't hold your breath. Almost every one of the above writers is a friend of mine. Truth be told, with one exception, I'd love to see all of them return to their signature features.

The second round voting will remain open until sometime after midnight on May 25. You can cast your ballots at:



This is an after-the-fact journal of my trip to Philadelphia for the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention. I expect it will be spread out over several columns.

I left my Medina home around 8 am on Friday, May 15. A firm believer in redundancy, I had printed out Yahoo Maps directions to the Crowne Plaza Hotel - where ECBACC would be held - and also set my Garmin GPS unit to direct me there.

What can I say? I really dig the Garmin's "Brit chick" voice when I'm driving by my lonesome.

Most of the drive was on I-76, which becomes the Pennsylvania Turnpike for about $22 worth of toll charges each way. I made good time, but it was a stressful drive. The turnpike is all twisty and turny and ups and downs and four mountains I had to drive through. The scenery was gorgeous for much of the drive, but not really safe to enjoy if one is the driver. Especially the white-knuckled driver I became traversing all those twists and turns and up and downs and mountains. Can't forget the mountains.

I made decent time for most of the drive. The Yahoo directions estimated 7 hours, 13 minutes and, even with one fuel and a couple rest stops, I was cruising along on schedule. Until I hit the last 13 miles. Which took well over a hour to traverse.

It was then that I learned the Garmin isn't quite so useful in heavy city traffic. The "Brit chick" wasn't telling me to stay or turn in time for me to actually do it.

This was more the fault of my unfamiliarity with the Garmin rather than the device itself. I was relying strictly on the voice instructions when I should've positioned the Garmin so I could see the screen as I drove. If I had done that, I would have had a lot more advance notice of turns and such.

My next unpleasant surprise came when I pulled into the hotel parking garage. The hotel charged $33 a day for parking and didn't even have the basic courtesy to have its valets wear eyepatches and parrots when they took your money.

Actually, that was nearly the only unpleasant thing about my hotel stay. The room was quite nice and there were even a couple reasonably priced meals on the room service menu.

I made my usual calls to let Barb, Kelly, and my mom know that I had arrived safely. I kicked back for a little bit and then got ready for the Glyph Comics Awards ceremony, which would take place at the Free Library of Philadelphia.

That's where we'll next pick up this trip report.

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

Tony Isabella

<< 05/20/2009 | 05/21/2009 | 05/22/2009 >>

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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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