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TONY’S TIPS #075

September 29, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #075

My first reaction to Marvel Masterworks: Marvel Rarities Volume 1 was “I read almost all of those stories when they were first published. How can they be rarities?” Then I remembered I’m almost 63 years old. Ulp! The Marvel comic books of the 1960s take me back to my youth in a way few other comic books can. Those were the days when getting the week’s new comics meant going to two or three different drug stores or newsstands. Those were the days when I was truly exciting by the prospect of coming home with a stack of comic...

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TONY’S TIPS #074

September 22, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #074

Comic Book People: Photographs from the 1970s and 1980s by Jackie Estrada fills me with joy and sadness in equal measure. Estrada has been an important figure in San Diego’s Comic-Con International for decades and, for this hardcover volume, she has opened her treasure chest of photos from those two decades and shared them with us. For someone like me, who’s been kicking around the comics industry for over four decades, the book reminds me of the comics legends I have been fortunate enough to meet and, in some cases, work with. It brings me images...

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TONY’S TIPS #073

September 16, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #073

PS Artbooks’ reprints of off-brand comic books from the 1940s and 1950s are never a sure thing with me. Some volumes are terrific and some are lousy. When I write today’s comics readers have access to the best and the not-so-best of comics past, I’m usually thinking of the PS roster. That said... Roy Thomas Presents Captain Flash is more fun than its 240 or so pages can legally contain. Captain Flash was one of the first irradiated super-heroes. This volume collects all four issues published by Sterling Comics in 1954 and 1955. To fill out the page count...

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TONY’S TIPS #072

September 8, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #072

“If there were a Marvel Universe version of Mount Rushmore, would be up there with Stan, Jack, Steve and Dick.” That quote from me appears on the back cover of Don Heck: A Work of Art by John Coates . There’s another and much longer quote from me inside the book, but that’s the most minor of reasons for my recommendation of this magnificent hardcover labor of love. It’s the other 190 or so pages that make this study of a legendary artist a must-have for comics historians and comics art aficionados. Pulling from multiple interviews with Heck,...

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TONY’S TIPS #071

September 1, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #071

The Sakai Project is a glorious collection of art celebrating thirty years of Usagi Yojimbo, the samurai rabbit created by Stan Sakai. It’s also a celebration of the high regard Sakai’s fellow artists have for him and his wife Sharon. The comics industry has seldom shone so brightly. Usagi Yojimbo translates to “rabbit bodyguard.” The character is a masterless samurai, a ronin, who wanders the land and occasionally serves as a bodyguard for other travelers. The stories are set in the Edo period of Japanese history (1603-1868). Sakai is a scholar of the era. I’m not. Wikipedia tells...

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TONY’S TIPS #070

August 25, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #070

I’m going to start this week’s reviews with one of the best graphic novels of the year. Then I’m going to bring you reviews that make me sound like one of those really old fans who can’t accept change in his favorite characters. You have been warned. New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast presents a graphic novel memoir of her relationship with her parents in Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? . Only the first two chapter cover her childhood. The human drama in this work stems from her parents getting older and less able to care for themselves...

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TONY’S TIPS #069

August 18, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #069

The Phantom, the jungle hero created by Lee Falk, has been one of my favorite heroes since I was a boy. Discovering him on the comics page of the occasional newspaper that might its way into my hands close to six decades ago, I have been following his adventures in one form or another ever since. I even buy the Phantom comic books published in Australia. “The Ghost Who Walks” speaks to me on many levels. The Phantom The Complete Series: The Charlton Years: Volume Three took its time getting to press. I ordered a copy close...

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TONY’S TIPS #068

August 11, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #068

My comic-book reading remains as unorganized as ever. However, for this week’s column, I determinedly read multiple issues of three titles from three major publishers. Dark Horse Comics has published hundreds and maybe even thousands of Star Wars comic books. While I like Star Wars, I’ve never been fanatic enough about the franchise to read all those comic books. Still, with Disney/Marvel ending this distinguished run, Dark Horse published an irresistible eight-issue series. The Star Wars #1-8 adapts into comics George Lucas’ original rough-draft screenplay, which the Star Wars creator wrote in 1974. It’s a thriller both familiar and...

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TONY’S TIPS #067

August 4, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #067

Regular followers of my various columns will recall I don’t have a comics collection per se. I have a Vast Accumulation of Stuff that currently fills one-and-a-half storage units and roughly three-and-a-half rooms of my Tardis-like house. I aspire to reduce the VAOS to a size I can honestly call a collection. Towards that worthy goal, I hold bi-weekly comic book garage sales from May or June through September or October. One of the perks of preparing for these sales is going through boxes filled with items I’d forgotten I owned and finding cool old comics and other stuff. One such...

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TONY’S TIPS #066

July 28, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #066

DC Comics, major media outlets and, of course, a great many comics fans are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the first appearance of the Batman in Detective Comics #27 . I am not one of these celebrants. I’ll celebrate when DC officially proclaims writer Bill Finger to be the co-creator of the Batman. I’ll celebrate when Finger shares creator credit with Bob Kane on every Batman comic book, graphic novel, cartoon, TV series and movie. I’ll celebrate when Finger’s surviving heirs get a piece of the enormous money-pie that is the Batman. Celebrating Batman now is premature. It’s more like...

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