Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Previously in “Tony Isabella’s Bloggy Thing”: I think I died and
went to Comic-Con, which is my second happiest place on Earth.  My
report continues...

What I remember about Friday morning is that I wasn’t the least bit
hungry and more than a bit nervous.  Between nine and ten, I went
to the Guest Relations Team booth to meet Sean Rowe, my volunteer.
Sean is going to be one heck of a veterinarian some day soon, but
his Comic-Con assignment was to make sure I got to panels on time.
Sean and all the volunteers were terrific.  Yes, I’ve already said
that in previous reports, but it bears repeating.  Comic-Con works
as well as it does because the staff and volunteers are some of the
most competent and generous people I’ve ever met at a convention.
Their many kindnesses towards me and my family are not something I
will ever forget.

Here’s why I was a bit nervous...

Spotlight on Tony Isabella

Comic-Con special guest Tony Isabella is the man who brought you
Black Lightning, It the Living Colossus, The Shadow War of Hawkman,
The Champions, and so many more memorable comics, plus his
long-running column in Comic Buyer’s Guide. He will be ruthlessly
interrogated about them and other milestones of his career by his
longtime friend Mark Evanier.

Friday July 19, 2013 10:00am – 11:00am

Room 9

My spotlight panel had what Mark told me was a good attendance for
an early morning panel.  I would call the audience modest but very
enthusiastic.  This spotlight panel is a blur in my memories, but,
fortunately, the ever-dependable Jamie Coville recorded it and also
summarized it:

Mark Evanier interviewed Tony about his career in comics. They
talked about his getting involved in comic fandom, his comic
reading as a kid, particularly FF Annual #1, his love of giant
monsters, his living in New York City and the seedy hotel on Times
Square he lived in. He spoke about his editorial work at Marvel,
writing books under tight deadlines when other people blew them,
his favorite artists to work with, in particular Frank Robbins and
Eddy Newell, him getting a chance to work with Steve Ditko and Jack
Kirby. Tony revealed that he [planned] a large, multi-issue Captain
America story only to later find out that Kirby had already been
hired to take over the book after a few issues. He also spoke a bit
about co-writing with Bob Ingersoll. He said he would have loved to
have more time on Daredevil and Ghost Rider. He said his original
Champions pitch was an Iceman and Angel buddy book with them on the
road getting involved in [exciting] situations. Said he would still
liked to have written that. Tony also won an Inkpot award for his
work in comics and Tony his love to the convention for having him
as a guest. 

I do remember feeling the weight of that Inkpot award, something
I’ll treasure all my life, and giving a spoofy acceptance speech in
which I thanked my wife Barb for making the kind of life for me in
which I can create and also thanking my lord and master Godzilla.
You can listen to my spotlight panel here.

Two follow-ups to the above...

I have the best life I could have ever imagined for myself.  I have a
wonderful wife and family and friends and neighbors.  I live in a
nice, Tardis-like house.  I’m still writing for a living, even if
the writing I do isn’t always credited or even comics-related.  I
have come through the bad stuff in my career and am no longer in a
world where the bad stuff can impact my life.  At worst, it annoys
me.  I’m a happy man.

Comic-Con has given out a lot of Inkwell awards.  That doesn’t take
away from the thrill of getting one.  When I say I feel the weight
of this honor, I’m not just talking the physical heft of the award.
I feel I need to prove worthy of it.  I had already decided I would
emphasize the good things in my life and be forgiving of those who
have done me wrong in the past.  It’s not always easy, but I’ll be
working at it.

I do sincerely thank Comic-Con for this award.  If you took photos
of my spotlight panel or any other photos of myself and my family,
please feel free to share them on my Facebook page.

Following my spotlight, I was scheduled to appear in the autograph
area for an hour.  This was under the Sails, a big airy area which
also housed fan registration, an art show, portfolio reviews and an
great exhibit of Eisner Awards winners and Hall of Fame honorees.
All by itself, it’s bigger than most conventions.

I didn’t sign a lot of comics and books at this signing.  I signed
a lot more at any of my other convention or store appearances over
the year.  Which, given how many professionals, special guests and
media stars attend Comic-Con, was pretty much what I expected to be
the case.  I probably signed more Isabella stuff walking around the
convention since I always made time for any readers who wanted to
ask me some questions or get something signed.  If I could make any
Comic-Con attendee’s experience a little better, I was thrilled to
do so.  I loved giving something back to Comic-Con.

There were perks to my autograph session.  I got to spend a lot of
time with some really cool people.  My long-time pal Steve Chaput.
My even longer-time pal Bob Ingersoll.  The great Jerry Ordway, one
of the very best comic-book artists of my or any other generation.
And Dr. Michael J. Vassallo, one of the most knowledgeable comics
historians of our time, and a swell guy to boot.

From Michael, I learned a horror story of priceless comics history
artifacts - office memos, sketches and more - that had been thrown
away without regard for their importance.  I was stunned to learn
of this destruction of such valuable documents.

If you’ve anything that could be even remotely considered a comics
artifact, please share it with comicdom at large.  Put it online.
If you don’t have an online presence, scan it and send it to folks
who will share it with others.  If you have a question about where
best to send something, e-mail me.  I’ll do my best to connect you
with comics historian friends.

The history of the comics history, as I’ve often said, is also the
sad history of creators being treated unfairly by their publishers
and editors. Preserving the history of comics is how we can honor
those who were not sufficiently honored or even appreciated during
their comics careers.  It’s important work.

My next appointment of the day was a private one.  It was a meet-
and-greet with someone who I thought might be able to give me some
valuable advice and possibly represent me in various matters.  I’m
not going to write about this meeting and I may never write about
what comes about as a result of this meeting.  But I will tell you
that the meeting was a very positive one and gives me new hope for
the future.  Well, my future at any rate.

I hadn’t expected to conduct any business as Comic-Con.  I wasn’t
looking for work...though my schedule for the rest of the year is
fairly open...and I wasn’t sought out by anyone wanting to employ
me or otherwise work with me.  But anything can happen at Comic-Con
and this meeting was a most pleasant surprise.

Yes, I am an awful tease.  I’m not even sorry about that.  But what
you should take away from this part of today’s blog is that, yes,
you might be able to hire me for something.  If not, well, I have
already started work on some projects of my own.  Trust me, I won’t
be sitting on my hands.  I need them for my writing.

Come back tomorrow for the rest of my Friday report, featuring Tony
walking around the convention trying to meet the dozens of people
he wanted to see at Comic-Con and then going to the Eisner Awards
with his son Eddie.  See you then.

© 2013 Tony Isabella


  1. It was really great having a chance to chat with you and Bob for a while on Friday. It was also nice to see folks coming up to have things signed by you and talking about how much they have enjoyed your work.

    I have to admit I was tongue-tied when Jerry Ordway came by and really tried not to act like a fanboy. I love his work and it was good seeing what a really nice guy he is.

  2. Congratulations for receiving The Inkpot Award, Tony. You deserve that and more.