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for Friday, June 5, 2009

Master of Kung-Fu 51

In our three-week "They're Not Dead Yet" Comics Idol! competition, you chose the 1970s comics writers you would most like to see return to their signature features on a regular basis. We began with 20 writers and narrowed it down to just five finalists. Here are the results:

Doug Moench (Master of Kung Fu).....23.69%
Steve Englehart (Batman).....22.44%
Len Wein (Swamp Thing).....20.95%
Marv Wolfman (Tomb of Dracula).....19.45%
Paul Levitz (Legion of Super-Heroes).....13.47%

Who did I vote for? I'm still not telling.

Astonishing Tales 21

In last week's Tony Polls, we also asked you to vote on a couple of "Tony" questions.

Outside of Black Lightning, which of these features would you most like to see me write again on a regular basis?

It! The Living Colossus.....22.39%
Doc Savage.....17.37%
Welcome Back Kotter.....6.18%
Star Trek.....5.02%
Ghost Rider.....4.25%
Captain America.....2.32%
The Living Mummy.....2.32%
War Is Hell!.....2.32%
Gullivar Jones.....1.93%
Justice Machine.....1.93%
Super-Villain Team-Up.....1.54%
Satan's Six.....1.16%
Web of Spider-Man.....1.16%
Black Goliath.....0.77%
Rocket Racer.....0%

I was surprised to see "It! The Living Colossus" at the top of this chart. On my bucket list of the things I would like to write afore I kick said bucket is a story that started out as a new take on that short-lived series and, sans the Marvel Universe elements, became something very different. Maybe I should move this one up on my "to do" list.

There's very little chance of my writing "Doc Savage" since DC Comics currently hold the license for that character...and since I am still blacklisted at DC...and since that company, in its finite wisdom, has assigned a writer to Doc who clearly has no concept of heroism. Not the choice I would have made, but, sadly, I'm not the person with the choice.

As for the rest, well, even sans the blacklist, I don't think anyone at DC or Marvel is eager to employ me...I don't know who the heck owns "Justice Machine" at this point, save that no one except me owns my own stories for that series...the Jack Kirby estate has never responded to my e-mails re: my continuing the "Satan's Six" series I developed from Jack's characters and concepts...and I find it hard to believe 6.18% even know what "Welcome Back Kotter" is. Just having a giggle at my expense, weren't you?

Which brings us to...

From this list of features I've never written, which would you most like to see me write on a regular basis?

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents.....20.43%
Phantom Stranger.....7.66%
The Spirit.....7.23%
Blonde Phantom.....6.81%
Newsboy Legion.....5.53%
Howard the Duck.....4.26%
Cosmo the Merry Martian.....2.98%
Rawhide Kid.....2.55%
Donald Duck.....2.13%
Casper the Friendly Ghost.....1.28%
Richie Rich.....0.43%
Little Lulu.....0%
Mickey Mouse.....0%

Looking at these results, a few thoughts come to mind. While I couldn't use their actual appearances and names, something with creatures not unlike Gorgo, Konga, and Reptilicus is definitely in the realm of possibilities.

I would love to write "T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents" if I could start over with a clean slate and have something of a free hand in doing them. Playing with a compact super-hero universe could be a lot of fun for me and thee alike.

As for the others...only time will tell. I have features not unlike some of these features already on my bucket list. Maybe I can get them going sooner rather than later.

This seems like a good place to summarize a most heartwarming e-mail I received from a reader recently. In fact, it was so darn heartwarming that I didn't think it was for real until my further exchanges with the writer convinced me.

Relatively new to the Internet, the writer really loves many of the comics I've written over the years. He hasn't followed the comics news magazines or websites, and has only recently discovered this column. Talk about your brave new worlds!

He would really like to see me get back to writing comic books on a regular basis for DC and/or Marvel. He asks that I overlook whatever differences I might have with the comics those companies publish and go back to work for them. I had to explain to him that my not writing for them isn't exactly my choice. From his point of view - I said this was heartwarming stuff - he couldn't grasp that they might not want me back.

In fairness to DC and Marvel, it has been a while since I sent any serious query letters to either of them. After DC's Dan DiDio issued a decree that I couldn't be hired to do Black Lightning Year One, I figured I was still blacklisted. And it's been so long since I've exchanged e-mails with anyone at Marvel other than their online people and the various writers of their handbooks and spotlights, I'm not sure where to begin.

While I work on my own "bucket list" projects, I have given a bit of thought to how I might fit in with those companies in their present configurations. Once I have a clearer picture of that in my own mind, I'll send out a few query letters and see if I can make this longtime reader happy. Or, rather, if they can make him happy. It's more their choice than mine.

A while back, I told an industry friend that what I wanted in the comics industry, respect, and money. I want to do work I can be proud of. I want the respect that is best shown by fair, honest contracts and, when possible, a light editorial hand. (Hire me to write my stories, not your stories.) I want to be well compensated for my efforts on our mutual behalf. Pay me fairly and on time without my having to chase down my money after I've already earned it. Sounds pretty basic to me.

I'm not expecting to have any news along either the Marvel or DC fronts. But, if news there be, I'll share with you here as soon as I am able to share it.

Getting back to the Tony Polls, you can cast your votes on the current questions by heading over to:

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. Have a happy and safe weekend.

I'll be back on Monday with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 06/04/2009 | 06/05/2009 | 06/08/2009 >>

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.

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