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

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for Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Superman World's Finest

From Comics Buyer's Guide #1663:

Superman: World's Finest Archives Volume 2 [DC; $59.99] presents the Superman adventures from World's Finest Comics #16-32 [Winter 1945-January-February 1948]. At the start of this period, Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel was in the military and other writers were providing scripts for Superman's several artists with decidedly mixed results.

Of the non-Siegel writers, Alvin Schwartz emerged as the best of the bunch. His stories always had a sincere humanity even when his plots took a turn for the fantastic. When Siegel returned to write some - but not all - of the Man of Steel's stories, he also deftly combined the human with the outlandish. Siegel and Schwartz stand out among the rest of the super-scribes, though my favorite story in this collection may be Don Cameron's "Sheriff Clark Kent" with art by Win Mortimer and Ed Dobrotka.

The art? Co-creator Joe Shuster's sense of action and whimsy set the pace for those who followed him. No one quite equaled him in these tales, but there are some exciting attempts.

Comics artist and historian Jim Amash's foreword adds a sense of history to the fun of these decades-old adventures and that is as much a part of the book's value as the stories themselves. The combination is why Superman: The World's Finest Archives Volume 2 earns an impressive four Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony Tony

ISBN 978-1-4012-2470-7

Big Kahn

What happens when a temple learns its beloved rabbi is not Jewish? That revelation drives The Big Kahn [NBM/Comics Lit; $13.95] by Neil Kleid and Nicholas Cinquegrani.

The unexpected visitor who shows up at the services for Rabbi David Kahn turns out to be the rabbi's grifter brother. Some forty years earlier, David assumed the guise of a rabbi to further a con conceived by the brothers. The con fell apart when David fell in love with a Jewish woman and decided to live the role he had been playing. The truth devastates David's temple and his family, most especially his son and heir apparent, Rabbi Avi Kahn.

The drama that unfolds in the wake of this shocking revelation is riveting. The Kahn siblings must deal with this sudden upheaval in their lives. Avi struggles to rebuild the confidence and trust he has lost with missteps along the way. With the knowledge that faith profoundly changed her father, Avi's sister Lea rethinks the religion from which she had distanced herself. Young Eli connects with his father's past and the uncle he never knew. The emotions that drive this graphic novel make it a genuine page-turner with a satisfying conclusion.

With admiration for Kleid's riveting story and Cinquegrani's deft realization of the characters and locations with which he has brought that story to life, The Big Kahn earns the full five out of five Tonys. It's a masterpiece.

Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony

ISBN 978-1-56163-561-0



Doc Savage 7

Imagine that.

DC is finally reprinting some of my comics writing in trade paperbacks. Except, of course, that it isn't Black Lightning or any comics writing I did for their own comic books.

Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze ($17.99) will reprint the eight issues of the Doc Savage color comicbook series published by Marvel Comics in 1972 and 1973. I wrote the last two issues of the series with Gardner F. Fox having provided some sort of plot to artist Ross Andru for the first of those. Fox did some scripting on that issue, but I was asked to rescript his pages. I don't remember how many pages he scripted, only that it wasn't many.

The book is scheduled to go on sale May 26. Of course, the big question for me is...will DC be paying royalties to myself and the other creators who wrote and drew these stories?

In similar circumstances, neither Dark Horse or IDW have done so with licensed properties. I'm hoping DC shows more respect to the original creators. I'll keep you posted.

I don't know what the final cover of this trade paperback will look like, so what you see up above is the cover of one of the two issues I wrote.



Esssential Daredevil

Already on sale is Essential Daredevil Vol. 5 [Marvel; $19.99], which reprints issues #102-125 of the title's original run and Marvel Two-In-One #8 for nearly 500 pages of super-hero adventure. Following a bunch of stories by the great Steve Gerber, and fill-ins by Chris Claremont and Gerry Conway, you get the five issues of the title I wrote.

I have mixed feelings about my run on Daredevil, mostly because it was cut short when editors decided they wanted to write the book themselves. There's some really good stuff in my stories and some things that aren't so good. Since my major story arc was intended to clear the decks for what I really wanted to do with the book, my run still feels like unfinished business to me. But, hey, buy the book, judge my run for yourselves, and, at the very least, enjoy all that Gerber goodness.

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

Tony Isabella

<< 02/15/2010 | 02/16/2010 | 02/17/2010 >>

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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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