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TONY’S TIPS #096

February 24, 2015
TONY’S TIPS #096

This is the finale of my three-week “Valentine’s Day” column series on the state of romance in comic books: past, present and future. In writing this series, I have drifted almost completely into the super-hero genre. Though I won’t be able to discuss them in detail this week, please know that love and romance are alive and well in non super-hero comic books and graphic albums. There are delightful romantic farces. There are riveting relationship stories. There are tales of loss and suffering. There are manga series whose romantic pairings and situations roam freely all over the human condition,...

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TONY’S TIPS #095

February 17, 2015
TONY’S TIPS #095

This is the second of my three special “Valentine’s Day” columns on the state of romance in comic books: past, present and future. In last week’s “Tony’s Tips,” I wrote there would be two such columns. I’m a lover, not a mathematician. Not unlike the fabled Grinch of Doc Seuss, my heart grew as I delved into my subject and could not be contained by a mere two columns. We are moving into the 1960s this week. I never looked at an actual romance comic until Marvel published My Love and Our Love Story in the summer of 1969. Though...

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News

TONY’S TIPS #094

February 10, 2015
TONY’S TIPS #094

This is the first of two special “Valentine’s Day” columns wherein I wax poetic and occasionally snarky about the state of romance in comic books from the 1950s to today. Romance comics themselves hit very big in the 1950s, more than held their own in the 1960s and ultimately drifted away from the comics industry in the 1970s. They hung on long enough for me to edit an issue or two of DC’s Young Love during my maddening, soul-crushing six months as a DC Comics staffer. Depending on who you want to believe - please choose me - I...

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TONY’S TIPS #093

February 2, 2015
TONY’S TIPS #093

Several months back, I reviewed Roy Thomas Presents Planet Comics Volume One . The series reprints the earliest issues of the Fiction House comic-book title. Back then, I wrote that the stories starred mostly interchangeable heroes in the mold of Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon. I opined these stories were often a chore to read, though some of them contained imaginative and intriguing science-fiction ideas. I just read Roy Thomas Presents Planet Comics Volume Three and the only change in the writing is that it has gotten worse. The heroes remain mostly interchangeable: Flint Baker,...

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News

TONY’S TIPS #092

January 26, 2015
TONY’S TIPS #092

My avid interest in comics history is second only to my interest in actual comics: comic books, comic strips, graphic novels, manga and whatever else falls into that general category. While the history of the comic-book industry is, to a great and sad extent, a history of creators being abused, cheated and forgotten by publishers and even readers, that history and its more benign chapters have always fascinated me. I love learning about creators and comic books from before I began working in the industry. I am endlessly enthralled by tales of how characters and companies came into being and...

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News

TONY’S TIPS #091

January 21, 2015
TONY’S TIPS #091

King Features Syndicate distributes something like 150 comic strips to our daily and Sunday newspapers. Three of those strips feature heroes who have truly earned the right to be called legendary: The Phantom, Flash Gordon and Mandrake the Magician. All have appeared in comic books. All have recently returned to comic books with all three appearing in Dynamite’s Kings Watch by writer Jeff Parker and artist Marc Laming. The five-issue series has also been collected in trade paperback . An invasion from beyond unites the heroes in an adventure that is exciting and somewhat problematic. This is Dynamite’s second shot...

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News

TONY’S TIPS #090

January 12, 2015
TONY’S TIPS #090

Kurt Busiek’s Astro City is my favorite super-hero comic book, but, in many ways, I think what writer Mark Waid has accomplished with Daredevil [Marvel; $3.99} is even more impressive than what Busiek does issue after issue. Astro City is its own universe and Busiek has control of what does or doesn’t happen in that universe. Waid has to work with an enormous Marvel Universe he does not control. Yet, working in that universe, Waid consistently writes Daredevil stories that are character-driven, emotional, and often poignant. That really came home to me when I read issues #7-10 of the...

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News

TONY’S TIPS #089

January 6, 2015
TONY’S TIPS #089

Catching up on Kurt Busiek’s Astro City was a Christmas present to myself. I read issues #10-17 and renewed my long-held view that this is the finest super-hero series of the past two decades. If you are somehow unfamiliar with Astro City, here’s what you need to know: It’s an anthology series set in the fictional city from whence it gets its name. It has an enormous cast of characters through which Busiek can tell just about any kind of super-hero stories he wants, stories which not only entertain but which explore many of the key elements and...

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News

TONY’S TIPS #088

December 29, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #088

Continuing from last week’s change-of-pace column... Most of my professional comics work has been work-for-hire. I was hired to write something and I wrote it. Sometimes I edited my own work.  Sometimes I got to pick my artists. Sometimes I would receive royalties and other “incentive” pay and sometimes I wouldn’t. The one major exception to this was Black Lightning, which I didn’t create under any work-for-hire agreement. It was a partnership deal I entered into with DC Comics after I had independently created all key aspects of the character. DC and I were to be equal partners in this creative...

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News

TONY’S TIPS #087

December 22, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #087

Happy birthday to me. I am 63 years old today and, having toiled in the comics industry for over four decades, I’m trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I’m pleased to report everything Tony is in decent working order on this anniversary of my birth. Physically, there’s considerable room for improvement but my health is very good. I have been married to my Sainted Wife Barb, the most wonderful person in the world, for over three decades. Ed and Kelly, our children, are proud graduates of The Ohio State University and succeeding in their...

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