Thursday, January 12, 2012


The other Commissioner Gordon was James “Wildcat” Gordon who, when
he wasn’t being a fiercely independent police commissioner given to
beating up his politically-appointed deputy commissioner, battled
crime as the Whisperer.  He’s become one of my favorite pulp heroes
and, knowing this, Sanctum Books editor and publisher Anthony “Tex”
Tollin asked me to write a short introduction to a Whisperer short
story in The Shadow #56: “The Embassy Murders” & “Hills of Death”
[$14.95], now on sale.
Three things worth noting:

I got a kick out of the George Rozen cover painting for this book.
The orange on the Shadow’s face makes him look a little like John
Boehner, who has recently tried to gerrymander districts in his and
my home state of Ohio to stack the deck even more of favor of the
Republicans than it already was.  Let’s hope the Shadow is correct
in proclaiming that “"The weed of crime bears bitter fruit” because
Boehner is as rotten a tangerine as they come.

Pulp historians Tollin and Will Murray keep coming up with new and
more intriguing connections between the pulps and the early days of
the American comic books.  Apparently, inspiration and plagiarism
were common in those days.  Tollin says the two full-length novels
reprinted in the forthcoming Whisperer #5: “The School for Murder”
and “Murder on the Line”
were...ah...”inspirations” for a pair of
1940s Batman stories.  I can’t wait to read them.
 Sanctum Books released two other books this month: Doc Savage #54:
“The Yellow Cloud” & “Men of Fear” and The Avenger #6: “The River
of Ice” & “The Flame Breathers.” Both books are bargain-priced at
$14.95.  Check them out.

Working my way through my “things to review” pile...

Very reasonably priced at $19.99, Creepy Presents Bernie Wrightson
[Dark Horse] is “The Definitive Collection of the Artist’s Work
from Creepy and Eerie.”  Which makes it a great year-round gift for
Wrightson fans...and I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t be one of
those fans on seeing my friend Bernie’s work.

Fans of classic horror literature will love Bernie’s adaptations of
Edger Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat” and H.P. Lovecraft’s “Cool Air.”
He does dark justice to them both.

Then there are original stories written by Bruce Jones, Bill DuBay,
Nicola Cuti, Budd Lewis, and Bernie himself.  Not to mention swell
artistic collaborations with Carmine Infantino and Howard Chaykin.
Plus a illustration gallery.  Every time you turn the page, you see
some new great piece of Wrightson artistry.

After reading this book, you’ll have your own favorite stories.  My
would be the chillingly unforgettable “Jenifer” and the wonderfully
demented “Pepper Lake Monster.”

Comics fans: buy this book.  Librarians: this is far more deserving
of a spot on your shelves than those endless collections of recent
super-hero comics from DC or Marvel.

ISBN: 978-1-59582-809-5
A different kind of horror permeates The Sky over the Louvre [NBM;
$19.99] by Jean-Claude Carriere with art by Bernar Yslaire.  This
horror stems from the French Revolution as Robespierre launches a
brutal national “cleansing” with the Guillotine as his chief agent
of terror.  As the so-called incorruptible Robespierre forms a new
government, neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David is charged to
create a painting of a young revolutionary martyr.  David finds a
beautiful young man to be his subject.  Taken with the young man,
David struggles to complete the painting, even as his model makes
statements considered treasonous by the new government.  No one is
safe from the arbitrary mercurial ideology of that tumultuous era,
a overwhelming fear which Carriere and Yslaire convey quite nicely
in this graphic novel.  I needed to take several deep breaths after
reading this powerful work.

ISBN: 978-1-56163-602-0


A quick question which maybe one of my secret readers from the DC
Comics offices can answer...

Does anyone know why "Shutdown on York Street" from Batman #225 was
omitted from Showcase Presents Batman Volume 5?  It’s a nine-page
story and I can’t recall any reason, other than perhaps space, why
it would have been cut.

I’ve also been told that some of the Neal Adams pages reprinted in
this volume are not from the original comics but are, instead, some
pages Adams somewhat redrew for the recent hardcover collections of
his Batman and other DC work.  Is this true?

I await your responses.


In the comments, Rob Allen asked:

Tony, do you have any objection to polygamous families in which no
one is taking advantage of anyone, including the taxpayers? The
trio I know have been together more than 25 years and have raised
three children of their own and taken in a few strays also

There’s probably no way to answer this without getting some reader
honked off at me, but I’ll give it a shot...

I already stated I have no particular moral objection to polygamy
as long as it doesn’t abuse women or children and doesn’t scam the
taxpayers.  My natural inclination is to be skeptical that someone
in such a relationship wasn’t being taken advantage of, but I would
try to have an open mind about it.

It sounds like the trio you know is pretty solid.  Would I be wrong
to assume their relationship isn’t religion-based?  Most polygamous
situations have a religious basis, the better for the head of the
family to justify his actions and dominance of the family as being
God’s will.  Which, of course, is what leads to the kind of abuse
we’ve seen in so many cases.

On the other hand, I do have a moral objection to Newt Gingrich and
John Edwards marrying anyone.  Except maybe each other.

I'm taking the next few days off to attend to some personal matters,
but I'll be back on Monday with more stuff.

© 2012 Tony Isabella


  1. Late Night FerengiJanuary 12, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Tony, if you go on you can purchase these books new or almost new condition for a fraction of the price. I am a Spider, Doc Savage and Shadow fan since I read Steranko's History of Comics. That book inspired me to look at and read the pulps long time ago. My first Doc Savage book was the one with the Warewolf on the cover. I just wish now that I bought more of them.

    Recently I purchased the Baen Books reprints of the orignal Spider stories. I was hoping some publisher would make a complete paperback or hardcover library with many tales in one large book. Much like Del Rey has done with Robert E. Howard's Conan stories. I saw the two story split paperbacks. However I was hoping for the chance to get a complete set without putting a large hole in my wallet.

  2. Yeah, they "borrowed" a lot from each other back then. That ran well into the '50s, especially pre-code Horror stuff. Ray Bradbury and EC, etc.

  3. Thanks for following up on this, Tony. You're right, the trio I referred to are not religious.

    I think your perception that "most polygamous
    situations have a religious basis" is a matter of which circles you tend to run in. There is a large and growing subculture of secular poly folk. Most of the ones I know, if they're religious at all, are Wiccan or Unitarian. One clue to recognizing us: we tend to use the word "polyamory" rather than "polygamy".

    My wife was recently interviewed on a radio show about polyamory. Details and download link here:

  4. Okay, bloggy thing readers, can anyone provide me with any statistical surveys on "group marriages" (for lack of a better term)? What percentage have a religious basis and what have a non-religious basis? Thanks.

  5. Sorry for posting about books, but if you're lucky enough to have one of those large "Bargain Book" stores in your area (the places that take over the vacated Borders and such), I've seen those pulp reprint books at half off or more.

    Thanks for telling me about the Wrightson book as I was unaware of it--though I did buy CREEPY #113, the retrospective of Bernie, which is highly recommended. Your readers should be able to find a copy for under 5.00 either online, a local convention, flea market, used book store and so on.

    Regarding polygamy, my former ad partner and I wrote an interview-style radio commercial for Little Ceasar's of Canada back in the '90s about a bigamist. He loved their "two great pizzas for one low price" deal because he could give one to each family and feed them for cheap. At the end the interviewer said, "Gee, that's big of you." And he replied (of course), "No, that's biga-me."

    Who says ya can't have fun with sensitive topics?

    Thanks again,
    Mike Pascale