Sunday, September 4, 2011


It’s the Labor Day weekend and I have no idea how many of my loyal
readers will visit here today.  I thought about taking the weekend
off, but I’m having too good a time writing this daily blog.  Hope
you’re enjoying it as well and, if you are taking the holidays off
from the Internet, it’s okay.  You can always catch up with these
bloggy bits on Tuesday. 

I am continuing the struggle against my Vast Accumulation of Stuff
on multiple fronts.  My bedroom armoire had two stacks of t-shirts
so tightly packed that the bottom ones were stuck to the wood.  I
now have two half-stacks of t-shirts, one stack containing shirts
I can and will actually wear, the other containing shirts that have
some sentimental value for me.  My rough guess is that I’m going to
donate around sixty shirts to various charities.

I started going through my office closet on Thursday, albeit at a
more leisurely pace.  I’ve only found a couple of items that still
fit me, but I have found two items that might be a worth a little
money.  One is a special Superman t-shirt (never worn) designed to
be sold in Cleveland as a fundraiser for Neverending Battle, Inc.,
an ill-conceived organization of which I was a part. 

NEB’s purpose was to honor Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in the very
city where they created the Man of Steel.  The organization died an
ignominious death after putting on the International Superman Expo
in 1988.  This t-shirt features Superman flying over the skyline of
Cleveland.  The phrase WHERE LEGENDS ARE BORN runs beneath the art.
I don’t know how many of these shirts were made and sold, but this
one is an extra-large.

The other item is easily the rarer of the two.  It’s the 1988 Mid-
Ohio-Con jacket (100% nylon shell with 85% acetate and 15% nylon
lining).  It’s blue with a gold Mid-Ohio-Con 1988 logo on the left
chest.  On the back is a large blue, red, and gold patch featuring
Superman and celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Man of Steel’s
debut in Action Comics #1.  Size-wise, it’s a large and that means
I never wore it more than once.  My best guess is that less than a
hundred of these jackets were made and sold. 

I have no idea what these items will bring when I auction them off
on eBay.  I just think they’re neat.

On another front, I started going through a file cabinet I haven’t
used in over a decade.  So far, I’ve found:

My original “script package” for the Ant-Man story I wrote for The
Amazing Spider-Man Annual
#24 (1990).  This consists of the index
cards on which I broke down the story panel by panel, the two-page
(single-spaced) plot for the story, reduced photo copies of Steve
Ditko’s pencils for the story with my caption/balloon placements,
my script, and the published story clipped from the issue in which
it appeared.  Outside of the photo copies of the art, everything is
the original.  I sent copies of the plot and script to Marvel and
kept the originals.  With a little coaxing, I could scan all of the
above and run them over a bloggy thing or three.

The color guide for the cover of Batman #200, autographed by artist
Neal Adams.  At least that’s what I think it is.

Copies of Sam Hamm’s first draft and revised first draft screenplay
for Batman (1989).  I can’t recall how I got these or if I ever got
around to reading them and comparing them to the movie.  Over the
years, people have sent me a lot of stuff and probably some stuff
they shouldn’t have sent me.  These scripts will go back into the
files until I have time for them.  That could be another decade or
so down the road.   

Of the file cabinet stuff, the discovery that excited me most was
the pitch for a comic-book title I wrote and sent to Marvel Comics
prior to my being hired by the company in 1972.  I sent a bunch of
pitches to Roy Thomas back then and, considering I found this one,
the others might be in the old file cabinet as well. 

Tell you what.  Come back tomorrow and you can read that old pitch.
I might have a few other surprises for you as well.

© 2011 Tony Isabella


  1. Make sure that you post a link to those eBay auctions - some of that stuff is pure gold for people like me.

  2. Would like to see the Ant-Man story as well as the old pitch stories!

  3. The NEB's had it's good intentions, just some of the people on board should have jumped ship, and let others take over.
    What ever happened to the special Superman comic that was going to be produced? I recall seeing some of the art and well as part of the 1940's Sperman and the Great Cleveland Fire reprint?

  4. I'll add my voice to the request to see the Ant-Man story, and hear about your thoughts and experiences doing it, and working with Steve Ditko.

  5. The NEB's problems were there from the start. For one thing, I should have never had more than a minor board position. I only agreed to be on the board because I was promised by Tim Gorman and Alan Hills that we would have some local movers and shakers on the board. They never delivered on that, probably because anyone with any sense would have booted them early on. More than anyone else, those two are responsible for the failure of the organization. Followed by those of us who took too long to recognize them for what they were.

    I only became president of NEB (just before the Expo) because Gorman had made deals he had no authority to make and my taking over his position was a way of avoid lawsuits. As I recall, DC practically insisted I step up and take the job.

    Sadly, the special Superman comic book was never published, though some stories were completed. It was meant to be a permanent sales item in the never-realized Siegel and Shuster Museum.

    Over two decades later, it's still painful for me to think about NEB. I lost over $50,000 in merchandise and other considerations that the organization never paid me for. A good friend of mine lost just as much.

    I and the other trustees were dragged through the mud by the Plain Dealer, which protected the well-connected Tim Gorman and Alan Hills. The paper even published my store's phone number, leading to months of angry people calling me as my own business was failing. Many of these were people seeking to collect for services I had been told were donations.

    I was a new father with a failing business (due in part to my NEB association) and all of this was dumped on me as well.

    Not happy times...and they still hurt. Just recently, for example, I got confirmation of something I always suspected...that Gorman helped someone steal tens of thousands of dollars of Superman merchandise and memorabilia at the end of the Expo. The thief now brags about it.

    Sorry to go on this long. Someday, when I can stomach it, I'll tell the whole NEB story.

  6. I would like to vote yes on posting the scans as well, and I look forward to tomorrow.