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

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for Wednesday, September 9, 2009

1000 Comic Books You Must Read

This is the first of a few "State of the Tony" columns I'll be writing this week and next. I'm breaking up the "address" into two or three TOTs because even I'm not all that interested in myself. You also won't have to read these "State of the Tony" columns back-to-back because there's all sorts of other things I want to write about more.

The big news is 1000 Comic Books You Must Read [Krause Publications; $29.99], my personal romp through the history of the American comic book with stops at over a thousand fun comics along the way. The book is currently being printed in China and should be hitting your friendly neighborhood bookstores, comics shops, and libraries in late October/early November. It's available for pre-order from the publisher [] and, of course, from Amazon. If you want to get the book through your local comic-book emporium, you'll find it on page 313 of Diamond Comic Distributors' September Previews catalog. If you want to put a few cents in the World Famous Comics coffers when you buy the book, click on the title at the top of this paragraph and you'll be miraculously whisked to where you can do just that.

This book, of which I'm rather proud, represents far more work than myself or my publisher realized we were getting into when we decided to do it. But I think it's a book that will please comics fans even as they rage at me for leaving out many of their favorite comic books. Sometime closer to the book's release date, I'll even be launching a 1000 Comic Books You Must Read website with a message board where you can voice your complaints, your praise, and your suggestions for a sequel directly to me and your fellow comic fans. More on that later.

I'll be working on my own and with my publisher to promote the book. This is all pretty new to me, so I don't have any publicity information for you at the moment. I expect that to change sooner rather than later. As always, I'll fill you in on any appearances, book signings, interviews, and wet t-shirt karaoke performances as soon as I know about them.

In the meantime, please considering buying 1000 Comic Books You Must Read for yourself and for other comics readers in your life. Request the book from your local libraries; in these times of economic woe, libraries are cutting back on their purchases and patron requests may often be the difference between whether or not they purchase an item.

If you need to contact me directly concerning the book or any other matter, feel free to e-mail me at:

What else is going on in my life?

Sainted Wife Barb continues to help vast numbers of patients as the home infusion supervisor for Kaiser Permanente in this neck of the woods. I am in constant awe of the dedication, compassion, and just plain smarts she brings to her job.

My son Eddie is commencing his third year at The Ohio State University. He's majoring in civil engineering, but he also works as a teacher/tutor for the Princeton Review, helping high-school students improve their SAT scores. He enjoys teaching, so he might just pick up a major in that as well.

My daughter Kelly has started her senior year at Medina High School. She's an academic wiz, a terrific athlete, a participant in various service organizations, and, as of last week, working at an area Marc's. Next Wednesday marks her 18th birthday, which, for dear old Dad, is both frightening and wondrous.

My cat Simba is still cute, still funny, and still more than a little crazy. The cute part helps when she wakes me up at two in the morning to let her romp on our enclosed porch. I don't know if I'd take that from an ugly cat.

At the bottom of the family hierarchy...

I'm doing pretty good from a health standpoint. After I ran the 2001 reprint that mentioned my depression last week, I received several e-mails expressing various degrees of concern, but there is no cause for alarm. I am, of course, depressed by many things in the world, including the Republican Party becoming even more absurd in its lies, racism, and rants than it was during the criminal Bush administration, but I'm more than holding my own in the "hanging in there" department.

I take several pills a day to address my high blood pressure and other issues, but I feel pretty darn spiffy as I work away on all sorts of household and writing projects. Yes, I wish I had a few good-paying gigs, but that's something I'll discuss in another "State of the Tony" column. This one is already alarmingly close to a thousand words.

The September Previews catalog is offering three other items with Isabella content...

Essential Moon Knight Vol. 3 [Marvel; $19.99] reprints the two issues of the title I wrote way back when. My stories were drawn by Bo Hampton, Richard Howell, Kevin Nowlan, and Bob McLeod, and I think they turned out pretty well. As has been noted before, when Marvel reprints my work, they send me a copy of the reprint and a royalty check based on the sales of the book. This policy sets the industry standard and I applaud Marvel for it.

Star Trek: Archives Vol. 7 [IDW; $19.99] reprints an issue plotted by me and scripted by Len Wein. Other creators have complained that IDW does not pay royalties on such reprints, which is a shame since the company does so many other things right. I'm hoping IDW has changed their policy to match the industry standard - being the third biggest comics company does come with a certain amount of responsibility - but I'll let you know when and if I get anything from them.

Star Trek Trivia Note:

I later re-purposed a key element from this Star Trek comics story for Star Trek: The Case of the Colonist's Corpse: A Sam Cogley Mystery, by Bob Ingersoll and me. New and used copies of this paperback are still available online, as well as an Amazon Kindle version.

Previews is also offering Comics Buyer's Guide #1661 [Krause Publications; $5.99]. The issue includes my usual "Tony's Tips" and "Tony's Back Page" features.

That's all for now. Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with the usual mix of news, views, and reviews.

Tony Isabella

<< 09/08/2009 | 09/09/2009 | 09/10/2009 >>

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:

Tony's Online Tips
840 Damon Drive
Medina, OH 44256

Order my book,
1000 Comic Books You Must Read.1000 Comic Books You Must Read

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