Friday, September 2, 2011


Before I commence the random news and views for your entertainment
and edification, some personal notes...

I’ll be announcing the rest of my 2011 convention appearances next
week.  If there are convention promoters who would like to have me
at an event, they can e-mail me. Let me know what kind of support
(hotel, tables, travel expenses) you can provide and we can discuss
it from there.  The same holds true for comics retailers who would
like me to sign at their stores.

If you’re a creator, editor, or publisher seeking to have me review
your book or comics in my Comics Buyer’s Guide column or in “Tony
Isabella’s Bloggy Thing,” your best chance of accomplishing that is
to send it to me.  I can’t guarantee a review, but I probably won’t
see your book or comics any other way.  Also, I can’t/won’t review
anything from a PDF or online link.  I have tried and it’s just not
within the comfort zone of this old caveman.  To send me a review
copy of your book or comics, or anything else you want to send me,
the address remains:

Tony Isabella
840 Damon Drive
Medina, OH 44256


Showcase Presents: The Trial of the Flash (DC; $19.99].

Really?  I mean, really?

I owned and managed a comics store when these issues first saw the
light of day.  I remember watching the sales of The Flash plummet
month after month.  I don’t remember anyone having a kind word for
this interminable story.  Indeed, I remember readers hating it with
a passion.  I remember thinking my pal Bob Ingersoll could’ve told
the whole story in one issue and it would have been so much better
than what DC did publish.  I remember thinking I could have dealt
with this faux-crisis in two pages or less.  Justifiable homicide.
Self-defense (which, as Ingersoll so often reminds us, includes the
defense of others). Police and civilians are allowed to respond to
lethal force with lethal force.  It’s too bad you had to kill that
villain, Flash, but it was a righteous shoot. 

Showcase Presents: The Trial of the Flash (DC; $19.99].

Really?  I mean, really?

The Black Lightning series I did with Eddy Newell in the 1990s was
almost universally praised. That series has never been reprinted by
DC Comics in way, shape, or format.  But they reprinted the entire
tedious “Trial of the Flash.”

Really?  I mean, really?

Showcase Presents: The Trial of the Flash (DC; $19.99].

ISBN 978-1-4012-3182-8


The chair is dead.  Long live the chair. 

My office chair, the one where my ass has rested comfortably during
the writing of nearly everything I’ve written for the past 15 or so
years, has been taken from my office.  It broke this week and now
lists dangerously to the right, much like most of the United States
of America.  I could lie and tell you I was taking my old writing
companion out to a beautiful farm where it could chase rabbits all
day, but the sad brutal truth is that, come Sunday night, it will
be out on the lawn for a Monday morning removal by the city trash
collectors.  If any of my readers wish to preserve this little bit
of comics history, he or she is welcome to drive to my house before
the arrival of the trash collectors.

My new chair?  It’s too early in the relationship for me to discuss
it.  It’s just getting to know my ass.


Archie #623 [$2.99] stars the Archies, Josie and the Pussycats, and
the Bingoes (from “That Wilkin Boy”) in “Banded Together,” a book-
length story by Dan Parent (script), Fernando Ruiz (pencils), and
Rich Koslowski (inks).  The Archies and the Pussycats get caught up
in a bitter competition between Simon Cowell of The X Factor and J.
Lo of American idol. Meanwhile, the Bingoes try keep their reality
show about their struggling band.

Two things make this issue notable:

Archie and Valerie (of the Pussycats) resume their romance, much to
the consternation of Betty and Veronica.  Both Cowell and J. Lo try
to exploit the relationship to their own advantage.

Cowell and J. Lo are shown in a fairly unfavorable light throughout
the story.  They are petty and even underhanded as they try to beat
each other for ratings. That’s harder humor than we usually see in
an Archie comic book.  I kind of liked it.

Recommended manga: Black Jack by Osamu Tezuka [Vertical; $16.95 per
volume].  Black Jack is an unlicenced surgeon of superhuman skill
and knowledge.  He charges extraordinarily high fees and is berated
as a medical mercenary, but, frequently, his humanity will surprise
his patience.  There are usually just over a dozen stories in each
book and they often fall squarely in the realm of science fiction.
Every now and then, an episode will shed some light on Black Jack’s
past.  If you like House, you’ll love Black Jack.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2011 Tony Isabella


  1. Totally agree on the Black Jack recommendation, Tony. I often tell people it's like House if House was unlicensed, a bit crazier, and a hundred times more talented. Every story is great fun.

  2. I suspect that the choices for SHOWCASE reprints these days are determined by a) what Dan DiDio liked as a fanboy and b) who has signed the "you can reprint everything I worked on and pay me whatever you want instead of the reprint fees specified in my original contracts" agreement.

    As far as your chair, unless the Medina Sanitation Department works on holidays, it will be out there till Tuesday, giving anyone who wants to immortalize your butt-print an extra day to pick it up.

  3. I forgot about the holiday, a not uncommon thing for a freelancer.

  4. If DiDio liked that storyline as a fanboy, it would explain so much about what's been happening to the DCU on his watch.

  5. Hi Tony! Long-time fan (since before the original Black Lightning series). I have to say, I had a similar reaction to the announcement (and publication) of the Trial of the Flash Showcase volume. This series killed the book. It's what made the Flash so attractive a character to be targeted for death in Crisis On Infinite Earths. It was universally reviled. Bob Ingersoll was exhausted from overwork writing about it (to be fair, Vigilante contributed).

    Chalk me up as someone who would love to see both of your Black Lightning series collected (which would also give us a chance to see the unpublished material from the implosion).

    Hope you have a great holiday. And while I'm at it, cheers to Bob Rozakis up there in the thread!

    Keith Bowden

  6. They did skip about half a dozen issues in the reprint. I think they did this so they can issue the ultimate omnibus edition for $200 in a year or so.

    DC is woefully behind the times in terms of collected editions. Much of the good stuff remains uncollected, probably because they'd have to pay fair rates for that material.

    And is it me or is DiDio out Jemas-ing Jemas?

  7. If that "ultimate omnibus edition" bit isn't a joke, the world is doomed.

    Truth be told, I don't know if I could sign the "one size fits all forever and go away" contract DC tried to get people to sign. I;m told Michael Fleischer wouldn't sign it and that's why there was never a second Jonah Hex Showcase. I might agree to changing the terms for a specific book, but agreeing to what comes down to "DC will pay whatever they want if they feel like it and this means forever" just doesn't seem to right to me.

    As for DiDio, let's just say I don't think he's good at anything he does, DC Comics-wise.