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

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for Monday, June 22, 2009

Barb and Tony

Sainted Wife Barb and I are back from Chicago where, in and around a pharmacy conference and my going over the proof pages of my forthcoming 1000 Comic Books You Must Read, we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Barb is as lovely today as she was in 1984 while I've gone horribly to seed. Sigh.

We stayed at the Hotel Sofitel which is almost directly across the street from the Rosemont Convention Center. You can walk from the hotel to the convention center via what they call a "Skybridge" and what veterans of countless Chicago comics conventions call "the Habitrails."

The Sofitel is a beautiful hotel. I liked it a lot more than I disliked it. The rooms are nice, the lobbies pleasant and more restful than the hotel would like (Translation: even with a major conference across the street, the place was empty.), and the food wonderful. While most of the staff, especially the charming Lucia, were terrific, there were among them enough pretentiously prissy little bitches to annoy me.

Advice to whoever owns the place: More staffers like Lucia and fewer like the desk clerk who couldn't read a bill or instruct the housekeeper to do the exact same thing the housekeeper did one day earlier, but who could manage to be dismissive and rude while not doing her job. Oh, yeah, and only those staffers who are actually from France should make with the French accent. The rest sounded like bad community theater actors.

Now that I have my grumpy bit in...

I'm very pleased with 1000 Comic Books You Must Read. I think the loyal legions of TOT readers will love it. Between its compact history of the American comic book and its coverage of over a thousand comics, it's sort of the ultimate "Tony's Tips" column. Deem me an immodest churl, but I believe it's the holiday gift book for comics fans this year.

When I took breaks from my proofreading, I visited old Chicago Comicon haunts like the Embassy Suites, the Hyatt, and even that cafeteria attached to the convention center. I am happy to report that you can still get a decent meal at a reasonable price at the cafeteria.

I haven't been to a Chicago convention in over a decade. No disrespect to Wizard World Chicago - I'm sure many fans have their own cherished memories of that event - but things were never really the same once Wizard bought the Chicago Comicon. But I do like the area and the venue, so it's not unlikely that I'll find myself back in Chicago one of these years.

SWB and I didn't have time to do much tourist stuff during our stay, but we had a Sofitel-provided picnic, a delightful meal at Giordano's, a bit of shopping on Michigan Avenue, and the required stop at Ed Debevic's for burgers and t-shirts. I'm now the proud owner of a "Live Long and Grumpy" shirt. Which, coincidentally, is the first thing on my bucket list.

It's been 25 wonderful years with Barb and I'm hope to extend my unbelievable luck for another 25. At least.



Maze Agency

Mike W. Barr, the creator of The Maze Agency, needs to contact some of the other folks who worked on the series with him. He writes:
Maze Agency creator Mike W. Barr requests the following contributors to the series contact MWB at the e-dress below:

Al Vey
Deborah Marks
Bob Pinaha
Julia Lacquement

Should other contributors also supply contact info, that would be swell.




This is your last day to vote on our latest Tony Polls, which can be found at:

New questions will be posted tomorrow, but, at this writing, I haven't decided what those questions will be. Which brings us to some requests.

Our most successful Tony Polls ever was the "They're Not Dead Yet! Comics Idol" competition in which you voted on which 1970s comics writers you'd like to see back writing their signature features on a regular basis. I'd like to do a 1980s version of the same competition and hereby solicit your suggestions for candidates for same.

I'd also like to do a "Greatest Comics Team" ever competition. The team can consist of any two people, be they writer and artist, penciler and inker, writer and editor, editor and publisher, or any other combination you can think of. But it has to be two people. No solo acts. No trios.

In addition to the above requests, I am totally open to other poll questions suggestions from my readers, especially if you can include between 2-20 choices for each questions. Send any and all suggestions to be at:

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

Tony Isabella

<< 06/12/2009 | 06/21/2009 | 06/23/2009 >>

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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