Monday, December 31, 2012


I wasn’t planning to end the year with another Vast Accumulation of
sale.  Then I came up with the idea of doing a blow-out sale.
Which I thought would be a spiffy way to thank my online customers
for their support in 2012.

None of the items in this sale will be offered online again.  If an
item doesn’t sell this week, it goes into my garage sales.  Which,
weather permitting, I hope to start in April. 

Here’s how my VAOS sales work...

First come, first serve. In other words, the quicker you e-mail me,
the better your chance of getting the item or items.  Only e-mail
orders will be accepted.  All the items are in very good or better
condition unless otherwise noted.

Let me stress that “e-mail only” rule.  Most of the few mistakes I
have made in assembling/shipping orders have happened with orders
I accepted via phone or Facebook message.  So...I’m not gonna break
my own rule anymore.

Items will be shipped via United States Postal Service.  There is
a $5 shipping/handling charge for up to four items via media mail.
Add $1 for every two additional items.  The charge helps defray my
expenses.  HOWEVER...for this blow-out sale only, there will be no
additional charges on orders containing more than four items and no
shipping charge at all on orders over $50.

Payments are by check, money order or PayPal.  My PayPal address is
the same as my email address.  Purchases will be shipped within a
week of checks clearing,  money orders received or PayPal payments

Because this is a one-man operation done between family, household
and work responsibilities, these items are only available to buyers
within the United States and to APO buyers.

When you receive your order, please check it and let me know of any
omissions as soon as possible.  I’ll be double-checking the orders
on my end, but, if there’s a problem, I want to make it right in a
timely fashion.

This blow-out sale ends when I post the first VAOS sale of 2013 on
Monday, January 7.  

Here are this week’s discounted items...

BATMAN: DIGITAL JUSTICE by Pepe Moreno. [DC; 1990]. Hardcover. $5

FANTASTIC ART: THE BOOK OF LUIS ROYO. Oversized hardcover. $5

SCI-FI ART NOW by John Freeman [Collins Design; 2010]. Contemporary showcase of the work of visionary science fiction artists from around the world. Hardcover. $5

SCHULZ AND PEANUTS: A BIOGRAPHY by David Michaelis. Hardcover. $2

SUPERMAN TIN PRETZEL SNACK CAN [DC; 1987]. 50th Birthday with large figure of Superman and comic-book covers. 9" high, 5-1/2" wide with original label on bottom and a few small dents. $5

Thanks for your patronage.

Tony Isabella


I’ve watched eight movies this month, which is surprising because
I’m usually hard-pressed to watch even one movie a week.  But, for
one reason or another, I tended to grab a DVD or Blu-ray when I was
done with my day’s work or because it was something to do with my
family without braving the holiday shopping traffic.

Bait (2012) can be snidely dismissed as “sharks in a supermarket,”
but that doesn’t do justice to this entertaining Australian horror
movie.  It was originally shown in 3-D, but it’s effective without
the 3-D.

Lifeguard Josh is hung over after a bachelor party.  He’s going to
marry Tina, the sister of his best friend Rory, also a lifeguard.
Rory volunteers to do a job Josh usually does.  Enter a real hungry
shark who kills an old man and, despite Josh’s best efforts to save
his friend, gobbles up Rory as well.  The marriage never happens.
Josh can’t forgive himself.

Josh, working in a supermarket, is reunited with Tina under awful
circumstances.  A robber has killed one woman and now threatens to
kill Tina as well.  That’s when a tsunami wave floods the store and
the store’s parking garage....and when a pair of great white sharks
find themselves in a new hunting ground.

What makes the movie work for me is that the survivors are, for the
most part, believable and sympathetic characters.  Whenever they do
anything reckless, it’s because they have no other choice.  There
are some heroes among them, which isn’t necessarily a guard against
sudden death. 

The sharks don’t do anything very outrageous either. They are not
super-intelligent or super-powered.  It’s pretty much a fair fight.
While the movie does contain some gory violence, it doesn’t dwell
on it overmuch. 

Bait gets three out of five stars.  It’s not a great film, but it’s
a good one.  I recommend it.


As I mentioned in a recent column, I received the Blu-ray edition
of Marvel’s The Avengers as a gift from my son Eddie.  We watched
it after Christmas and the second viewing confirmed my opinion that
it’s the best super-hero movie ever. A great script brought to life
by wonderful actors and scoring big in both action and human drama.
The contrast between this film and the pathetic Dark Knight Rises
is stunning.  How can DC and Warner get it so wrong time and time
again? I recommend The Avengers to one and all.  I give it five out
of five stars.


Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) is the second in the “Heisei” series
of seven movies which started with 1984's The Return of Godzilla
and ended with 1995's Godzilla vs. Destoroyah.  It’s a favorite of
my son Eddie’s but it only became available on DVD and Blu-ray this
year.  I bought the Blu-ray edition and we watched it on Christmas
Eve.  I can see why Eddie likes it so much.

My favorite Godzilla movies are those with compelling human stories
alongside the monster mayhem.  This one has them: a scientist who
grieves for his daughter, agents of foreign governments trying to
steal Godzilla cells, a young scientist searching for a new life,
the beautiful psychic with whom he’s romantically involved, and a
career soldier determined to bring Godzilla down. 

There are also cool science fiction elements.  Biollante is created
from Godzilla cells, plants, and the cells of the older scientist’s
late daughter.  The Japanese also use the Godzilla cells to make an
effective weapon against the monster.  It’s nice to see humans hold
their own against the Big G.

This one gets four out of five stars.


If Metal Tornado (2011) hasn’t already aired on the SyFy Channel,
it surely will.  The movie revolves around a businessman’s plan to
harness energy from solar flares and transmit it to his customers
on Earth.  The film stars Lou Diamond Phillips, Nicole de Boer and
Greg Evigan.  It’s not very good.

When the collection apparatus is tested, 2% of the energy escapes
and forms a magnetic vortex that looks like a tornado sans wind and
with metal spinning around inside it.  The effect is cool the first
time you see it and only once thereafter...when a woman and her car
are sucked into it.

Metal Tornado is a surprisingly bloodless film.  We hear of people
dying, but the deaths are off-camera.  The only notable elements in
the film are that the businessman really does want to supply cheap
and clean energy to the world and that, after covering up info that
could have prevented this disaster, he does work with the heroes to
try to stop what he has created.  Unfortunately, that’s not nearly
enough to save this picture.

I give it one out of five stars. 


I loathe The Dark Knight Rises.  It’s darn near everything a super-
hero film shouldn’t be. Let me count the things I most loathe about
this piece of cinematic crap.

The “hero” is a quitter and his last-minute and unbelievable escape
from death only allows him to quit again.

Christian Bale’s raspy voice routine gets old in about ten seconds.
Suck on a lozenge, why don’t you?

The once-noble Commissioner Gordon is a lying politician who has
been deceiving the public for years.

No one takes a moment to note the ending of the previous film was
really stupid.  Make the dead villain a hero.  Make the live hero
a villain.  Yeah, that’s gonna work.

The dialogue is so bad even good actors like Michael Caine, Gary
Oldman, Anne Hathaway and Morgan Freeman can’t save it.

Bane’s men attacking an airplane in flight would have been really
cool in a 1970s James Bond film.  Here it seems like something left
over from a 1970s James Bond film.

Anyone who didn’t figure out Marion Cotillard was a villain on her
first appearance has never seen a movie in their life.  Anyone who
didn’t figure out that she was Talia the second that Ra’s Al Ghul
was mentioned has never read a comic book in their life.

Bane always looks stupid.  He’s occasionally been written well in
the comic books and in the cartoons - the cartoons generally play
him for laughs - but he’s a scenery-chewing clown here.

Remember one of the few good moments in the previous Batman film?
When neither law-abiding citizens or prisoners would condemn each
other to death?  Don’t look for that in this film with its soulless
soldiers blowing up a bridge and condemning a busload of orphans to

Big body counts that leave no emotional impact on the audience of
this movie.

The movie is a senses-numbing 165 minutes long.  Someone needed to
whack it down to under two hours.

Was there anything I liked about the movie? Two things.

One. Joseph Gordon-Levitt did better than any other actor with the
lame dialogue.  His character was the only character I liked.  His
character’s background was good as well.

Two. Bane creator Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan reportedly got some
nice checks from the film.  Presumably, that also applied to Talia
creator Denny O’Neil and Lucius Fox creator Len Wein.

I give this movie two out of five stars, mostly because some comics
creators got paid.


Sing it with me. Grandma got impaled by an icicle, standing outside
setting up the plot.  Okay, yeah, that doesn’t work as a song, but
it is the first of several gruesome deaths in The 12 Disasters of
(2012), which aired on the SyFy Channel. 

The plot? Mayan prophecy.  Granddaughter is latest in a long line
of women who have prevented the end of the world in the past.  All
kinds of familiar weird stuff we’ve seen in other cheesy movies on
SyFy, including people flash-frozen and shattered.  Bad acting and
writing, including a Bible-thumping big box store owner who thinks
he has to sacrifice the granddaughter to save the world.  Doesn’t
even succeed at being so bad it’s good.  It’s just incredibly bad
from start to finish. 

It gets no stars. Not even a little smouldering ember.


Dragon Wasps (2012) is yet another movie I watched on SyFy, but it
starred the always entertaining Corin Nemec.  He’s starred in more
than a few SyFy movies and, while none of them are great films, all
were solid B-movie fun.

In this movie, Nemec is hardcore U.S. Army in the Belizean jungle.
He’s at the end of his service, but not sure he wants to leave the
Army.  Up until the appearance of fire-breathing wasps large enough
to carry off a person, the biggest threat in the region was a nasty
drug lord with his own guerilla army.

Nemec agrees to help a comely scientist find her missing father and
they quickly run afoul of the drug lord. Mayhem ensues.  Given the
remoteness of the region, the body count is still impressive with
the humans holding their own with the wasps.

Fun bit: rubbing the leaves of the coca plant which is required to
make cocaine onto one’s flesh makes one more or less invisible to
the wasps.  Making due with actual cocaine, Nemec and the rest of
the good guys are essentially stoned as they search for the nest of
the wasps and any survivors of the wasp abductions. 

Dragon Wasps is perfectly acceptable SyFy entertainment, the kind
of movie I loved as a kid.  I give it two stars.


My December movie viewing started with The A-Team (2010), which I
got from the library on the advice of Eddie.  He made no claims for
it, other than to opine I would find it entertaining.  Which I did.

You know the drill from the 1980s TV show.  Elite team of soldiers
convicted of crimes they didn’t commit.  The movie is their origin
story in which we see the crimes and watch them try to prove their

The bigger budget of the movie allowed for much bigger and better
explosions, a decent script and above-average acting.  The violence
is sometimes cartoon-like and sometimes more serious.  That duality
of violence was a bit jarring, but it didn’t keep me from enjoying
the movie.  Which is all I ask of any movie.

The A-Team ends where the TV series begins as the narrator intones:
“Still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of
fortune. If you have a problem, if nobody can help, and if you can
find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.”

This one earns three out of five stars.


Check back a little later today for this week’s Vast Accumulation
of Stuff End-of-the-Year Blow-Out Sale.  These weekly sales support
this bloggy thing and my wild lifestyle, so please order from this
and future sales.  Your patronage is appreciated.

I’ll be back next year with more stuff. More news, more views, more
reviews and, of course, more Rawhide Kid westerns.

© 2012 Tony Isabella

Sunday, December 30, 2012


From Comics Buyer’s Guide #1697:

Fantastic Four #1 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby [November 1961] was
the beginning of the Marvel Age of Comics.  But, in the very next
issue, Stan and Jack established that there were Marvel comic books
in the same Marvel Universe inhabited by the FF, Spider-Man and the
Hulk.  For when the “Skrulls From Outer Space,” as opposed to the
ones from New Jersey, invaded our planet, Reed Richards frightened
them from our world by showing them clippings of the monsters who
appeared in Strange Tales and Journey Into Mystery.

Lee and Kirby themselves made guest appearances in Fantastic Four
#10 [January 1963] and Fantastic Four Annual #3 [1965]. In the
years that followed, other Marvel writers and artists would appear
in various super-hero titles.  But it wasn’t until the summer of
2000, that Marvel’s readers would get to read “Marvels” comics from
the Marvel Universe itself.

Editor Tom Brevoort put together a six-pack of these unusual comic
books: Captain America, X-Men, Fantastic Four, The Spider-Man, Thor
and Daredevil.  Artist Eddy Newell and I got to do that last one-
shot and, to this days, it’s among my favorites of all the comics
I’ve written in my 40-year comics career.

The Fantastic Four licensed rights to the adventures to the Marvel
Comics of their reality, but, as Daredevil had a secret identity,
I was free to come up with my own version of ol’ Hornhead and, wow,
did I have fun doing it.

My Daredevil was a demon who got a glimpse of Heaven while fighting
angels and swore he would earn his way into that blessed realm.  So
he was hunted by Heaven, hated by Hell and sharing his body with a
former Hollywood stuntman also seeking redemption.  Their cast of
characters included The Wise Boyz, a 2000 take on the classic kid
gangs of Charles Biro and the Joe Simon/Jack Kirby team.  Adding to
my fun was that my story was also a homage of sorts to one of the
greatest Simon/Kirby tales of all: “Mother Delilah” from the third
issue of their Boys’ Ranch title [February 1951]. 

One more thing.  If you read this comic, be sure to pay attention
to the last words of the villain before Daredevil confronts him for
a final time. As you might guess, I was never a fan of New York’s
then-mayor Rudy Giuliani.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2012 Tony Isabella

Saturday, December 29, 2012


From Comics Buyer’s Guide #1697:

“All the best to Tony Isabella - the fearless fella who’s the
thinking man’s copy writer! Keep up the good work helping to put
ol’ Marvel on the map! Stan Lee ‘73"

-Inscription on my copy of Secrets Behind the Comics (1947)


One of my most cherished possessions is a well-read copy of Secrets
Behind the Comics
by Stan Lee.  Published by Famous Enterprises in
1947, it’s a breezy hundred pages of instruction on how comic books
are created.  I asked Stan to sign my copy shortly after I started
working at Marvel Comics.

The first comic-book stories I wrote as a young fan were written on
the same paper I would draw them on.  I quickly figured out that I
was a terrible artist, so I started writing scripts which I would
then cajole my artist friends into drawing. 

The first dozen or so scripts I wrote were written to the format I
found in Secrets Behind the Comics. Panel descriptions in the left
column and copy in the right.  After that, I switched over to the
panel description followed by copy method I still use today.  But
Stan’s 1947 method was a good starting point for a kid striving to
learn the art and craft of comic-book writing.

Stan grinned when I asked him to sign the book.  His delight seemed
to be two-fold.  He was excited to see the book again so many years
after he wrote it and that I obviously cherished this book. 

During my first several months at Marvel, I worked with Stan two or
three times a week.  I’m not sure he was aware I’d started writing
the occasional script for Marvel’s comics at the time.  He knew me
from the covers and ads and letters pages and other odds and ends
I was writing for Marvel’s magazines and British weeklies.  Hence,
the reference to me as a copy writer.

While on staff at Marvel, I learned more about comics and writing
from Stan, and Roy Thomas and Sol Brodsky, than I would learn from
every other boss and editor I would ever have.  Combined.  It was
the best education a young comics writer and editor could have and
I’ll always be grateful to them for it.

“I used to work for Stan Lee” is a sure attention-getter among avid
comics readers and those who only know comics from the blockbuster
comics movies of the past couple decades.  You and I know that the
people who can say they worked for or with Stan likely number into
the tens of thousands.  Stan ran Marvel for decades and, while he’s
still associated with Marvel, he’s since worked with several other
comics and entertainment companies and launched many companies and
ventures of his own. Even so, folks are still impressed when I tell
them I used to work for Stan.

Almost everyone knows Stan.  They know he created/co-created most
of the Marvel Universe that drives the super-hero movies they love.
They look for his cameo appearances in those films and get excited
when they spot him.  They know Stan, they like Stan.

Stan has been a major influence on my life and career.  At a time
when I was losing interest in comic books, the Marvel comic books
he did with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Dick Ayers and Don Heck were
what revived my passion for the medium.

Stan and Jack’s Fantastic Four Annual #1 (1963) is my pick for the
greatest comic book of all time.  More than any other comic book,
it made me want to make comics myself.  Which is why I devoted an
entire chapter of 1000 Comic Books You Must Read to it. 

Working with some of the most exciting artists in comics, Stan was
able to bring action, fun, a sense of belonging and even a sense of
nobility to comic books.  Back then, comics were still looked down
upon, but, thanks to Stan and his incredible collaborators, I never
lost the sense of wonder and certainty of their worth with which I
have regarded comics ever since.

Stan will celebrate his 90th birthday in late December.  In CBG and
elsewhere, comics fans will be celebrating with him.  They’ll talk
about their favorite Stan Lee comments and comics and moments and
- no other word fits here - they will marvel at how active and busy
he remains at age 90.  As well they should.

Over the years since I worked with Stan, he and I have kept kind of
sort of in touch.  Several e-mails each year.  The occasional phone
call. A precious few lunches and meetings.  Each one memorable for
me and probably much less so for him.

Stan and I were planning to get together at one of the conventions
at which he was scheduled to appear in September.  He had to cancel
that appearance because he was getting a pacemaker. 

When I first heard the news, my immediate response was to hope that
he was okay.  He was.  So I’m now going to deny that response and
replace it with a better one.

When I first heard the news about Stan getting a pacemaker, I was
delighted.  I figured it would slow him down enough for the rest of
us to keep up with him.  Fat chance of that.

Happy birthday, boss! Please know this “thinking man’s copy writer”
thinks of you often and always with great fondness and the utmost
respect.  Much love to you and yours from me and mine.


It’s time for CBG’s annual holiday gift guide, which always puts me
at a disadvantage on account of my monthly reviews are pretty much
gift suggestions anyway.  Editor Brent “the Gent” Frankenhoff has
asked CBG’s writers for five gift recommendations and the gift we’d
most like to receive.

Here are my recommendations for you and your loved ones:

Weekend movie matinees in the comfort of your home. I’m planning
to give this gift to myself in 2013.  I’ll lay out theater treats
like popcorn, candy, nachos and my favorite soft drinks.  Once I’m
sitting in my favorite spot on the couch - hey, if it’s good enough
for Sheldon Cooper - I commence the afternoon entertainment.

First up is a Three Stooges short, followed by theatrical cartoons.
I prefer Bugs Bunny and other Warner Bros. greats, but Popeye would
be an acceptable substitute.

For me, the afternoon’s double feature would have to consist of two
monster movies. The first film would of the classic variety: the
Frankenstein Monster, Count Dracula, werewolves, mummies, creatures
from black lagoons.  We’re talking Universal or Hammer.  The second
would feature Godzilla or another of the gigantic critters who have
threatened mankind over the decades.

In between the two movies, I’d show a chapter of some movie serial.
Captain Marvel, G-Men, Dick Tracy, or one of the other cliffhanging
thrillers that kept kids coming back to their local movie theaters
week after week.

Weekend movie matinees can be tailored to your tastes or the taste
of the person to whom you’re giving this cinematic present.  Keep
it fun.  Let yourself be a kid again.

Magazine subscriptions are gifts that keep on giving all year long.
In alphabetical order, my own favorites would include Alter Ego,
Back Issue, Comics Buyer’s Guide, Entertainment Weekly, G-Fan, MAD,
Mad Scientist, Scary Monsters
and TV Guide.

Trade paperback collections usually offer a great chunk of story at
a reasonable price.  Alas, many current series never seem to end a
story in a satisfying manner.  Which is why I recommend series that
aren’t tied in to a dozen other titles in a shared universe.  Off
the top of my head and with apologies to any creators and works I
forget, those recommendations would include: Astro City, Bone, Love
and Capes, Usagi Yojimbo, Starman, Sandman, Strangers in Paradise,
Marvels, Avengers Academy, Invincible, The Walking Dead, Chew, The
Batman Chronicles, Little Lulu, Uncle Scrooge, Concrete, American
Splendor, Marvel Firsts, Amelia Rules, Akiko, Elfquest
and others.

Other book recommendations would include complete-unto-themselves
graphic novels like Joe Kubert’s Yossel, Debbie Drechsler’s Daddy’s
and Howard Cruse’s Stuck Rubber Baby; hardcover collections of
vintage Archie comics; hardcover collections of works by legendary
comics creators like Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby; classic European
series like Asterix and Tintin and collections of newspaper comic
strips like Dick Tracy, Funky Winkerbean and Peanuts.  These just
scratch the surface of what’s available in book form.

Manga. There are comics for every interest and taste and Japanese
comics deliver incredible variety.  Interested in the behind-the-
scenes stories of manga creators? Bakuman is about two young men
who are  determined to create the best and most popular manga they
can.  Basketball fans will get a thrill from Slam Dunk.  TV’s House
has nothing on the medical science-fiction adventures of Black Jack
by Osamu Tezuka. Crime, international intrigue, politics, horror,
samurai, romance, won’t have to look far to find manga
in any genre you can think of.  Look a little further and you will
find genres you never even dreamed existed.

Commissioned art, original art, sketches.  Buying comics art is not
something you can enter into lightly.  Works of questionable origin
are becoming more common.  However...

You can work directly with comics artists or their agents to obtain
commissioned art custom-made for you.  I’ve started commissioning
pieces teaming up my own Black Lightning with characters created by
artists whose work I love.  

Original art isn’t what it used to be as many comics are inked and
lettered on computer.  But, whether you like comics art that shows
the whole package or penciled pages untouched by any one other than
the pencil artist, look around for a reputable comics art dealer,
of which there are many.  They’ll help you find the pieces for that
special comics fan on your gift-giving list.

Sketches.  Get yourself a nice sketchbook and hit the conventions.
Some artists do more elaborate drawings than others, but, no matter
how much detail they draw, you’re still going to end up with a book
filled with wonderful art at generally reasonable prices.  Imagine
the look of delight on the face of your gift recipient when he or
she gets a sketchbook filled or even partially filled with wondrous

Whatever holidays you celebrate, how ever many birthdays your loved
ones and friends are willing to admit to, these suggestions should
make their day. It may be more blessed to give than to receive, but
receiving cool stuff is pretty sweet, too.


Suggesting gifts for CBG readers was easy.  Figuring out one gift
I’d like to receive wasn’t.

I’m a guy with a five-year plan to reduce my Vast Accumulation of
Stuff to a manageable level.  I’m made good progress with all the
garage sales I held this summer, but there is still an awful lot of
stuff to contend with.  My Fortress of Storage looks like the final
scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark except without anything that can
melt your face off.

My end game in my war against the VAOS includes turning my office
into a more efficient and pleasant space.  That’s when I decided on
that one gift I’d most like to receive.

Bookshelves.  Handsome sturdy bookshelves lined up against the wall
across from my desk.  My comics history books would be organized on
those shelves and easy to get to when I’m checking a fact for this
column or my blog.  There would also be room for other items, such
as my manga books, my favorite graphic novels and reprint volumes
of classic material and maybe even my DVDs. 

Even though I’m cutting my VAOS down to size, one wall of shelves
wouldn’t be enough to hold all of the above.  It would still be a
darn good start to a problem that has vexed me for two decades and
change.  Now all I have to do is hope Sainted Wife Barb reads this
column when I “accidentally” leave it on the kitchen counter.  One
gets forgetful on attaining my advanced years.

Whatever holidays you celebrate, here’s wishing you the happiest of
days with your loved ones and your own Vast Accumulations of Stuff.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2012 Tony Isabella

Friday, December 28, 2012


Today’s bloggy thing is being written for two reasons.  The first
is so I can show how cool my “outside the reading room” bookcase is
looking with all those DC Showcase and Essential Marvel volumes in
it.  There are more DC than Marvel volumes, but that’s because we
have yet to move the matching bookcase into place.  

Funny story there.  We’d completely forgotten that we already had
the matching bookcase.  Y’see, when we were boxing up books to be
taken to my Fortress of Storage, the matching bookcase was put in
the part of our basement that serves as a catch-all for those items
we didn’t want to move into storage.

Our neighbor Greg, who did most of the heavy lifting in the move,
laid the bookcase flat on a dresser and filled it with empty gift
boxes.  It held the gift boxes well, but, after a while, we forgot
it was actually my matching bookcase. 

I plan to reclaim the bookcase sometime after our usual New Year’s
Eve party.  Which Barb thought we weren’t having until I reminded
her our neighbors naturally gravitate to our house on that evening.
I suppose we could turn out the lights and pretend we’re not home,
but I enjoy the annual gathering.  So does least when she
isn’t caught up in the chaos of Christmas. 

Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, otherwise known as “that German guy,”
is known for having said “No plan survives contact with the enemy.”
The next thing he said was “Oh, rot, everyone will be quoting that
and think it means that war plans are useless, which is not at all
what I was going for.”

My master plan for my continuing war against the VAOS, which we all
know stands for “Vast Accumulation of Stuff,” included setting up
my combination library/mailing station/reading room by the end of
the year.  Which isn’t happening because more stuff ended up in the
room because of the holidays.

My master plan was also upended, albeit in a most wonderful manner,
by Sainted Wife Barb buying me two incredibly nice bookcases.  These
are gorgeous and sturdy as adamantium.  The bookcase shown above is
fine for the relatively light weight of the Essential and Showcase
softcover volumes, but these new bookcases will easily and securely
hold my Marvel Masterworks and Omnibus editions as well as similar
books from DC, Dark Horse and PS Publishing. 

Getting these new bookcases means I have to rethink the immediate
details of my master plan and that’s the second reason for today’s
bloggy thing.  I’m using my blog to think out loud.

On my birthday, I made a list of 20 resolutions for the New Year,
most of which I won’t be sharing with my readers until I have made
decent progress on them.  The ones I won’t mind sharing involve my
garage and online sales.  Weather permitting, I’m hoping to start
my garage sales in April or May, so resolutions involving them have
to be met on a weekly basis.

The new bookcases are too big and beautiful to sit empty, so they
have to go into my office as soon as possible.  That means clearing
out around 15 feet of wall space currently occupied by comic-book,
magazine and other storage boxes, by dusty piles of stuff, by one
leaning-to-the-right metal rack and two dusty, cluttered bookcases.
Clearing this space for my new bookcases will be a huge job, though
it will doubtless unearth lots of terrific items for my garage and
online sales.

One of my resolutions calls for me to go to the Fortress of Storage
once a week and bring back two boxes of stuff to process.  I might
have to push that resolution back a month or two to buy myself the
time to clear the office.  The more I think about the enormity of
these tasks, the more I feel like Mek-Quake:

“Big jobs! Big jobs!”

What usually works for me is baby steps. Right now, I’m thinking I
should move stuff from my office into the downstairs family room,
which won’t be much in use after the holidays and, simultaneously,
clear non-Tony stuff out of the reading room.  The non-Tony stuff
are games, stuffed animals and various toys my kids outgrew a long
time ago.  Since they’ve given me the okay to dispatch these items
as I see fit, I’ll be making donation runs to various charities in
the New Year.  If there’s anything that might be of interest to my
garage sale customers, I’ll put it aside.

Thanks for letting me think out loud.  That sounds like a plan and
it should start collapsing in


My holiday season has been pretty darn spiffy.  I had a fun lunch
with Herd brothers Bob Ingersoll, Roger Price and Thom Zahler at a
place called Burgers Plus Beer. I had a burger, fries and a Pepsi.
Banter ruled, lives were caught up on and presents were exchanged.
Though the origins of the Herd are shrouded in mystery, please be
assured we pose no threat to good people.

My birthday and Christmas were equally joyous.  I spent fun times
with family and friends while giving and receiving excellent swag.
Don’t you just love it when the gift you’re giving someone is just
the right gift and to see that reflected in their face?  Receiving
excellent swag notwithstanding, those are the moments that delight
me most.

I watched some movies with the kids.  The Dark Knight Rises made me
glad I hadn’t spent money seeing it in a theater.  I got this movie
from the library and was profoundly disappointed.  I’m thinking I
need to write about it somewhere.

We also watched my new Blu-ray of Marvel’s The Avengers.  I loved
it as much the second time as I did the first.  It remains my pick
for the best super-hero movie and all time.  Heck, DC should just
give up and ask Marvel to make all its future super-hero movies for
it.  Because DC just doesn’t have it and apparently doesn’t have a
clue how to get it.

If you get The Avengers, watch the “Item 47" short that’s included
on the disc.  It’s fun and I hope we see these characters in that
new S.H.I.E.L.D. series that’s in the works.

I hope your holidays have been as happy as mine.


There’s an anonymous coward who attempts to post comments to this
blog on a regular basis, so regular that it’s become clear I am the
center of his universe.  His comments are insulting drivel, which
is why I never approve them and why you never see them. 

Some of my closest friends have seen them because, quite honestly,
they are hilarious.  I may regret this, but, in the spirit of the
holidays, I’m going to share with you the coward’s latest attempted
posting.  He sent this in response to my birthday blog.

Brace yourself:

Wow! You're 61 years old...and have never earned a living wage.

No wonder you hate America and love the Marxist demagogue Obama. He
makes things "fair" for you. He takes from the evil "successful"
people and "redistributes" wealth to losers such as yourself.

So when do you think you'll finally break into comics? By your 70th
birthday? 80th? 100th?

Happy birthday, loser! Stay smelly and greasy. And bitter.

Quite the charmer, isn’t he?

I’m sensing this person doesn’t care much for me.  But, clearly, he
fears me something fierce.  Because he’s never once signed his name
to any of his attempted postings.  Even so, I can’t think too badly
of him.  His crazy comments crack me up. 

This is a one-shot special “one moment of fame” gift to this craven
and delusional fellow.  Consider it a fair exchange for how good he
makes me feel about myself every time he spews his nonsense in my
direction.  For me, his posts are a minute of bizarre comedy.  For
him, it’s his life.  How sad for him.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2012 Tony Isabella

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Inspired by President Obama, I am also cutting short my holiday vacation. I'm returning to full-scale blogging tomorrow.

Tomorrow's blog is already written and Saturday's blog is nearly finished.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


It looks like we won the war on Christmas again, successfully defending it from the imaginary enemies created by Fox News. But the war will be back next year...because those Fox asshats are like Japanese soldiers on remote islands, still ignorantly fighting a war long over.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Merry Christmas. On this day, as with all others, I am so grateful for my wife Barb, our kids Eddie and Kelly, our crazy cat Simba and, of course, the friends and readers who have become, in a very real sense, part of my family.  I am blessed with all of you.  I am blessed with the ability to communicate and connect with so many readers through my writings, to entertain and even occasionally inform them on a daily basis.  These are the greatest gifts I could possible ask for.  Merry Christmas and thank you and bless you all.


Monday, December 24, 2012


'Twas the day before Christmas...and I'm still reading birthday greetings from two days ago.  I'm dizzy from that amazing outpouring of good wishes and it makes me all the more determined to entertain and inform you in the new year.  I can't wait to get back into the full-scale bloggy things again.

Just in case things get too Christmas crazy at Casa Isabella, I wish all my friends and readers the happiest of holidays.  Much more to come.


Sunday, December 23, 2012


Thanks for all the birthday greetings, my friends.  I lost track of the number after they topped a thousand.  It may take me a day or two to even read them all, but they surely made a terrific day even more terrific.

At 61, I am content and well pleased with my life.  I have so many blessings, among them that I am living what I consider a damn good life.  I am surrounded by people who love me.  I am still able to entertain and inform with my writings.  I can look back on my past accomplishments and be proud of them.  I can look forward with hope to future accomplishments.

I have confidence that the things I believe in and the positions I take are moral and well-informed.  No one can make my decisions for me - the benefits of age and, yes, a certain amount of wisdom - and my decisions work out for the best far more often than they do not. 

I am a happy man.  Could there be a better gift on this or any other birthday?

Thank you, my friends.  Thank you.


Saturday, December 22, 2012


Today is my birthday.  It's early in the morning and I have already received hundreds of birthday greetings.  "Thank you" seems like not enough to say, but...thank you.

One of the things I do on my birthday is write my new year resolutions.  Relax.  I'm not going to share them with you.  With one exception.

I plan to explore the world of webcomics in 2013.  I'm setting aside some time every week to read a chunk of some webcomic or another.  Research.  Inspiration. A combination of both.  In any case, I would truly appreciate your suggestions on worthy webcomics I can read for free.

As for my other resolutions, if I manage to keep them for a few months, then I'll share them with you.

Thanks for all the good wishes and your continued friendship.


Friday, December 21, 2012


Apparently, the world did not end.  I'm good with that.

On the other hand, anyone who chose "The NRA will fight against any ban on assault weapons" in the pool was a winner.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


My wife and daughter have decided to spent their final hours shopping.

I remain at home with my cat Simba.

This is not how I pictured my end.


I am forging myself an alternate identity as "the Pez Guy."  I don't collect Pez dispensers and I don't like the candy they dispense.  I just think the dispensers are fun.

Last year, I started buying Pez dispensers to add to the gift boxes I send to clients and associates.  It didn't matter what else I put in these boxes.  It was always the Pez dispensers that they loved best. 

I've taken to picking up a couple Pez dispensers whenever I go shopping.  They bring joy to people and I get a kick out of giving them to people.  I'm even thinking of adding them to my mystery boxes in the new year.  I'm all about spreading joy to the world.

Pez has a website that I've barely explored, but here's the link to it.

Just call me the Pez Guy.


My little Medina post office has been jammed with holidays shippers.  If you ordered something from my current Vast Accumulation of Stuff sale, it won't be shipped until after Christmas.  My apologies for the delays. That said, there are still lots of great items available in that sale.  Why not give it another look?  As always, I thank you for your patronage.  Happy holidays to you and yours.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Mike Huckabee...I know school shootings are not a punishment from God because He's not a fucking right-wing asshole like you.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


When I learned of our latest gun tragedy, my quick response was that it was goddamn time we had that conversation about guns.  Almost every other response that came to mind was too angry to post.

Like many of you, I am overwhelmed by the loss of such precious lives.  I grieve for them and their families. 

My anger won't go away. 

Angry is not the way I want to write this blog, especially when there are serious issues at hand and when I'm getting my personal ducks in a row for what I hope will be an amazing new year.  I tried writing bloggy things yesterday.  I tried writing them this morning.  I didn't like anything I wrote.

So I'm taking the rest of the year off. 

There will almost certainly be the occasional post between now and then.  Maybe I'll find something cool in my Vast Accumulation of Stuff and will want to share it with you.  Maybe I'll have a bit of news to share as well.  Maybe I'll just want to wish you happy holidays.

But full-blown bloggy things won't resume until Tuesday, January 1.  When I resume blogging at that time, I will complete my "October Surprise" reviews and get back to riding the comics range with the Rawhide Kid each and every Wednesday.

In the meantime, you can find me on Facebook.

All the best to you and yours, my friends and readers.

See you soon.


Thursday, December 13, 2012


Comic-Con has launched its new and incredibly cool website and, among the initial offerings on the updated site is information on 2013's special guests.  I'm one of them.

I am incredibly excited and honored to be a guest of the convention.  I haven't started making my plans yet, but I'm hopeful my family will be joining me at the convention.  I also expect I'll be on some panels, but that information is also a ways off. 

For now, my sincere thanks to the good folks at Comic-Con.  See you in San Diego!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


It's duck season! Okay, it's "getting my ducks in a row" season.  I'm taking a couple days off from blogging and writing to get ready for the holidays and handle VAOS orders. 

Monday, December 10, 2012


This will be my last Vast Accumulation of Stuff sale of 2012, the
better to enjoy the holidays with my family and friends.  As usual,
there are new sale items and reduced prices on most of the previous
sale items. 

Here’s how my VAOS sales work...

First come, first serve. In other words, the quicker you e-mail me,
the better your chance of getting the item or items.  Only e-mail
orders will be accepted.  All the items are in very good or better
condition unless otherwise noted.

Let me stress that “e-mail only” rule.  Most of the few mistakes I
have made in assembling/shipping orders have happened with orders
I accepted via phone or Facebook message.  So...I’m not gonna break
my own rule anymore.

Items will be shipped via United States Postal Service.  There is
a $5 shipping/handling charge for up to four items via media mail.
Add $1 for every two additional items.  The charge helps defray my

Payments are by check, money order or PayPal.  My PayPal address is
the same as my email address.  Purchases will be shipped within a
week of checks clearing,  money orders received or PayPal payments

Because this is a one-man operation done between family, household
and work responsibilities, these items are only available to buyers
within the United States and to APO buyers.

When you receive your order, please check it and let me know of any
omissions as soon as possible.  I’ll be double-checking the orders
on my end, but, if there’s a problem, I want to make it right in a
timely fashion.

Usually, each week’s sales end on Friday at 6 pm EST.  However, I
will accept orders on this sale’s items until the end of the year.
The first sale of 2013 will post on Monday, January 7.

Here are this week’s new items...

1000 COMIC BOOKS YOU MUST READ by Tony Isabella. The best book on comics ever written by Tony Isabella. Hardcover. Signed on request. Price includes shipping. $29.95 

AMAZING FANTASY #15: SPIDER-MAN! by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko [Marvel; August 2008]. Reprints Spider-Man stories from Amazing Fantasy #15 and Amazing Spider-Man #1. Re-colored comic book. $2


AYA OF YOP CITY by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie [Drawn & Qyarterly; 2008]. Hardcover graphic novel. $10

BATMAN: THE WIDENING GYRE by Kevin Smith and Walter Flanagan [DC; 2010]. Reprints issues #1-6. Hardcover. $10

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE CHOSEN by David Morrell and Mitch Breitweiser [Marvel; 2008]. Reprints issues #1-6. Softcover. $10

DAREDEVIL BY FRANK MILLER AND KLAUS JANSON VOL. 2 [Marvel; 2008].Reprints issues #173-184. Softcover. $15

EL DIABLO: THE HAUNTED HORSEMAN [DC; 2009] by Jai Nitz, Phil Hester and Ande Parks.  Reprints issues 1-6. Softcover. $7

FABLES: THE GREAT FABLES CROSSOVER by Bill Willingham and others [Vertigo/DC; 2010]. Reprints Fables #83-85, Jack of Fables #33-35 and The Literals #1-3. Softcover. $8

FILTHY RICH by Brian Azzarello and Victor Santos [Vertigo Crime; 2009]. Softcover graphic novel. $6

GENEXT by Chris Claremont and Patrick Scherberger [Marvel; 2008]. Reprints issues #1-5. Softcover. #7

GODLAND VOLUME FOUR: AMPLIFIED NOW BY Joe Casey and Tom Scioli [Image; 2008]. Reprints issue #19-24. Softcover. $7

HERETIC by Joe Phillips and Dexter Vines [IDW; 2008]. Reprints issues #1-4. Softcover. $8

INFINITY CRUSADE by Jim Starlin, Ron Lim and others [Marvel; 2008].Reprints Infinity Crusade #1-3, Warlock Chronicles #1-3 and Warlock and the Infinity Watch #18-19. Softcover. $15

INVINCIBLE VOLUME TEN: WHO’S THE BOSS? by Robert Kirkman and Ryan Otley [Image; 2009]. Reprints issues #48-53. Softcover. $6

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA: THE NEXT AGE by Geoff Johns and Dale Eaglesham [DC; 2007]. Reprints Justice Society of America #1-4. Softcover. $7

LOCKE & KEY: WELCOME TO LOVECRAFT by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez [IDW; 2008]. Reprints issues #1-6. Hardcover. $12

MADAME XANADU: EXODUS NOIR by Matt Wagner and Michael Wm. Kaluta [Vertigo/DC; 2010]. Reprints issues #11-15. Softcover. $6

MIGHTY AVENGERS: VENOM BOMB by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley [Marvel; 2008]. Reprints issues #11-15. $7

MILLIE THE MODEL #190 by Stan Lee and Stan Goldberg [Marvel; June 1971]. $3

MOON KNIGHT: GOD & COUNTRY by Mike Benson, Charlie Huston, Javier Saltares and Mark Texeira [Marvel; 2008]. Reprints issues #14-20. Softcover. $10

PARADISE X by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger, Mitch Breitweiser and Bill Reinhold [Marvel; 2007]. Reprints issues #6-12. Softcover. $15

PUNISHER: BARBARIAN WITH A GUN by Chuck Dixon and John Buscema [Marvel; 2008]. Reprints Punisher War Zone #26-30. Softcover. $7

PUNISHER YEAR ONE by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Dale Eaglesham [Marvel; 2009]. Reprints issues #1-4. Softcover. $6

SCI-FI ART NOW by John Freeman [Collins Design; 2010]. Contemporary showcase of the work of visionary science fiction artists from around the world. Hardcover. $10

SCREAMLAND BY Harold Sipe and Hector Casanova [Image; 2008]. Some classic movie monsters unite in satirical comics series.  Reprints issues #1-5. Softcover. $8

SUPERNATURAL: BEGINNING’S END by Andrew Dabb, Daniel Loflin & Diego Olmos [WildStorm; 2010]. Reprints issues #1-6. Softcover. $7

TERRY MOORE’S ECHO: ATOMIC DREAMS [Abstract; 2009]. Reprints issues #6-10. Softcover. $7

TERRY MOORE’S ECHO: MOON LAKE [Abstract; 2008]. Reprints issues #1-
5. Softcover. $7

THUNDERBOLTS: CAGED ANGELS by Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato, Jr. [Marvel; 2008]. Reprints issues #116-121. Softcover. $7

TORCHWOOD: RIFT WAR: THE COMPLETE COLLECTED COMIC STRIP {Titan; 2009]. Reprints material from Torchwood the Official Magazine #3-13.  Softcover. $7

TRANSMETROPOLITAN #1-3 by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson [Helix; September-November, 1997]. $4

WOLVERINE CLASSIC VOLUME 3 by Peter David and John Buscema [Marvel; 2008]. Reprints issues #11-16. Softcover. $7

Here are previously offered items...

1001 COMICS YOU MUST READ BEFORE YOU DIE: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO COMIC BOOKS, GRAPHIC NOVELS AND MANGA.  Foreword by Terry Gilliam.General editor Paul Gravett. Hardcover. $5

AIR: FLYING MACHINE by G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker [DC; 2009]. Reprints issues #6-10. Softcover. $4

ALTER EGO #110 (June 2012). Shazam! Leonard Starr. $1

BATMAN 3D by John Byrne [DC; 1990]. Softcover. $2

BATMAN: BLIND JUSTICE by Sam Hamm and Denys Cowan [DC; 1992]. From Detective Comics #598-600. First printing softcover. $5

BATMAN: DIGITAL JUSTICE by Pepe Moreno. [DC; 1990]. Hardcover. $5

BATMAN IN DETECTIVE COMICS VOLUMES 1 & 2 [Abbeville Press; 1993].Features the complete covers of the first 50 years of the title in full-color 4" X 4-1/2" softcovers with introductions by Joe Desris. Originally priced at $10.95 each. For the set: $5.

BLACK LIGHTNING TOTAL JUSTICE ACTION FIGURE [Kenner; 1997]. Great looking figure featuring the costume designed by Eddy Newell.  It’s my favorite BL costume and Eddy is my favorite BL artist.  I have two unopened action figures available at this time.  I’ll sign them on request.  Price includes shipping. $10

BOOK OF SCHUITEN. Oversized, unopened hardcover. $5

CAPTAIN BRITAIN by Alan Davis and Jamie Delano [Marvel; 1988] with introduction by Chris Claremont. Softcover. $2

CINDERELLA: FROM FABLETOWN WITH LOVE by Chris Roberson and Shawn McManus [DC].  Reprints six-issue mini-series. Softcover. $5

COLONY by Bob Layton and Dick Giordano [IDW; 2012]. Graphic novel. Softcover. $10

COMICBOOK CANDY SECRET ORIGINS [DC/Leaf; circa 1980].  Complete set of eight mini-comics presenting origins of Aquaman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, the Justice League of America, Superman and Wonder Woman. No candy or wrappers, just the eight mini-comics. $20

COMIC BOOKS MYSTERY BOX #33. Includes approximately 100 comic books plus another 5-10 items from my garage sales.  Price includes the shipping and handling. $25

DEATH’S HEAD: THE BODY IN QUESTION by Simon Furman and Geoff Senior [Marvel graphic novel; 1990]. Softcover. $1

DISTANT NEIGHBORHOOD VOL. 1 by Jiro Taniguchi. Softcover. $1

FABLES #100 by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha and others [DC; 2011]. Over 100 pages. $3

FABLES: THE DELUXE EDITION BOOK TWO by Bill Willingham and others [DC]. Reprints issues #11-18, graphic novel Fables: The Last Castle Willingham’s illustrated short story “A Wolf in the Fold,” a new introduction by Willingham and special sketchbook section with art by Craig Hamilton, P. Craig Russell and Mark Buckingham.  Unopened hardcover. $12

FANTASTIC ART: THE BOOK OF LUIS ROYO. Oversized hardcover. $5

FLINTSTONES AT THE NEW WORK’S WORLD FAIR [1964]. First printing. No date on cover. $5


GIRLS’ LOVE STORIES #127 [DC; May 1967]. $2

GIRLS’ ROMANCES #91 [DC; March 1963]. John Romita cover. Interior art by Romita and Mike Sekowsky. $4



GREEN ARROW: THE LONGBOW HUNTERS by Mike Grell [DC; 1989]. Reprints mini-series. Softcover. $2

HARD TIME: 50 TO LIFE by Steve Gerber and Brian Hurtt [DC; 2004]. Reprints issues #1-6. Softcover. $3

HERITAGE MAGAZINE FOR THE INTELLIGENT COLLECTOR [Winter 2012/2013]. Auction house magazine with great photos of items and articles on Babe Ruth, baseball memorabilia, Joe Simon and more. $2

JACK MAGIC: LIFE AND ART OF JACK KIRBY VOLUME ONE by Greg Theakston [Pure Imagination; 2011]. Softcover. $10

JACK OF FABLES: THE FULMINATE BLADE by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges [DC; 2011]. Softcover. Reprints issues #41-45. $5

JACK OF FABLES: THE END by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges [DC; 2011]. Softcover. Reprints issues #46-50. $7

LIFE AND TIMES OF DEATH’S HEAD by Simon Furman, Bryan Hitch, etc. [Marvel; 1990]. Softcover. 146 pages. $2

MADAME XANADU: DISENCHANTED by Matt Wagner and Amy Reeder Hadley [DC; 2009]. Softcover. Reprints issues #1-10. $5

MADAME XANADU: EXTRA-SENSORY by Matt Wagner [DC; 2011]. Softcover. Reprints issues #24=29. $7


PRISONER: SHATTERED VISAGE by Dean Motter and Mark Askwith. [DC; 1989]. Based on the TV series. Softcover. $5

SCHULZ AND PEANUTS: A BIOGRAPHY by David Michaelis. Hardcover. $4

SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE by J. Michael Straczynski and Shane David. Hardcover. $4

SUPERMAN TIN PRETZEL SNACK CAN [DC; 1987]. 50th Birthday with large figure of Superman and comic-book covers. 9" high, 5-1/2" wide with original label on bottom and a few small dents. $8

TENSE SUSPENSE #1 [December 1958]. All stories drawn by Dick Ayers.$8

VIKING GLORY: THE VIKING PRINCE by Lee Marrs and Bo Hampton [DC; 1991]. Introduction by Will Eisner. Hardcover graphic novel. $5

WANDERING SON VOLUME ONE by Shimura Takako [Fantagraphics; 2011]. Hardcover. $5

Thanks for your patronage.

Tony Isabella


Richard Marcej sent me a copy of Action Figure: From the Journals
of Richard Marzelak
#1 [Baboon Books; $3.50].  The 36-page, mostly
black-and-white with some duo-toned pages comic book was published
in September 2006 and never had a second issue.  I’ll let Richard
himself tell you about it:

“A little more than six years ago, I started a series loosely based
on my days working first with Hasbro Toys and then with Hallmark
Cards.  I was a designer/artist at Hasbro during the 1980s when
they exploded as a major company.  I then went to Hallmark where I
worked as a designer and illustrator dealing with many of their
licensors.  I dealt with Marvel, Warner Brothers and Disney.  It
was my belief many readers who enjoy comics would also find behind
the scenes stories involving this subject matter enjoyable...and
yes, I have a tone of material that I’ve recorded in personal
journals from those days.  Unfortunately, Diamond Distributors and
comic shops across the country didn’t feel the same way.”

I think Richard’s instincts were in the ballpark.  Action figures
and related merchandise are a big part of the comics marketplace.
His cover is a darn clever one and the interior stories and art are
good.  If Action Figure had come from a more established publisher
and if Marcej had worked with an editor who could have helped him
focus and refine the material, the comic might well have been able
to reach a larger audience.

Richard still believes the concept could work and is contemplating
returning to it in a graphic novel format.  In the meantime, he has
lots of copies of this issue available for sale on his Baboon Books
website.  It’s worth checking out.

With Action Figure, Richard also sent me a small sample booklet of
“My World and Welcome to It.”  It’s a drawn blog and I bet if you
ask nice when you order Action Figure #1, he’d throw in a copy of
this clever webcomic.


I have this great friend who loans me his comic books after reading
them and doesn’t seem to care how long they take up space in my
house rather than his.  As a result, I have literally thousands of
his comic books.  One of my resolutions for 2013 is to go through
them by this time next year.  I suspect by March I’ll be incredibly
selective about which comics are worth even a quick flip-through.
From time to time, you can expect brief remarks on various titles.
The All New Batman The Brave and the Bold #1-13 [January 2011 thru
January 2012; $2.99] are worth complete reading.  Written by Sholly
Fisch and usually drawn by the wonderful team of Rick Burchett and
Dan Davis, these issues have all the charm and fun of the animated
series that, in a fairer universe, would still be airing original
episodes every week.  Sigh.

Suitable for all ages, Fisch’s stories are loaded with Easter eggs
for older readers.  I literally cackled out loud when, as a throw-
away panel, we learned of the successful conclusion of the quirky
Jason’s Quest series (written and drawn by Mike Sekowsky) than ran
in three 1970 issues of Showcase.  Spoiler: with help from Batman,
Jason is reunited with his kid sister. 

My favorite versions of Batman are those in which he is driven but
not insane and in which he accomplishes missions without collateral
damage to innocents.  “My” Batmen don’t always have to be as much
goofy fun as the hero of these comic books, but they do have to be
both competent and human.

Alas, The All New Batman The Brave and the Bold ended its run after
16 issues.  With DC publishing about a dozen sullen, teeth-gritting
Bat-titles, couldn't the company make room on its schedule for a title
like this one? 


I read all 26 issues of Gotham City Sirens [August 2009 to October
2011; $2.99], a series starring Catwoman, Harley Quinn and Poison
Ivy in a shaky-but-believable alliance.  The issues written by Paul
Dini are wonderful.  After he departs, the title slides into crap
quickly.  With the “New 52" offering the opportunity to finish the
series on a happy note, the concluding issues instead took Harley
and Ivy back to their darkest personas.  It was as unsatisfying an
ending as I could have imagined and foreshadowed the grim sameness
of the “New 52" titles.


I also read Madame Xanadu #1-29 [Vertigo/DC; $2.99] by Matt Wagner
and a variety of spectacular artists.  The first ten issues of the
title were tedious, a combination of not particularly interesting
back story and Xanadu PMS-ing over the Phantom Stranger for a few
centuries.  Whenever Wagner returned to the back story or brought
in Morgaine Le Fay, evil sister of the title heroine, I would lose
interest.  However...

When Wagner wrote arcs involving Madame Xanadu interacting with the
more or less modern world and such DC heroes as the Sandman or the
Martian Manhunter, I really enjoyed the series.  When he did more
or less done-in-one stories of Madame Xanadu helping people, I also
enjoyed those.  To me, heroes are more heroic and interesting when
they are helping people than they are when they are fighting their
personal foes for their personal reasons. 

Madame Xanadu concluded its run on a satisfying note.  The heroine
has since been reclaimed from Vertigo for Demon Knights, one of the
“New 52" titles launched last year. 


Zatanna is one of my favorite comics characters when she’s written
well, which is usually the case when she is written by Paul Dini.
Zatanna, her most recent solo series, ran 16 issues from July 2010
to October 2011.  In the “New 52" universe, she ended up in Justice
League Dark
and lacking most of her characteristic charm.  Though I
find JLD moderately entertaining, the joyless Zatanna that appears
there isn’t to my liking.

I read Zatanna #5-16 last week and thought they were pretty spiffy
comic books.  Well-written, well-drawn and, though Zee faced some
truly nasty foes, she herself didn’t succumb to the darkness that
overwhelms almost all DC heroes these days.  I’d recommend the run.
It was collected in two trade paperbacks, but I’m not sure either
is currently in print.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2012 Tony Isabella

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Former elementary school teacher Lee Smith sent me four issues of
Ohio Chronicles [Prosperity Graphics; $3.50 each]. These booklets
combine Ohio history with comics in a fun way and can be enjoyed by
both young readers - their intended audience - and adults.  I got
a kick out of them.

Issue #1 covers the Millfield Mine Disaster of 1930, so maybe “fun”
isn’t as evident as in later volumes.  Smith opens with an inside
front cover that sets up the situation and asks the reader what he
or she would do.  Then, in 16 pages, he tells the history of this
event in comics style.  An article about the event from the Dayton
Daily News runs on the inside back cover and back cover. 

In the other issues I received, Smith wrote about fugitive slave
Addison White (#5); Ohio Governor Nancy Hollister, who assumed the
office when George Voinovich decided to leave early to assume his
new position as a U.S. Senator (#7), and Richard Fenton Outcault,
the Ohio cartoonist who created the Yellow Kid (#8}.  The Outcault
issue also features examples of other early comic strips.  I like
the way Smith delves into lesser-known Ohio events.  In the history
of a state, nation or world, it’s the smaller strokes that inform
the larger ones.

In his letter to me, Smith wrote, “My comics are unlike anything on
the market because they deal specifically with Ohio history.  Each
issue features a story that introduces elementary age students to
Ohio’s rich and colorful history. I am a former elementary school
teacher with little comic book experience, but have had a love of
comics and have thought they would be useful in the classroom.  My
approach was to think what comics might be helpful to teachers,
rather than what comic book people would like to make.  This is my
second year working with these comics and I have managed to keep a
bimonthly schedule.  I have even created Teachers Guides so they
can be used in schools.”

All eight issues of Ohio Chronicles are available for purchase at
the Ohio Comics website.  There are also teachers guides, a blog,
and other documents to be had and seen.  Though not typical comic
books and not as refined as say, the Classics Illustrated comics of
my youth, I think Smith’s comics are worth checking out.

I’ll be back tomorrow with another “October Surprise” review and a
few other items of interest as well.
© 2012 Tony Isabella

Saturday, December 8, 2012


This is one of the items that will be in my next Vast Accumulation of Stuff sale.  It's Millie the Model #190 [June, 1971] with cover and interior art by Stan Goldberg.


Greg Hatcher writes for the “Comics Should Be Good” department of
Comic Book Resources. Involved in cartooning programs at Madison
and Aki Kurose Middle Schools, Greg sent two publications from the
YMCA of Greater Seattle..  If he sent a cover letter with these two
magazines, it disappeared into the office of a blogger who has the
organizational skills of a howler monkey.

Hatcher is the editor of Doodle Inc. The Cartooning Class Reunion
[March 2011; $5].  This 68-page, black-and-white magazine
features the work of several young cartoonists and the quality of
their work is remarkable.  All stories and art are copyrighted to
their respective creators.

“Sailor Spiderman & Tuxedo Batman” by Brianna Edwards is subtitled
“Comics and Me, a Love Story.” It’s the most accomplished of four
stories about cartooning, not surprising given that Edwards is now
an art teacher.  But there’s a wonderful enthusiasm to the pieces
by Aja Reb, Amanda Stephens and Katrina Varney, the mag’s assistant
editor.  I found myself smiling at Varney’s charming drawings and
her struggles with deadlines.

Rounding out the magazine are “Chef” by David Lloyd, an interesting
tale of chefs involved in international diplomacy and intrigue, and
a selection of pin-ups by cartooning class alumni who didn’t have
time to produce full strips.  

From the back cover...

Thank you!!! The proceeds from the sales of this book support not
just our own Cartooning programs at Madison and Aki Kurose Middle
Schools, but many other YMCA art and activity programs running in
partnership with the Seattle School District, including Drama,
Dance and Young Authors.

Drawn In [Spring 2012; no cover price listed], the second magazine,
was edited by Varney and features three long stories by Stephens,
Edwards and Alisha Dacus. 

In “One Wish” by Stephens, a lonely young man wishes upon a star.
He wishes for a friend and, the next morning, a friend he’s never
seen before shows up to walk to school with him.  While the art in
the story could use some refinement, the story’s heart carries it.

“Maneki Neko” is an exuberant cat story by Dacus, whose work didn’t
appear in the previous volume. It was fun stuff.

Edwards offers a long snippet of her webcomic “Faleria,” a fantasy
serial involving a dream world that becomes very real to the young
woman dreaming about it.  I’m not a big fantasy fan, but, as noted
earlier, Edwards is an accomplished artist.  I’d like to see a bit
more certainty of storytelling and visualizations of the creatures
feared but not seen.

Neither of these two magazines offers a clue as to how one might be
able to order them.  I’m hoping Greg chimes in with a comment that
provides that information.

More “October Surprise” reviews tomorrow.

© 2012 Tony Isabella

Friday, December 7, 2012


On Halloween, I celebrated my forty years in the comics industry.
Which is to say I thought about how long forty years is, got a bit
dizzy at the thought and then moved on to whatever I had to do that
day.  Because, in many ways, every day, every bloggy thing I write,
every comics-related Facebook message I post, is a celebration of
my decades in the comics industry and my life-long love of comics.
I suspect somebody read comic books to me while I was still in the
womb. It may have been the restless spirit of former New York City
mayor Fiorello La Guardia.  But I digress.

Earlier in October, in another kind of celebration of my years in
comics, I announced I would read, review or otherwise write about
the first 40 comics or graphic novels sent to me.  Naturally, I
didn’t guarantee a favorable review.  The offer was open to comics
creators, freelancers, publishers and readers. I added:

If you are sending me these comics and graphic novels from within
the United States, I will send you ten random-selected comic books
from my garage sale stock and at least one of those ten comics will
be written and signed by me.  Ten comics for the one you send me.
Which strikes me as a pretty good deal.

I received 29 review items in October and that was counting over a
dozen items from publishers who routinely send me review copies of
their publications.  I was somewhat disappointed by the low turnout
for my offer, but determined to press on. 

My original plan was to review these comics in November.  That got
derailed by some family/household matters, some paying gigs and the
usual “Knock, knock, it’s life calling” stuff.  My current plan is
to start these reviews today and continue writing about them until
I get through them.  As space and time permit, other items will be
reviewed as well.  But the October items will be my headliners for
the immediate future.

I’ll be back tomorrow with the first of these reviews.   

© 2012 Tony Isabella

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Sean Howe’s Marvel Comics: The Untold Story tells of the somewhat
contentious “changing of the guard” after Roy Thomas informed Stan
Lee he was resigning his position as Marvel’s editor-in-chief.  In
assorted configurations, the candidates to replace Roy were Gerry
Conway, Len Wein and Marv Wolfman.  I have no comment on whether or
not Howe’s published account is accurate.  What I can tell you is
that there was a fourth candidate.  Kind of sort of.

The relatively few years I lived in New York City were borderline
crazy for me.  I worked hard.  I played hard.  I got burned out on
the city quickly.  I wanted to be back in Cleveland.

When I write about my life in New York, I exercise a great deal of
caution.  Some of what I experienced seems so fantastic to me that
I question if I’m remembering it correctly.  Before I write about
that time, I consult whatever notes and/or papers I still have from
those years and, when those don’t satisfy my standards of accuracy,
I ask people who knew me what they remember. 

For years, I have been telling close friends about the “changing of
the guard,” my truncated role in those events and what I believed
were the reasons for that truncated role.  But writing about these
things demanded I reexamine those events and, when necessary, reduce
certainty to conjecture.  That said, here’s my best assessment or,
if you prefer, speculation. on what happened with me.

I believe I was a “stealth candidate” to be Marvel’s new editor-in-
chief.  I don’t believe Roy knew this and I’m becoming increasingly
convinced Gerry, Marv and Len didn’t know this either.  Nor can I
believe that Gerry, Marv and Len had anything at all to do with my
not getting the job...which contradicts what I was told at the time
by someone I now think was working their own angle.  If you’re
expecting a name here, don’t hold your breath.

Here’s what I am “I was there” certain of...

Sol Brodsky and John Verpooten asked me to meet with them.  It may
have been in Sol’s office during lunch or after hours.  My memory
is foggy on this, though I am sure no one else was hanging around
at the time of this meeting.

I already knew, not from Roy, that Roy was leaving his editor-in-
chief position.  I don’t think Roy knew I knew and I wouldn’t have
brought it up to him in any case.  It was his business, even though
I would be sorry to see him go.

Sol and John asked me what I would do if I were Marvel’s editor-in-
chief.  Which stunned me.  I thought of myself as “the new kid” and
didn’t think I was qualified for the job.  Maybe I could handle the
creative end of things okay, but I was way out of my league when it
came to the business and production aspects of the job.

I told them I didn’t think the editor-in-chief should be competing
with the other writers.  I would want to do some writing - it was,
after all, my first love - but I thought the top titles had to be
earned and not seized by virtue of rank. Stan and Roy had surely
earned the right to write whatever they wanted.  Their successors,
not so much.

John asked how much writing I would want to do.  I told him I would
like to remain on Ghost Rider, which seemed like it was heading to
monthly publication.  I told him I would write a second comic each
month and it would be whatever comic book he needed me to write to
ease his production schedule.  If the writer of The Pulse-Pounding
was late, I would write an issue of  The Pulse-Pounding
n.  Any writing beyond Ghost Rider and the fill-in script
would be anthology stories or special projects stuff that wouldn’t
have deadlines.  This answer pleased John greatly.

I said Marvel needed to be realistic about how much work we could
get from the writers and artists we had, find ways to use them in
the most effective and stress-free manner and actively recruit new
writers and artists.  I thought we would need to hire someone just
for recruitment and development purposes.

I stressed that I was pretty much an idiot when it came to business
and production matters. They both said they would teach me whatever
I had to know and help me along the way.  As they saw it, I would
be both the editor-in-chief and their student.  The thought of me
in that job scared the crap out of me, but I told them I would do
it if that’s what they thought was best for Marvel.

That night, I confided all of the above to the actress I was dating
at the time.  She was excited, mostly because it meant I would need
a new and more professional wardrobe and she would get to take me
shopping.  That relationship is another one of my untold stories of
my life in New York, but I have absolutely no plans to write that
story.  I have to retain some of my mystery. 

There was a brief meeting with Stan later that week.  He said Sol
and John thought very highly of me and asked if I thought I was up
to the job.  I answered honestly.  I didn’t think I was up to the
job, but that I could see where I might be a reasonable choice for
it.  As I had said to Sol and John, I was ready to do whatever was
best for Marvel.  I added that I would be relying heavily on Stan,
John and Sol to teach me what I would need to know.  Stan was not
his usual boisterous self that day.  I’m sure he wished Roy would
stay in the job.  I could relate to that.

I wasn’t actually told I didn't get the job. Roy, who, as noted,
likely did not know I was even a half-assed candidate, gave me
the heads up that Len and Marv would be my new bosses.  That
came as something of a relief to me.  Those guys were my friends. 
They had helped me out on several occasions.  I figured things
would go on much as they had.  I figured incorrectly.

Neither Sol or John ever mentioned my being up for the job again.
Because I was still wearing numerous hats around the office, they
started giving me weekly schedules combining all the things I had
to do and the order in which they needed them.  I liked and relied
on those schedules. Such schedules were given to other writers,
but I think mine might have been unique in that it combined everything
I was doing for multiple departments. Things were moving along okay.

It didn’t take long before I started having problems with the Len
and Marv regime.  Rightly or wrongly, I began to feel they looked
at me as a rival rather than a friend and asset.  Marvel had become
less fun for me, but it’s not something I feel any need to discuss
further.  It was a long time ago and I have nothing but the best
feelings and wishes for those guys.

When things got worse, Sol and I had some discussions about setting
me up as an independent editor/packager for Marvel.  The big bosses
wanted more books.  I came up a list of 20-30 new titles and wrote
them up for Sol.  Nothing ever came of it.

[Somewhere in my Vast Accumulation of Stuff, I have my handwritten
notes on these titles.  When said notebook turns up again, I might
write a bloggy thing or two about it.]

I left staff because I figured that might ease the obvious tensions
between the new regime and myself.  Which it didn’t.  I moved back
to Cleveland because I figured that might ease the obvious tensions
between the new regime and myself.  It didn’t.  I began to think my
comics career was fading fast.

I moved back to New York because things were happening at both DC
and Marvel.  It made sense to be in the city to take advantage of
the developing situations. 

Roy Thomas was considering returning to the editor-in-chief job at
Marvel.  We had a conversation about me coming aboard as second-in-
command.  My requirements weren’t excessive.  My staff salary had
to be good enough to cover my basic living expenses, which included
living in Manhattan.  I wanted to write two books a month - Ghost
and a title to be determined later - and do special projects,
anthology stories and fill-ins when I had time.  I know we talked
about writing some big story that would cross over between Amazing
Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Marvel Team-Up
and Marvel Two-in-One.
We might have discussed my writing one of those four titles as my
regular second book a month. 

Roy changed his mind before returning as editor-in-chief. This would be
the last time even the most remote possibility of my returning to a Marvel
staff job would cross my path. I think Roy made the right decision for
himself and, in the long run, it was the right thing for me as well.

When I relate stories of my comics career, I like to remind readers
I’m really happy where I ended up.  I might not have accomplished
everything I wanted to accomplish in the comics industry, but I won
the grand prize when it comes to life itself.

I have the best wife and kids in the world.  I have great friends
and readers.  I can look back on work of which I am proud and know
that I can still do terrific work.  I am in reasonably good health.
I am content with my past, delighted with my present, and full of
hope for my future.

I’m not just good.  I’m exceedingly good. It’s all I could wish for
myself and it’s what I wish for all the great friends I’ve met in
comics and all the great creators whose works have entertained and
inspired me.  All the best to all of you. 

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.   

© 2012 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


In yesterday’s bloggy thing, Sean Howe’s Marvel Comics: The Untold
and my sadness reading it were discussed.  There was a teary
moment or two, some guarded praise, underplayed aversion to Howe’s
sensationalistic approach to the material, a personal revelation or
two and, finally, the start of my discussing the handful of times
I was mentioned in the book.  We continue...

From page 135:

...McGregor welcomes a revolving door of proofreading partners:
first Tony Isabella, and then Doug Moench, from Chicago, and then
David Anthony Kraft, a seventeen-year-old from Georgia.  Each of
them was a writer as well and each of them shared an understanding:
you leave alone my stuff and I’ll leave alone yours.

During the period when I was doing some proofreading on the color
comics, I was helping Don McGregor and Marv Wolfman, who I recall
came on staff around the same time I did...though I think I might
have been there first.  But the proofreading was in addition to my
work on the British weeklies, on FOOM Magazine and assisting Stan
Lee on Monster Madness, a mostly photos-and-gags magazine with
a smattering of assigned-and-edited-by-me articles.  On days when
Roy Thomas worked at home, I also wrote some color comics cover
copy, but only on the reprint titles.  I was fast and I was good at
all of the above jobs, which is why I wore so many hats.

What Howe calls an “understanding” was unspoken at best.  I think
it was more common courtesy than anything else. 

From page 157, Bill Mantlo is quoted:

“It seemed at the tune that the key to being a successful Marvel
writer was that you had worked for two companies, that made you
better than all the hacks like me and Claremont and Moench who’d
begun at Marvel, stayed with Marvel, and were loyal to Marvel.  In
fact, financially, if you quit Marvel and went to DC, you could
come back to Marvel at a higher rate than somebody who stayed at
Marvel.  It was a sign of success to shit on the company, go
somewhere else, and then come back, and Chris [Claremont], Doug,
and I, and maybe Tony at that point, were left cleaning up the
manure, without thanks, without reward.  That went on for quite a
while.  There was also a theory that if you were Editor, you were
supposed to write the Hulk, Spider-Man, and Thor.  Maybe Fantastic
Four.  It fluctuated, depending on who your favorite characters
were when you were fifteen. That was what ‘Editor’ meant at Marvel.
Not that you were someone who was efficient, who was a good
administrator, or who was an excellent writer in his own stead -
being an editor at Marvel meant that now you should be able to
write whatever the top books were considered to be and everyone
else got the dregs.”

That’s a long quote and I only present it in its entirety because
a few things will become important when I talk about something that
almost no one knows about my time at Marvel.  Of course, that tale
will be in tomorrow’s bloggy thing because I am a heartless tease.

It seems to me Mantlo’s quote covers more years than I was working
at Marvel in the 1970s.  I certainly did my share of jumping in to
write late books, but there was less of that by the time Bill and
Chris and Doug were on board.  My own duties editing several black-
and-white magazines, putting together FOOM Magazine with almost no
budget, supervising the work of others on the British weeklies and
pitching in to help Roy, Stan and Sol on this and that pretty much
took me out of the emergency fill-in squad.  In fact, because of my
workload and a later move back to Ohio, Chris and Bill would fill
in for me on frequent occasions.  They’re the real heroes of saving
Marvel’s butt and they never got the credit they deserved for doing
that time and time again.

Page 158 has an abridged but accurate account of my creation of The
s.  On several occasions, I’ve written about the editorial
meeting wherein my concept of an Angel/Iceman/Route 66/buddy book
was transformed into something quite different. It should be noted that,
while it was Wein who issued his imperial pronouncements on what
heroes had to comprise a super-hero team, I chose the heroes who
filled those positions.

Page 185 has a fairly accurate account of Jim Shooter changing the
final chapter of my two-year-long Ghost Rider story involving Jesus
Christ.  Howe doesn’t seem to give any credence to Shooter’s claim
of being ordered to do this by Marv Wolfman or Gerry Conway.  But
this is one of those “I was there” events; Shooter told me face-to-
face he was offended by the story.  Religious propaganda?  Hardly.
Yes, Johnny Blaze was saved from Satan’s power in my version of the
script, but it was my intent - stated to each of the three editors
I had during those two years - to move away from the supernatural
tone of the series and make it more of a super-hero series, albeit
one that would take inspiration from Simon and Kirby’s Stuntman and
other Hollywood adventures.

Page 188 states that incoming editor-in-chief Gerry Conway would be
writing Ghost Rider...“vacated by an angry Tony Isabella.” That’s
a simplistic take on my leaving my signature title, understandable
because of its relative lack of importance, but not 100% accurate.
I was angry and I did leave Ghost Rider.  However, the leaving was
because I was fired by my friend Gerry - and we are friends - just
before I could tell him I was quitting Marvel and going over to DC.
That’s another long story I’ve already told, so don’t expect me to
repeat it here.  If you do some web-searching, I’m sure you’ll be
able to find one of my previous tellings of that tale.

I’m mentioned one more time in Howe’s a paragraph on Len
Wein’s short time as Marvel’s editor-in-chief: As the writer and
editor of Amazing Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four and
Thor, four of Marvel’s biggest titles, Len Wein should have felt on
top of the world.  But he was quibbling with John Verpoorten, going
into a rage over such minor details as, say, which letterers were
being hired.  He was challenging Chris Claremont and Tony Isabella
on the way they used characters borrowed from his titles.

Quoting Len directly:

I had become obsessively involved with the books.  I was watching
my books with such a hawk-like eye I had no sense of perspective on
this stuff anymore.

I like Len Wein and admire his writing, though I think his DC work
is much better than his Marvel work.  But, when he got the editor-
in-chief job, he would frequently make ridiculous statements as if
he were dispensing commandments from on high.

When I was writing Luke Cage, Power Man, he told me the title hero
didn’t have super-strength.  He claimed Cage was able to punch through
stone prison walls because he could hit the walls over and over again
without feeling any pain.  Except, without super-strength, such an
escape would take hundreds of years.  The Luke Cage issues before
Len’s brief time as the book’s writer clearly showed that the hero
had super-strength.  Just as did my issues.  Because, after making
one awkward fix to appease Len, I just ignored his ill-considered
edict.  He never brought it up again.

We had another clash when Ghost Rider defeated the Hulk by way of
what I thought was an extremely clever way for Johnny Blaze to not
get killed by a much more powerful opponent.  While the Hulk might
have some of the strongest lungs on the planet, I figured he would
still have to take a deep breath to make that work for him.  So I
had Ghost Rider create a fiery tornado around the Hulk before the
Hulk could take that deep breath.  Len reacted as if this was some
kind of blasphemy. 

This time, I addressed his concern in a Ghost Rider letters column.
I cajoled Marie Severin into drawing a cartoon of the Hulk sitting
and holding the Ghost Rider’s smoking skull in “Alas, poor Johnny
Blaze” contemplation.  Yes, I explained as if I were explaining it
to a child, the Hulk was much stronger than the Ghost Rider and, if
the Ghost Rider had faced him head-on, the Hulk would have punched
him into little pieces.  Len was either satisfied by this cartoon
or resigned to my being uncooperative.

Come back tomorrow for the most untold Marvel Comics story of them
all.  It’s a tale I’ve only recently pieced together as best as I can, calling
upon the vast wisdom of my advanced years and a more nuanced
consideration of certain events.

© 2012 Tony Isabella