Monday, May 14, 2012

Now Retired: “The Issue At Hand” APA and Fanzine Column. (1994-2012).

Now, TIAH comes in a Handy Tub-Size!

Recently, this Blog observed the occasion of the final “print edition” of The Issue At Hand, my APA and Fanzine column -- HERE I’ve produced “TIAH” since 1994 – and it was the basis for starting this Blog.

I thought it might be a nice touch for any of the longtime readers of “Dead-Tree TIAH” (Thanks, Chris!) to see that final column, as it appeared in Issue # 23 of Arnie Hollander’s fine “Cooperative Press” publication “Grassroot Reflections”. 

Arnie often got his contributors to “stretch their writing muscles” by assigning a SUBJECT for the issue.  Said subject could be interpreted as you saw fit.  Once, the subject was “Cars” – and I referenced the late ‘70s rock group “The Cars”! 

You could work the subject into your contribution any way you wished – or (as I sometimes did) outright ignore it.  The subject for my retirement issue was “Time”. 

…It played right into my hands! 

Please enjoy my final “Dead Tree” column, and comments are always welcome. 

[ Now, It’s Time… To Say Good Bye… To All Our Com-pan-nee…]

The Issue at Hand
Joe Torcivia

And (…as they say) visit us on the Web at

Welcome to The Issue at Hand # 100.  This will be the last ever “print-edition” of this column!   And it seems somehow appropriate that we begin our final foray by quoting from the closing theme for THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB – and move on to Arnie’s Assignment of the Issue: Time!  …Because it’s “time” to for us to go!   

Time” is one of the primary reasons for this column’s discontinuance.  Time” for reasons I did not anticipate – and do not fully understand – comes at a greater premium now than ever before.  Because of that, certain things – including certain things that I ENJOY – have been cut back, or outright eliminated.  The physical preparation of this column (writing, printing multiple copies, packaging, delivering, etc.) has become one of them. 

Among the reasons influencing this decision is our reaching the “Nice Round Number of 100”, counted unofficially since this column’s beginning in 1994.  Though, I’ve well exceeded that number, considering the many “Non-Numbered Specials” I’ve done over the years, it seems a good number to go out on! 

Also, I’ve come to feel that, while I admire Arnie’s efforts tremendously in maintaining this wonderful place, in which we are able to express ourselves (on any subject of our choice) via the written word, that this might not exactly be “my audience”. 

My desired “audience” being one more enthusiastic toward my chosen subjects of comic books, DVDs, and the many ancillary items and subjects that spring from them.  This may be more a “feeling” on my part, than the reality – in fact, it probably is “more me than thee” – but it, too, has influenced my decision. 

I’ve also done this for 18 wonderful years, that I will always look back on joyously!  In my first column, I wrote *ABOUT* Disney’s UNCLE SCROOGE comic books.  By the time of my last column, incomprehensibly, I find myself writing *FOR* Disney’s UNCLE SCROOGE comic books.  Life takes you to incredibly unexpected places!   

The Blog will continue, for those who’d care to join me there.  The comic book scripting has (hopefully temporarily) ceased.  Publishers come and go in the modern climate.  But, as with this column, I’ve had two significant “farewells” in that arena as well. 

What might possibly be the final American issues of both MICKEY MOUSE and the venerable WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES were released in 2011 – and I had the honor, along with great friend and editor David Gerstein, of scripting them both!  Those issues being MICKEY MOUSE # 309 and WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES # 720.

It was bittersweet to think these might be the last ever issues of these titles that I, and so many others, grew up on, and all the more unlikely – unlikely to a staggering degree, if you ask me – that I would be among the dedicated final few who would remain to “turn out the lights”.  Beyond that, I could end up being the unlikely answer to a trivia question… “Who wrote the last original line of dialogue for WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES?” 

The two issues feature Parts 1 & 2 of Romano Scarpa’s “The Treasure of Marco Topo”… and knowing that this could POSSIBLY (Again, please let me be wrong!) be the last issue of WDC&S for all time, I gave Mickey Mouse what I’d like to believe is a very fitting closing line!  Anyone reading the issue may decide for themselves.  

Finally – and I DO, at last, mean “finally” – before I go, I’d like to thank Arnie Hollander for “Grassroot Reflections”, Ken Bausert for “Passions”, Mark Arnold for “The Harveyville Fun Times”, Jeff Pierce for “WTFB”, and Dana Gabbard for “The Duckburg Times”, all of whom have provided me with outlets for “the thing I love”…writing! 

…Good Night and Good Comics Reading and DVD Watching!  And, everyone… keep writing! 

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