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

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for Thursday, June 25, 2009

Collected Jack Kirby Volume 7

Nearly 300 pages of love for Jack Kirby is what you get in The Collected Jack Kirby Collection Vol. 7 [TwoMorrows; $29.95]. This trade paperback completes the compilations of the first 30 regular-size issues of The Jack Kirby Collector, reprinting issues #27-30 and adding over 20 pages of new Kirby art (sketches and a variety of uninked pencilled pages) to the mix. It's a great book to enjoy over several weeks because there's just so much great stuff to be found between its covers. Among my favorites:

A virtual Jack Kirby panel in which two dozen comics writers and artists participate;

Kirby talking about his World War II experiences;

interviews with Kirby family members;

Jack and Roz Kirby discussing their life together;

a Kirby animation portfolio; and much more.

The Collected Jack Kirby Collection Vol. 7 has art, history, and commentary from several dozen fans and professionals. It's a fitting tribute to one of the few creators who deserves to have thousands of pages written about him and, as such, it easily earns the full five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony


Some of the most surreal comic-book characters ever await you in Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941 [$24.99] from Fantagraphics Books. Edited by Greg Sadowski with a foreword by Jonathan Lethem, this hefty trade paperback reprints 20 stories from those formative years.

The writers and artists of these tales are a veritable "who's who" of comics founders: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Bill Everett, Lou Fine, Will Eisner, Basil Wolverton, Jack Kirby, Jack Cole, Dick Briefer, Gardner Fox, and those are just the ones you've probably heard of. Their early work might be somewhat crude, but it shows all the imagination and vitality they would bring to their later, more skilled efforts.

The heroes are a fun bunch: Dr, Mystic, the Clock, the Flame, Stardust, Fantomah, Yarko the Great, the Face, Marvelo, Spacehawk, the Comet, Silver Streak, Sub Zero, Blue Bolt, and others. Despite the primitive and quirky nature of these adventures, every one of these heroes has a flair of his or her own. I'd likely jump at the chance to write any of them.

Supermen is worth buying for the giggles and knowledge it delivers. It earns the full five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony

First Time

First Time [NBM/Eurotica; $19.95] is a collection of explicit tales by "Sibyline" - a woman who works in administration at the French comics publisher Delcourt - and ten international artists. Obviously, it's for adults only.

Each story represents some sort of first sexual experience for its protagonist. The book leads with "First Time," a rather sweet account of a woman's actual first time and easily the best story in the book. As for the other stories, well, it would be difficult to describe them in a manner befitting the suitable-for-all-ages CBG beyond that they do represent a wide range of intimate activities. Just take my word on this.

Many of the stories are well-written, some are sleep-inducing. The art is always interesting with outstanding work by Alfred - on "First Time" - Jerome d'Aviau, Vince, and Dave McKean. I blush at the thought of discussing said visuals in detail.

As erotic comics go, First Time is better than most. Were I not a story first and foremost guy, I might rate it higher. As I am, the best score I can award this hardcover is a perfectly respectable three out of five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony



I may have mentioned this once or twice previously - grin - but my 1000 Comic Books You Must Read will be available in bookstores later this year. It's a compact history of the American comic book wrapped around my concise commentaries of well over a thousand comic books.

Several readers have asked if they could buy the book directly from me. That isn't possible at this time. However, if you would like to preorder it from Amazon in such a way that it benefits this website, here's the link:

Thanks for asking.



I have asked the loyal legions of TOT readers to send me their nominations for the upcoming 1980s version of our "They're Not Dead Yet!" Comics Idol competition, in which they'll vote on the comics writers of the 1980s they would most like to see return to their signature features. However, I should have been more clear in what I was requesting.

When I wrote "signature features," I meant "non-creator-owned signature features." Presumably, if the writers own the features, they can return to write them as their will and circumstances would dictate. Not so with features owned by DC, Marvel, or other comics publishers of the 1980s.

Example: Steve Englehart returning to Green Lantern or Green Lantern Corps would be a possible choice in this new competition. Steve Englehart returning to Coyote would not be a possible choice.

If I receive enough nominations, I may split the competition into DC, Marvel, and the other publishers. After all, writers of the 1980s moved back and forth between the publishers on a fairly regular basis. We'll see.

In the meantime, you can still vote on this week's Tony Polls questions by going to:

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

Tony Isabella

<< 06/24/2009 | 06/25/2009 | 06/26/2009 >>

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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