Tuesday, March 5, 2024




I have vowed to be less doom and gloomy in this introduction to my monthly list of things that bought me joy. Though the shelf life of “comics legend Tony Isabella” may have ended, I’m determined to ace every test in the life course I call Comics Legend Economics 101. Indeed, there will be many bloggy things about how you can enrich me through my eBay auctions, my Vast Accumulation of stuff garage sales and more. The money will serve several purposes. It will help me created and release new comics and other things for my beloved readers. It will make it possible for me to resume donations to a number of worthy causes.

For today, I’ll give you the update on getting autographs from me at appearances and through the mail. After going back and forth on the issue, I decided not to raise my signing fee. You can still get your Isabella comics and other items signed for $10 per item.

If you not able to come to a convention where I am appearing, you can mail your items to me at:

Tony Isabella, 840 Damon Drive, Medina OH 44256

You must include postage-paid return packaging with your items so that I can sign them and return them quickly. You must tell me how you want them signed. If you want me to use pens other than my own Sharpies, you must include the pens. You must include $10 per item. If you don’t include the signing fee, I will assume you are giving me the items as a token of your admiration. Thank you.

My signature is my signature. If you want me to add something like “To (your name)” or the date, I will do that. However, I won’t do anything more complicated than that.

At an appearance, you are welcome to take a photo of me signing an item or with me. No charge. However, I will not take selfies of me signing books you have mailed to me.

If you mail me a certificate of authenticity with your items, I’ll sign that certificate for another $10.

The Internet being what it is, I know some “fans” and “pros” will be critical and sometimes downright insulting on reading my policy. That’s on them.

As you will learn as I post my additional lessons in Comics Legend Economics 101, I am not desperate. My Saintly Wife Barb and I live a comfortable life. Assuming that life doesn’t get upended by the vile forces who are an ongoing threat to decency and democracy, we will be just fine.

But...there’s so much we both want to do and the money I earn from  signing things and the other ventures I’ll be announcing will make it easier to do them. It’s that simple.

And now...

Here are the things that brought me joy in February:

February 1: SurrealEstate isn’t likely to get a third season from the SyFy Channel, but I enjoyed the series right through the second season finale. That finale delivered a satisfying conclusion on all fronts. If that’s all we get, it was a good exit.

[ADDENDUM: It has been renewed for a third season.]

February 2: GCPD: The Blue Wall by John Ridley and Stefano Raffaele is an intense police thriller. Commissioner Renee Montoya is trying to rebuild the GCPD and restore public trust in it. Are such goals even attainable in Gotham? Highly recommended.

February 3: MonsterFest Mania in Cuyahoga Falls. It was a blast, it was a monster blast. The zombies were having fun and so was I. It was great connecting with old friends and making new friends as I rocked my “Trans Lives Matter” t-shirt.


February 4: MonsterFest Mania: Leonora Scelfo and Nancy Anne Ridder (the mean bathroom girls from Scream) were my next-door neighbors. I have an idea for a Scream comic or movie with their characters. I love them madly.

February 5: MonsterFest Mania: Ted Sikora. His mom would bring him to my Cosmic Comics when he was a kid. He’s grown up to become an amazing comics creator and filmmaker. He wants to film me talking about my career. Does Oscar glory await us?

February 6: MonsterFest Mania: Almost a dozen fans came to my table to tell me how much my Cosmic Comics shop meant to them back in the day. Though the place caused me considerable grief, it’s heartening to know how many folks it touched.

February 7: MonsterFest Mania: I met Gary Jones, director of such favorites as Ax Giant and Mosquito. A nice guy who lives in Ohio and plans to film two movies here this summer. Mr. Jones, I’m ready for my close-up.

February 8: MonsterFest Mania: Jay Fife. My long-time friend Jay is also one of my favorite artists. At this convention, we made plans to work together on not one, not two, but three different projects. The first one is already underway!


February 9: Commando’s 60th Anniversary celebration (2021) has been great fun for me. First, they reprinted the first Commando story. Then, in Commando #5448, they published an all-new sequel to that landmark issue. That’s a bit of alright.

February 10: The Winchester Mystery House by Joshua Werner, Dustin Irvin and Damien Torres. This collects the first three issues of an intriguing series about the most haunted house in the world and the fascinating woman who built it. Recommended.

February 11: My friend and great artist Emily Szalkowski has one of her amazing paintings on display at the B. Smith Gallery within the Medina Library. I voted for it in the People’s Choice competition. You do the same through March.

February 12: Jon Stewart’s return to The Daily Show. I appreciate his biting comedy, but his “both sides” commentary does his viewers a grave disservice when he fails to note that one of those sides is a continuing danger to our country and the world. 


February 13: The Irrational season finale was so pitch perfect it could have served as a series finale, marred only by an unnecessary cliffhanger. As a huge fan of actor Jesse L. Martin, I hope we do get a second season.

February 14: Funko’s Wonder Woman with String Light Lasso. Making my Christmas display early. Entertainment Earth had it on sale, so I bought it. My plan is to create a Funko-themed display for this year’s hopefully happy holidays.

February 15: BRZRKR Volume Three by Keanu Reeves, Matt Kindt, Ron Garney and Bill Crabtree brings the series to a satisfying finish while leaving room for a sequel. Garney’s incredible art is worthy of an Eisner and other awards.

February 16: Edited by Trina Robbins and Peter Maresca, Dauntless Dames: High-Heeled Heroes of the Comic Strips is a big, beautiful collection (13.2 x 1 x 17 inches) of plucky heroines from the 1930s and 1950s. Take your time with this breathtaking volume.

February 17: The Beekeeper. Jason Statham goes after the tech-rats who drove his friend to suicide. He punches and slaughters his way to the top of the operation. It’s a feel-good action thriller that only asks viewers to sit back and enjoy the carnage. 


February 18: Rom: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Vol. 1 by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema. I always thought this was my friend Bill’s finest work and now, thanks to a fan who sent me a copy, I will be able to reread these great comics.

February 19: Marvel’s February 1964 Omnibus featuring Daredevil #1 and every other Marvel title published that historic month. Another gift from an avid fan of my work. I hope Marvel has more of these monthly milestone volumes in the works.

February 20: Meg 2: The Trench. I liked the first one, but I liked the sequel more. Jason Statham being badass. Truly evil villains. Dire menace on and under the sea and also on land. I hope there’s a third movie in the series.

February 21: Iron Fist: Danny Rand - The Early Years Omnibus. This 952-page tome includes almost all of my Iron Fist plotting/writing save for an issue of Power Man and Iron Fist. It’s expensive, but I needed it for my archives.

February 22: My “Gender-Affirming Care is Life-Saving” shirt is the newest of two additions to my wardrobe. You can expect me to wear it at conventions and elsewhere. You, too, can be a voice against the anti-trans attacks of the Republicans.

February 23: Stand By Your Trans. My second new t-shirt comes from the Ethical Tee Company. If you have trans friends or other LGBTQ+ friends, vote for candidates who support their rights to exist as their authentic selves. 


February 24: Gorgo Volume Four. PS Artbooks has been reprinting the classic Charlton Comics series in nice hardcover editions. While  the Ditko-drawn issues are the best, all are fun. Writer Joe Gill was a mad genius.

February 25: The Cherry Omnibus by Larry Welz. This limited edition hardcover is big and thick and beautiful. Damn. That sounds dirty.
Cherry is one of my all-time favorites. I look forward to getting into it. Damn. That also sounds dirty.

February 26: Wild Cards. From the CW, a demoted detective and a con artist work together to get him promoted and keep her out of jail. The actors and writing are good. Not the stuff of awards, but still entertaining.

February 27: Tracker. From CBS, the series stars Justin Hartley as a survivalist who finds lost people and usually solves some crimes along the way. Hartley is a likeable brooding lead and the stories are compelling.


February 28: Superman Vs. Meshi Vol. 2 by Satoshi Miyagawa and Kai Kitago. I can’t believe how much I am enjoying an absurd manga that is basically chapter after chapter of Supes eating at Japanese fast food restaurants. I am so hungry right now.

February 29: Wendie Malick appearing on Not Dead Yet as the late etiquette author Eda Crawthorne. She choked to death rather than  disrupt a social event. If I ever meet Malick, I’ll be all fanboy telling her how much I adore her.

And now...a new monthly feature: Tony Isabella’s Best of the Bloggy Thing Month. Three categories. Three winners.




Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be back as soon as possible with more cool stuff for you. Hugs.

© 2024 Tony Isabella

Saturday, February 10, 2024




My new year did not get off to the greatest start. I seemed to have been aged out of the comic-book industry, at least that part of it where companies that pay decently want to hire the likes of me or even seriously consider anything I pitch to them. The few nibbles I’ve gotten from any comics publishers involving my producing and paying for an entire comic book or graphic novel without financial assistance from the publishers. Then, after receiving the finished work, they’ll publish it and graciously give me 50% of the profits. By the way, they also want 50% of any ancillary rights to whatever I’ve created and, in some cases, control of those rights. You can imagine my six-letter, two-word response.

This doesn’t mean I have given up on the notion of writing comics that will entertain you as much as my previous comics have. Maybe even more than my previous comic books have. I intend to explore a number of options to achieve that goal. I also intend to find some new revenue streams, including running eBay auctions and opening an eBay store. Those will launch later this month.

I making some personal changes as well. The one I’ll tell you about now is...my iconic mustache is no more. I shaved it off and it will not be returning.

I’ve spent just over half a century playing comic-book writer Tony Isabella and, in more recent years, comics legend Tony Isabella. I did not give myself the latter sobriquet. It was bestowed on me by various individuals and organizations. I accept it, even though my bar for legendary status is much higher. If it sells my convention and other appearances, I’ll use it.

The real Tony Isabella was trained in playing that role from Stan Lee originally and then by my associations with Harlan Ellison and other actual legends. The real Tony Isabella is actually anxious, awkward and painfully shy. If I were the clubbing type, I’d wear a button reading “Painfully Shy. Please Help.”

I will play comics legend Tony Isabella when the occasion calls for it. I know that’s who the fans and promoters want to see. But I’m exploring other roles in my private and professional lives. Which you’ll see when I’m ready to show them to you.

One thing that remains constant no matter what role I’m playing is my love of comic books and other entertainment. Other things that remain constant are my commitment to support the LGBTQ+ community, especially the trans community and my unwavering opposition to the bigoted, dishonest and treasonous Republican Party that is working overtime to destroy our democracy and turn our nation fascist. I don’t know where these vile people got their sense of what’s right and wrong. It’s not from the Bible, flawed as that work is, or from the Constitution of the United States. It’s just shit they made up.

Me? I learned everything I know about right and wrong from Batman (before he went psycho), Black Lightning, Captain America, Spider-Man and Superman. I have more faith in the lessons I learned from those characters than I would in a stack of bibles.

I’m also cool with Jesus. You know, the guy whose amazing Sermon on the Mount is too “woke” for some “Christian” churches and who those churches consider weak. I wish I had a ruler long enough and tough enough to smack their wrists until their hands fall off.

New year. New and yet also same old Tony Isabella. Still finding something to bring me joy every single day of the year.

Here are the things that made me happy in January...  

January 1: Adventures Into Terror is the first volume in the Atlas Comics Library by Fantagraphics. Edited by Dr. Michael J. Vassallo, it reprints and restores issues #1-8 of that 1950s horror anthology from future Marvel. Great fun and must-reading.


January 2: What Would Velma Do? Life Lessons from the Brains (and Heart) of Mystery, Inc. by Shaenon H. Garrity. Obsessed with Velma? Then this fun insightful book is for you. Scooby-Doo is the gift that keeps on giving.

January 3: The Wrong Earth: We Could Be Heroes #1 by Tom Peyer and Jamal Igle. The two-issue series takes place between the previous series and the next. It’s good fun with very unlikely heroes trying to substitute for the real deals.

January 4: Billionaire Island by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh and Chris Chuckry. I revisited the place where the ultra-rich can do whatever they want. It was even more hilarious the second time around. It’s chicken soup for your have-not soul.   

January 5: The Variants by Gail Simone and Phil Noto is a wonderful Jessica Jones story embracing Marvel at its best. Terrific lead and supporting players, top-notch writing and art, a easy continuity. One of the best super-hero tales of the year.

January 6: Papaya Salad by Elisa Macellari. The first graphic novel from the Thai-Italian illustrator tells of her great-uncle Sompong in Europe during WWII. A riveting journey that explores fascinating cultures and histories. Highly recommended.

January 7: Ghosts UK. The Brit spooks were initially too mean for my tastes, but, in episodes “Bump in the Night” and “Perfect Day,” they won me over by working together to help Allison and Mike. Well done, good spirits.


January 8: Maniac of New York 2: The Bronx Is Burning by Elliott Kalan and Andrea Mutti finds Detective Zelda Pettibone and mayoral aide Gina Greene trying to end the murderous menace of Harry. It’s a good sequel to the original slasher thriller.

January 9: A generous friend sent me the new Black Lightning action figure from McFarlane Toys. I hadn’t been able to find it in local stores. It proudly watches over me as I create new and hopefully exciting comics and more.

January 10: On The Way by Paco Hernández and José Ángel Ares is a quiet tale of a newly single cartoonist taking a pilgrimage. Along the way she meets interesting people, several surprises and a new knowledge of who she is.

January 11: JLA/JSA: Virtue and Vice by David S. Goyer and Geoff Johns with Carlos Pacheco, Jesus Merino and Guy Major. Just a fun super-hero team-up from several years back that I somehow missed on its first publication. Most entertaining.

January 12: HGTV. House Hunters and House Hunters International are my happy place. Not only do I enjoy these shows, but they are free of the disgusting political ads run by Ohio Republicans. I’m open to suggestions for other fun HGTV shows.


January 13: Commando #5444. This issue from 2021 reprints the first issue of the long-running British comics digest. I’m a subscriber, several years behind in my reading, but I get a kick out of these war stories from across the centuries.

January 14: Saintly Wife Barb makes the best brownies. If you come to my house, eat as many of them as you can and then hide the rest where I will not find them.

January 15: 1/6 by Alan Jenkins, Gan Golan and Will Rosado. What if the attack on the US Capitol succeeded? I’ve read the first issues of this brilliant, scary and scarily accurate series. It’s from One Six Comics and is must-reading for everyone.

January 16: The 75th Annual Emmy Awards. I was under the weather. This was nice comfort television. Some funny bits. Some wonderful reunions. Anthony Anderson was a fine host. His mom was hilarious. GLAAD honored. Two very enjoyable hours.

January 17: Black Panther: Reign at Dusk by Eve L. Ewing with Chris Allen and Mack Chatter. T’Challa is banished from the throne. He’s living in crime-ridden Birnin T’Chaka. My grasp on the back story is shaky, but, overall, I found this engaging.

January 18: Rescue cats Bear and Cheri will be joining our family on January 27. Cats Off the Square held a birthday celebration to honor Betty White and we made plans to bring them home as soon as we get the house ready for them.

January 19: Rescue cats Bear and Cheri made the front page of The Gazette in an article noting they were the two longest residents of Cats Off the Square. I hope their stay with us will be much longer.
I’ve missed having furry friends around me.

January 20: Saintly Wife Barb, dynamic daughter Kelly and old man Tony spent the morning shopping for Bear and Cheri. The next step is figuring out where everything goes.


January 21: Jimmy’s Bastards by Garth Ennis and Russ Braun. Via my local library system, I read the first volume in this insane take on James Bond and such. It’s brilliant and hilarious and I cannot wait for the second volume.

January 22: American Nightmare. This Netflex true crime documentary in three parts is chilling and riveting. A kidnapped woman. Awful cops victimizing the victims. Courageous people and one absolutely awesome policewoman. Must-watch TV.

January 23: Superman vs. Meshi by Satoshi Miyagawa and Kai Kitago. How odd does manga get? The plot of every self-contained chapter of this is “Superman goes to Japan to eat at chain restaurants.” Also, Aquaman can talk to sushi. Strange but fun.

January 24: All Eight Eyes by Steve Foxe and Piotr Kowalski. From Dark Horse, this is a pretty good giant spiders hiding in the city graphic novel that would translate well to the big or small screen.
I’d watch it.
January 25: Jon Stewart returning to The Daily Show. I wish it was for more than Mondays and beyond the election cycle, but I’ll take it. Bonus: he’s producing the show, which should make for a better and stronger take on what’s going on in the world.

January 26: Hello Fresh Steamed Hoisin BBQ Pork Buns with Cucumber Slaw and Ponzu-Soy Dipping Sauce. Oh my Godzilla! These pork buns were delicious! I could eat them every week.

January 27: Bear and Cheri are now in their forever home with us. They are being slow to adapt to Casa Isabella with Bear hiding most of the time. Cheri is a bit more social. But they are being loved and cared for. That’s the most important thing.

January 28: What's the Deal with Dead Man's Curve?: And Other Really Good Questions About Cleveland by Jim Sweeney. Since most of my original comics series will be set in the Land, this has become an invaluable source of information and inspiration.


January 29: Night Court. The episode “Wrath of Comic-Con” gave us John Larroquette cosplaying as a Klingon and the delectable Wendie Malick as Catwoman. Stand aside, Taylor and Travis. This couple is even hotter than you two cuties.

January 30: When I Was Your Age: Life Lessons, Funny Stories and Questionable Parenting Advice From a Professional Clown is by Kenan Thompson. A very entertaining insightful autobiography by a comedy legend. He’s the real deal and I love him for that.

January 31: After completing my first month of therapy - never you mind for what - I believe I’m finally getting a grip on surviving and hopefully thriving in 2024. I’m opening up new chapters in my life. They could be page turners.

That’s it for now. If you have business to discuss with me, be it  convention appearances or writing gigs, the best way to contact me is through my e-mail. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be back as soon as possible with more stuff.

© 2024 Tony Isabella

Friday, January 19, 2024


I sometimes have what I call “comic book dreams.” These are dreams that feature comics industry people I know or have known. Some are down to earth. Some are fantastic. The further I’m removed from the comics industry, the less I have these dreams. This one is from a couple months back.

The setting is Florida. I’m at a convention, but it doesn’t seem to be a convention I have ever attended. I’m sitting on a park bench outside the convention center with Stan Lee. Just chatting with my former boss and mentor. My forever inspiration. Fans from the con notice us, but, remarkably, they don’t interrupt our conversation.

Stan asks about my memories and relationship with Jack Kirby. His respect for Kirby is evident. We also talk about Larry Lieber, his brother and one of my dearest comics industry friends. He’s happy to hear I take Larry to dinner whenever I’m in New York City. His love for his brother is also evident.

The conversation gets a bit dark when he asks me about a former DC Comics executive. This is a guy who screwed me over worse than any other comics person. This guy was far from the only one. I don’t have the energy to make a list and rate them. Stan doesn’t want to bad-mouth the guy, but says he even made Stan more than a little uncomfortable.

Our conversation ends when Stan notices an elderly Jewish couple in some distress. He points them out and goes to help them. I chuckle because, though Stan describes them as “elderly,” they are younger than he is. They seem to be lost.

As I head back to the con, I hear Stan talking to them in Hebrew. I’m guessing it’s Hebrew because I don’t understand a word of their conversation.

My dreams often feature people who are no longer with us but who were and remain important to me. My father Louis turns up often. So does  Stan, my comics father.

Expect to read more of my comic book dreams as I have them and when I remember them well enough to write about them. I’ll be back soon with more stuff.     

© 2024 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, January 16, 2024




I have always tried to give back to my fans, but I have to realize things are changing for me. I seem to have aged out of the comics industry. Outside of writing for John Lustig’s LAST KISS, I have no paying gigs in the field. Unfairly, my bills do not recognize this sad fact of my life. The bills keep coming.

When I started in the industry, none of the creators were charging for their signatures. That didn’t change for me until sometime in past several years.

The trigger came for me at a Wizard World convention. Some comics creators had started charging a minimal fee for their signatures. A few bucks at most. Most of them would sign any one item for free.
I wasn’t charging. I overheard a fan clutching his autographed photo of some “C” TV actor - and I am being kind - telling his friend, as the fan snorted derisively, that he would NEVER pay for a comic creator’s signature. He was quite delighted paying $40 for a background zombie’s autograph/photo, but not for the signatures of comics creators. I began charging for my signature on the spot.

I was charging $5 per signed item with the first item signed free. I was not charging for photos of or with me. After a year, I raised the charge to $10 per item with the first one still free. I stopped offering one free signature when, three days after a convention, I saw a comic book I had signed for free at the convention on eBay with a much inflated price.

I have toyed with raising my signature price to $15, but have held off doing that. Often the money I make from signing is what keeps me breaking even on the events I attend.

Some fans would also ask me for sketches. I combined funny writing with very bad drawings of “Godzilla.” I can’t draw arms or, really, much of anything. I have given these sketches out for free. Which is a practice I’ve now ended. I’m changing the name of the monster I draw. As soon as I get a logo designed and figure out what paper and stock to use for my sketches, I will be selling them online and at conventions. I’m thinking $50 for originals and $20 for prints. That’s likely too high, but, hey, no one is putting a maser cannon to your head.

Sometimes I get requests for signatures and sketches by mail. Most of the time the people requesting these recognize I’ll be charging for these. Sometimes they assume if they send me a self-addressed stamped envelope with a piece of paper in it that I’ll comply with their requests. Please look above to remind us how I’ve seemingly aged out of the comics industry and how my bills keep arriving at my house on a regular basis. I can only dream of a time when I also receive monthly royalty checks for my past work. These days, when I receive these “give me something for free” letters, I throw them in the trash.

I do recognize not everyone can come to a convention to get their Isabella stuff signed by me. So I will sign items and do sketches by mail. Keep in mind that I’m not yet offering sketches and prints by mail or elsewhere. But here’s how the other part works...

Send the items you want signed to:

Tony Isabella
840 Damon Drive
Medina, OH 44256

Include $10 per item and return packaging with the postage already affixed. That way, I can sign your items and place them in the next day’s outgoing mail.

If you have a certain spot for my signature, tell me where it is in your cover letter. If you have a certain pen or pens you want me to use for my signature, send them with the items. Let me know if you want the pens back or not.

If you’re a high-end collector, keep an eye out for CGC’s special signings with me. I get together with them, sign the comics as you request and they verify my signature and grade the items prior to slabbing them. This is more expensive than sending items directly to me, but I know many collectors prefer this way.

I’m working on other things to help my financial situation. I hope to have my Ebay store up and running before the end of the month. It will offer cool things from my Vast Accumulation of Stuff. Watch for the launch date.

If I can figure out how to do it, I might even launch an Only Fans page. Get your minds out of the gutter. It won’t have sexy photos and videos of me. I’m thinking new and unseen columns, remembrances of my comics career, videos on comics, my life and the world around us. If that doesn’t bring in enough cash, well, I have been told I have a cute ass and good legs.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.     

© 2024 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, January 2, 2024




Scary and stressful is how I can best describe 2023. As seems to be the case in recent years, the comic-book industry showed virtually no interest in hiring me...and that has a debilitating effect on my actually writing comics. However, I am quite happy with the gags I wrote for John Lustig’s fun and slightly naughty Last Kiss feature and will continue contributing to it in the new year.

Physically, I’m in good health, save for a bad right knee that has me in almost chronic pain. It’s arthritis and not yet to the point where replacement is necessary. Most of the time, I’m rocking the sleek Prince tribute I call “Purple Cane.” In pain or not, I remain hilarious.

Mentally? How can anyone be mentally and morally comfortable in a world where Donald Trump, the most criminal, racist and traitorous president in U.S. history is the Republican Party frontrunner for this year’s election? Despite his over ninety indictments on very serious charges. The kind of charges that should put him in prison for the rest of his disgusting life. Meanwhile, the Republicans are continuing their cruel and unconstitutional assaults on the LGBTQ+ community, especially trans people.

Yet I remain hopeful for the new year. I’m working on various new projects with the hope of getting them to the marketplace. I have taken steps to improve my mental and physical well-being. I hope to be invited to many conventions in this country and abroad because I love meeting all kinds of readers.

As always, even in my darkest moments, I find happiness in a great many things. I love sharing them with you. Here are the things that brought me joy in December...

December 1: GalaxyCon Columbus. From the moment I arrived, I was in pop culture heaven. The convention and volunteers made me feel most welcome, as did the fans and my fellow professionals. It was one of the most amazing conventions of my career.

December 2: GalaxyCon Columbus. Reuniting with old pals like Mike DeCarlo and Steve Englehart. Meeting new ones like Dan Chichester, Tana Ford and Tim Seeley. Chatting with fans of my writing. That’s what makes a great convention.


December 3: GalaxyCon Columbus. The special “Do You Remember Mid-Ohio-Con?” tribute panel was nothing short of amazing with so many former guests celebrating Roger Price and the stellar convention he created. Much joy was shared by all.

December 4: GalaxyCon Columbus. I’m a sucker for convention-themed specialty drinks and the Hyatt Regency’s Big Bar on 2 had a doozy. The “Space Cadet” was Malibu rum, strawberry puree, pineapple juice and a blue Curacao glitter swirl. Delicious.

December 5: GalaxyCon Columbus. I was honored to be on the amazing “Horror in Comics” panel and be recognized for my 1970s work as an editor and writer on Monsters Unleashed and such. I would love to edit a magazine like that today. Publishers?

December 6: GalaxyCon Columbus: I enjoyed being on the Ghost Rider panel with Cory Smith and Scott Hepburn. I’m intrigued by all the Rider has gone through since I wrote Johnny Blaze. Catching up will be interesting.


December 7: Dial N For Naked! My wacky pal Will Meugniot presents “The Untold and Totally Untrue History of the Nudie Age of Comics!” Published in 2018 and available on Amazon, this book is hilarious and actually suitable for most ages.

December 8: The iZombie Omnibus by Chris Roberson, Michael Allred and Laura Allred. I wanted to reread this legendary thriller before I embark on watching the TV series, which I only watched for most of its first season.

December 9: Strange and Unsung All-Stars of the DC Multiverse by Stephanie Williams looks like big fun. I haven’t started reading it yet, but I bet a bunch of writers are using it to created pitches for new comic books and movies.

December 10: Prequel: An American Fight Against Fascism by Rachel Maddow is a fascinating frightening history of when vile Americans sided with Hitler. It does give me hope we will crush the fascists of today as we did in the 1940s.

December 11: Godzilla Minus One. I’m loving the box-office success and critical acclaim this spectacular movie is receiving. Made on a relatively modest budget, the movie goes beyond Godzilla fandom and into deserved favorable mainstream attention.


December 12: Funko Pop! Even as I prepare to thin my own collection for next year’s garage sales, I continue to be amazed, amused and pleased by Funko’s ingenuity and variety, Their new “tasty treats” figures are proof of both.

December 13: Delivery drivers. United States Postal Service. UPS. FedEx. Amazon. They bring us cool stuff. Their jobs are not easy, even more so at this time of the year. So, when you get the chance, thank them for their hard work.

December 14: My home town of Medina installed two electric vehicle charging ports in the parking deck next to City Hall. It’s a smart thing to do and, so far, no one is screaming “woke” at this common sense addition.

December 15: Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands. My supply of my most recent work was dwindling, but I was able to purchase over a dozen mint copies at an affordable price. I’ll have them at my convention appearances as long as they last.


December 16: Taylor Swift. Time magazine chose well in naming her 2023's Person of the Year. Not only is she a talented performer, she inspires fans to be considerate, kind and inclusive. She’s her generation’s Dolly Parton.

December 17: Transitions: A Mother's Journey by writer and artist Élodie Durand is the sometimes heartbreaking but ultimately happy real-life story of a woman working to accept her transgender son. Essential reading because the need is so great.

December 18: The Parker Girls Omnibus by Terry Moore. This spin-off from Strangers in Paradise finds the efficient and gorgeous ladies investigating the murder of one of their own. Why don’t they make  women-led action/suspense movies this good?

December 19: Hallows’ Eve by Erica Schultz and Michael Dowling was a easy-to-follow solid story with a satisfying conclusion. I really like title super-heroine Janine Goodbe and hope to see more of her.
She’d be great in a Disney+ Halloween special.


December 20: Lobo #1 [Dell; 1965]. I just re-read this outstanding comic by D. J. Arneson with art by Bill Fraccio and Tony Tallarico. Racist distributors killed Lobo after two issues, but it deserves to be reprinted and continued.  

December 21: My 2023 Christmas sweater is a tribute to Die Hard, a great Christmas movie and, as I now realize, also a great Hanukkah movie. It’s a heartwarming movie that brings people of all faiths together. Ho ho ho Hans.

December 22: Santa Suossos. For my birthday, Barb and our kids took me to this great Italian restaurant in Medina. The pasta and pizza were delicious. We’re going to order pizza from there for our New Year’s Eve celebration.

[Santa Suossos crushed my dream by not being open on Sunday. But I will have a fix of their pizza soon.]

December 23: If birthdays were measured in dear friends, I would be 5,000 years old. Thanks to all of you who sent warm greetings on my birthday. They were appreciated more than I can express.

December 24: Downfall by Inio Asano. A sometimes soul-crushing tale of a manga artist who doesn’t much like manga, who only cares about selling books and who doesn’t care about anyone’s pain but his own. I know comics creators like him.

December 25: With few bumps in the holiday road, Christmas Eve and Christmas 2023 were happy times for me. None of the bumps were all that unexpected and both were minor annoyances. Next year, I plan to dress as a sexy elf.



December 26: It’s a Wonderful Knife. Billed as a horror comedy, the movie is a legitimate thriller that respects It’s a Wonderful Life. Low on gore, high on emotional stakes with a terrific performance by Justin Long. Highly recommended.

December 27: Bill Foster finally gets into action as Giant-Man in the second episode of What If...? Season Two. I’m sure that pleased Lawrence Fishburne, who was disappointed he never got to go big in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Thanks, Marvel Studios!

December 28: Rite Aid in Medina. I got my flu shot this morning and it was a quick and painless experience. I arrived a little early, but was given a shot within five minutes. No fuss, no muss, no side effects. Science rules!

December 29: Maniac of New York Vol. 1: The Death Train by Elliott Kalan and Andrea Mutti doesn’t break any new ground in the slasher genre, but it’s artistry, characterization and intensity make it a must-read for fans of that genre.


December 30: Love from Godzilla by Olivia Luchina with artwork by Jordan Bradley and Milo Moore. This small book is the most charming young readers book I can imagine. Every single page will make even older readers go “Awww!” Highly recommended.

December 31: The Hunters by Jimmy Palmiotti and Chad Hardin wraps up 2023 in style. It’s a hard-hitting western with cool characters and a can’t-turn-the-page-fast-enough story. It’s another triumph for the crowd-funded Paperfilms.

Thanks for stopping by today. I wish you the happiest of new years and great success in achieving your personal goals. I will be back soon with more stuff.

© 2024 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, December 26, 2023




It’s 1956 or thereabouts. Born in December 1951, the young Tony is an avid watcher of The Adventures of Superman and that love brings him to the neighborhood bookie-adjacent newsstand on Detroit Avenue in Cleveland. The newsstand sells more racing forms than Tony had ever seen, not that Tony knows what those are. The actual bookie is next door.

The newsstand also has more magazine and newspapers than Tony has ever seen before. Most glorious, it also has more comic books than he’s ever seen before. Tony learned to read from comic books when he was four years old, but he was only now becoming the avid fan we know today.

Superman and Action Comics were his favorites, but he was getting interested in this Batman guy as well. Soon, Batman would eclipse Superman to become Tony’s favorite super-hero. Because Batman, with no super-powers per se, seemed an attainable role model for a young would-be hero. He could train himself just as Bruce Wayne had. If Dick Grayson could do it, so could young Tony. Alas, he lacked the essential element of dead rich parents. Still, Batman remained his favorite until Spider-Man swung around.

We’re continuing our reading of Batman: The Silver Age Omnibus. The book collects Batman #101-116 and Detective Comics #233-257. Let’s get back into it...  

Detective Comics #237 [November 1956] presented “Search for a New Robin” by a currently unknown writer and with art by Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris. This rather lightweight ten-pager consists mostly of a disguised Bruce Wayne imaging what his life would be if his new Robin was one of the two rather unpleasant youngsters he meets in his temporary new identity.

The weak premise is that, while appearing with Batman at a bridge dedication ceremony, a dummy of Bruce Wayne is shot by a gangster. The dummy tumbles into the river and everyone thinks Bruce is dead. Taking on a new identity, he knows Batman must work solo for fear of exposing Robin’s identity. It’s faulty logic, but, after Bruce’s daydream of a new Robin or two, the police find the bullet-riddled
dummy. A half-ass explanation of why Wayne had taken on a different identity mercifully brings this story to an end.


Batman #104 [December 1956) has one of my favorite covers of this era. Drawn by Sheldon Moldoff, it evokes the giant dinosaur movies that were captivating me. Beyond that, the issue has three terrific stories, starting with “The Man Who Knew Batman’s Secret” by writer Edmond Hamilton with art by Dick Sprang and Charles Paris. In just eight pages, we see a Gotham City imperiled by master criminal John Varden. Complicating Batman and Robin’s hunt for Varden, quirky amateur detective Thaddeus Crane accidentally discovers Batman’s secret identity. Varden is determined to kidnap Crane and get him to reveal Batman’s identity. Even as a kid, I saw the ending coming a mile away but was still excited to learn Crane was actually loyal butler Alfred, the key element of Batman’s plan to capture Varden and his men. I was around five years old and my detective skills were pretty darn sharp.

Bill Finger’s clever “Robin’s 50 Batman Partners” was also a hit. Again drawn by Sprang and Paris, the tale has Batman injured with Robin having to do solo hosting duties at a gala honoring some of Batman’s greatest cases with appropriately gigantic displays. The bad guys figure they can easily take down Robin, but the Boy Wonder uses the exhibits to take them down instead.

“The Creature from 20,000 Fathoms” is by Finger, Moldoff and Paris. No hoax here. The fire-breathing monster is the real deal. Batman and Robin must battle the dinosaur as a member of their exhibition tries to kill them to protect a treasure he discovered. This would have been a standout story in most Batman issues of the time, but it came in a close third to the other two.


Detective Comics #238 [December 1956] featured writer Dave Wood’s highly entertaining “The Doors That Hid Disaster!” The cover is by Sheldon Moldoff with the interior art by Moldoff and inker Charles Paris.

Super-criminal Checkmate thinks he has escaped Batman and Robin but has instead doomed himself by hiding in a chamber holding deadly radioactive material. He plans his ultimate revenge against the duo by having his gang carry out his plans after his death. They lure Batman and Robin into a building filled with deadly traps that the crime fighters have faced before. But repeating those escapes would kill them. It’s a great “battle of wits” adventure.

What makes the story even more fun are the mentions of Batman foes that never appeared previously and are not seen, even in flashback, in this tale. It’s only a matter of time before some modern Batman writer introduces us to such evil luminaries as the Bowler, Harbor Pirate and Wheelo.


Detective Comics #239 [January 1957] has a wash cover by Sheldon Moldoff and Jack Adler. The writer of “Batman’s Robot Twin” has not yet been identified, but the art is by Moldoff and Charles Paris. The brilliant but naive Professor Carden happily shows his latest invention to the clearly shady Dr. Dall. It’s a robot that can be programmed with the knowledge and personality of anyone. Dall tells the professor the robot is too dangerous to be given the thoughts and personality of anyone other than Batman. Realizing the robot won’t be used for evil with this thoughts and could even be a boon to crime-fighting, Batman agrees.

Dall cuts the brakes on a crane, forcing Batman to leave the robot before he can give it any commands. Dall then clobbers Carden and takes control of the robot. He takes control of the robot, but is stymied because the robot won’t reveal Batman’s secret identity. That’s Batman’s personality coming through.

Dall sends the robot to capture Batman. On his own, the robot goes to the Batcave. A high voltage shock will erase the robot’s memory, but the robot knows that’s what Batman will attempt and foils him. Batman escapes. Dall uses the robot’s knowledge to help him break into a diamond-cutting factory. Another clash of Batman vs. Robot Batman commences.


This time, Batman tricks the robot into high-voltage wires using a tactic our hero just thought of and which the robot could not know about. Batman disguises himself as the robot, tricking Dall and his gang into a locked truck.

Even with its memory erased, Batman and Carden agree the invention is to dangerous to be used. It ends up yet another souvenir in the Batcave.

I’ll have more from Batman’s Silver Age adventures in the hopefully near future. Thanks for stopping by.

© 2023 Tony Isabella

Sunday, December 24, 2023



Today’s bloggy is a fun exercise in building a team, specifically, the Avengers team I’d like to write. The notion first hit me when, after watching the second season of Loki, I said Sylvie would make a good addition to the Avengers.

My next idea was to create a team of Avengers that kind of sort of copied the original team with different characters. That idea came and went and came back.

I asked my Facebook and Twitter friends how many members should my new incarnation have. The responses ranged from three to infinity. The most frequent number was seven. I thought that was a perfectly workable number of members. Then I started putting together a team I’d love to write and seven didn’t seem as definitive as I thought.

No Avengers team would be complete without CAPTAIN AMERICA. Steve Rogers was my first choice for that role. However, it also struck me that a position as important as Avengers leader needed back-ups. So, on my Avengers team, Steve’s role would occasionally be taken over by Captain America Sam Wilson or Captain Carter.

My next choices were GIANT-MAN and THE WASP. The former would be a back-from-the-dead Bill Foster because killing him off in Civil War was as monumentally stupid as Civil War itself. The latter would be Janet van Dyne because I always liked her and think she’d be great fun to write. Super-capable, feisty, smart, fashionable. What’s not to love there?

SYLVIE. She’s Loki, but not as self-assured as the original god of mischief. Her coming into her considerable power could bring some interesting situations into the series.

SHE-HULK. Okay, yes, she’s an obvious choice, but she’s a favorite character of mine I’ve never gotten to write. Look at that. I just re-created the original Avengers line-up. That’s five.

The next two members are MISTY KNIGHT and TIGRA. Because I created them and have long wanted to write them again. That’s seven.

But I’m not done yet.

JESUS RIDER or maybe just THE RIDER. Long-suffering Johnny Blaze has his soul redeemed by accepting Jesus as his lord and savior. He no longer has his Hell-spawned powers. What he has are supernatural powers given him by Jesus. He accepts there are many other god-like beings in the Marvel Universe. He doesn’t disrespect them at all. He has chosen to follow Jesus, who, of course, preached loving all people. Including gay people. Like Johnny himself.

People do come out late in life. Having his authentic self seen and accepted and loved by the One who rescued him from Hell’s agonies means everything to Johnny. If you object to my having a gay hero on this team, there are dozens of Avengers teams who don’t have any members of the LGBTQ+ community on them. That’s eight.

The final member of my Avengers team is HALLOWS EVE. I really like Janine Godby. Her masks are a super-power we don’t see too often. The only changes I would make: only she can use the masks and they always return to her. That’s nine.

If you like this Avengers line-up, feel free to tell Marvel you’d like to see me write such a title. Just expect to be disappointed. I doubt many of the current Marvel Comics editors know who I am or anything about my work. If they do know who I am, they likely think of me as an old guy who couldn’t possibly still write great comics.Such is life.

One more thing. If you count Captain Carter and Sam Wilson, my team actually has eleven members. Which is way too many.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2023 Tony Isabella