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

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for Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Miss Don't Touch Me

Set in Paris in the 1930s, Miss Don't Touch Me [NBM/Comics Lit; $14.95] by Hubert (story and color) and Kerascoet (art) is a suspenseful story of an inexperienced young woman who courageously seeks to track down the murderer of her best friend and bring that person to justice. Her path leads her to an upscale brothel where she ends up being one of the house's special girls. Her maidenhood remains unblemished in her new role as "Miss Don't Touch Me, a stern dominant, as she discovers a series of murders connected to the slaying of her friend.

This graphic novel would make a heck of a movie. It has great women characters and that means lots of great roles for actresses. It's set in a colorful time and place, but balances that with the darkness of the serial killings. It has surprising plot twists and character revelations. It even allows itself a bit of humor while barreling toward its satisfying conclusion.

Hubert's writing is first-rate, Kerascoet's storytelling and character designs are vibrant, and the overall look of the book is delightful. That's why Miss Don't Touch Me earns the full five out of five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony

Hogan's Alley 16

Hogan's Alley #16 [Bull Moose Publishing Corporation; $6.95] delivers comics history and comics fun in its 148 pages of articles and art. Editor Tom Heintjes, contributing editor Rick Marshall, and some of the most savvy columnists and writers in our field always deliver an outstanding effort. Considering how many different topics they cover, Hogan's Alley might just be the Tardis of comics magazines.

To give you an idea of the variety to be found in Hogan's Alley, here's a partial list of the issue's subjects: Disney's Song of the South; Stephan Pastis and his "Pearls Before Swine" strip; Dick Tracy; "My Friend Irma" with a nice selection of strips by Dan DeCarlo and Stan Lee; the selling of Little Lulu; the selling of Popeye; William Randolph Hearst; editorial cartoonists discuss the 2008 presidential election; Archie as an evangelical Christian; the Golden Age Captain Marvel artist you never knew; a look inside the studios of three artists; a helpful guide to strip collecting terms; and much more. If you have a day to explore the wondrous world of comics, this magazine is your guide.

Hogan's Alley #16 earns the full five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony



Fantastic Fears 5

Appearing monthly in Comics Buyer's Guide, this feature has switched from relating sterling tales of my life and career to extended coverage of issues scheduled to appear in my forthcoming 1000 Comic Books You Must Read.

Fantastic Fears #5
Writer: Bruce Hamilton
Artist: Steve Ditko
Ajax/Farrell (JanuaryFebruary 1954)

"Stretching Things" was Steve Ditko's first solo comics job. This tale of a serum that confers amazing elasticity on its user, revealed his already-evident talent. Hamilton became a renowned comics historian and, in the 1980s, published a 30-volume hardcover set reprinting all 500-plus Disney Duck stories of Carl Barks.

The writers and artists of other stories in this issue have yet to be definitively identified, but the titles of those tales are typical for the horror comic books of the day. They include such intriguing come-ons as "My Coffin Must Wait," "Escape From Hell," and "Temple of the Beast."

From 1952-1958, Ajax/Farrell also published a variety of genre titles like All True Romance, Billy Bunny, Bride's Secrets, G.I. in Battle, Lone Rider, Strange Fantasy, Voodoo, and Spunky the Smiling Spook.

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

Tony Isabella

<< 08/25/2009 | 08/26/2009 | 08/27/2009 >>

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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