Tuesday, July 16, 2013
ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD
in San Diego. I briefly considered blogging during the show, but
decided a week away from the Internet would do me a world of good.
Besides, I’m sure one or two other people will be posting Comic-Con
One of the reasons a week off will do me good is to cool my anger
over the injustice done in Florida this past weekend. A creep who
self-appointed himself as guardian of his neighborhood stalked and
murdered a young black man...after police had advised him to back
off and leave policing to police. The notion self-defense applies
when someone goes looking for a confrontation boggles my mind, but
it’s typical of the illogic and mean spirit of right-wing America.
That’s what at the heart of so many other American tragedies. It
is an ideological mania that eschews facts and logic; that creates
fear and paranoia as campaign strategies; that openly seeks to keep
people from voting when it thinks they will vote against it; that
attacks women, gays, minorities, the poor and even the middle class
to benefit rich white faux-Christians; that obstructs congressional
and presidential work even when it comes to laws it has previously
endorsed. The right-wing is so wrong for America that it makes the
left wing look great in comparison.
It is with great reluctance that - in future bloggy things - I will
again comment on political and social matters. I may be preaching
to the converted, but at least I’ll let the right-wing enemies of
our country know someone is watching them and speaking out against
their lies and scheming. If this displeases you - I’m not all that
wild about writing about that stuff, either - rest assured I will
still have plenty of fun content coming your way.
Moving on to some old bloggy business...
One of my online friends asked me where at Comic-Con I’m likely to
be when I’m not appearing on panels. I’m guessing you’ll find me
where the comics people are found, strolling among the booths and
tables of comics creators and publishers. Though I do plan to at
least say “hi” to friends and acquaintance who work in other areas
of the entertainment business, comic books have always been my main
interest. You will find me among my kind.
After reading about the B&V Friends Double Digest cover duplication
shown here, Anthony Tollin, my friend of many decades and, through
Sanctum Books, publisher of Doc Savage, The Shadow and other great
pulp heroes through Sanctum Books, sent me the scan of the cover of
Dennis the Menace Comics Digest #1 [Marvel; April 1982] that graces
the top of today’s bloggy thing. This was undoubtedly a printer’s
error, but it’s every bit as hilarious now as it was three decades
ago. Thanks for the reminder, Anthony.
I wrote about my first ventures into the Hulk/Incredible Hulk run
of writer Bruce Jones last week and remarked that I didn’t know how
comicdom had reacted to it. Richard Arndt, author of Horror Comics
in Black and White: A History and Catalog, 1964-2004 [McFarland;
$55] and The Star Reach Companion [TwoMorrows; $27.95], sent me the
I greatly enjoyed Bruce Jones' run on the Hulk. It did start out
with a good buzz, due in no small part to John Romita, Jr. & Tom
Palmer's great art but it wasn't long before the critical brickbats
started coming out. Many critics seemed highly offended that Jones
(known mostly for his Warren horror stories and a extremely offbeat
rendition of Ka-Zar in the early 1980s) didn't write the character
like Peter David did. They didn't like his resolute emphasis on
Bruce Banner being the main character rather than the Hulk persona.
They didn't like the regulation of super-villains to the background
and that when those villains did appear the story often didn't
become just slam-bang action. There was objection by PC minded folk
that Banner’s female supporting characters often appeared in skimpy
His run also suffered, greatly, in my opinion, from an editorial
decision to change artists every time a new story arc began. Some
of the artists were quite good, some merely ok and some terrible.
The dissimilarities of style gave the larger, overreaching story
arc of the mysterious villain in the background the appearance of
a herky-jerky, disconnected pace. If you read the strip carefully,
that disconnect is not from Jones' scripts but from artists who
often appeared to have little or no knowledge of how the previous
artist had drawn characters. At least two of those artists on the
lengthy Jones run apparently couldn't draw a human expression or a
change of expression.
In addition, an editorial decision to have the run arranged so that
every four or five issues a new graphic novel could be produced
from those issues stretched out Jones' initial and intriguing plot
and specifically who was helping Banner via the laptop computer and
who was the mysterious villain behind all the government agencies
chasing Banner? Stretched it to the point of no-return, apparently,
for many readers. The end came so long after the beginning that
most readers who'd greatly enjoyed the initial issues had given up
on the strip by the end.
Long-time Hulk readers wanted Peter David back. Critics, after
initial enthusiasm, turned their back on the run - sniffing Jones
had no clear notion of what he was doing and that he didn't really
know how to write super-hero comics.
I've always liked the run. It was different and did something with
the Hulk that I thought should have been emphasized right from the
1962 start of the character. That he was as much a horror character
as a super-hero. And, as a horror character, the Hulk's role should
be one of looming menace and fear, not only to the occasional
civilian who crossed his path but to Banner as well. That Banner
was (or should be) an equal partner in the story plot.
Oddly enough, although mainstream readers and the critics turned
their backs on the run and pretty effectively killed Jones' career
at Marvel at the time, most professionals in the field seemed to
like those stories quite a lot.
My thoughts anyway.
Thanks, Richard. Your comments have made me look forward even more
to reading the rest of the Jones run.
Dragon*Con acolytes who are desperately in the tank for the event
which represents their only chance of getting laid in their lives
have been attempting to post comments to my blog. These anonymous
trolls are why all comments to this blog have to be approved by me
before appearing. But, hey, troll boys, you never know. I could
approve your absurd comments. I most sincerely recommend holding
your breath while you wait for that to happen.
I feel about Dragon*Con supporters the way I feel about right-wing
or religious zealots who pick and choose which facts or falsehoods
they wish to embrace. I think the convention has taken the first
step towards reforming its sleazy reputation, though it’s a step it
could and should have taken years ago.
Dragon*Con has gotten another chance. Supporters should not push
their luck with me. I’ve said what I wanted to see about the con
for now. I remain resolute in my views. I’m not going to approve
any Dragon*Con comments, pro or con, for the immediate and very far
future. Take your comments elsewhere.
One last item.
The afore-mentioned travesty of justice in Florida made it easy for
me to trim several now-revealed racists, gun nuts, and just plain
jerks from my Facebook friends list. The phrase “liberal morons”
was also a good indicator of friends who have exhausted my patience
with their right-wing bile.
I’m trimming the list to make room for new friends whose company I
will enjoy more than the old friends to whom I have shown the door.
I’m pretty liberal about accepting new friends, but I will say you
lose any chance of my acceptance if your profile photo shows a big
Confederate flag on the wall in front of your drawing table. If
you’re not smart enough to know that’s a racist symbol, you’re not
smart enough to be my friend.
Other indicators that we are not destined to be Facebook friends is
if your likes include devil-spawn like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh,
Rick Perry, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and other blights
on America. The same holds true if you’re in like with political
and religious groups who practice bigotry.
If you are accepted as my Facebook friend, you can lose the status
pretty quickly by sending me ridiculous spam, by signing me up for
groups without my express permission, by requesting I play stupid
games or sample applications and by sending me messages telling me
that, on seeing my profile photo, you want to know my sweet sweet
love. Even if I didn’t believe your expression of adoration was a
scam, I am already taken and delirious happy to be already taken.
Look for Dragon*Con supporters. They’re desperate.
You can probably tell how much I need my Comic-Con vacation from my
above comments. Ditto for my PulpFest vacation after Comic-Con the
following weekend in Columbus. You’re so perceptive. That’s why
you keep coming back to this bloggy thing.
I’ll be back with more stuff around Wednesday, July 24. Earlier if
I don’t come home from Comic-Con utterly exhausted. See you then.
© 2013 Tony Isabella