Saturday, March 3, 2012


It’s “laughs, laughs and more laughs as Captain Marvel Jr. battles
the queen of the witches” in Captain Marvel Jr. #104, cover-dated
December, 1951, which also happens to be the month of my birth and,
yes, I am getting tired of repeating that fact.  I do so in case we
have a new bloggy thing reader joining us today.  And we do seem to
be getting new readers on a nigh-daily basis.

“The Queen of the Witches” is one of three Captain Marvel Jr tales
in this issue, all of them drawn by Bud Thompson.  The others are
“The Magic Milk Mystery” and “The Palace of Lost Ideas.”  I really
like that last title.  Sounds like a story that could have appeared
in one of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman issues.

The back-up stories are “Kanvasback” (sports) and “Brown and Green”
(humor).  I’m not familiar with either feature, but, thanks to Roy
Thomas I now know something about the “Captain Kid” character who
was mentioned in Thursday’s bloggy thing.  Roy writes:

“Captain Kid was a teenager in a filler...except that he wore an
odd little quasi-costume and cape, just to look like a super-hero,
I guess.  Well, it got me to read his mini-adventures.”

Roy’s comment about the quasi-costume getting him to read “Captain
Kid” raised another question in my mind.  Save for text stories, I
would read everything in a comic book when I was younger.  Even if
the secondary features weren’t very good, I liked the variety they
added to the comic.  To this day, I still enjoy anthology titles.
Getting back to my question:

Do you read everything in the old or new comic books you purchase?
If not, what features do you usually skip?

Just call me Curious Tony.


I have been writing “Tony’s Tips” in Comics Buyer’s Guide for what
must be over two decades by now.  I wrote “Tony’s Online Tips” for
well over a decade.  I was a blogger before anyone was calling what
I did blogging.  From the start of those columns, the mere fact of
my writing them was disturbing to some industry folks.

When I decided to resume blogging, after posting blogs on my Tony
Isabella message board for a few months, I made the very conscious
decision to never worry about those industry folks.  For the most
part, my career in comic books seemed to be over then and may well
be over now.  At the very least, I am woefully underemployment in
my preferred field of endeavor.

This sad-to-me situation amuses some online louts greatly.  Never
mind that these louts have never written and published a book or a
comic book.  Never mind that at least one of them is quite rightly
reviled as one of the most vile people in comics.  They take great
delight in my supposed misery.

Even at my most depressed, I have only to look around and to know
with absolute certainty that I have a better life than these jerks.
I have a beautiful, loving, and wondrously capable wife who keeps
winning awards in her field.  We have raised two amazing children.
I have friends, including many of the people whose comics and other
work inspired me as a young man.  While universal respect in this
nutty comics industry may elude me, I have respect sufficient for
me to look at myself and say “You’re alright, kid.”

When I resumed blogging, I also made the decision to be as honest
as possible, which is why I’ve opened as many doors into my life as
I have.  It’s why I’ve written of my depression, of my unfortunate
choices during my career, and my anger at bad people in the world
and in the comics industry.  But, of late, I’m trying to express my
anger more productively.

The main reason yesterday’s blog was delayed was because I rewrote
a portion of it to remove some accurate but extraneous commentary
on right wing politicians and their acolytes.  Their tactics are so
egregious that it’s a struggle not to lower myself to their level.
That my anger was magnified by the well over a dozen robo-calls I
receive from Republican candidates daily is true, but it does not
excuse my transferring that anger to my bloggy things.  I’m going
to keep working on that.

Naturally, any negative comments I make about the right are going
to be taken badly by those who subscribed to that most peculiar of
philosophies, but that reaction is not something I can control or
even predict.  I mean, for God’s sake, who could have expected that
Rick Santorum would throw up after reading John F. Kennedy’s speech
on the separation of church and state?  Maybe Rick is wearing his
Jim Tresell sweater-vest too tight.

On the subject of those damn robo-calls, we have gotten a few from
the Democrats this week.  My rough estimate is that for every one
we get from the Democrats, we get ten from Republicans or their Tea
Party masters.  I know these robo-calls are relatively cheap, but,
given how many we’re getting, the right is spending serious cash to
annoy me.  When all they really have to do to annoy me is just be

The mail, he said sarcastically, has also been a joy this week.  No
overdue royalty checks from clients, but lots of GOP junk mail for
candidates who don’t have a prayer of getting our votes.  We have
received maybe three pieces of junk mail from Democrats this entire
year to date.  As we get closer to “Super Tuesday,” we receive at
least that much every day from Republicans.  Don’t worry, that mail
gets recycled, much as the GOP keeps recycling its failed ideas and
candidates.  Newt Gingrich?  Really?

This old man is almost done shouting at the clouds today.  We close
with an amusing incident if you laugh at depression as I sometimes
manage to do. 

This Thursday past was a really bad day.  I craved comfort food to
lighten my mood.  I hopped in my van and drove to Giorgio’s, which
is my favorite Medina pizza place.  Great pizza for five bucks and
even better salads for three.  Except when I got there, I learned
the place - which I had last patronized maybe a week earlier - was
now out of business.  I think I might have sobbed.

Adding to my misery, I then headed over to Little Caesar’s.  Though
the last pizzas I’d gotten there were pretty bad, I was desperate.
Turns out this place, under new and even crappier management, has
managed to make their pizzas more like cardboard than ever before.
They were also out of their Italian cheese bread, which is the one
menu item they do well.  Groan.

I have been experimenting with the leftover pizza for two days now.
I have added extra different cheeses on it.  I have added cucumber
ranch dressing to it.  These have made the pizza eatable for maybe
two bites and then the cardboard taste comes through.

If this shit finally gets to me and I go on a killing spree, I plan
to use “the pizza defense” at trial.  Until then, I guess I have to
find a new favorite pizza place in Medina.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2012 Tony Isabella


  1. I skip Hop Harrigan. I don't know why. I'm liable to read anything else in a comic, old or new, but somehow or other, I always skip Hop Harrigan if I'm reading a comic that happens to have Hop Harrigan in it!

  2. Curious Tony, we're about the same age and I can confirm that I read everything in a comic book. My modus operandi upon acquiring a new comic was to rush home and read thru all the stories once, then immediately re-read from cover to cover, this time pausing to read the public service pages, the Henry Boltinoff gag panels, house ads, letter pages, Bullpen Bulletins, etc etc. Heck, I'd usually even look longingly at the X-Ray specs ads...

    The only thing I recall skipping were the once-mandatory "text" pages as they were usually so tedious. (Loved the Science Facts pages Julius Schwartz sometimes included in his books!)

    I'm one of those people who read modern comics in collected form.

    Also, I hope the "old man" in you keeps shouting at the clouds. I tend to agree with most of the opinions you espouse, but even when I don't - I consider myself enlightened rather than threatened.

  3. I also read everything in comics. I'm about your age, too, Tony, and when I got my comics home, I always finished reading them or read them again. I'd already read most of them while standing in the drugstore. A few days later, desperate for something new to read after the fourth or fifth time through, I would even read the text pages. Some of those were pretty good but many were truly terrible.

    After reading everything many times, I would decide which comics I could afford to trade with someone for something new to read. Archies and Harveys always went into the trade pile but you could only get more Archies or Harveys for them. Humor mags from other publishers also were usually traded, except Little Lulu and the Carl Barks duck titles. Science fiction and animal stories generally were traded, too, except ones with Carmine Infantino, Murphy Anderson or Wally Wood art (which was a lot of them :). Tarzan had beautiful art too but it got traded since there was always someone who would give up something nice for a missing chapter of one of the serialized stories.

    Of the superhero titles, my favorites were Flash, Wonder Woman and the various Superman titles plus Challengers of the Unknown. I also loved the Simon and Kirby titles from Radio Comics (the non-humor brand used by Archie). In 1961, my mom gave away all of my comics while I was at school one day because she said I was getting two old for such stuff. Sigh.

  4. Late Night FerengiMarch 3, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    Tony, if you like Pizza as much as I do, try the frozen DiGorno Pizza. You can add your own toppings and it's usually has a nice thick crust that isn't dry. Or if you like a do-it-yourself pizza, I get Boboli Bread. It's a nice thick bread which you put toppings of your own choice. I usulally put on green pepers, cut olives, peperoni and sliced onions on the top. Depending how many toppings you can have your own good pizza in 20 to 25 minutes. I know because I've grown tired of fast food and make my own. It's not too much trouble if you know what to buy. Hope I helped your pizza issue. I can see with the bad economy, it's better and sometimes cheaper to make things myself. After all my bad experiences with fast food, making my own has become a normal way of life with me.

  5. Late Night FerengiMarch 3, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    As far as reading the contents of the comic from cover to cover. I went in various stages through out my child hood. When I was very young I just looked at the pictures and read what I felt was important. As I got older I read all the comic related material and skipped the ads. Which my mom told me at the time were all rip offs. When I read the Stan's Soapbox I always skimmed the articles to see which super hero was going to get their own animated or TV show. I usually ignored the hype because I wouldn't buy anything unless I could see what the book looked like on the news stand.

    When the comics were 25 cents each I'd spend a whopping five dollars a week on Marvel Comics. This was back in 1975, so I'd have quite a few Marvels I'd read each week. To me, was better than what kids like today, which is video games. The video games have taken a bit away from comics because the action is there and it's instant.

    For what it's worth, I bought all the Captain America Kirby issues at the time, The Eternals, Devil Dinosaur and anything with Kirby on the cover. I was quite dissapointed that Kirby would create fantastic covers in the seventies, yet some one else would work on the interior art of the book.

    At the time I was also buying the "Origins of Marvel Comics" hardcover and all the sequels that followed it. I'd always be looking in the comics for the next book's release date and looking to see which book store carried it. I'd get a lot of looks and opinions from the clerks saying I should not be reading comics. All the book sellers were telling me how comics should not be the subject of books. I met a lot of book retailers who were very snide and rude and had to go to other stores that were more receptive.

    It was a time when you'd never see a DC or Marvel comic in paperback or hardcover in a book store. It wasn't like today, where there are entire sections for that material.