Monday, July 29, 2013


Previously in “Tony Isabella’s Bloggy Thing”: I have writing about
my Comic-Con 2013 experiences for days now, but I took two days off
so I could attend PulpFest in Columbus, Ohio.  Because what better
way to rest from one convention than by going to another.  Don’t be
alarmed.  I can stop going to conventions any time I want.

As far as I’m concerned, what’s at the top of today’s bloggy thing
was the best ticket at Comic-Con 2013.  As a special guest of the
convention, my family and I were treated like royalty.  Disgraced
comics editors and executives were pressed into service to carry me
to my panels on ornate couches.  Zatanna cosplayers gave me fruits
and wine on these arduous journeys through the convention.  Parents
held up children, hoping I might look kindly on their offspring and
bless them.  It was good to be a special guest.

Okay, yeah, the above might be a slight exaggeration.  Even so, we
were treated very well by Comic-Con’s staff and volunteers.  Since
it’s been days since I’ve thanked them for their kindnesses, I must
thank them here.  So...thanks for everything.  You’re the cream of
the nice people crop.

My first panel took place on Thursday night...

Thursday July 18, 2013 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Family Feud: The Comics Blogging Panel

With the 24-hour news cycle turning into a 24-minute news cycle,
fans are still getting their comics news from the top news sites
and blogs. Join moderator Tom Spurgeon in a no-holds-barred
discussion with comics journalists on how they make-and break-the
news, the ethics of journalism, the death of blogging, the uses of
social media, and ways you can join in on the fun. With Spurgeon
(The Comics Reporter), Heidi MacDonald (The Beat), Tony Isabella
(Tony’s Tips), Alexa Dickman (Ladies Making Comix), Rich Johnston
(Bleeding Cool), and special surprises!

Room 23ABC

Our special surprise was Graeme McMillan, a noted writer for lots
of group blogs.  Thanks to Jaime Coville, who recorded many of the
convention’s best panels, you can listen to this panel here and see
how everyone was more knowledgeable than I was and how, in a vain
pathetic attempt to compensate, I played the “grumpy old man” card
like I was in the finals of a Texas hold 'em tournament.

The most serious portion of the discussion was about blogs paying
their contributors.  Tom’s The Comics Reporter appears to pay the
best, but he can’t afford many contributors.  Heidi’s The Beat used
to pay a small fee when it could.  Thanks to Avatar Comics, Rich’s
Bleeding Cool does pay contributors, but it doesn’t pay them a lot.
The question was whether or not these blogs were exploiting their
writers.  Sadly, they might be, but it’s not how anyone would like
the case to be and the contributors are, indeed, willing to put in
the work for personal satisfaction and prominent exposure.  In my
case, of course, this bloggy thing could be the online poster child
for personal satisfaction.

A couple notes from the panel:

I might have been the happiest person on the panel.  I write what
I want when I want to write without editorial supervision or even
the hint of economic pressure.  I make my living from paying gigs,
but the blog is all mine.

Sainted Wife Barb’s first impression was that Heidi didn’t like me.
Then she realized how long we’d been friends and realized we were
bantering.  I don’t think anyone else got that impression, but, in
case anyone did, be assured that I adore Heidi.  In fact, though I
don’t think I have ever told her this and though she was a Vertigo
editor, I asked for her as my Black Lightning editor.  My request
was not considered because, you know, DC is stupid.

Alexa is crazy smart.  She will rule us all someday.

Barb thought Rich was charming and funny.  It’s that damned British
accent.  Even I wanted to hug him.

Following the panel, Heidi interviewed me for her podcast.  I think
it went quite well, but you can listen to it here and make up your
own mind about that.

That evening, Barb, Eddie and I joined Mark Evanier for dinner at
The Palm restaurant in the Gaslamp District.  Kelly and Giselle had
been invited to an MTV party after the Teen Wolf panel, so that’s
where they went.

The Palm is a superb restaurant with comics drawings on its walls.
Mark recommended the Parmesan chicken and I’ve learned to take his
advice.  What he didn’t tell me was that the place serves enormous
portions.  My dinner looked like it came from one of the chickens
on the cover of Gold Key’s Freedom Agent #1 [April 1963].  Please,
go ahead and check it out at the Grand Comics Database.  I’ll wait
until you get back to continue this bloggy thing.

[Tony hums a tune, drums fingers on desk.]

It was worth checking out, wasn’t it?

Getting up from our booth, I had a near-miss that could have ruined
the rest of Comic-Con for me.  I forgot that the booth was slightly
elevated and, when I stood up, I was so off-balance I stumbled and
started going down.  Fortunately, one of the other customers caught
me as I fell, saving me from a doubtless painful collision with the
Palm’s hardwood floor.  I was shaken and stirred, but I was intact.

After dinner, Mark went back to his hotel, Eddie went off to watch
some anime and Barb and I took a leisurely walk back to our hotel.
Along the way, we saw bicycle taxis whose drivers were dressed as

Comic-Con owns this part of San Diego.  Go anywhere within a mile
or two of the convention center and you’ll find the workers wearing
some kind of “geek garb” and sometimes full-out costumes.  I’ll be
talking more about this soon.

Barb was having a great time at Comic-Con and that was important to
me.  She has built such a great life for me and our kids and stuck
by me through the bad parts of my career.  It was wonderful to be
able to show her the good parts of my world as well.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more Comic-Con stuff, including a very
special panel.  See you then.

© 2013 Tony Isabella


  1. He's a chicken, I tell ya! A giant chicken!

  2. I'm glad you had a great time! I am looking forward to part 3. (And kudos to the person who caught you at the restaurant!)