Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Previously in this bloggy thing:

Entertainment giants DC Comics, Oni Press, and Bongo Comics all got
new logos which made entertainment microbe Tony Isabella get pouty
because he didn’t get a new logo.  Hence a contest in which readers
of this bloggy thing were asked to DESIGN A NEW LOGO FOR
TONY.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Heck, it is a good idea.  Contest entries will be shown in the blog
as they arrive.  The best three to five logos will win prizes for
their creators, namely autographed copies of 1000 Comic Books You
Must Read
or Grim Ghost.  All prizes will come with a certificate
of authenticity confirming the items come from my Vast Accumulation
of Stuff.  Okay, not great prizes, but I’m on a tight budget here.

To enter the contest, e-mail me your logo with your permission to
run it in this blog.  I’m not buying or seeking any rights to your
work beyond being able to use it in this contest.  Should I want to
make further use of your logo, we’ll negotiate an agreement for it.

Today’s logo submissions come from Robert Lloyd, also known as Late
Night Ferengi, and comics legend Mark Evanier, one of my best pals
for over four decades.  You can join their stellar company if you
send me a logo by the contest deadline of February 18.

Let’s see what else I have for you today.


DC has announced the creative teams for its Watchmen prequels and
I can’t wait to read the J. Michael Straczynski Dr. Manhattan and
Nite Owl mini-series wherein the heroes start at different ends of
the country and walk towards the middle.  And I’m sure the series
written by Brian “Mister Sunshine” Azzarello will inspire me with
life-affirming parables on the nature of heroism.

Serious now. If both Watchmen creators Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
were against these prequels, I’d be against them as well.  However,
though I definitely lean towards the contribution of the writer in
this instance, Moore has never, to the best of my knowledge, denied
Gibbons’ status as a co-creator.  Two creators I respect immensely.
One of them is okay with the prequels.  I’m not going to decry that
DC is publishing them.

Will I read them?  That depends on whether or not the good friend
who lends me his comic books buys them.  I was dropped from the DC
comp list last year, so the only new DCs I see are those I get from
my friend.  Way down the road, if he doesn’t buy them, I might be
able to get the collected editions through my library.

There has been much discussion of these prequels on line.  I think
my favorite comment was this tweet by Joe Caramanga:

“Just imagine if people cared half as much about health care and
poverty in America as they do about preserving the integrity of

Amen, brother.


More notes on recent Archie Comics digests...

Jughead Double Digest #175 [$3.99] has a new Captain Hero adventure
by Tom DeFalco with art by Ron Frenz and Al Milgrom.  Also featured
in the story are The Big E (Ethel in her own super-hero identity)
and the villainous Rebound.  It’s a fun tale and it’s backed up by
amusing stories by Craig Boldman, Frank Doyle, George Gladir, and
Dick Malmgren.

DeFalco, Frenz, and Milgrom reunite for Jughead Double Digest #176.
“The Christmas Challenge” is a warm-hearted story wherein Jughead
is torn between his brotherly love for Jellybean and competing in
a cupcake-eating contest against the comely Toni Topaz.  There are
lots of spiffy reprints as well with the highlight being a 21-page
“Hatman” parody by Rich Margopolous with art by the legendary Gene
Colan and inks by Rudy Lapick.

World of Archie Double Digest is my favorite of the Archie digests
because it has the best reprints.  Issue #11 has two stories from
The Adventures of Young Dr. Masters by Robert Bernstein and John
Rosenberger along with 24 pages of She’s Josie hilarity from Frank
Doyle and Dan DeCarlo.  Doc Masters is a handsome young doctor who
gets involved in dangerous situations while being utterly clueless
about the romantic rivalry between his snooty fiancee and his salt-
of-the-earth nurse.  The Josie stories are pre-Pussycats and some
of the funniest teen humor stories of all time.

World of Archie Digest #12 has more Josie material by Doyle and DeCarlo.
It also has a selection of reprints from Madhouse by George Gladir,
Samm Schwartz, Joe Edwards, and DeCarlo.  As with all these Archie
digests, you get a couple dozen entertaining stories, features and
gag pages for your four bucks.  They are among the very best buys
in modern comics.


Sometime last year, on a mailing list, there was a brief discussion
of the use of “shit” as a synonym for “stuff.” That reminded me of
an incident from early on in my comics career.

Back in the mid 1970s, when I was writing Ghost Rider for Marvel,
I got raked over the coals by editors Len Wein and/or Marv Wolfman
for using the phrase "nickel-and-dime store crap" in Johnny Blaze’s
dialogue. Neither had seen it until the issue was published.  None
of the proofreaders had thought there was a problem with my use of
the phrase.

Growing up in my West Side neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio, I knew
"crap" meant "cheap stuff" and was rarely used to denote excrement.
For that, we said "shit"...as God intended.

Len and Marv probably would have keeled over if I had tried to use
the word "shit" in a script.

This has been a Marvel moment.  

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2012 Tony Isabella


  1. The sentence in your "Marvel Moment" that amazes me is "Neither had seen it until the issue was published." Didn't editors edit in those days? Was Marvel really that loose a shop? How things have changed!

    This reminds me of a time years ago when I was stringin for a local paper and I screwed up by writing that a proposed sewage plant would be on Mill Creek instead of the correct location of Baker's creek. When my editor had to deal with the fallout, and (justly) chewed me out, I (who as a stringer wasn't really dependent on the job for my income) said, "I thought that's why we had editors--tocatch things like that."

    It was one of the few time I saw Roy laugh.

  2. Y'Know, I take nothing away from Moore's brilliance as a writer, but I have to say, when a guy whose greatest career hits have all been new uses of other people's characters -- including "Watchmen" which was originally intended for the Charlton heroes, and only created molecule-thin disguises for them at DC's insistence -- to cry with outrage at how "his creations" should be sacrosanct is pretty risible.

    I, for one, think seeing the previous lives of the "Watchmen" characters, especially if in more typically "comic-booky" stories, can only serve to enhance the impact of "Watchmen," which, as Moore was happy to point out, was all about tackling the mythic cultural role of the superhero, killing it, and -- and this was his phrase, to the best of my recollection -- raping its rotting corpse. If new audiences start with prequels -- the Nite Owl saving lives in typically super-heroic ways, an amusing Nite Owl/Rorschach team-up book (Which "Watchmen" gave us a flavor of {"Don't wish to interfere with operation of ship, but..."}) or super-science adventures of Doctor Manhatten -- and then read "Watchmen," how much greater will the impact be when we see these characters we've been able to relate to as more "typical" superheroes are laid so low!

    Of course, the books could suck -- an awful lot do, after all -- but there's nothing about doing prequels that inherently debases the "Watchmen" concept.

  3. Seems to me like Archie's testing the waters for a SuperTeens comeback. Funny thing, the best place to find the digests and Paul Kupperberg's brilliant Life With Archie series isn't a comics shop, but rather Rite-Aid or any other pharmacy that is willing to try. CVS has carried LWA off-and-on, but doesn't sell the digests. Well, in my market, anyway.....!

  4. Late Night FerengiFebruary 8, 2012 at 2:56 AM

    On the whole "nickel and dime crap" issue....it's ridiculous. How they could be so upset over that phrase is above and beyond reason. I was surprised it would be an issue way back then. When I saw the word "hell" or "damn", I thought it was pushing it. However it's nothing compared to what I have heard growing up in grade school.