Friday, February 10, 2012


Astonishing #10 [March, 1952] came out in December, 1951, the month
of my birth.  Though it might take me years of blogging to get to
them all, I do, indeed, plan to write a little something about each
of the comic books published that month.  It has been opined that
the cover of this issue was inked by Christopher Rule, but no one
has identified the cover penciler.  The face on the fearful blonde
looks familiar to me, but I can’t place the artist.

Besides the Post Office-mandated text story, there are five short
comics tales in the issue:

“The Men Who Owned a Ghost” (drawn by Bill Everett);
“I Solved the Problem” (Mac Pakula);
“The Walking Dead!” (signed by Al Eadeh);
“Melvin and the Martian” (Joe Sinnott); and,
“Only an Insect!” (Pete Morisi).

We don’t know who wrote these stories.  Save for the Sinnott tale,
all of them were reprinted in 1970s reprint titles like Creatures
on the Loose, Vault of Evil
, and Weird Wonder Tales.  I more than
likely read them and maybe even proofread some of them, but I have
no memory of any of them.

In a world where money is no object for me, I’d track down and buy
all these comic books from my birth month.  Since it is very much
an object to me, writing about them is the best I can do.


I’m not thrilled with 2012 so far.  Too much bad stuff going on all
around me, though, thankfully, Sainted Wife Barb and our kids are
all doing very well.  I’m not doing too bad myself, though I have
been suffering from depression and stress-related ailments.  I’ll
work my way through them.  I always do.

My “catching up on Marvel” reading program is going good.  Though
it’s been a couple months since I last picked up the comics loaned
to me by a friend, I’m relatively current on the Iron Man titles.
That was my January selection.

The Fantastic Four is my February selection, but, as it turns out,
while I had a few years prior to the Mark Waid run to read, I had
already read everything from the wondrous Waid through to the first
issues of the current Jonathan Hickman run. 

The pre-Waid issues were mediocre at best.  I usually enjoy Chris
Claremont’s writing, but his FF didn’t work for me and, save for a
Karl Kesel-written issue in which we learned Ben Grimm was Jewish,
the post-Claremont material was even worse.

Before I get to the rest of the Hickman issues, I’m reading various
Fantastic Four specials and mini-series.  If any of them stand out,
I’ll mention them in a future blog.

Since catching up on the Fantastic Four this month will be far less
time-consuming than I originally thought, I decided to make a dent
in my back reading of X-Men titles, starting with Peter David’s X-
.  These were issues following the depowering of almost all
mutants and the civil war between Marvel’s non-mutant super-heroes,
and they were terrific.  Up until the point where X-Factor crossed
over into the other X-Men titles.

From late 2007, “The Messiah Complex” was a pointless mess.  Most
of the writers either didn’t bother to name/identify the dozens of
mutants who appeared in the 13-issue crossover or lacked the skill
to do so.  The story itself felt hopelessly padded.  Several deaths
seemed more sensationalistic than significant...and I bet most of
the deceased turned up alive within a year or two.  It was dismal.

I’ll be getting back to X-Factor by the end of the month, though I
may be bouncing back and forth between the X-titles of that time.
Right now, I have a stack of Wolverine from 1999 to the “Divided We
Stand” issues of the X-titles to read.  Since many of these issues
are by writers whose work I generally don’t enjoy, I suspect I’ll
end up doing more skimming than actual reading.  But I’ll give them
a couple of issues before I go into skim-mode.

Catching up on X-Men titles will be an ongoing thing all year long.
March will find me catching up on Avengers and possibly Spider-
Man.  I’ll keep you posted.


Static Shock artist/co-writer Scott McDaniel has responded to John
Rozum’s blog article on why Rozum quit the soon-to-be-canceled DC
title.  It strikes me as “he said/he said” and Rozum’s version of
events rings truer to me. 

Since I would much rather assume a lack of ability over malice, I
accept McDaniel and editor Harvey Richards thought their own ideas
for the title were better than Rozum’s.  However, what showed up in
the book was clumsy and uninteresting.  Much of DC editorial and an
alarming number of its writers and artists lack the creative chops
and the storytelling skill to produce good comic books.  When you
combine this talent shortage with the mandate to launch 52 titles
in one month, what you get is mediocre comic books.  Not every one
of “The New 52,” but a significant number thereof.

I still hope DC does well.  Good sales for DC hopefully translates
into good and steady paychecks for freelances.  Good sales for DC
maybe gives comics retailers a little extra cash to order the much
better titles being produced by companies other than DC and Marvel.
Those are all good things.

If you enjoy more of “The New 52" titles than I do, that’s fabulous
for you.  I’m thrilled for you.  Really.  But, with rare exception,
they aren’t floating my boat.

Spare me the “mired in the past” e-mails that I’ve received from a
few churlish readers who are clearly so incensed with me than they
have forgotten their own names.  Anyone who has read my reviews for
even a year knows my range of comics interests are vast.  I’m not
mired in anything save for my insistence that comic books should be
well-written and well-drawn. 

I know there are many other DC matters you’ve asked me to discuss
in this blog, among them the Watchman prequels - again - and DC’s
never-ending campaign to deny the heirs of Jerry Siegel their fair
and lawful piece of the Superman success.  I’ll be getting to both
topics soon, along with a still-in-development piece on why I will
likely never sue DC. 

But, 2012 being such a shitty year and all, I’m going to proceed at
my own serene pace on those subjects.  I’ll drink some eggs, punch
out some meat, run up some stairs, and write about them when I feel
ready to last the whole ten rounds.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2012 Tony Isabella


  1. Hi, Tony. I have to agree with you 100% on X-Factor - for a long time it was the only Marvel book I was getting.

    I'm interested on your thoughts on the new Wolverine and the X-Men book, however. I'd tried it and loved the lighter tone than most X-Men (or current DC books) have.

  2. I can't tell you how much I appreciate a vet of the business telling it like it is regarding the "new" DC. I'm a little more than frustrated with the end result of the latest revision of many of the characters. I'm happy to see long-time writers like Jurgens, Levitz, DeFalco, Mackie, and Lobdell making headway and hope this leads to more well known writers who understand the medim joining DC in the future.

  3. Awhile ago, I read on the Sy Fy channel "From the Wire" weekly news, that a film maker was working on a documentary on what DC comics did to the creators of Superman. It documented their battle to get some financial compensation for the Super-Man character. I wonder if this film maker was stopped by DC or just ran out of money to make this documentary? I know that if I had the next great character I certainly wouldn't sell it to Marvel or DC. Not after what I read all these years as a collector and artist.