Saturday, January 21, 2012


Mike’s Amazing World of Comics is one of the coolest comics sites
online and one of its coolest features is a search engine that lets
you see comic-book covers from any given month.  I recently checked
out the comics published in the month of my birth: December, 1951.
I could’ve gone with comics cover-dated the month of my birth, but
went this way instead.

The covers can be displayed in alphabetical order or by publication
date.  I went with the former. 

After those simple steps, there were 153 comic-book covers shown.
From time to time, I’ll post one of the covers and share whatever
information I have on it.  I’m not sure if anyone other than myself
will be interested in this, but it is my name in the title of the
blog.  Yes, I’m pulling rank on you.

Action Comics #165 [cover-dated February, 1952] was a 44-page comic
with a cover price of ten cents.  Whitney Ellsworth is credited as
editor, but the Grand Comics Database lists Jack Schiff as managing
editor and Mort Weisinger and George Kashdan as story editors.  The
cover was drawn by Winslow Mortimer.

“The Man Who Conquered Superman” (12 pages) was by Bill Finger with
art by Wayne Boring (pencils) and Stan Kaye (inks).  Reprinted as
“The Alien Who Conquered Superman” in a 1962 annual, the man/alien
in the title is actually a robot built by Superman as part of some
plan to foil a criminal.  You wouldn’t think a guy like Supes would
need to go to so much trouble to accomplish that.

This is the only story from this issue that’s been reprinted and
the only one I’ve read.  The other stories feature Tommy Tomorrow,
Congo Bill, and the Vigilante.  In addition to the public service
message on the inside front cover - starring teen humor character
“Buzzy” - there are three pages of gag strips by the prolific Henry

The Tommy Tomorrow story is titled “The Bank of the Future” and I
find that an interesting title.  I bet if such a story were written
in today’s world of banking adventurism and chicanery it would be
very different from this story from sixty years ago. 

While it would be a hoot to own these 153 comics from the month of
my birth, I can't imagine such a collecting goal would ever be within
my financial reach.  But it’s fun to look back through the ages at
them.  Well, for me, at least.


Iron Man is my Marvel reading project this month and I’m somewhere
in the middle of his time as director of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Among those
issues I read was the one-shot Iron Man/Captain America: Casualties
of War
from February, 2007.  It was written by Christos Gage, one
of my current favorites.  Nicely done, sir.

A minor revelation has struck me as I’ve been reading Iron Man and
it’s that Tony Stark bears a great deal of responsibility for many
of the disasters that have befallen the Marvel Universe.  It could
and should just have easily been his actions, rather than those of
the New Warriors, that launched the odious Superhuman Registration
Act.  Stark’s political connections saved his metallic ass, but his
draconian administration of the Act led to civil rights abuses and
a series of equally disastrous events, not the least of which was
putting Norman Osborn in a position of great power.

The “Secret Invasion” doesn’t happen without the extreme hubris of
Stark and the other oh-so-superior members of “the Illuminati.”
Osborn’s “Dark Reign” is a direct result of Stark’s incompetence.
Asgard doesn’t fall without Osborn’s machinations.  “Fear Itself”
is at least partially driven by these and other situations in which
Stark played a heavy hand.  The shooting of Aunt May and the mystic
end of Peter Parker’s marriage are only minor casualties of Stark’s
bumbling and conceit.

If Marvel wants a big event that makes sense, it should be one in
which Stark has to pay the price for his arrogance in a major way.
He shouldn’t be wearing the Iron Man armor and he shouldn’t be in
charge of anything bigger than a garden club.  Though, even with a
garden club, he’d probably end up increasing the Plantman’s power
to world-threatening levels.

Stark must go.  Who’s with me?


Being a Cleveland sports fan is challenging.  Cleveland Cavaliers
fans seem to be enormously happy the basketball team is 6-7 at the
start of this shortened season.  Of course, the next 15 games will
be against some of the best teams in the league, so the Cavs might
plummet from the lofty heights of 6-7.

Then there’s the news that Cleveland Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona
has been arrested for allegedly using a false identity in his home
country of the Dominican Republic.  Seems his real name is Roberto
Hernandez Heredia and, at 31, he’s three years older than listed in
the team’s media guide.  Can’t wait to see how this nutty business
one plays out.

But we Cleveland fans take comfort where we can.  Popular player
Zydrunas Ilgauskas has rejoined the Cavaliers as assistant to the
general manager.  He’ll bring the same dedication and hard work he
brought to playing the game.  In addition, Daniel “Boobie” Gibson,
long an Isabella family favorite, seems to be having a pretty good
year.  We take comfort where we can.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff. 

© 2012 Tony Isabella


  1. I love that website and have turned many on to it when they mention anything about wondering what comics were on the stands the day they were born! My day is in 1960 and one of these days, I will locate at least all the DC comics from that day! Until then, I wait patiently for PowerBall. haha

  2. I totally agree. Mike's is perhaps my favorite resource. I've learned a lot looking at books and seeing just exactly when they arrived. The old Silver Age Marvel Comics Index used to do this for Mighty Marvel, but alas it has disappeared into the internet mists. Mike's is a superior replacement.

    Rip Off

  3. I'm not with you on the whole "Stark Must Go" thing. Tony Stark, as Stan Lee created him, is one of the great characters of Marvel Comics. David Michelinie also did a wonderful job of playing to his strengths. The problem is that Marvel has put him in the hands of too damned many bad or inappropriate writers. I remember reading in the big book on the history of Iron Man that Marvel published as part of the push for the Iron Man movie interviews with a lot of very fine writers who were assigned to the book and said, "I really hated Tony Stark. he was a rich corporate stooge, and I was a hippy, and I just couldn't stand him." Which, okay, is sort of shallow in my opinion, but, fair's fair. But it's not a great idea to put someone who hates the hero in charge of a book.

    I think the knee-jerk desire to think that anbody who's rich and runs a company is therefore an immoral d-bag is still richly infested in the people who've been writing Tony, and there's a strong strain of believing that his alcoholism is a sign of moral weakness as well, and these have led to a trashing of the character.

    The answer isn't to get rid of him, the answer is to fix the problems. (My suggestion would be that brilliant biochemist Norman Osborne has somehow been slipping him a neurotoxin that weakens moral inhibitions. It's a drug he was developing years ago, and tested out on Gwen Stacy, with the terrible results seen toward the end of J. Michael Straczynski's pre-"Civil War" run on Amazing Spider-Man, if you know what I mean, and I think you do....)

    Give us a story that undoes the damage that was done to Tony Stark as a character, and then give him a story arc of working and fighting to undo the damage he's done while under the influence of Osborne's drug, and we've got something worth reading!

  4. I wrote an Iron Man pitch many years ago. In fact, I wrote two. One for the ongoing series and one for the "Marvels" one-shot. I wonder if I can find those and if any of the bloggy thing readers would be interested in seeing them.

  5. I haven't read modern comics in about 5 years, except for the occassional Free Comic Book Day comics. I didn't know Marvel was busy making Iron Man as much of a jerk as DC was doing to Batman! Geez... :(

    I wanna see your Iron Man pitches someday! :)

  6. I haven't been able to find them yet. I'll keep looking.

  7. Hopefully you get through at least the first 19 issues of Matt Fraction's Invincible Iron Man series.

    Did you ever read Civil War: The Confession by Bendis and Maleev? I never saw you review it. For me, it was the best comic to come out of Civil War - perhaps the best superhero comic of that year.