Sunday, November 13, 2011


Some of these things I don’t understand are of a serious nature and
some aren’t.  Some of them concern the real world and some don’t.
Don’t confuse them.

I don’t understand...why Penn State students rioted when football
coach Joe Paterno got rightfully fired for his silent approach to
the child molestation crimes committed by his defensive coordinator
Jerry Sandusky.  I don’t understand why every Penn State employee
or executive who knew of these crimes hasn’t been fired.  I don’t
understand how anyone could have sympathy for any of them.  I don’t
understand how any parent of one of those moronic rioters wouldn’t
be horrified at how little compassion, morality, and intelligence
their tuition payments have bought.

Let me make this simple because it really is absurdly simple.  What
Sandusky did was a heinous crime.  If you witness or have knowledge
of a heinous crime, especially a heinous crime against a kid, your
first call is to the police.  Let me say that again.  Your first call
is to the police.

It is not to the football coach.  It is not to the university that
employs you.  In other similar situations, it is not to a church
or a corporation or a political party.

It is a heinous crime. You report it to the police.

Because I guarantee that, if you don’t call the police, if you instead
make the call to any of those listed above, they will spend weeks
and months and even years trying to either cover up that heinous
crime or figure out how to spin it so that they will suffer as little 
negative impact as possible. 

It’s a heinous crime.  It’s a matter for the police.  It does not
get any simpler than that.

I don’t understand...the point of Frank Miller’s Holy Terror.  It
strikes me as all rage and no art, a banal exercise in brutality.
Miller’s heroes and villains are one-dimensional.  Those innocents
who die during the course of this nightmarish scenario are nothing
more than additions to the body count.  Miller’s work has steadily
diminished since he went all Hollywood on us.  He has transitioned
from one of the most interesting creators in comics to an angry and
fearful blowhard.  Holy Terror? More like holy crap!

I also don’t understand...Miller’s ranting against the Occupy Wall
Street movement.  It’s as if he’s become some field hand desperate
to be allowed to serve in the big house.  Sorry, Frank, but you’re
not one of the 1%.  You’re just a loud-mouthed sell-out.

I don’t understand...why the self-checkout machines at the Medina
Library occasionally insist that I must pay a fee of $18,790.086.31
to check out a book.  Exactly $18,790.086.31. The same amount every
time it happens.  The librarians know it’s a glitch of some sort,
but no one knows where this number comes from.  The IT folks can’t
seem to eradicate it for good.  They get rid of it, but it always
comes back.  It even gets printed on our receipts.

I don’t understand...why Herman Cain’s supporters can’t recognize
that his “9-9-9" tax plan actually raises taxes on the middle class
and lowers taxes for the rich.  Now while the 1% will call that “a
good start” to their goal of never paying any taxes, shouldn’t those
Cain supporters who are of the 99% be concerned?

I don’t understand...why anyone would join a remembrance discussion
of a no-longer-with-us comics creator to make snotty comments about
the deceased.  If you’re one of my Facebook friends, you know that
I often start such discussions on my Facebook wall.  I start these
to remember industry friends of mine and sometimes industry figures
whose work meant something to me.

Recently, I hosted one such discussion about Frank Robbins, who was
someone whose work I admired greatly and who was also a friend and
a collaborator on several of the comics I wrote for Marvel in the
1970s.  One poster correctly pointed out that Robbins was a major
part of the retooling of Batman in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The retooling was guided by editor Julius Schwartz and brought to
wonderful heights by some of the best writers and artists who ever
worked on Batman, including Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, Irv Novick,
Dick Giordano, Bob Brown, and Frank Robbins.

A few hours into the discussion, some yahoo took extreme offense
that we were talking about anyone other than Neal Adams and made
downright churlish comments about Robbins.  I “politely” suggested
this surly poster shut his pie hole.  He persisted in his insults
against Robbins.  I booted him, deleted him, and un-friended him.
I ignored his private messages which basically consisted of “How
dare I do all of the above?”  I ignored his private messages.  He
had no more claim on any more of my time than he had a right to do
whatever he wanted on my Facebook wall.

In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been surprised by this guy’s rude
behavior, just that I hadn’t noticed previously what an utter jerk
he is.  But his worship of Neal Adams - who I think it’s an amazing
talent, a great friend to creators, including myself, and all kinds
of good guy - has a business aspect to it as well.  This poster has
made a career of aping Neal’s style for advertising and non-comics
commercial art.  One wonders if he was “defending” Neal’s assured
place in Batman legend or his own imitative turf.  Either way, as
I close in on my 60th birthday, I see no reason to suffer such an
idiot.  I don’t regret that I have given him decent reviews in the
past, but I don’t plan on giving him another moment of my attention
beyond today’s blog.

So today’s closing moral is...learn to shut your online pie hole.
If someone is praising the late Sidney Scripter or Peter Penciller,
don’t chime in with how much you hated their work.  No one who has
loved that creator’s work is going to slap their forehead and say,
“My God, he’s right!”  They are simply going to wrinkle their noses
at your bad smell and consider you an asshat forevermore.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff. 

© 2011 Tony Isabella


  1. I'm not on Facebook so I couldn't read or join the discussion there, but I just wanted to mention this regardless of venue: I always loved Robbins' art on The Invaders and his scripts on Batman…but it wasn't until just a few years ago I discovered he'd actually written *and* drawn a few Batman stories. Up till then, my familiarity with his comic book work (as opposed to his strip work) only involved him providing words or pictures, not both. Getting to read those few Batman issues for the first time in the present day was a totally unexpected treat.

    (And finding little treasures in comics history like those is one way I block out for a few precious moments thinking about the abject horror of what happened at Penn State, or the nightmare of what's going to happen in Oakland, on Wall Street, and everywhere else citizens are headed to war with the police.)

  2. Right on, sir! People need to remember that their boundless admiration for one creator's work above all others does not mean that by comparison everyone else's work sucks...and to pirate someone else's blog of admiration just to keep making that wrong-headed point is unspeakably rude. Butt-heads get the boot. That's as it should be, given that such self-important jerks don't seem to understand how rude they're being.

    I also agree with most of the other portions of today's bloggy thing. The lone exception is the part about HOLY TERROR, which I haven't yet read. So I don't know as yet if I agree with your review. But the rest of today's bloggy thing, yeah, 100% agreement.

  3. In the early 70's, when I was just coming back into comics via Batman and Detective Comics after a brief dryspell, I was a big fan of Robbins' scripts (particularly his Man-Bat stories, comics that gave me nightmares). But when he actually started drawing the books, it was a jarring change from the more realistic Adams/Novick/Brown stories. It took a few issues to really adjust to Robbins' more cartoonish style, but eventually I came to really admire his art and his more nourish approach to Batman.

  4. Sometimes I wish that really tell us what you think. ;)

    Keep going. As for Cain, I wonder if he can spell "9" or if he really meant "6-6-6" plan? Happy 60th when ever that my be.

  5. Ah.....two Franks, one a truly talented artist/writer and the other, an artist/writer who once showed true talent and has since wasted it on self-indulgent, one-note silliness. As a kid, I hated Frank Robbins' art; but then again, if it wasn't Adams, Steranko or Smith, then it wasn't any good. Years later, I discovered Eisner, Toth, Krigstein, Meskin and now Robbins' stuff is brilliant. Frank Miller showed tons of promise as artist and then artist-writer of Daredevil, even wearing his Eisner and Krigstein influnces on his artistic sleeve. Then came Daredevil and Batman, both w/ Mazzucchelli and then......but before those, beginning with the highly influential and way-overrated Dark Knight Returns, it's been downhill ever since....visceral, shallow drek.

  6. "I don’t understand...why anyone would join a remembrance discussion
    of a no-longer-with-us comics creator to make snotty comments about
    the diseased."

    I'm pretty sure that's a typo.

    Unless it's a sick joke.

  7. Calling the police directly instead of telling y our boss first is an interesting conundrum. I think most organizations...schools, corporations, anything...would not only expect that if you see a crime you report it on up, but that if you DID call the police first, they would get pissed. Yeah, sounds bizarre, but I can see it:

    "I just saw a kid getting raped in the shower by Sandusky. I called the police, they are on their way."

    "What? Are you sure? Why didn't you come to me first? It's my responsibility to call the police, not yours."

    Etc. I'm not defending the creeps at Penn State for their inaction, but I can see how the system, the same one that exists in every employment pyramid, would have led them to go to their employers first, and "leave it in their hands." This is not a culture that encourages much of ANYTHING in the workplace without clearance from the tower.

  8. TMB, I work in HR within the public sector and Ic an tell you that no organization that I am aware of, or have consulted with, would get pissed for reporting a crime of this nature.

    Could/would a coach, especially one that wielded the power of a Paterno, get pissed? Yes, but that speaks more towards individual and not to the organization.

    I have been a fan of PSU football and Joe Paterno specifically for many years but his actions in regard to that monster are indefensible. I understand that the monster had been a friend of his for over 30 years and it may have been difficult to grasp that everything you knew about this person wa a lie, btu when presented with evidence such as the rape of a 10 year old boy in a shower, it, at the very least, warrants a police investigation

    As to the students, yes, a bunch of them rioted and expresed unconditional support for Joe. There were many others, though, that spoke up on behalf of the victims, to the point where over $22,000 for child abuse victims was raised during Saturday's game. This does not excuse the behavior of a bunch of morons, but it should be noted that there were an awful lot of PSU students who were more rational about the situation

  9. My first problem with the Penn State situation is the inaction of the assistant coach who witnessed the abuse. I can not understand how anyone could witness what he did and not take immediate action, if only to rescue the child. Did he fear retribution by the coach more than the idea of helping the victim?

    We recently got a copy of Miller's HOLY TERROR at the Library and despite the negative reviews decided to see for my self. OMG! As I said in my online reviews on Shelfari & Good Reads the book brought to mind some of the worst of the titles published during the B&W Boom in the '80s.

    Seriously, if it was anyone but Frank Miller would the publisher put his book out, let alone as a hard-cover original? I agree with Tony. Holy Crap!

  10. Tony,

    You and I agree on most everything and I admire your imagination when it comics to comic book stories. But I am disappointed to see your imagination fail you in the case of Joe Paterno and the rioting PSU students. You are wrong about both of them.

    First, I'm an Ohio State fan and almost always root against Penn State.

    Second, there is this little principle we Americans hold dear called INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. Paterno didn't seen this act, he was only told about it. So he did not KNOW if a crime had been committed. This is not as simple as you and the media are trying to make this. The coach had already not been prosecuted for an earlier allegation.

    Did Paterno tell the coach who saw this to tell the administration AND the police? I don't know. What if Sandusky is innocent? I really doubt it, but it is possible. Should the assistant coach have reported it to the police, yes. Its all allegation, NO PROVEN FACTS. Should Paterno have followed up to make sure the administration reported, yes. Could Paterno done more, yes. But he didn't do anything wrong that we know of. If it turns out that he tried in any way to hide this, then he should have been fired and more. But there is no proof yet that he did.

    The allegation of a crime is not proof that a crime was committed. Is it now a crime not to report an allegation about a crime?

    Paterno was publicly lynched and you have helped hold the rope.

    Now I know how to destroy your or any other public figure's life. I'll just accuse you of a child molestation at a convention. It will not matter that you are innocent.

    The hysteria surrounding this possible heinous crime is unbelievable.

    - Tim

  11. Tim,

    First, you are correct that everyone, even Sandusky, is innocent until proven guilty. However, I strongly disagree with the rest of your post.

    Sandusky was the subject of a 3 year investigation by the police in which there were eyewitnesses who saw him: anally raping a 10 year old boy, performing oral sex on a 7-8 year old boy in a closet (seen by a janitor), laying on a wrestling mat on top of another boy with his face only millimeters away from the boy's face (wrestling coach was the witness).

    In addition, there is the taped phone call by another boy Sandusky molested wherein Sandusky admits inappropriate behavior (he was caught when he was taking the boy out of school to molest him) and states that he wishes he were dead.

    Penn State was aware of most of these incidents, as they told Sandusky that he was not allowed to bring any boys on campus any longer and these "allegations" were strongly hinted to be the reason why he was forced to leave in 1999.

    Joe Paterno and every member of the PSU administration should be held culpable for Sandusky's actions, as they were aware of at least some of these violations and did nothing to stop them other than make sure they no lonegr happened on PSU grounds

    I could go into greater detail, but I think you get my point. Sandusky is innocent until proven guilty, this is true, but hyperbole such as what you spouted does nothing but try to obscure the situation. Think first and do some research before typing

  12. Mark...thanks for making my response before I had to make it. You did well.