Wednesday, March 25, 2020

WE'LL GET THROUGH THIS

These are difficult times. I've spent the last few days trying to reconfigure my schedule to prioritize work that has the best chance of actually being published or of appearing somewhere. Once I get that sorted out, I hope to post new content in my blog and my other online venues. I'll also have suggestions to what you can post to entertain your fellow Tony friends here and elsewhere. Keep watching.

Monday, March 9, 2020

TONY ISABELLA LIVE!


ANNOUNCEMENT! 

TONY ISABELLA LIVE!

Tonight, following the Black Lightning season finale, from 10:10 to 11:10 EST, I will be going live in Tony Isabella's Authentic Black Lightning Group to answer questions about my appearance in the episode, the amazing last day of filming for the season and more. 

The catch is that you must be a member of the Authentic Black Lightning Group to ask questions. The administrators and I will be approving memberships as quickly as possible during the day.

To join the group, go here.

Spread the word and tell your friends about this group. If all goes as planned with tonight's session, I'll be going live in the group every Monday night from 9-10 pm EST. Except when I'm on the road.

Hope to see you in the group tonight and every Monday night in the future.

Friday, March 6, 2020

THINGS THAT MADE ME HAPPY IN FEBRUARY

February was an extraordinary month for me. Early in the month, I wrote the introduction for Marvel Masterwork: Ghost Rider Vol. 2. 
 
I continued my campaign to be elected to the Central Committee of the Medina County Democratic Party. I also attended my first event of my campaign, a New Hampshire Primary Watch Party held at the way cool Geeked Out bar and grill in nearby Brunswick.

I appeared on the very popular Cribbs in the CLE talk show, hosted by former Cleveland Browns player Josh Cribbs and his amazing wife Maria. Josh is a comics fan and he was geeking out over meeting me the way football fans geek out over him. The show went well and it seems likely I’ll be back.

Talking about my comics career, Black Lightning and my cameo in the season finale of the Black Lightning TV show, I was interviewed by The (Medina) Gazette (front page, above the fold) and the Brunswick Sun-Times (front page of the second section, top of the page). Not to worry, all I would tell them about the season finale was that I didn’t flub my lines and that the episode was amazing.

We’re replacing all the carpeting in our house with wood flooring. In February, we cleared our living room, painted it and got the new floor installed. We’re still moving stuff back into the room. Two rooms down, five or six to go.

In preparation for Pensacon, I was one of the judges for the con’s short film festival. When I got to the convention, I was on one of the Gulf Coast CW’s news shows and was interviewed by the Pensacola News Journal. I was particularly pleased with the live appearance. I was supposed to be on for three minutes, but the produced thought I was so good I got almost another two minutes of air time. Gosh, I wonder if some comics publisher will ever figure out how much of an asset I could be for them.

Pensacon itself was, as usual, one of the best conventions around. It’s my favorite event and I recommend it to all. I’ll have a few more specific comments as we look at the things that made me happy in February...
                                                                              

February 1: The new Black Lightning pin from Fansets. This one is based on the character as portrayed by Cress Williams on TV. It’s amazing and it’s only $6.95.

February 2: My Social Justice League of Everything has welcomed two new members: Betty Boop and Pudgy.

February 3: The Isabella renovations continue. Our upstairs living room has been painted. We’re currently awaiting word on when that room’s new flooring will be laid.

February 4: The February 3rd episode of Black Lightning showed my creation at his best and (hint, hint) showed what he would really be like leading a team.

February 5: Hair Love, the Oscar-nominated short film by Matthew A. Cherry. A funny, heartwarming story that brought happy tears to my eyes. Watch it here.
 
February 6: Arrow. The series finale was a satisfying end to this pivotal super-hero series. Given my own reaction, I suspect there wasn’t a dry eye on the set as the actors filmed their last scenes.
                                                                                 

February 7: My “Vote for Me” yard signs have arrived and they’re gorgeous. We need to wait for a break in our truly snowy weather, but they’ll start showing up on lawns next week.

February 8: Briarpatch. Great to see Rosario Dawson, another of my Luke Cage favorites, starring in this quirky crime drama on the USA Network. The subplot about escaped zoo animals is especially tasty.

February 9: Svengoolie airing Son of Kong on February 8th. He treated that underappreciated sequel with respect and a dollop of humor while including fascinating facts about the film and its cast. Well done, sir.

February 10: That moment during the Oscars when Joker was announced as a nominee in the “Writing/Adapted Screenplay” category with Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson all named as the source of the original material.

February 11: No other TV drama packs as much story and character moments into an hour than Black Lightning. The January 10th episode was one great scene after another.
                                                                                

February 12: Geeked Out bar and grill in Brunswick, Ohio. My son Ed and I were there for the New Hampshire primary watch party. I can’t wait to go back there. Any area fans want to join me for lunch in the near future?
                                                                              

February 13: Donald Duck is my spirit animal and, thanks to Stylin Online, I now have the t-shirt to prove it.
                                                                               
February 14: My Lord and Master Godzilla will keep me warm with his fiery atomic love...and this cool quilt.
                                                                               

February 15: Christopher Ammanuel, who plays TC on Black Lightning. His character has proven incredibly useful and his performances as that character are outstanding. He should be upgraded to a series regular next season.

February 16: Tanktop, a mad robot from the future in Combat Colin #2 by Lew Stringer. What a great name! I wish I had thought of it first.

February 17: Grape. Since I gave up Pepsi, Snapple and fruit juices in general, my low blood sugar salvation has been the grape flavors of Crystal Light and Propel.

February 18: The Black Widow. I love Natasha Romanov and I cannot deny that any longer. Of all the characters I’ve written, she’s one of the few I would love to write again.

February 19: Appearing on Cribbs in the CLE. Hosts Josh and Maria Cribbs are fun, feisty, smart and relatable. My segment went well and the show wants me to come back.
                                                                              

February 20: Kong Unmade: The Lost Films of Skull Island. Another amazing book by kaiju authority John LeMay.

February 21: Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Vanessa Bayer is hilarious as the exceedingly odd Officer Debbie Fogle. I hope she stays around the 99 for a long time.

[NOTE: Alas, following the events of an episode titled “Debbie,” I don’t think the delightful Bayer will be showing up again for some time. But she was grand in her appearances.]

February 22: Omnibus editions. I don’t have time to read them, but they are my hedge against depression if my work dries up. I want to buy a really stylish book stand so I can read them while standing. A man needs a dream, right?

February 23: As Meg on The Unicorn, Nicole Byer was hilarious. That show’s cast is already ridiculously funny, but I’d love to see Meg return often.
                                                                             

February 24: The Boys by Garth Ennis, Darick Robertson, Russ Braun and others. Reading the six Omnibus volumes was challenging, gut-wrenching, heartrending and scary, sometimes all at once. I’d rank it was one of the best comics epics of our time.

February 25: The (Medina) Gazette ran a great front page article on Black Lightning, my comics career and my upcoming cameo in the TV show’s season finale. Above the fold and continued at length on an interior page. Have received many nice comments.

February 26: Comic Book Resources: “Tony Isabella and Eddy Newell Had Black Lightning Tackle the Pain of Living” by Brian Cronin, far and away the website’s finest writer and incredibly perceptive.
                                                                                 

February 27: Saintly Wife Barb and I enjoyed our Nashville Airport layover at the Gibson Café. Good food, reasonable prices and fine singing from the terrific Britney.

February 28: Pensacon 2020. Returning to my favorite convention for the fifth time in a row was everything I expected. Great treatment from Mike Ensley and his crew. Wonderful fans. Interesting panels. I’ll likely me gushing about the event for days to come.

February 29: Pensacon 2020. Friday’s panel went really well. Both “Civil Rights and Social Justice Movements in Comics” and “Cheesy Monsters Raid Again” will be on YouTube soon.

That’s a wrap for February. My next goal is to catch up on writing about all my recent travels. That would including going to Atlanta to appear in the season finale of Black Lightning and to visit the set in Decatur for the last day of filming for the season...and attending my fifth Pensacon in a row.

Keep watching the bloggy thing.

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

TONY'S TIPS #327

This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder: Some thoughts on Dick Grayson plus my reviews of Bakemonogatari, Planet of the Nerds and Dark Red by Tim Seeley and Corin Howell!
                                                                                 
                                                                              
                                                                                   


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

PENSACON 2020

Pensacon is my first convention appearance of the year. Hands down, it’s my favorite convention. The organizers and the volunteers are friendly and capable people who treat guests better than any other convention, which is saying something because so many of the cons I attend treat me exceedingly well.

The Pensacola Bay Center is spectacular, as are Pensacon’s hotels and other venues. As for Pensacola, it’s one of the nicest cities I’ve visited in decades of attending conventions. The city really gets behind the event with the airport decking itself out in fan-inspired fun and several restaurants adopting themes related to the convention. Honestly, Pensacola is one of the very cities in which I could see myself living.           

Pensacon’s guest list is always mind-boggling in both sheer numbers of guests and the quality thereof. The vendors room is filled with great booths and organizations. The fans are amazing.  This will be my fifth year there and, in the previous years, I’ve only crossed paths with one fan I would consider a jerk. That’s out of the tens of thousands of fans who attended Pensacon over those four years. Small wonder I love the event as much as I do.

Let’s get to the details, taken from Pensacon website:

Pensacon takes place from Friday, February 28 to Sunday, March 1. The primary convention venue, the Pensacola Bay Center, is where ticketing, celebrity autographs and photo ops, and the vendor floor will be located. Other official venues include the Pensacola Grand Hotel (across the street from the Bay Center), the Saenger Theatre, the Rex Theatre, and the Pensacola Little Theatre. New this year is Voices of Pensacola, the UWF Historic Trust Bowden Building and the Museum Plaza Stage. Most official events and activities will take place from 1-8pm (on Friday) and 10am-6pm (on Saturday and Sunday).

The guest list includes more wonderful creators and performers than I can possibly name in this blog. Which won’t stop me from naming a couple dozen of them:

Barry Gregory, Keith DeCandido, Pat Broderick, Tom Cook, Mike Toth, Nancy A. Collins, Alex Kingston, Christopher Burdett, Mark Maddox, Matt Frank, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Kathy Najimy, Jim Butcher, William Katt, Nick Zann, Matt Ryan, Bruce Boxleitner, Victor Gischler, Katy Manning, Billy Zane, Jane Weidlin, Dee Wallace-Stone, David Warner, Akira Takarada, Susan Eisenberg, Robert Pope, Catherine Sutherland, Jen Broomall, and so many more that this is where I must direct you to the convention website for more information on this incredible array of talent.

I have a pretty hefty panel schedule this year:

Friday, February 28

Civil Rights and Social Justice Movements as Reflected in Comic Books (Pensacola Grand B; 1:30-2:15 pm)

Panelists: Tony Isabella, Thomas Strange, Mike Manning, Joshua Opper, Tom Boucher

                                                            

Cheesy Monsters Raid Again (Pensacola Grand B; 5:15-6 pm)

This is an encore of the presentation I gave at G-Fest last year. Soon to be expanded into an actual book.

Saturday, February 29

Comic Book Adaptations (Pensacola Little Theatre Courtroom; 12:15-1 pm)

Panelists: Jim Butcher, Nancy Collins, Victor Gischler, Robert Page and yours truly.
                                                                   

King Kong vs. Godzilla (Pensacola Grand B; 4-4:45 pm)

Panelists: Lemmie Crews, Matt Frank, Tony Isabella, Rafe White

Sunday, March 1

Classic Monster Movies (Pensacola Grand B; 1:30-2:15 pm)

Panelists: Tony Isabella, Mark Maddox, Mitch Byrd, Andrew Gaska

Writing for Comic Books (Pensacola Little Theatre Courtroom; 4-4:45 pm)

Panelists: Victor Gischler, Barry Gregory, Tony Isabella

In addition to the above panels, it was my honor to serve with Mark Maddox and Victor Gischler as one of the judges of Pensacon’s 2020 Short Film Festival. There were some outstanding short films this year and I urge you to see them during the convention.

When I’m not doing panels, eating, going walkabout to visit other guests at Pensacon, you will find me in Artist Alley with Saintly Wife Barb. Because we’re flying to Pensacola, we’re limited as to how much stuff we can bring to the show. At this time, I expect to have some copies of these trade paperbacks: Black Lightning, Black Lightning Volume Two, Black Lightning: Brick City Blues and Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands.
                                                                               

I will be bringing 10-20 copies of my exclusive variant edition of Marvel’s Greatest Creators: Tony Isabella #1 with the very first appearance of Misty Knight. There were only a little over 1000 of these printed. Selling for $10, they will be signed and numbered. The copies I’m bringing will all be relatively low numbers.

I’ll also be bringing a dozen or so copies of True Believers: What If Spider-Man Had Rescued Gwen Stacy?, a reprint of the issue many consider the best of the series. I had sold out of these in 2019, but was able to acquire additional copies from a comics retailer. These will be priced at $2 each.

Finally, I’ll be bringing a selection of posters and mini-posters. These are priced at $10 for full-size posters and $5 for the mini-posters. Be sure to stop my table and give them a look.

If you buy something from my table, I will sign it for free. If you want to take a photo of or with me, that’s also free. If you bring previously-purchased items for me to sign, I charge $5 per item and $15 per item if you have my signature witnessed by one of grading companies attending Pensacon.

All that’s left to be said is to repeat how much I love Pensacon. I’m looking forward to returning to the convention and hope to see old friends and make new ones.

I’ll be back as soon as possible with more stuff.

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

TONY TIPS #326

This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...some advance info on my upcoming Pensacon appearance plus my reviews of The Wrong Earth Volume 1 by Tom Peyer, Jamal Igle, Juan Castro and Andy Troy; Forgotten All-Star: A Biography of Gardner Fox by Jennifer DeRoss; and Hedy Lamarr: An Incredible Life by William Roy and Sylvain Dorange:
                                                                              
                                                                                  


Saturday, February 15, 2020

KONG KIN VS. CHEESEZILLA


G-FEST XXVII will be Friday through Sunday, July 10-12 at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare. I’ll be there and, as usual, I’ll be doing one of my award-deserving, mirth-filled presentation on the cheesy monster movies I love.

“Cheesy monster” isn’t a derogatory in my book. To me, it’s a genre of movies that, despite sometimes problematic writing, acting and special effects, are entertaining. I plan to write several books on these films. It’s not a cry for help. It’s love.

A few years back, I did a G-Fest presentation on “The Monsters of the SyFy Channel.” It was the last panel of that year’s convention. Fools that we were, no one had high expectations for it. Well, we packed a large ballroom with eager fans who laughed at and with the movies we showcased and even took part in an audience participation segment near the end of the presentation.

The success of that panel demanded a sequel. Last year, taking the name from the second Godzilla movie, I did a “Cheesy Monsters Raid Again” presentation. Once again, we packed a ballroom, got laughs,had fun and left the audience wanting more. I hadn’t even left the stage when I was being asked:

“What are you going to do next year?”
Okay, they weren’t paying attention. Because, at the end of my 2019 presentation, I announced my 2020 presentation:

KONG KIN VS. CHEESEZILLA

I’m going to be talking about and mocking (ever so gently) films starring giant apes and Godzilla wannabes. The giant apes must be at least as tall as the Son of Kong, though I will be stretching the “ape” designation to include other giant hairy creatures. An example of that might be Bigfoot, the 2012 flick in which the title creature kicked Alice Cooper to his apparent death several miles away from the scene of their confrontation.

As for the Godzilla imitators, they have to be big enough to knock down buildings and they have to be some sort of lizard. After all, we have standards to maintain. (We don’t.)

As I’ve done in the past, I’m calling on the readers of this blog and all my other online friends to suggest monsters worthy of the recognition this presentation offers. I need your help. I need your help because I will need to watch or rewatch dozens of movies to create this presentation. This is a literal cry for help. I’d like to finalize my list by the end of May.

If you have a suggestion, email it to me. I’ll do my best to track down and watch even the most obscure giant apes and lizards films. Because I’m clearly quite mad.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2020 Tony Isabella