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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 19, 2008

Angry Mob

Pictured above is one possible - maybe even likely - reaction to the script excerpt leading off today's column. We'll talk more about the pages after you read them.




Panel 1. Half-page panel of secret service agents, some wearing protective suits, some holding various detection devices, checking out the brush at President Bush's Prairie Chapel Ranch, outside of Crawford, Texas.

CAPTION: Whether or not the events of that morning were miraculous most likely depends on one's point of view.

CAPTION: It began with an army of secret service agents sweeping the photo op area for any possible threat to their brush-clearing President.

CAPTION: It wouldn't do for Bush 43 to cut himself on a sharp rock or struggle too hard with some uncooperative vegetation.

CAPTION: The Commander-In-Chief took playing cowboy very seriously, a harmless enough affectation as long as they didn't let him hold their guns...

CAPTION: now-retired agent "Lefty" Morrow had learned to his regret back in 2003.

Panel 2. Bush (in cowboy drag) smiles idiotically for the cameras (off panel) as he holds up a clump of brush.

CAPTION: The photo op area was swept, swept again, and then swept a third time seconds before the President arrived.

CAPTION: It was as clean as clean could be...

Panel 3. Bush is caught in the blast of an improvised explosive device. Use tried-and-true comic-book staging to keep the gore to the barest minimum necessary to convey the action. Bush's injuries are described in this panel's captions, but we won't reveal until the next page that no one else, not even those standing right next to him, were injured in the slightest.

CAPTION: ...which made it all the more shocking when the IED that hadn't been there a moment ago exploded...

CAPTION: ...blowing off Bush's legs at the knees and obliterating his nut sack.


Panel 1. Wide-angle close-up of a cross-section of government and media and secret service types. Their faces are a odd combination of horror and astonishment.

CAPTION: However, as those in the "miraculous" camp would soon and incessantly be reporting...

Panel 2. Pull back to show the general area. Medics are swarming around Bush, who we don't need to see clearly here. Secret service agents have formed a circle around the President and said medical team. Other agents are fanning out to make sure there are no other devices or threats. TV crews are trying to film the chaos but are being pushed away from the scene. Think one of those Kirby crowd scenes with a dozen things going on at once.

CAPTION: one other than the President...

CAPTION: one else who was there that morning...

CAPTION: ...had been injured in the slightest.

CAPTION: Not even those standing right next to him.

CAPTION: Not so much as a scratch.

Panel 3. No art, just copy. This should be a vertical rectangle at the lower right hand corner of the page.

COPY: By itself, this remarkable occurrence would have been enough to drive news and talk shows for months...

COPY: ...would have been sufficient to keep the pundits pundating, the conspiracy theorists theorizing, and the bloggers blogging for years...

COPY: ...would have been ample excuse for Congress to proclaim its patriotism by enacting whatever democracy-crushing legislation was put before it...

COPY: If it hadn't been for what happened next.



The above script does have a name, or more accurately, it has a title. However, as that title is also the name of the series, it won't be revealed until the final page of this first story in the series. Call me an unrepentant tease, but these are the only pages I can share with you without giving away too much of what I think is a pretty good concept.

Sadly, I don't know when I'll be able to return to this story. When I do, I may end up dropping these script pages, especially if I don't get back to them until after the elections. For what it's worth, as the story is currently tracking, Bush does not play much of a role past the first two issues.

If you'd like to see more such works-in-progress in TOT, feel free to express that desire on my message board...

...or via e-mail:



There were no new TOTs for last Friday or yesterday because I took time off to do family and friends stuff. I drove my son Eddie home from Ohio State University for the weekend to celebrate his mom's birthday. Sainted Wife Barb turned [transmission garbled] on Sunday, but we were having fun all weekend long.

We went to my daughter's Kelly basketball game Saturday, then left Barb at home while the kids and I went present-shopping. Bob Ingersoll was in the area, so he and I did lunch and hung out for a few hours. Poor Bob had to listen to my anti-Hollywood rant then and there, but you'll have to wait for the "Terrible Tony" version of said rant later this month.

We (the kids and our best neighbors forever) made dinner for Barb on Saturday night. Played board games. Watching some sports on TV. That sort of stuff.

On Sunday, Barb got breakfast (cooked by Kelly with Eddie and I following Kelly's orders) and presents. Then it was a few hours of packing up Eddie's now-clean laundry and shopping for things he needed at school before Barb drove him back to OSU. It was a great weekend, albeit one that left no time for writing.

Too often comics industry workers lose sight of what's really important in their lives. I know my days of my putting my writing before my family are over...and that I'm no longer willing to sell the cow for the magic beans of this assignment or that convention. As regular readers know, I turned down one comics gig a few weeks back because the contract was unacceptable...and I just declined an invitation to attend a convention scheduled for Mother's Day. I'll be spending that day with my mother and with the mother of my kids. I still want to work in comics, but not at the expense of those I love or all rights to - and future compensation for - that which I have created out of my own imagination and toil.

Getting back to those missed TOTs, I'll make up for them with two free columns in March. How many original TOTs I write in March - and thereafter - depends almost entirely on the "Tip The Tipster" donations I get. So far, those donations have paid for just shy of four new columns in March. If you want to see more than that, you have to make with the donations.

I'll still bring you the "director's cut" versions of "Tony's Online Tips" and "Tony's Back Page" from the monthly print edition of Comics Buyer's Guide. Those will appear approximately a month after they appear in the magazine.

I'm writing two "Tony's Other Online Tips" reviews for CBG's online forum, but I'm no longer selling CBG the exclusive rights to those. Those reviews will also be reprinted in TOT, approximately a month after they debut on the CBG forum. None of the reprinted CBG material will "cost" you. The "Tip the Tipster" donations are applied only to original TOTs.

One last note. The best place to get the most up-to-date news on what's up with me is my message board. If you've never visited the board, you should. It's filled with fun and insightful posts by some of the best people I know. Drop by any time.



This Modern World

There at least one new Tony Polls question going online today, but I don't know for sure on account of last week's second round of presidential polling is still open as I'm writing today's column. However, assuming the likely possibility that all four of the contests - to be the presidential candidate of the Marvel, DC Comics, Comic Strips, and All Others parties - have a clear winner, then this week's lead question will be to determine which of those four winners is the next President of the United States in the mad place that is the Tony-Verse.

If there are any races so close that we need runoff elections, said runoff elections will be held this week. The big contest will then be held the following week.

To cast your vote on whatever questions have been posted this week, head over to the ballot box located at:

Come March, the frequency of the Tony Polls feature is going to depend on how much help I get from the readers who enjoy voting on them. If I have to dream up the questions and choices by myself, we're looking at every other week. If readers decide they want to get in on the fun, then we can maintain the current weekly schedule. Like my CBG reprint columns, TOTs presenting results and my comments on the results will be "free" TOTs. They won't count as donation-sponsored columns. As with everything I do, I try to give my readers and my clients as much value for their money as I possibly can.

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

Tony Isabella

<< 02/14/2008 | 02/19/2008 | 02/20/2008 >>

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.

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