Thursday, December 15, 2011


Yes, that is a lame title for today’s bloggy thing.  I could blame
it on SAD (Seasonal affective disorder), but the truth is that I’m
juggling family, holiday, and work matters, neglecting to get much
needed sleep, and wishing my loved ones would stop asking me what
I want to do for my 60th birthday next week.

For weeks, “hookers and blow” has been my answer to that question.
I figured such an annoying answer would get people to stop asking
the annoying question.  Of course, realistically, given my advanced
years, I shouldn’t attempt anything more risque than a Victoria’s
Secret catalog and Metamucil.

Damn.  I should have used “Hookers and Blow” as today’s title.  My
views would have gone through the roof.

Here’s what I have for you today.


Cartoon Network aired a one-hour preview of the CGI-animated Green
series on November 11.  I watched it over the weekend and
was mildly impressed.

“Beware My Power” has Hal Jordan and Kilowog traveling to a distant
galaxy to investigate the deaths of Green Lanterns there.  Though
the killers are from DC comic books, I’m not going to identify them
in what I hope will be a mostly spoiler-free review.

The minuses in this episode were the portrayal of Hal Jordan.  He’s
a jerk and he doesn’t think through his actions before committing
to them.  Alas, the Guardians of the Universe are no better.  Most
of the problems and tragedies that occur could have been prevented
with a little forethought. 

The plus is that writers James Krieg and Ernie Atbacker brought
considerable heart and heroism to the final act of this episode.
So much so that I’ll continue watching the series when it commences
its ongoing run sometimes next year.

I also watched part of the Batman Year One animated feature, which
my son Eddie had rented from Netflix.  I liked what I watched, so
I’ll watch and review the film soon.  If any of my bloggy readers
have other comics-related films or cartoons they want to recommend
to me, now would be an excellent time to do so.


One-season wonder I’m Dickens...He’s Fenster [1962-1963] has been
released on DVD.  I do remember watching and presumably liking this
show, which starred Marty Ingels and John Astin as carpenters, but
I remember nothing else about it.  Not even that Mrs. Dickens was
played by Emmaline Henry, though, on seeing her name, I did recall
she played the perpetually confused wife of Dr. Bellows on I Dream
of Jeannie
.  I’m on the fence re: buying the DVD set of the show,
but, seeing a reasonably-priced copy of I’m Dickens...He’s Fenster
#1 [Dell; May-July, 1963], I bought it.

Drawn by Henry Scarpelli - the writer’s unknown - this first of two
issues is your standard 36-page Dell TV series adaptation.  It has
a photo cover, a one-page gag strip on the inside front cover, a
half-page gag strip on the inside back cover, and a 32-page story
in between. 

In “To Work, Or Not to Work,” Harry Fenster is an amateur inventor.
He and Arch Fenster are hired by a scientist to do some carpentry
work at the scientist’s house/laboratory.  The scientist has built
a robot. The guys activate said robot and then try to program it to
their work.  Scarpelli’s lively drawings deserved a much better and
funnier script.

I don’t know if “Harry as inventor” was part of the TV series.  As
I said, I have no memory of the show beyond knowing who the leads
were.  If I do cave to my nostalgic impulses and buy the DVD set,
aka the tax-deductible DVD set, I’ll review it in a future bloggy
thing.  Because then it’ll be tax-deductible.  It’s another one of
those circles of life situations.


Here’s something I just learned recently:

Jack Sparling, the prolific comic-book and newspaper strip artist
whose career spanned five decades from the 1940s to the 1980s, was
born in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  I can’t remember why I was researching
Sparling, but his birthplace was cited on Wikipedia.

When I learned this, I made a quick visit to the website of the Joe
Shuster Awards, which are named for the co-creator of Superman and
which honor Canadian comics artists.

Sparling has not yet been inducted into the Joe Shuster Awards Hall
of Fame and he really does belong there.  The artist drew hundreds
of comic-book stories for publishers like Harvey, Dell, Marvel, DC,
Classics Illustrated, Charlton, and many others.  His work on DC’s
Secret Six and the DC mystery titles was energetic and unlike any
of their other artists.  The older I get, the more I appreciate the
individual styles over the house styles. 

So here’s my tip to the fine folks who administer the Joe Shuster
Awards.  Sparling is a most worthy candidate for your Hall of Fame.
Please make it so.


On my Facebook page, in response to my comments about the Fan/Pro
Bill of Rights, Mike Curry wrote:

Any "outside-of-a-con" rules coming up? If I spot you eating in a
restaurant with your family when is a good time to ask for a
signature? Never? Between courses? When finished? No, seriously!
With Facebook pics, your fans can recognize you on the street and,
if I am coincidentally carrying a copy of Black Lightning #1 and a
Sharpie while passing you on the sidewalk...

Honestly, I’d be so surprised one of my readers recognized me that,
depending on the circumstances and location, I’d probably be happy
to sign something for them.  Just use your best judgment as to the
time and place.  If I’m being carried into an emergency room on a
stretcher, not a good time.  If I’m at a public event, much better.
If I’m eating at a restaurant, not the greatest but not necessarily
a deal breaker. If I’m disarming a bomb, really not a good time or
place.  Use your best judgment.  Just the fact that you’re walking
around with a copy of one of my Black Lightning comic books clearly
establishes you as a person of high intelligence.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.   

© 2011 Tony Isabella


  1. I'm happy your reviewing Batman Year One. I don't think you'll be disappointed. I don't know if I saw it on your board, but Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns(the orginal Legedary graphic novel) is being adapted as an animated film. It's going to be in two parts. I hope you get a chance to review that one also.

    Happy Holidays Tony!

  2. The new Green Lantern Animated series looks like a good bet with the 3D like animation. It's a switch from the traditional painted cel animation. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it's cheaper to produce because the studio doesn't have to hire as many artists to complete an episode.

    It looks like it would be worth buying on DVD because it's so different. I can't wait to see more.

  3. I want to salute you, Tony, for the many lives you've saved over the years by disarming bombs.

  4. I would think that in a restaurant, the polite thing to do would be to pull the waiter over, tell them you recognize the person at that table, and would the waiter then pass on a small note to them asking them if it would be possible to approach said table when convenient for the pro. If the response is negative in any way, then no one is embarrassed in public.

  5. The TUROK: SON OF STONE animated movie that came out on DVD a while back might be up your alley, Tony. On the other hand, it was Unrated for good reason--it is much more violent than the original comic.

    Andrew Laubacher