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

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for Monday, October 19, 2009

Stuffed 1

Stuffed! by Glenn Eichler and Nick Bertozzi [01: First Second; $17.99] is the first graphic novel or comic book I sought out because I saw it mentioned on Twitter. If memory serves, the GN was given the Twitter version of the "Colbert Bump" by Stephen Colbert his-own-talented-self. Which isn't surprising given that Eichler writes for The Colbert Report. It was Colbert that got my attention; it was Eichler and Bertozzi who sealed the deal with their engaging story and characters.

Suburbanite Tim Johnston handles internal claims for a health insurance company. He has a wife, a young daughter, an elderly dad he hasn't seen since his mother's funeral, and a globe-wandering half-brother he hasn't seen in years When Tim's father dies, the only thing in the man's will of any possible value are items is his long-closed "Museum of the Rare and Curious." Among those items: an African statue known as "The Savage."

When Tim tries to give the statue to a museum, he and we learn that it's not a statue. It's the preserved, stuffed remains of an actual human being. So begins the quest to discover the long-dead man's place of origin and return him to Africa.

Eichler's characters are fully realized and sometimes quirky. His half-brother drilled a hole in his own head. A museum official is determined to do right by "The Savage" while contending with his boss' quiet prejudice. Even the funeral director who oversees the burial of Tim's father is wonderful; he literally bursts into tears when Tim's wife calls him a nice man.

The GN flows smoothly with moments of comedy, of drama, and of things beyond our conscious world. Bertozzi's art suits this story exceedingly well. When I got to the book's satisfying conclusion, I immediately thought that, with a bit more content, it would make a heck of a movie with great roles for actors. I could see Colbert as Tim. I bet he could, too.

Stuffed! earns the full five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony


Columbus cartoonist Max Ink always has something interesting for me when I see him at Mid-Ohio-Con. This year, it was Blink: Breathe In Beat [ONWARDStudio; $3], a 24-page, black-and-white booklet featuring two comics stories and Ink's notes on the making of those stories.

Blink, the title character, is a pretty young cartoonist. In these vignettes, she hangs out with her friend Sam at the library, a topiary garden, and a field. There is poetry to be discussed, a few laughs to be shared, and the simple joy of spending time with a good friend. Ink's work and his sure comics-drawing hand create moments that are gentle and quietly profound. These stories, and others he has done and will do, are all leading to a bigger story. I'm looking forward to that.

Blink: Breathe in Beat earns four Tonys. To find this and other Blink comics, go to:

Tony Tony Tony Tony

The Chase

Jay Jacot gave me two comics at Mid-Ohio-Con.

The Chase: A Twist of Fate [$2.99] is Jacot's 24-hour, self-published comic from October, 2008. The premise is a fairly simple one: one man has retrieved something of value, another man wants to take it from him. The action is set in outer space and on an alien world. The storytelling is solid throughout. There are a number of twists in the action. The art shows the urgency of the artist's goal: 24 finished pages in 24 hours. All in all, a neat little comic book. Maybe not the stuff of greatness, but fun all the same. It earns a respectable three Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony


Jacot also gave me The Tao of Snarky: Collected Works from Comics Obscura #1-3 [no price listed]. Snarky is a private eye who came to the deep space world of Rex 9 in search of his missing sister. He hasn't found her and he hasn't been able to make enough money to get himself back home either.

Written by Brad Demaagd and drawn by Jacot, the three stories in this black-and-white comic are well-done. We get to know Snarky quickly, then we get to see something of Rex 9. It's a world policed by big sentient snakes who are extremely tough on crime. There are other aliens and humans on the world, as well, but the best Snarky can do is eke out a meager leaving.

The stories have good plots, though I would have liked to see those plots unfold with longer page counts. Jacot's art is spiffy. The inking gets a little heavy here and there, but the images fit the material well. This is the kind of series that could benefit from a more upscale presentation: longer stories and moody colors. Consider that free advice for any savvy publishers looking for new titles for their lines.

The Tao of Snarky earns three Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony



Yeah, here's where I ask for money. I'm currently working on a very promising project, but, even if all goes as planned, it will be a while before any checks arrive. Times are tough all over, but, if you were considering making a donation to TOT, now would be an excellent time to do so. Just click on the "Tip The Tipster" link elsewhere on this page.

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with more Mid-Ohio-Con reviews.

Tony Isabella

<< 10/16/2009 | 10/19/2009 | 10/20/2009 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Message Board. Also, read Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined.

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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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