Sunday, January 22, 2012


The comic books that hit America’s newsstands in my birth month of
December, 1951 continue to fascinate me, courtesy of
Mike’s AmazingWorld of Comics
and the Grand Comics Datebase.  I’m afraid you’re
going to get more of these openings than you want.

Adventure Comics #172 [February, 1952] was a 44-page issue selling
for ten cents.  Superboy was the cover feature in a story written
by either Bill Finger or Edmond Hamilton and drawn by John Sikela.
The cover artist is Winslow Mortimer.

Backing up Superboy were shorter tales starring Aquaman (by George
Kashdan and Ramona Fradon), Johnny Quick (by Don Cameron and Paul
Norris), and Green Arrow (by an unknown writer identified only as
“A” and George Papp). 

The title of Johnny Quick’s adventure - “A Super-Spending Spree” -
intrigues me.  Like yesterday’s “The Bank of the Future” (starring
Tommy Tomorrow), it makes me want to write a story with that title.
I’ll write it on an index card and toss it into my idea box.  Maybe
it will rise to the surface some day.

Let’s see if I can short-winded enough to get through the remaining
notes on my desk. 


Comically Vintage is a website that takes comic-book panels out of
context and presents them in all their bizarre glory.  On occasion,
they take a cover or an advertisement.  Anything to get a laugh out
of the readers.  I visit them at least once a day.

Because the creators of this site are clearly nine years old, they
take enormous glee in printing panels in which some weepy romance
comics heroine complains about “Dick.”  She misses Dick.  She has
given up on Dick forever.  Dick hurt her terribly.  One wonders if
Richard was the most common male name of the 1950s.

Because I’m apparently nine years old, all these “Dick” references
make me laugh.  They also make me wonder if the most probably male
writers of those old stories knew exactly what they were writing.

I lied.  I don’t wonder at all.  I’m sure they knew what they were
writing, loudly guffawing as they did so.  What I do wonder about
is whether or not their editors ever realized what these writers
were writing and why the comics critics of those times never picked
up on the double entendres.  These are questions I wish someone had
asked those writers, editors, and critics, knowing that the answers
I seek will likely never come.


Comedians Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart should receive medals for
the “Definitely Not Coordinating with Stephen Colbert Super Pac.”
Their humor has exposed what a truly terrible idea it was for our
nation’s lawmakers and Supreme Count justices to allow the creation
of and continued existence of Super Pacs.  These organizations are
answerable to no one and, when they violate the so-called “rules”
governing their behavior, they get slapped with fines that aren’t
even a drop in buckets filled with untraceable cash from unknown
donors.  Colbert and Stewart are American heroes.


Sometimes you just want to watch a bad movie.  Which explains why
I watched The Expendables this weekend.  Written by David Callaham
and Sylvester Stallone, and directed by Stallone, this 2010 action
film is kinda sorta a reunion film of the stars of movies from the
1980s and early 1990s.  Stallone’s co-stars included Jet Li, Jason
Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, Steve Austin,
and others.  There are also cameo appearances by Bruce Willis and
Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The plot? Stallone and crew are jaded mercenaries who haven’t lost
their morality.  They get hired to take out the military dictator
of an island between Mexico and South America, currently a hotbed
of cocaine manufacture and distribution.  Stallone gets smitten by
the dictator’s rebel daughter.  So he and his four-man crew heads
to the island to rescue her.  In the process, they rack up a body
count in the hundreds.  It’s insanely violent and pyrotechnic, and
I blame my friend Chris Mills for putting the movie on my radar in
his Atomic Pulp and Other Meltdowns blog.  But I thank him as well
because The Expendables was 103 minutes in which I didn’t have to
think about anything remotely real.

The good news is that it was a very relaxing 103 minutes.  The bad
news is that there will be a sequel in August.


Some quick political notes:

Felons.  Apparently it’s an issue whether or not they get to vote
after serving their sentences.  Why it’s an issue baffles me.  Have
we utterly turned our backs on the notion of redemption?  Do some
people actually want an entire class of disenfranchised voters who
feel they have no stake in our country?  Or are the Republican mad
dogs so confident the voters they seek are so incapable of thinking
rationally that they’ll hear this nonsense and somehow mistake it
for the candidate being “touch on crime?” 

Gingrich and Santorum.  Wow, these guys are nasty.  I really hope
“Herman Cain” beats them both in South Carolina?

Walker of Wisconsin.  The recall petitions are in.  I also really
hope the voters there send him walking.

I said they’d be quick.


Cartoonist Lynda Barry has been hired as artist-in-residence at the
University of Wisconsin-Madison.  I think this is a terrific idea
and that she’ll be wonderful in the position.

Given my current lack of gainful employment, I would be delighted
to entertain offers from less discerning institutions to become a

Maybe I should contact my alma mater...the South Hampton Institute
of Technology.

That’s all for today.  There must be another bad movie I can watch
tonight.  I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2012 Tony Isabella


  1. Re: your alma mater-- I remember one day around the time when you and I were both at Marvel. Roy was making the rounds explaining why the name 'FLICK' could no longer be used in stories. (Not sure if he made the decree or if it came down from above.) It seems that with the bad printing we had at the time the hand lettered 'L's and 'I's tended to close up...

  2. The name of my alma mater comes from Accepted, a favorite film of me and my kids.

    As for "flick," yes, I remember Roy explaining that to us and his further warning to be really vigilant whenever he called Hawkeye by his real name of Clint Barton.

  3. Mr. Isabella,
    Thanks, per usual; always fun and sweet. I've added "Mike's Amazing World" to my bookmarks, so thanks again. Altho I love the 9-yr-old humour of non-sequitor panels, be personally careful at "Comically Vintage", only because my malware detector sent me a notice every time I changed a page. I probably won't be back unless I hear they've cleaned it up.

    My very best wishes for your future employment. You're too valuable a resource to be left idle.

  4. Harrumphh! I will not have my taste in movies disparaged by the likes of you, Mr. Isabella!

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go watch 2-Headed Shark Attack.

  5. Please tell me that you didn't make up that movie title. Because I have to see it.

  6. It's real. I received an advance DVD screener today. It should be on SyFy Channel any day now.

    2-Headed Shark Attack