Monday, October 10, 2011


Grim Ghost #5 [Atlas Comics; $2.99] will be on sale in most comics
shops this week.  It might be lost in the midst of “The New 52" and
various fearful Marvel titles, but it will be there and I certainly
hope you buy and enjoy it.

I haven’t written much about Grim Ghost in this blog, but, having
finished the sixth and final issue of the first story arc, I wanted
to share a few things today.  When the gig was offered to me, I had
four reasons for accepting it.

It was a decent-paying job, which is always welcome to a freelance
writer whose two kids are attending The Ohio State University and
who also has the not inconsequential expense of maintaining Casa
Isabella.  That wasn’t the main reason, but it certainly figured in
my decision.

I was amused at the notion of returning to a character I’d written
exactly once and that over 35 years ago.  That’s close to the last
thing I would have expected.

I was intrigued by several elements of the story, especially those
I felt I could make my own.  The Atlas brass has been generous in
allowing me to write the book my way.  More editors and publishers
should take a cue from them.

I wanted to prove to myself that I could still write terrific comic
books after being away from that discipline for over a decade.  I’d
written some newspaper strips in that decade, but it’s really not
the same thing. While certainly some readers or reviewers might
disagree with my assessment, I believe I did prove that...and I’ll
be doing more comic-book writing in the very near future.

I’m proud of Grim Ghost and very appreciative of Atlas.  That’s why
I’ll be making the long drive to attend the New York Comic Con come
mid-week.  I’ll be signing Grim Ghost and other Isabella stuff at
the Atlas Comics booth (659). 

Though I’ll doubtless be at the Atlas booth at various random times
throughout the convention, my official signing times are:

Friday (Noon),

Saturday (11 AM),

Sunday (2 PM).

Please visit the booth during those times to show your support for
my work and for Atlas Comics.  I’d love to see you there.

When I’m not at the Atlas booth, I’ll be wandering the convention,
visiting friends, taking a few meetings, that sort of thing.  Since
this is a huge convention - I assume I’ll be terrified the moment
I enter the building and remain that way all weekend - it might be
hard for you to find me.

If you’re a friend...if you’re an artist, editor, or publisher who
would like to work with me...if you’re an industry person who wants
to talk with me...if you’re one of my legion of readers...if you’re
a cosplayer dressed as one of the characters I created or that I’ve
written...and you would like to get together with me, please send
me an e-mail or a message.  I’ll respond with a cell phone number
that you can use to contact me at the convention.

Digression. At the convention, you’ll likely have to text me.  I’m
sure I won’t be able to carry on a phone conversion in the middle
of a big and presumably noisy convention. 

I’m nervous as all get out, but I am very much looking forward to
the New York Comic Con.  See you there.


Public service announcement.  If you’re having a tough time finding
Grim Ghost or any of the Atlas titles at your local comics store,
you can order them directly from the publisher at:


In between reading issues of “The New 52,” I’ve been reading DC’s
“Retroactive” series, which combines new stories allegedly told in
the styles of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s with reprinted tales from
those decades.  I liked the Batman issues, didn’t care much for the
Flash issues, and thought the Green Lantern issues were as good as
the Batman issues.

The new story in DC Retroactive: Green Lantern The ‘70s [$4.99] is
written by Denny O’Neil and drawn by Mike Grell.  It was actually
two stories starring, respectively, Green Lantern and Green Arrow,
that didn’t have much in common.  But they were entertaining tales
in that “heavy, man” 1970s style and I was amused that Grell was
the artist.  Amused because the Green Arrow story had the Emerald
Archer still trying to get past his accidental slaying of a young
criminals and it was Grell who, some years later, transformed the
Arrow into a more bloodthirsty hero than he was here.

The reprint was “No Evil Shall Escape My Sight,” the famous story
which established the Lantern/Arrow team and put social relevance
in the comics on the map.  There are parts of the story that make
me wince today, but there’s no denying how influential this tale,
drawn by Neal Adams, was for myself and virtually every comics
writer of the decade.

DC Retroactive: Green Lantern The ‘80s [$4.99] featured stories by
Len Wein, one of the best comics writers of that and several other
decades.  “The Big Betrayal!” is drawn by Joe Staton (pencils) and
Andy Owens (inks) and stars John Stewart.  Wein shows what happens
when a super-hero’s identity is exposed.  He also delivers a great
moment between Stewart and Sonar.  Good stuff.

Drawn by Dave Gibbons, “Judgment Day” finds Hal Jordan petitioning
the Guardians to allow him to return to Earth after a year’s exile
in space.  Another solid tale with a chewy human center. 

Kyle Rayner and writer Ron Marz take the stage for DC Retroactive:
Green Lantern The ‘90s
[$4.99]. The early Rayner wasn’t a terrible
character, but he had the misfortune of being the guy who replaced
Hal Jordan after Hal was savaged/twisted in one of the worst super-
hero stories of all time.  The stories in this issue - “Hothead” by
Marz, with art by Darryl Banks (pencils) and Terry Austin (inks),
as well as “A Beginning” by Marz, Banks, and inker Romeo Tanghal -
showcase Rayner’s new hero trying to fill some large boots and the
character’s imaginative use of the power ring.  These are fun and
solid super-hero stories.


No review per se, but I wanted to note for the record that Avengers
remains my favorite Marvel Comics title.  Writer Christos
Gage is doing a superlative job with this mix of seasoned veterans
and at-risk newcomers.  There was even much to enjoy in the “Fear
Itself” issues and that’s saying something considering the, well,
sheer awfulness of the latest Marvel crossover event.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2011 Tony Isabella

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