Monday, December 26, 2011


I know today is the day after Christmas, but I’m writing this the
day before Christmas and hoping you’ll cut me some slack as I face
what will certainly be my worst Christmas ever.  Got any good will
left over for your friendly neighborhood Tipster?

I have been asked not to write about why this will be such a lousy
Christmas and I am respecting that request for a number of reasons.
The truth is, I’m not sure when or ever I’ll be able to write about
this stuff.  Which makes me a horrible tease, but, again, I count
on your good will.

Lest anyone be concerned, the reasons for my seasonal blues do not
have anything to do with Sainted Wife Barb, Eddie, Kelly, or even that it is of concern to all of us.  We’re good, better
than good with our needs well met, our kids doing terrific at The
Ohio State University - 4.0 for Kelly, just a shade under that for
Eddie - and blessings a’plenty. 

Someone we love is in an extremely serious situation.  That’s all
I can say.  We’re doing what we can for this person and for others
affected by the situation.  But, as a firm believer in prayer, good
thoughts, positive energy, or whatever you want to call the force
of good people caring about one another, please send those prayers,
good thoughts, and positive energy my way.  I’ll forward to them to
those who need them most.  Thank you.


I had a birthday last week and it got off to a rocky start.  Due to
my indecision, someone other than me picked the restaurant for the
“Take Dad to Breakfast” part of the day.  Three out of four of us
walked away from the meal feeling queasy and it’ll be a long time
before I go to Medina’s Eat ‘N’ Park again.  If ever.

Adding insult to injury, a comics pal then reminded me my breakfast
would have been free at Denny’s.  Which I like much better than Eat
‘N’ Park anyway.  So, on December 22, 2012, assuming the world has
not ended, I’m having breakfast at Denny’s on Route 18 in Medina.
If you show up, don’t try to sing “Happy Birthday” to me.  I’ll be
having hash browns and using them lethally is one of the 117 ways
in which the government has trained me to kill.

Adding financial injury to injury, our van’s alternator blew as we
pulled into our driveway after breakfast.  Fortunately, our local
NTB was able to replace it and take care of a couple other problems
before the end of the day.

The rest of my birthday was quite nice.  I got spiffy presents even
beyond those I had bought for myself.

Digression. I’d taken advantage of too many really good buys since
November and was feeling buyer’s remorse.  So I gave a big stack of
DVDs and books to Barb and the kids and told them to give them to
me for my birthday and Christmas.  How did they know exactly what
I wanted?  End of digression.

Joining us that evening were Terry and Nora Fairbanks (Barb’s uncle
and aunt; we met at their wedding), along with neighbors Greg and
Giselle (father and daughter).  We ordered Chinese food, Barb made
an incredible cake, and a good time was had by all.


It’s Q&A time because answering your questions is a wee bit easier
than ranting or reviewing.  Someone who was amused and/or surprised
by my negative reaction to The Best American Comics 2011 asked if
I had found anything noteworthy in the volume.

Yes I have. I’m 231 pages into the book and these are the stories
I consider worthy of inclusion in a collection purporting to offer
the best comics of the year:

“St. Ambrose” by John Pham (2 pages);

“Nov. 3, 1956" by Joe Sacco (33 pages);

“Pet Cat” by Joey Alison Sayers (6 pages);

“Little House in the Big City” by Sabrina Jones (10 pages);

“Domestic Men of Mystery” by Jillian Tamaki (2 pages); and “maybe”
to two other stories:

“Browntown” by Jaime Hernandez, a 12-page excerpt that is less than
satisfying but promising; and,

“Great Gatsbys” by Kate Beaton, a 3-page entry I’m still trying to
make up my mind about.

I’m happier with the book than I was at the 58-page mark, but I’m
still bored by too much self-indulgent, artsy fartsy material that
is woefully lacking in basic craft.  I’ll check in with you again
when I finish reading the collection.


A handful of readers asked if I’ll continue reviewing DC’s “New 52"
titles on a week-by-week basis.  Nope.

The fourth month books are coming out and I’ve only read up through
the first week of the second month.  I’ll read individual titles in
batches of two or three issues.  If I’ve anything new to say about
them, I’ll review them again.  If I don’t, I won’t.

However, once I can organize the most recent comic books loaned to
me by a good friend, I will let you know which “New 52" titles he
gave up on after the first month.


I got several e-mails from readers and one comics editor asking why
I’m not reviewing comics by Image, IDW, Avatar, Dynamite, and other
publishers.  The three simple answers are:

1. The publishers don’t send me review copies.

2. My friend doesn’t buy many comics from those publishers, though
I’ll likely review some IDW and Dynamite books in the near future.

3. My own comics purchasing is limited and, to be honest, I’m much
more likely to buy manga and reprints of classic (and even not-so-
classic) comics than I am new comics.  

If publishers start sending me things to review, I’ll do my best to
read and review them.  If readers want to recommend comics series
and graphic novels for me to review, I’ll try to get them through
my library system.


That’s all for now.  I hope you had a great Christmas or whatever
holiday you celebrate at this time of the year or, if you don’t do
any holiday, that you still had a fun day.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2011 Tony Isabella


  1. If you were ever a fan of the original 'Dark Shadows' tv program, try the new Dynamite series. The book reads, to me at least, exactly like the tv episodes.

    And if you never enjoyed DS, still give it a shot. Good mystery building for the first arc!

  2. Happy Holidays Tony!

    Hope you and your family have a happy, healthy New Year!

  3. I only watched a couple episodes of the original series and read a few of the Gold Key comics of the show. Dynamite doesn't send me review copies of anything and the friend I borrow new copies from doesn't buy Dark Shadows. However, when and if Dynamite collects these comics, I'll request the book from my library system.