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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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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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News

TONY’S TIPS #086

December 16, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #086

Christmas is drawing ever closer. We’ve spent the past three weeks talking about suitable gifts for the comics fan or fans you love. Let’s go there one more time. Stocking stuffers. Normally, I’d suggest you’d hang said stockings with care and fill them with a variety of fan-friendly items like gift cards from your fan’s favorite comic shop, movie tickets for the 2015 batch of comics-inspired movies, role-playing dice and, a personal favorite, colorful PEZ dispensers with cartoon, comic and movie characters. However, I’m feeling positively blasphemous this holiday season and ready to take you in another direction. Rolled-up comic books....

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News

TONY’S TIPS #085

December 9, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #085

We start this week with a Christmas confession. I haven’t taken my own advice about not buying stuff that people could have given me as presents. In fact, I so completely didn’t take my own advice that I have well over a dozen “presents” sitting in my office as I write this week’s column. I should have Sainted Wife Barb wrap them and put them under our tree, thus saving her from any need to shop for me this year. Beholding this towering stack of good stuff, it occurs to me that these items would also make cool holiday gifts...

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News

TONY’S TIPS #084

December 1, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #084

Greetings, holiday shopper. Your seasonal comics elf is back with more suggestions for gifts that will wow your family and friends. You can’t see me, but I’m wearing the traditional green elf cap and tights, both of which I rock. As for the equally traditional floppy pointed shoes, those I’m having a problem with. I keep sliding on the floor of Santa’s Bookshop/Workshop and crashing into my fellow elves and the occasional reindeer. Let me say...you don’t want to be on the receiving end of Donner’s stink-eye. He’s one scary deer, especially when he’s been sipping Santa’s eggnog. The fine...

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News

TONY’S TIPS #083

November 25, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #083

The holiday season is nigh upon us, so unless you’re my freakishly efficient best friend Bob Ingersoll, you’re probably thinking “Oh, my stars and garters, I have to start my Christmas shopping!” Bob, of course, completed his 2014 Christmas shopping three years ago. I wasn’t kidding about either the efficient or freakish parts of my hilarious opening line. Christmas is what we celebrate at Casa Isabella, but I’m perfectly find with whatever holidays you celebrate. It’s the season of good will and quibbling over “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Holidays!” or “Blessed Mothra Day!” is a surefire way to sour the...

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