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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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TONY'S ONLINE TIPS
for Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Marvel Comics launched its STAR COMICS imprint in 1984. Aimed at younger readers, the line consisted of licensed comics based on TV shows and toys, as well as original titles that aped the writing and visual style of recently defunct Harvey Comics comic books like Richie Rich. That wasn't surprising given that many Star titles were written, drawn, and edited by the same talents who had worked for Harvey Comics for decades.

Though I don't have strong memories of the Star Comics titles, they certainly inspired their share of EVERETT TRUE cartoons. Here are three of those cartoons:

Royal Roy

Royal Roy: A Prince of a Boy was such an obvious ripoff of Richie Rich that I couldn't resist a "team-up" between the two characters. Created by Lennie Herman and Warren Kremer, the rich young ruler quickly attracted the attention of Harvey Comics, which was still around even if it wasn't publishing new comics. Harvey sued Marvel for copyright infringement. However, Roy was canceled after six issues and the lawsuit was dropped.

Cancellation was far from the worst tragedy to involve Royal Roy. According to Wikipedia, creator Kremer died nearly two years before the first issue of the series saw print. I don't think that I was aware of this at the time I wrote this cartoon.

Artist Gary Dumm finished the cartoon on May 20, 1985, and it ran in the June 14 issue of Comics Buyer's Guide. I always made sure CBG editors Don and Maggie Thompson had several cartoons in hand, but it was always their call as to which cartoon would run in any given issue.

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake starred the character created by American Greetings for cards, dolls, and other products. Secret Wars II was a Jim Shooter train wreck even worse than the first Secret Wars series because editor-in-chief Shooter decreed it must crossover into every Marvel super-hero title. It wasn't difficult to imagine what might happen if he could also have had his tedious epic impact one of the Star Comics titles.

This cartoon was completed on August 3, 1985, and appeared in the September 13 edition of CBG. Penciler Ed Wesolowski worked in my Cosmic Comics store. To keep up with the weekly schedule, I had a couple of different pencilers. But I always tried to make sure Gary Dumm could ink them. Dumm is my favorite of the many talented artists who contributed to Everett True.

Strawberry Daiquiri

I went back to Strawberry Shortcake for the September 19, 1986 issue of CBG. After just six issues, her comic had been canceled, which was likely part of my inspiration for this "relaunch." It's just as likely my inspiration was the legendary May West or even an afternoon at Cleveland's Crazy Horse Saloon or even a combination of all of the above. As I approach 60, I completely understand how some comics creators are unable to remember the why and wherefore of their past work.

Elektra

One more for the road. This cartoon was completed in November of 1986, and appeared in the December 26 issue of CBG. It carries a "with thanks to Roger Price" notation, but I can't remember how much of this one was Roger's and how much of it was mine. There's no doubt, however, that Gary Dumm did his usual amazing job drawing this madness.

I do get nostalgic when I see these Everett True cartoons. I would love to see them collected in book form, though I don't think I can get around to finding and organizing them until after Kelly starts college in the fall. I'm also getting the urge to write new Everett cartoons, though I'm fighting that urge for the time being. One thing I haven't forgotten is how angry some comics people got when Everett turned his righteous ire on them. I think I'll have one of those coming up later this week.

Thanks for all the e-mails and notes and posts congratulating my daughter Kelly on her graduation from Medina High School. This past week saw us attending not just Kelly's commencement, but also that of her best friend and our neighbor Giselle Luppino. It was a truly wonderful weekend.

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

Tony Isabella

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THE "TONY" SCALE

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.

Tony
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.

TonyTony
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?

TonyTonyTony
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.

TonyTonyTonyTony
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?

TonyTonyTonyTonyTony
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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