Sunday, April 15, 2012


One of my dearest friends phoned me the other day, deeply concerned
over my blog of April 3.  He told me what a creative and witty guy
I was.  He told me what a terrific writer I was.  Then, as kindly
as humanly possible, he suggested that, contrary to what I claimed
in the column, I did have an agenda in writing about some subjects
and that I was sort of playing the “victim card.”

This dear friend of mine is all of the praiseworthy things he said
about me and, without question, smarter and more respected than I
am.  So, even though I didn’t agree with his suggestion, I took it
very seriously and thought about the things I’ve written about my
career in comics.  Here’s what I concluded:

If I have agendas, they aren’t entirely personal.  I want to tell
the truth about my career, so the half-truths and un-truths that
are too often repeated don’t stand as the record of my career. I’ve
long since lost count of how many times I’ve had these, let’s call
them lies, reported to me.  I am far from the only comics pro who’s
been lied about.  If I write about the times I’ve been lied about,
I’m using myself as an example. 

When I got into comics, I pretty much thought the vast majority of
comics people were absolutely wonderful people that I could always
trust.  In truth, there are an awfully lot of wonderful people in
comics, but there are also many not-so-wonderful people who I and
so many others would have been better off not trusting.  When I
write about those folks, I consider it a cautionary tale for people
just getting started in comics or wanting to get into comics.

Have I been cheated, slandered, stolen from during my forty years
in comics?  Yes, I have.  I suppose on some level that does make me
a victim.  But here’s the catch, my dear friends, I never think of
myself as a victim.  I think of myself as a survivor.

Much more importantly, I think of myself as so blessed to have the
life I have.  With a loving wife and children.  With good friends
around the world.  With a body of work I’m proud of.  With the sure
knowledge that I go about my life and my writing with clean hands,
honest intentions and a hope for the future that usually borders on
certainty.  Things can get better and they will.

Do I wish I hadn’t been cheated, slandered, and stolen form?  Do I
wish I was able to write more of the things I want to write and be
treated fairly by those who publish them?  Of course...but never at
if it would come at the expense of the great life I have.

At a convention last year, a friend of mine was surprised to see me
in conversation with a person who, by my friend’s reckoning, was a
person who had done me considerable wrong.  My friend was surprised
that I felt bad for this person because of some unpleasant changes
in the person’s life.  But, in truth, despite the person’s amazing
success in the comics industry, I felt bad for him...because I knew
I had more of the really important things in life than that person
had.  Call me delusional if you must, but any animosity I might’ve
held towards that person was gone.  On my scorecard, I was the one
who had come out ahead.

The comics industry isn’t a paradise on Earth.  Just as in any, oh,
let’s make that every other industry on the planet, those who work
in it will not all be wonderful people.  Many of them will only be
in your corner when it benefits them and they will be just as quick
to kick you to the curb when that benefits them.  Even if you self-
publish your own work, you will still have to deal with some folks
who are not wonderful.  It is what it is.

But, if comics is what you want to do, and it’s really all I have
ever wanted to do professionally, you will have to learn to contend
with those who are not wonderful.  You will need to be careful and,
as much as possible, make sure that you receive fair compensation
for your work and respectful treatment for you as a comics creator.
Additionally, if you want to be one of those truly wonderful folks
in comics, you must treat others as you want to be treated.  Make
that golden rule your standard.

Me? I’ll keep writing about things I believe I should write about.
I’ll keep reviewing comics and other items and strive to do so as
fairly and honestly as I can.  Some things I write about will make
some of my readers angry.  Some reviews I write will displease some
creators.  Neither unfortunate outcome will keep me from writing or
reviewing.  I am what I am.

Will I write more comics and books?  Will I achieve great success
in doing so?  Will I be invited to comics conventions?  The answer
to all of those is...I certainly hope so.

If I don’t write more comics and books, if I do not achieve great
success in doing so, if I am not invited to comics conventions, I
still have the terrific life I have now.  No one, at least no one
in the comics industry, can take that from me.

I appreciate my friend’s concern.  I know he cares deeply about a
great many people and I admire him all the more for that.  But he
doesn’t have to worry about me.  I’m good.  Oh, what the hell...I’m

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2012 Tony Isabella


  1. Comics fans seem to either not want to hear any dirty truths at all, or to revel in bad deeds and talk them up. But as you said, like any business, there's going to be good and bad, I don't know why fans have so much trouble accepting that.

  2. About as well put as it could be put.

  3. As I have said before, Tony, I have always enjoyed your work as a writer. Additionally, in your columns and blog posts your candid insight into any number of issues has always been extremely informative and thought-provoking. I have a great deal of respect for you. You seem like a man of principal, and a genuinely nice guy. As always, I wish you the best in the future.

  4. Late Night FerengiApril 15, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    When I was much younger I wanted to work for Marvel Comics like any other comics fan. However reading these stories made me rethink my plans when I saw the top names in the industry being unfairly treated. I think the next big thing in comics will come from some one who independently publishes their work. What I am glad to see is that there are more genres out there other than the super hero. I find my self reading more and more non-super hero related material.


  5. Oh, what the hell...I’m grrrrreat!

    You roar, Tiger.

  6. Tony, over the years you've twice done me favors allowing me to be nice to other people. You didn't have to and I wasn't even asking you for favors, just telling you about situations. And you don't know me from Adam's second cousin. If I explained the circumstances of those favors, I doubt you would remember them.

    But they meant a lot to me and to the people I was able to be nice to because of them. Stay the person you are, Tony. We need more like you in the world.