Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Here’s the second part of my Wizard World Mid-Ohio Comic-Con report
and I’m leading with the most personally mind-blowing moment of the
two-day show.  It’s the moment when my friend Mike Maloy showed up
in a Black Lightning costume. 

Mike comes to every Mid-Ohio-Con in a great costume.  I’ve seen him
as Luke Cage, the John Stewart Green Lantern, and the black Captain
America.  He works with an immensely talented designer and he just
never fails to astonish the crowd.  That he’s a fan of my work and
a friend is something that pleases me greatly. 

I’m told there is a photo of the very moment when I first saw this
Black Lightning costume.  If it comes my way, I’ll share with you
here.  I’m betting my eyes are extended several feet from my head
as if I were an old cartoon character.

Back to the beginning...

The state of Ohio decided it would be giggles to close the freeway
ramps to the Greater Columbus Convention Center and, of course, the
Grand Battelle loading dock.  I gather this kind of luck is par for
the course for the Wizard World crew.  In Boston, President Obama
once decided to give a speech where their con was being held and,
in support of Obama, James Taylor decided to give a free concert.
Secret Service agents literally prevented comics fans from getting
into the convention.  Closed entrance and exit ramps?  Hardly worth
mentioning in that context.

Since I was driving in from The Ohio State University after picking
up my son, assistant, and booth babe Eddie, getting to the Center
wasn’t a problem.  But it took us a couple of tries to navigate the
closed ramp to get to the Battelle loading zone.  While the zone
was small, we had no trouble unloading.

Normally, when I attend a convention, I sell bargain-priced stuff
from my Vast Accumulation of Stuff to meet my expenses and, most of
the time, make a profit.  However, Wizard World’s rules for Artists
Alley specify that you can only sell comics and things on which you
have worked.  That limited me to 1000 Comic Books You Must Read and
Grim Ghost.  Sort of.

Since I wasn’t competing directly with the retailers at the show,
I was able to deliver a box of comics to a dealer friend of mine.
So I made my first sale on Friday afternoon.  That more than paid
for Eddie’s and my late lunch at the amazing BD’s Mongolian BBQ, a
short walk from the hotel.  When you come to Mid-Ohio-Con, you must
eat at this place.  I know of guests who agree to come to the show
just so they can eat there.

This next part is a bit of a digression.  In going through part of
my Vast Accumulation of Stuff this summer, I found a nice stack of
original art from comic books I had worked on.  My original intent
was to sell it myself.  I did sell two of the pieces to an original
art dealer I knew and trusted because I had a specific use for the
money.  It worked out to his and my satisfaction...and not so much
to some other original art dealers who said they wanted a crack at
it when they really meant they wanted me to sell to them and only
them.  It was an education.

The education led me to decide I didn’t really want to be selling
original art myself.  But, determined to make the most out of Mid-
Ohio-Con financially, I brought a bunch of art to the convention.
Knowing I would be meeting up with another original art dealer who
I liked and trusted.  Long story short: before the convention even
opened, I sold all the art I brought and assured myself of having
my most profitable show ever.

Selling original art effectively requires more effort and time than
I’m willing to devote to it at a time when I have plenty of writing
work.  I’d have to invest in a much bigger, better scanner than the
one I currently own and use.  I’d have to research prices to a much
greater degree than when I’m selling books and comics.  I’d have to
take greater pains in the packaging and shopping of the art.  I’ve
no problem with hard work, but, given my choice of hard work, I’d
rather stick with the writing.

The dealer who bought my art will, I hope, sell it for more than he
paid me for it.  Far more, I hope, because he’s a good and honest
guy.  Me?  I got what I considered a good price and the money will
go to another specific use I had for it.  I’m happy.  He’s happy.
There’s a benefit to not trying to blow smoke up my ass, a lesson
some other original art dealers should take to heart.

When more original art rises to the surface of my VAOS, I’ll offer
it to these two dealers with whom I’ve already done business.  I’m
comfortable with them.  They’re comfortable with me. 

I haven’t sold all of the original art I own.  There are a number
of pieces I’m holding on to because, someday, they will be hanging
on the wall of my renovated office.  Along with some commissions I
hope to acquire in the next few years.  All paid for by sales from
the VAOS.  Godzilla willing. digression ran longer than I’d anticipated when I started
writing it.  I have more to say about Wizard World Mid-Ohio Comic-
Con.  So let’s adjourn for today and come back tomorrow when, as is
the habit around here, I’ll be back with more stuff.

© 2011 Tony Isabella


  1. I have been remiss in letting long-time Mid-Ohio-Con friends know how they can contact show founder Roger Price. Here's a link to his business website:

  2. Your commments about the Obama visit effecting the con reminds me of attending Bouchercon in the '90s. Bill Clinton was in town and you had to show ID and confirm you were a con attendee (or hotel guest)when you entered or left the hotel, as the current Pres was staying the night.

  3. I laughed pretty hard at the subject of this post. First, my hindbrain translated it into a "Hip-Hop" version: "Black Lightning is in da HIZZOOOOOWWWWWWZZZZZZZ!!!!!!" This, in turn, brought me a vision of schoolteacher Jefferson Pierce's expression hearing it said that way. After that, I was out of oxygen for a while, laughing.

    Small things, it seems, DO amuse small minds.

  4. Sadly, I did not get a picture of you when you first saw Mike in his Black Lightning rig, but your description is not far off. :)

    BD's is on my short list of Columbus area restaurants I miss most. There are some Mongolian BBQ places here in the Knoxville/Oak Ridge area, but none of them compare to BD's.


    P.S. Thanks again for signing my copy of "1000 Comics You Must Read".

  5. There's a photo of my initial reaction on my Facebook page and I'll be running it here on Saturday.

  6. Hey, Tony!

    It's even easier for folks to contact me via my "main" website: