Monday, September 5, 2011


In my ongoing war with my Vast Accumulation of Stuff, I’ve started
going through an old file cabinet that probably hasn’t been opened
in over 15 years.  One of the first things I found was a pitch for
a new comic-book title that I wrote and sent to Roy Thomas in, as
best I can determine, early 1972, over half a year before I landed
my first job at Marvel Comics.  Asking my bloggy readers to keep in
mind that the copyright notice that runs at the bottom of each and
every installment of this blog isn’t there for show, here is that
brief pitch...

The Fabulous Baron Munchausen

Baron Karl Friedrich Hieronymys Von Munchausen, the sportsman and
solider of Gottingen, was either the most extraordinary figure of
the 17th century or its most outrageous liar.  His exaggerated,
often fantastic adventures have thrilled and entertained millions
since they first appeared in book form in 1785.

This book would treat the Baron’s adventures as gospel truth, but
with typewriters planted firmly in our cheeks.  Issue #1 would
introduce the Baron in the story of how he battled some 100 demons
to kidnap a sultan’s daughter and reunite her with the man she had
wanted to marry.  Succeeding issues would introduce two companions
for the Baron in Sinbad, who is hiding out from a shrewish wife he
picked up during his travels, and Aladdin, who is on the outs with
the genie of his lamp and is trying to get back in HER good graces
by performing some feats of bravery.

Stories will alternate between the Baron’s adventures against the
Turks, who, in these stories, will be a lot like the Romans that
Asterix fights in Gaul, and his more fantastic adventures.  In the
latter category, for example, the Baron invents the submarine some
years before the facts because he has fallen in love with a mermaid
and seeks to steal her away from her father.


My most recent file cabinet discoveries include:

My 26-page script for a Beware the Creeper comics story.  This had
received the unofficial blessing of DC publisher Carmine Infantino
and would have appeared in a Creeper fanzine I wanted to publish.
I lack the courage to read this old script at this time, but what’s
interesting about it is that it’s written in the two-column script
format learned from Stan Lee’s Secrets Behind the Comics. I wrote
a dozen or so fan scripts in this format before abandoning it for
the format I used to this day.

My original plot and script for Black Goliath #1.  This file folder
also contains photocopies of Paty Cockrum’s design for the villain
of that first issue.

Another comic-book pitch I sent Roy Thomas in early 1972.  When I
run it in a future bloggy thing, you’ll see why I hesitate to say
too much about it now.

A file folder containing a letter and a postcard sent to me by the
noted author Robert Bloch.  They thank me for sending him copies of
Marvel comics and magazines that either adapted some of his stories
or wrote about his work.

A file folder containing over two dozen postcards and letters from
DC editor Murray Boltinoff.  Some of these might well run in future
bloggy things.

A file folder containing a seven-page script I wrote for a planned
Christian-themed comic book that was subsequently pecked to death
by pious baby ducks...and the way too much correspondence between
myself and the editor during the process.  God save me from editors
and hangers-on who have to pray over every panel in a script.  If
this story ever appeared, it was without my name on it.  I’d made
sure the contract included a clause allowing me to withhold the use
of my name if I felt editorial changes had substantially diminished
the quality of my script.  Sometimes, not often, mind you, I used
the brain God gave me.

On another front, I continued to work my way through the clothes in
my office closet.  Once we’d cleared away the piles of comics that
had been in front of the closet and were able to open both of its
doors, I realized my wife’s maternity clothes took up much less of
the space than I’d thought.  My apologies, o Sainted One.

The good news is that I found a second of those Mid-Ohio-Con 1988
jackets I wrote about yesterday, as well as a John Byrne’s Next Men
jacket that was probably from another Mid-Ohio-Con.  Since my taste
in clothing back then ran more towards what I could buy in the late
lamented Warner Brothers stores, I can’t think of any other reason
this jacket would be in my closet.

The bad news is that nothing batters one’s self-image like trying
on clothes that are over two decades old.  Apparently, if you leave
clothes in a closet for so long, they shrink.  That’s my story and
I’m sticking to it.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2011 Tony Isabella


  1. Hi Tony, as an aspiring writer, I would be interested in viewing Stan Lee's two-column script format or, even better, the format that you use now. Would you mind sharing? It would be awesome if you could.

    Also, stop at a comic book shop for the first time in years. I was looking into the DC Reboot. I was a day early though (new comics were not up until Wednesday). What do you think of the reboot? Can they really teach an old dog new tricks?

    Enjoy your blog. Keep writing :-)

  2. I'll try to include samples of both formats very soon.

    I'll have no comment on the DCU reboot until I've actually read some of the comics, which won't be for a while. But, even then, I might not review them unless I think I have something worth saying about them.

    It's not like there will be any shortage of "New 52" reviews. I think nearly every online reviewer will be writing about them.