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TONY’S TIPS #079

October 28, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #079

Halloween is nigh upon us. I’ll be spending that night and the next two days afterwards at Wizard World’s Ohio Comic Con in Columbus, but I wanted to leave you a trio of terror-treats to keep you nice and chilled in my absence. Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight takes its name from the old Times Square movie theaters that specialized in showing “exploitation films.” These theaters used to be burlesque houses and strip joints and that’s where the “grind” part of the name comes from. I am a devoted fan of cheesy monster movies,...

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TONY’S TIPS #078

October 20, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #078

Cops. The 87th Precinct novels of Ed McBain are my favorite prose series. A list of my all-time favorite TV shows would include Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, and Homicide: Life on the Street among the top ten with other cops shows further down on the list. Super-heroes. While I enjoy all kinds of comics, it was the Marvel super-heroes of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and others that made me a comics reader for life and a comics industry professional for a good chunk of that life. I think the second Black Lightning series is my best sustained...

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TONY’S TIPS #077

October 14, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #077

Previously in Tony’s Tips... Continuing our discussion of Marvel’s Original Sin... SPOILERS AHEAD SPOILERS AHEAD SPOILERS AHEAD SPOILERS AHEAD SPOILERS AHEAD SPOILERS AHEAD During a New York confrontation with the villains who invaded the Watcher’s home, who seemingly murdered him and then stole his eyes, one of those eyes was detonated. It was like unto a truth bomb, revealing secrets of the Marvel Universe - “sins” if you prefer - to those within the blast area. These revelations drive the various Original Sin spin-offs and tie-ins. Original Sins was an anthology series featuring three tales per issue, each involving the afore-mentioned secrets. In a story...

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TONY’S TIPS #076

October 6, 2014
TONY’S TIPS #076

I have been reading Marvel’s Original Sin and... SPOILERS AHEAD SPOILERS AHEAD SPOILERS AHEAD SPOILERS AHEAD SPOILERS AHEAD SPOILERS AHEAD Before I was interrupted by the above warning, I was telling you I have been reading Original Sin and a bunch of the comic books that spun-off from that series. These days, you can’t have any kind of big comic event without spin-offs from that event. It’s not unlike ripples on a pond, save that the events and spin-offs are generally more depressing and violent than my pastoral metaphor. As I started composing my thoughts for this week’s column, which is in danger of becoming two or...

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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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