Friday, August 30, 2013


I was writing about obsessions yesterday and watching SyFy’s Heroes
of Cosplay
has become a minor obsession of mine.  The show’s third
episode was something of a change of pace with only four members of
the cast taking part in Megacon’s costume competition.  There were
also brief appearances by YaYa Han and Victoria Schmidt.

My interest in cosplaying is more about the fun of it than with the
professional cosplayers featured in this series.  The professionals
are either making a living from their cosplaying and design work or
hoping to do so in the future.  So the competition can get intense.
The show producers doubtless love the drama of the competition, but
I’d like to see more of the fun of cosplaying.  If the series gets
renewed, an episode devoted to floor costumes and/or the folks who
just love to wear costumes would be most welcome.

Business and cosplaying partners Holly and Jessica were the genuine
stars of this episode.  For the first time, they weren’t competing
as a team.  Instead, they created their own costumes and competed
as individuals. Their concern over how this might affect both their
friendship and partnership seemed a lot more real than some of the
clearly exaggerated drama of previous episodes. 

Becky, known for her performances, wanted to ramp up her chances of
winning a prize with a prop.  Her costume and persona were that of
Taffyta Muttonfudge from Wreck-In Ralph.  Taffyta’s car was to be
her prop...until airline security searched the package in which the
vehicle was shipped and left out a key part when they resealed it.
Becky has a knack for portraying characters, but the judges seem to
want bright flashing lights from the competitors.

Digression.  I take issue with the judges being so easily swayed
by the equivalent of Christmas tree lights.  Week after week, they
give prizes to cosplayers whose costumes light up.  Those costumes
might be authentic and well-made, but they don’t have the heart I
see in performances like Becky’s and Holly’s and Jessica’s.  Their
value system is skewered towards the bright shining objects.  For
me, heart and personality are what make a costume and a cosplayer
great.  End digression.

Riki went with Bettie Page as the Rocketeer, based on a story from
the Rocketeer comic books.  The costume was very well made and her
performance was excellent.  How is it that vintage lingerie always
seemed almost innocent when worn by Bettie Page?

YaYa’s sequence had her modeling for her own action figure before
leaving for Norway.  I found I didn’t miss YaYa having a more major
role in this episode, but I did miss not seeing Victoria and Jinyo
competing.  Victoria can be a little prickly, but I’m still pulling
for her to take home a prize before the show reaches the end of its
six-episode run.

One last note on Heroes of Cosplay.  I shouldn’t be surprised, but
more than a few cosplaying fans have been extremely nasty in their
posts on the series and its stars.  Just as they are quick to knock
any cosplayers whose physical form doesn’t match that of whatever
fictitious characters they are portraying.  A pox on the houses of
all these uninvolved asshats.

In the case of Heroes of Cosplay cast, I’m amazed by how much hard
work goes into the creation of their costumes.  In the case of the
cosplayers who don’t quite achieve the exact look of the characters
they portray, I enjoy seeing them having the fun of being someone
other than themselves for a few hours.  The former are more skilled
than I could ever be and the latter more courageous.  I salute them
all...and another pox on the asshats who would deny them this.


With exceedingly rare exception, I enjoy hanging out with my garage
sale customers.  I do get annoyed by “civilians” who think they can
haggle with me on my already incredibly low the woman
who was complaining that her son wanted to spend two whole dollars
on a trade paperback that originally cost over ten dollars.

I used to agree to special showings to accommodate those customers
who couldn’t make it to my garage during regular sale hours.  What
put an end to that were these annoyances...

1. The customer who made an appointment and didn’t show up.

2. The customer who spent nearly two hours going through my boxes
and bought exactly three bucks worth of comics. 

3. The customer who, doing the same as the above customer, got all
imperious when I told him he would have to complete his sale as I
had things to do and snarked:

“Oh, what do you have to do?”

Then there are the blessed few customers who say really dumb things
in front of me. I’m not anyone’s priest, doctor, or even bartender.
No one who says dumb stuff within my hearing has any expectation of
privacy.  This brings us to a brief conversation overheard during
last weekend’s garage sale.  It has been condensed and edited for
your reading enjoyment.

We’ll call the speakers THING ONE and THING TWO.

THING ONE: Dave Gibbons isn't going to be at the Baltimore Comic-

THING TWO: Yeah, I'm not happy about that.
THING ONE: Since I won't be standing in line for him, I figure I'll
have time to stand in David Finch's line and get a free sketch from

THING TWO: He does free sketches?
THING ONE: He's been doing them.  That's why his line is always so
long.  I don't like his art, but his sketches sell for around $60
on eBay.  I can flip it and pay for the convention.

How utterly charming! I’m now in complete and utter solidarity with
artists who won't do free (or even paid) sketches at conventions.
But I am thinking of doing free sketches at conventions myself,
just to see if such "fans" try to sell them on eBay.


Speaking of my garage sales...

The September 6-7 garage sale is cancelled.  In the past few days,
some new projects have beckoned and I realized I would not be able
to devote the necessary time to making that garage sale as cool as
I would like it to be.

On the good news front, since I now have until September 20-21 to
prepare my next garage sale, I can go through the two dozen boxes
I’ve brought to my house from the Fortress of Storage over the past
month.  Fingers crossed, this should result in more unusual items
and older comic books for that next sale. 

The schedule change also means I’ll have more time to put together
more of those ever-popular five-dollar mystery boxes my customers
love so much.  Be warned, even though I plan to limit the mystery
boxes to one per customers, they will probably still go real fast.
They’re just that much fun.

Besides the September 20-21 garage sale, there will be at least one
and perhaps two garage sales in October.  When the garage sales are
done for 2013, then I’ll make my decision as to whether or not I’ll
be doing any mail-order sales this winter.

My Fortress of Storage project for post-garage sales is a big one.
Because I need to figure out what’s in all the remaining boxes in
the Fortress - I’m looking for some important paperwork - I need to
remove everything from the storage unit, go through every box and
then rearrange the boxes so that I’ll be able to get to them much
easier for my 2014 garage sales.  More on that as we get closer to
when I have to decide if I need to hire some strong young people to
help me with this task.

As for this bloggy thing...

For the immediate future, I’ll be writing random columns like this
one and the other ones I’ve been writing.  I’ll also be tossing my
movie review columns into the mix.  But, rest assured, I’ll return
to comics reviewing, Rawhide Kid Wednesdays and those vintage
comic-book covers from my past as soon as possible.

That’s all for today.  I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2013 Tony Isabella

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Anyone who’s been around comics fans knows about obsessions.  We
know about fans who continue buying comics series they don’t enjoy
just to keep their runs complete.  At this weekend’s garage sale, I
heard a fan sigh with relief that he had found the one issue of a
comic he needed to complete his run and then admit he didn’t like
the series. 

I’m no stranger to obsession, though, for the most part, I think I
have my own infatuations under control.  For example: I buy a lot
of Pez dispensers.  I don’t collect them.  I buy them and give them
to other people.  Sometimes I include them with gifts.  Sometimes
I put them in my garage sale mystery boxes.  People get a kick out
of Pez dispensers and I get a kick out of seeing the child-like joy
on their faces when they get them. 

When I started holding garage sales, I started buying long folding
tables whenever I spotted them at a good price.  At any given time,
I have three or four more tables than I need.  Because they always
come in handy.  Family and friends borrow them.  I find a place for
them somewhere in the house.  At the end of my garage sale season,
I hope to rearrange the boxes in my Fortress of Storage to allow me
to put one of these tables in said Fortress.  Perhaps my buying of
tables is an obsession, but it’s a useful obsession.

Even among comics fans, there are manifestly unhealthy obsessions.
I still shudder at the memory of one scary guy who was over the top
for the Marvel villain Nightshade.  He would commission artists to
draw erotic pictures of Nightshade.  He would add his own crude and
disturbing drawings to his scrapbook and show the scrapbook to any
unlucky soul he could corner.  He would talk wistfully about how he
would do anything for Nightshade...even murder a pregnant woman for
her.  I have no idea where that one came from.  The last time I saw
him he was being refused admission to a comics convention where, in
previous years, he’d seriously creeped out several fans and guests.
I haven’t heard of him since and would really like to keep it that
way.  Shudder.


In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m continuing to blog off
random notes I made during last weekend’s garage sale.  One of the
big topics of discussion among my customers was the casting of Ben
Affleck as Batman in several upcoming movies.  I noted with great
amusement the naysayers among my customers because, ancient fellow
that I am, I recall similar naysaying when Michael Keaton was cast
in the role.  I’m not at all concerned about Affleck playing Bats
for a number of reasons.

1. I don’t care.  I won’t spend a dime to see any DC Comics-based
movie.  I’ll see it when I can see it for free via my local library
system.  If Affleck does a great job or a lousy job, it won’t cost
me anything but the time I spending watching the films.

2. Many of you think Christian Bale was a good Batman in his last
two wretched outings as the character.  If he’s your standard for
Bat-actors, Affleck can’t possible be worse.

3. The Daredevil movie wasn’t that bad.  It wasn’t very good, but
it was no worse than the afore-mentioned wretched Batman outings.

4. If Matt Damon isn’t Robin, what’s the point?


Getting back to obsessions or, more precisely, the lack thereof, I
never google my name.  I figure I’m visible in a number of online
venues and that if anyone has anything to say about or to me, they
can find me easily.  If they are saying unkind things about me and
aren’t brave enough to say them to my “face,” it makes absolutely
no sense for me to seek out their comments.  They have no effect on
my gloriously happy and productive life...and thus they are easily

My attitude about this sort of thing doesn’t prevent people, some
of them well-meaning, from bringing some comments to my attention.
They don’t have to do this.  I wish they wouldn’t do this.  But it
happens.  If they are well-intentioned, I thank them and tell them
they need not have bothered.  If they are hoping to lure me into an
online fight, they will be disappointed.

One such well-intentioned person told me some comics professional
was having a fit over my negative comments about Dragon*Con, which
I consider a sordidly sleazy convention.  My opinion of this event
improved somewhat when Dragon*Con legally divorced itself from co-
founder and alleged child molester Ed Kramer.  For something like
a decade, the other owners had claimed this was impossible...which
it clearly wasn’t.  These owners also fail to mention that some of
them had spoken on Kramer’s behalf at hearings which allowed him to
delay his day in court for 13 years.  So, yeah, they get points for
finally doing what they could and should have done a long time ago.
Just not a lot of points.

Dragon*Con also gets points for adopting a harassment policy that
will hopefully reduce the incidents of harassment and worse which
have often accompanied a show that sells itself as a kind of fetish
fair for fans who haven’t a prayer of getting laid anywhere else in
the world.  The policy’s long overdue, but I applaud it’s being put
into place and hope it will be enforced rigorously.

Even with these developments - and the welcome news Kramer’s trial
is set for December - I still find Dragon*Con sleazy.  I’m far from
alone in that.  One blogger, who, admittedly had an issue with the
convention denying him press credentials, wrote:

“The whole Dragon*Con climate at night makes one feel down-right
icky just to be there.”

While adults certainly have the right to engage in legal activities
in the privacy of their Dragon*Con hotel rooms, there are a great
many credible reports of intimate activities taking place in public
places.  The phrase “get a room” leaps immediately to mind.

Dragon*Con has such a reputation for this stuff that people go on
the CraigsList personals to arrange convention hook-ups.  This is
perfectly legal, but it’s still icky.

Sidebar. I was going to link to a Bleeding Cool article discussing
the above and offering examples of the personals, but the article
seems to have disappeared from Rich Johnston’s website.  You’d have
to ask Johnston why.  End sidebar.

I’d like to see Dragon*Con shake its sleazy reputation.  It doesn’t
reflect well on fandom in its current state.  But I fear the “ick”
factor might be ingrained in its makeup and the makeup of the fans
and pros who like it just the way it is.

In summation...

1. I don’t google myself.  I use the lower-case “google” on account
of the word has become a synonym for online searching. 

2. While I appreciate the good intentions of those who tell me that
people are posting mean things about me somewhere online, it’s not
something they need to do and it’s not something that concerns me.

3. I’m not interested in going to other venues if people post mean
things about me there.  If I have anything to post about a subject,
I post it in my own venues.

4. Complaining about my negative view of Dragon*Con isn’t likely to
change my negative view of Dragon*Con.  I admit I’m not sure what
could change my negative view of the convention. I sincerely wish
that something would.

I’m still on the first of two pages of random notes I made during
last weekend’s garage sale.  This means I’ll be back tomorrow with
more of this kind of stuff. See you then.

© 2013 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


“Six-year-olds laugh an average of 300 times a day.  Adults only
laugh 15 to 100 times a day.”

- Real Fact #831, Snapple cap

Snapple Peach Tea was my beverage of choice for last weekend’s Vast
Accumulation of Stuff garage sale. The usual pattern for my sales
is that the first hour and sometimes the first two hours are crazy
busy.  That’s where I make most of my money each day, to the point
where I sometimes wonder if I should just run the sales from 9-11
a.m.  Except, of course, that not all of my customers can make it to
the sale during those hours and I do love my customers.  Make that
I love almost all my customers.  That last sentence is what’s known
as “foreshadowing,” but, tease that I am, it may be another day or
two before I follow up on that.

After the initial garage sale rush, I sometimes have entire hours
where I’m sitting alone in my garage.  I read the newspapers and I
make notes for future blogs and other projects.  I often make notes
even when I do have customers because something will occur to me or
because something a customer says sparks an idea.

What I’ll be doing today and through the weekend is sharing some of
my random notes and thoughts with you.  Hopefully, this will be fun
for you and fun for me...especially when I try to make sense of a
few random words that apparently had great meaning for me whenever
I wrote them down but which make no sense to me now.


Senior bloggy thing India correspondent Robert Petersen brought me
two English-language graphic novels from India.  He goes to India
for work several times a year.  I have not yet read either Krishna:
Defender of Dharma
or Valmiki’s Ramayana, but I will be reading
and writing about both of them soon.

I was grateful for Rob’s informative answers to my many questions
about India.  I am fascinated by “Bollywood” movies and how all of
them have lavish song-and-dance sequences and run more than three
hours.  I have watched maybe two of three of these movies in their
entirety.  They can be a challenge, but they certainly give theater
goers their money’s worth.

It makes me wonder what some of my favorite movies would be like if
they shared such sensibilities.  For example, what kind of musical
sequence would have appeared in Jaws?  And, now that I’ve actually
posed that question, I wonder how long will it take the Asylum to
do a Bollywood-inspired sequel to Sharknado?  It could be the next
step in the evolution of delightful cheesy monster movies.


Leslie Feagan, Facebook friend and all-around good guy, brought me
a gift as well.  It was a Viewmaster viewer with a set of Godzilla
cartoon images.  The images came with a booklet and, naturally, I
will be writing about this gift in the near future.


It took me a while to figure out what the “People in Hell” note was
all about.  That happens from time to time.  I finally realized it
was in reference to something editorial cartoonists do that I find

I don’t like when editorial cartoons show a deceased public figure
in Hell.  Yes, sometimes they show very bad people in Hell, but it
still strikes me as arrogant.  They might wish the person will be
burning for all eternity, but it’s really not their call to make.
For believers, Hell is the worst fate that can await a human being.
Maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to make the assumption that someone
is going to end up there.

Quick confession.  In the past, I have made comments about someone
burning in Hell.  That was wrong and I’m not going to do it again.
If I backslide on this, please remind me that I’m being an asshat.

Of course, the First Church of Godzilla does not include a Hell per
se in its belief system.  Well, we kind of do, but we don’t call it
Hell.  We call it Florida.


One of the most popular items at my garage sales are my five-dollar
“mystery boxes,” filled with wondrous things that, together, would
cost far more than five dollars even at my absurdly low garage sale
prices.  I offer them because they are fun to put together and fun
for my customers.  However, because they do take a lot of time to
make, I usually only manage to put together a few of them for every
sale.  This past weekend, I had four of them and they were all sold
by 9:31 am on Friday.  I’ll do my best to make more of them before
the next garage sale.


Wikipedia defines slash fiction as...“a genre of fan fiction that
focuses on interpersonal attraction and sexual relationships
between fictional characters of the same sex.”
  I first heard the
term in reference to Kirk/Spock fan fiction in Star Trek fandom and
I’m told it’s now expanded into every genre franchise imaginable.
The subject came up at the garage sale during a discussion of anime
and manga fan fiction.

Slash fiction sometimes involves real people, which I learned when
I read the Wikipedia entry on the genre.  Which makes the question
I posed during my garage sale less ridiculous:

Is there slash fiction about comics creators?  Certainly, thanks to
the Internet tubes, fans know more about the lives of these comics
creators than ever before.  But do they ever imagine them in steamy
same-sex encounters and then write about it?

I’m not about to suggest any pairings, but I’m more than willing to
let my readers do so.  For that matter, you needn’t limit yourself
to same-sex pairings.  We’ll accept opposite-sex pairings just to
make everybody uncomfortable.  Heh, heh, heh.

If there already is slash fiction about comics creators, I sort of
want to know about it and also sort of don’t want to know about it.
It’s that kind of topic.


I’ve been thinking a lot about Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, who was
born Bradley Edward Manning and who has been sentenced to 35 years
for leaking the largest set of restricted documents in the history
of restricted documents.  She has also been dishonorably discharged
from the United States Army, the only part of her sentence I agree
with.  She knowingly violated her oath to the service and shouldn’t
be allowed to serve in it.  That said...

Government and military often restrict documents to cover their own
shortcomings.  Perhaps the unhappy Manning isn’t the classic figure
of a whistleblower, but neither is she a traitor.  If you want to
put actual traitors, not to mention war criminals, on trial, then
let’s put Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and that crowd in irons.  Until we
do that, a sentence of 35 years strikes me as a petulant tantrum on
the part of the military,

Manning identifies herself as female and I think the media should
respect that without mocking her for it.  While I’m not convinced
taxpayers should foot the bill for her hormone replacement therapy
while she serves her sentence, I wouldn’t oppose it either.  If a
charitable organization starts a fund to pay for it, I’d contribute
and consider it a small payback for the despicable way in which our
nation has treated and continues to treat the transgendered. 

With good behavior and credit for her time served, Manning could be
paroled in eight years.  I’d like to see her receive a pardon well
before that.

We have put up with all sorts of “national security” nonsense for
far too long a time.  Transparency in government at all levels is
the hallmark of a truly free society no matter which party happens
to be in charge at the moment.  This crap was wrong under Bush and
it’s wrong under Obama.  We shouldn’t need a Chelsea Manning, but
the sad fact of the matter is that we do.

I can already see that these next few days of random thoughts are
going to earn me many responses.  Not all of these will be ringing
endorsements of my views or my character.  And I’m just warming up.
You have been warned.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2013 Tony Isabella

Monday, August 26, 2013


This week in "Tony's Tips" at the Tales of Wonder website, I look back at my life in and with comic books.  I think you'll enjoy this change-of-pace episode.


This weekend’s astonishing Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale
exceeded my expectations by 22%.  I sold a whole lot of comic books
and other items to a whole lot of happy customers.  They know how
much I appreciate their patronage.

I really enjoy hanging out with most of my customers, though I’ll
be blogging about a pair of them who don’t exactly fill my heart with
glee.  As I am not anyone’s priest, doctor, or even bartender, no
one who says really stupid stuff within my hearing should have any
expectation of privacy.

Okay, technically, as the pastor of the First Church of Godzilla,
I am priest to my small but genius congregation, but the two guys
I’m going to be writing about later this week are not believers in
the Great Scaly One.  Therefore, anything they say in front of me
is fair game for me to write about.

During a slow period on Saturday, I had an interesting conversation
with someone concerned about the Medina school system.  He and are
not on precisely the same page with the problems the school system
is facing, but he gave me a thing or two to ponder.

During another slow period, I was also visited by a local Tea Party
whack job who, seeing me alone in my garage and familiar with the
political comments I’ve made online, proceeded to curse at me, drop
the “n” word and generally foam at the mouth.  That amusing story
will also be coming your way soon.

I made a long list of random thoughts that occurred to me during my
garage sales.  I’ll be blogging off that long list through the end
of the month, starting on Wednesday.

My experiment with Sunday garage sale hours has not been a complete
failure, but it wasn't successful enough to justify the additional four
hours in the garage.  Still, on the weekend of my last garage sale
of 2013, I will be open from 9am to noon on Sunday.

Here’s my garage sale schedule for the rest of the year...

Friday, September 6 (9 am to 1 pm)

Saturday, September 7 (9 am to 1 pm)

Friday, September 20 (9 am to 1 pm)

Saturday, September 21 (9 am to 1 pm)

Friday, October 4 (9 am to 1 pm)

Saturday, October 5 (9 am to 1 pm)

Sunday, October 6 (9 am to noon)

I haven’t decided if I’m going to do online sales after this year’s
garage sales have been completed.  I can only think about so many
things at one time.

Once again, my thanks to my customers for their patronage and their
friendship.  See you in two weeks.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


This week's edition of "Forgotten Gems" at the Tales of Wonder website presents a Doll Man cover and story by the legendary Bill Ward. Very cool stuff from the Golden Age of Comics.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


This weekend’s astonishing Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale
concludes Sunday at 840 Damon Drive in Medina, Ohio.  Garage sale
hours are 9 am to 1 pm.

Saturday was a slower day than Friday, but I've already reached
my goal for the weekend.  With plenty of terrific items available,
I don’t plan to do more than minor restocking.  The weather during
Sunday’s sale hours should be sunny/partly sunny with temperatures
ranging from 64-77 degrees.

I’ll have a garage sale wrap-up report for you on Sunday evening or
Monday morning.  It will include the schedule for 2013's remaining
Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales. 

Thanks to all who have come to my garage sales throughout the year.
I hope you will continue to come to them as we head into September
and October.  There are many treasures yet to be excavated from the
- say it with me - Vast Accumulation of Stuff!


Man, that always sounds better when Stan says it.


This weekend’s astonishing Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale
will continue today and tomorrow at 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio.
Garage sale hours are 9 am to 1 pm each day.

Friday was one of the best sale days I’ve had all year with happy
customers buying several hundred comic books and other great items.
It was good to see so many familiar faces again.

And it wasn’t just my customers who got terrific stuff yesterday.
Robert Petersen, my bloggy thing senior India correspondent, gave
me two English-language graphic novels from his latest trip to that
country.  I’ll be reading and writing about them soon.

Then the multi-talented Leslie Feagan brought me a View-Master 3-D
dimensional viewer and Godzilla cartoon discs to go with it.  I’ll
be enjoying this after this weekend’s service at the First Church
of Godzilla.  All praise the Great Scaly One who protects us with
his fiery atomic love.  It can be and often is a tough love, but we
have only our own folly to blame for that. 

Because I sold so much stuff yesterday, I mounted an expedition to
my secret Fortress of Storage to bring back about a dozen boxes of
comic books and other goodies.  It was grueling hauling out boxes
in 84-degree temperatures, but I wanted to make sure I had plenty
of wonderful things for today’s garage sale customers.

The quarter comic books are again filled.  The new additions are a
mix of “name-brand” titles and old favorites like Judge Dredd and
Journey.  Once the sun comes up this morning and I can see what I’m
doing, I’ll be restocking the magazine and trade paperback boxes as
well.  Definitely worth checking out.

They won’t be offered for sale this weekend, but I found a box of
strange collectible card sets from the 1980s.  Things like a set of
Scott Shaw’s Oddball Comics cards, historical/political card sets,
vintage magazine cover sets and more.  These are going to be tough
to part with, but, once I’ve researched their value online, some of
them will be available in future garage sales. 

That’s one of the joys of these garage sale.  I make some money and
I get to see the smiling faces of my well-pleased customers, but I
also find cool stuff for myself.  My four decades working in comics
has been rewarding in so very many ways.

The latest weather reports predict a sunny day with temperatures in
the 63 to 75-degree range.  It should be a pleasant day, though it
might get a little warm in my garage. 

Look for another garage sale update tomorrow morning.

Friday, August 23, 2013


Today is the first day of this weekend’s Vast Accumulation of Stuff
garage sale.  It starts today and continues Saturday and Sunday at
840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio.  Garage sale hours are 9 am to 1 pm
each day.

The quarter comics boxes are filled, including two boxes of comics
guaranteed suitable for all ages.  There are two boxes of magazines
that are also priced at a quarter each.

There’s a table of Superman collectibles which includes some crazy
Batman bubble bath and soap containers topped with cool figures of
the Caped Crusaders.  These are priced at a low $2 each and could
sell quickly.

I have copies of my 1000 Comic Books You Must Read book on sale at
$20 each.  You can get this book and other Isabella-written items
signed at no additional cost. 

I have boxes of $5 hardcovers and $2 trade paperbacks.  I have an
entire table of paperbacks priced at a quarter each.

Mystery boxes? I have four of these five-dollar treasure chests on
hand for today’s sale.  I expect all of them will sell within the
first hour of today’s sale. 

The ever-changing weather report for the show hours is currently
calling for partly cloudy with a few showers.  Temperature should
range between 66 and 74 degrees.  Of course, this being nutty Ohio,
snow might not be out of the question.

Come to the garage sale...shoot the breeze with me and other comics
fans...and buy great stuff at insanely low prices.  Your business
is appreciated.


Heroes of Cosplay airs on SyFy every Tuesday.  It’s a reality show
about cosplayers who compete at conventions like Emerald City and
Wizard World Portland.  I’ve watched the first two episodes of the
series’ six-episode run and find myself utterly captivated by the
world of professional cosplaying.

Previously, I thought of cosplaying strictly as a fun addition to
comics and genre conventions.  It never occurred to dullard me that
some cosplayers saw these competitions as stepping stones to their
dream careers.  At least I did realize how much sweat, tears and hard
work go into their costumes.  So I’m not a complete idiot.

I reviewed the first episode of Heroes of Cosplay back on Tuesday.
I may or not write about each and every episode, but I do have some
comments on the second episode.

Led by “Queen of Cosplay” YaYa Han, the judges have very exacting
standards which must be met by the contestants and their costumes.
Accuracy, creativity, workmanship and performance are essential to
the process.  Showing the judges something they haven’t seen before
wins points. Exhibiting craftsmanship in the making of a costume is
a major plus.  Performing the character well wins over the judges
and the audience.

Digression. At the Emerald City competition, the judges awarded a
third-place to a Batman costume.  It was well-made, but I thought
they overlooked that the cape was the wrong color.  Unless it was
some incarnation of the Batman unfamiliar to me.

When I watched the first episode, I thought the reality show drama
was overdone.  There was still a lot of drama in the second show,
but I thought it was more on topic.  For example...

Monika, the youngest of the cosplayers, is being torn between the
craftsmanship championed by YaYa and the sexiness-sans-substance of
another cosplayer.  Her mother is alarmed by the skimpiness of the
Steampunk Poison Ivy costume Monika will wear for the Emerald City
competition.  That’s a good call on Mom’s part.  The costume looked
sleazy and Monika completely failed to sell the personality of the
character she portrayed.  She should have listened to YaYa.

Chloe, who hosts a show about cosplaying, had a terrific attitude.
She was competing so that she could get a feel from the rigors of
competition and for the sheer fun of it.  That “fun” element seems
to be lacking for some of the other cosplayers.

Chloe also found herself at odds with the others on the question of
whether cosplayers should have the same basic physique as whatever
character they are portraying.  Chloe appeared to believe that fun
trumps accuracy and I’m with her there.

Not every cosplayer looks like the characters who appear in comic
books, anime, video games and movies.  In the case of those first
three, you would probably run away in stark raving horror if those
cosplayers did look like the exaggerated images of those mediums.
Think about it.

I’m all for cosplayers dressing as whatever characters they want to
portray.  Sure, keep it safely within what’s allowed by the local
indecency laws, but no one has even been scarred for life by seeing
someone dressed as Thor or Wonder Woman who perhaps lacked
the idealized builds of those characters.  The odds are good you’re
no Adonis or Venus yourself.  Get over it.

Hooked on Heroes of Cosplay as I am, I find myself rooting for the
regulars.  I want Jesse to win because he would clearly be so much
happier if he could build props professionally.  I want Victoria to
impress the judges with the Tron dress she and Jinyo made, even if
I wince when she failed to give him any of the credit while on
stage.  I’m betting that cost her points.

Next Tuesday’s episode takes the cosplayers to Megacon in Orlando.
SyFy reruns Heroes of Cosplay several times each week.  It’s worth
checking out.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2013 Tony Isabella

Thursday, August 22, 2013


My next Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale will take place on
Friday through Sunday, August 23-25, 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio.
Sale hours are 9 am to 1 pm each day.

Preparation for this week’s garage sale continues, though I’m still
a mite under the weather and nursing a sore heel.  Where are those
unpaid interns when I need them?

The quarter comic books are now filled with wonderful issues.  I’m
planning a Fortress of Storage trip to restock them after Friday’s
sale.  That’s how much cool stuff is in those boxes.

One of the seemingly endless legions of anonymous trolls attempted
to post to this bloggy thing of mine with a crack about how dare I
expect people to buy “crap you don’t want” at these garage sales.
As your garage sale guru, I feel compelled to explain that which is
obvious to anyone with half a brain.

My garage sale contains literally hundreds, nay, thousands of comic
books and books I enjoyed very much, but which I would likely never
have the time to read again.  When I come across stuff like that,
that’s what determines whether or not it goes into the sale.  The
decisions are sometimes painful, but they have to be made if I am
to achieve my goal of reducing the VAOS to a manageable level and
making sure my family doesn’t have too much stuff to deal with in
the sad event that I am called to Monster Island to spend blessed
eternity with my lord and master Godzilla.

My garage sale also contains literally hundreds, nay, thousands of
comic books and books I have never read and which I’d likely never
have time to read.  Deciding which of these items to put into the
sales isn’t as painful a decision as with the stuff I have read and
enjoyed, but it still stings a bit.

Technically, I suppose someone of a churlish nature might describe
my garage sale items as things I don’t want.  A far more accurate
assessment would be...if space and time were not considerations, I
would gladly keep all of these things.  I would build a library of
Alexandrian proportions and place them lovingly on shelves and in
neat rows of Drawer Boxes so that they would be within easy access
as I spent decade after decade reading and rereading them.  Alas,
cruel fate would doubtless decree that I would not have time enough
to read and reread them...and would probably break my glasses just
to fuck with me.  It is the way of this mortal vale.

On a cheerier note...I have eight more boxes from the Fortress of
Storage to go through today.  Some of these contain hardcovers and
trade paperbacks.  Some of these may contain magazines and perhaps
other strange and wondrous items.  I won’t know until I go through
them.  The suspense, the suspense.

Come back tomorrow for a “first day of the sale” update.


Alter Ego #118 [TwoMorrows; $8.95] celebrates the 50th anniversary
of the Avengers.  From my first issue of the title, which had the
Hulk and Sub-Mariner teaming up against Iron Man, Thor, Giant-Man
and the Wasp, through the first decade of issues, Avengers was
either my favorite Marvel comic or darn close to it.  The writing
of Stan Lee, Roy Thomas and Steve Englehart was as good as it got.
The art and other contributions of Jack Kirby, Don Heck, and other
greats sealed the deal.  Back in the day, I even wrote a series of
articles on the Avengers for Marvelmania Magazine.

Thomas remains my favorite Avengers writer of them all, so I find
it very cool that an issue of his “ever-assembling comics fanzine”
is honoring the team.  Kurt Mitchell’s long look at the inaugural
decade and Will Murray’s exploration of how production problems on
the first issue of Daredevil may have led to its being replaced on
the schedule by Avengers are made all the better by dozens of
amazing artifacts and illustrations.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Alter Ego if there weren’t a whole bunch
of other cool features in the issue.  Ken Quattro writes about E.C.
Stoner, one of the first African-American comic-book artists.  The
always fun Michael T. Gilbert looks at evil twins in western comic
books with guest appearances by Casper the Friendly Ghost.  Bernie
Bubnis, who launched the first comics convention, reminisces about
the 1964 event. A tribute to Fawcett artist and writer Marc Swayze
includes the last comics story Swayze drew.

Least appealing to me was Arlen Schumer’s “art-essay” on the Black
Panther.  Schumer is a Kirby devotee who consistently denies that
anyone other than Kirby ever had anything of import to do with the
creation of the Marvel Universe characters.  His speculations don’t
often have any basis other than his devotion to Kirby and obvious
dislike of Stan Lee.

The whole Lee/Kirby argument strikes me as divisive and useless as
most political arguments.  As much as some commentators may think
they know the whole story, the simple fact of the matter is...they
don’t.  They weren’t in the rooms where characters and stories were
discussed.  They weren’t part of the Lee/Kirby conversations about
the characters and stories.  Editor Thomas rightly casts reasonable
doubt on Schumer’s speculations.

My position? We are all the heroes of our own stories.  Accepting
everything said by either Lee or Kirby as gospel is foolish denial
of human nature.  The truth lies in between.

I have never felt it necessary to denigrate either Lee or Kirby to
praise the other.  Both men enriched my life immeasurably.  Neither
is or was a perfect human being.  I still love them both and always
will.  More than any other two comics creators, they are the reason
I’ve worked in the comics industry for four decades.

Alter Ego remains the best darn magazine about comics in the known
universe.  It is indispensable reading for the serious comics fan.


This week’s edition of “Tony’s Tips” at Tales of Wonder features my
review of writer Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers #1-12.  I’ve recently
read some other Avengers titles as well.

Avengers Assemble is a good example of why I treat each and every
Marvel title as if it takes place in its own universe.  I have no
idea where it fits in with the other Avengers titles.  Its line-up
changes every issue, but includes Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Captain
Marvel, Captain America, Spider-Woman, Hawkeye, the Black Widow and

Issues #11-13 were written by Kelly Sue DeConnick.  The issues are
all quite readable, but the high point has to be the naked walk of
shame which two Avengers must take after losing a bet.  It’s silly,
but it made me smile.

Issues #14 and #15 are Age of Ultron tie-ins, but better than most
of those sad things.  The Black Widow is the star of #14.  Captain
Marvel and Captain Britain are the leads of #15.  Writer Al Ewing
did a decent job here.

Written by Christos Gage, Avengers Assemble Annual #1 represents a
spotlight turn and turning point for the Vision.  It’s yet another
good-but-not-great issue of the title.

Avengers: The Enemy Within #1 seems to be a one-shot, but it has a
“Part One of Five” cover blurb and a closing page blurb directing
readers to the continuation of the story in Avengers Assemble #16.
Crossovers and weird numbering make my head hurt.

The story is written by DeConnick.  Captain Marvel has some sort of
“lesion” growing in her brain which limits her use of her powers.
Since that wasn’t in the other issues of Avengers Assemble I read,
I figure it happened in some other title.  Would it hurt writers to
give readers a leg-up when it comes to vital back story?

I like the concept of a super-hero dealing with what appears to be
a down-to-earth medical issue.  I’m looking forward to seeing what
happens going forward from this development.


Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes seems to be based on the Avengers
animated series that preceded the series that debuted this summer.
Aimed at but not down to younger readers, each of the two issues I read
this week had multiple features.

Issue #11 featured a fun Thor/Hercules reunion by Frank Tieri with
art by Tim Levins and Tom Palmer.  It also had a “Fury Files” on
Hawkeye, a Captain America solo story by Joe Keatinge with art by
Khom Pham and Chris Sotomayor, and a single-page “Mini-Hulks” strip
by Audrey Loeb with art by Dario Brizuela.

Issue #12's lead had the Avengers going up against the Mad Thinker
in a Christos Gage story drawn by Chris Jones and Victor Olazaba.
The “Fury Files” focused on the White Tiger.  Nick Fury appeared in
a solo outing by Cullen Bunn with art by Pham.  Loeb and Brizuela
were back with another “Mini-Hulks” page.

In this title, Marvel makes use of its vast inventory of characters by
utilizing obscure villains and heroes like the Locust and Sleepwalker. 
These were fun comics. 

That’s all for now. I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2013 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


My next Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale will take place on
Friday through Sunday, August 23-25, 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio.
Sale hours are 9 am to 1 pm each day.

This won’t be much of an update because your garage sale guru was
way under the weather yesterday.  I managed to do some writing in
spite of my thankfully short-lived distress, but I wasn’t good for
more than that...and watching six hours of Copper and The Glades.

Fortunately, I hit the ground running this morning.  At the moment,
the quarter comic-book boxes are filling up nicely with a bunch of
cool 1980s and 1990s issues.  Among the runs I remember are Green
Lantern, Legion of Super-Heroes, Impulse, Flash, Legionnaires, The
Trouble With Girls, Tracker, Crying Freeman
and some Justice League
titles from those decades.

One of the less pleasant aspects of going through the Fortress of
Storage boxes is that every now and then - not often - I find some
mouse-chewed comics or magazines.  Most of those just get tossed,
but I’m finding some issues that are only chewed a bit at the top.
Toss them? Put them out on sale? I’m still deciding.

I still have a lot of boxes to go through before Friday morning, so
keep watching the bloggy thing for more updates.   


If you’re new to the bloggy thing...

The Rawhide Kid - the one created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, then
continued by Larry Lieber - is my favorite western character.  Most
every Wednesday, I dive into my ever-growing collection of Rawhide
Kid to write about Johnny Clay and his adventures.  So, saddle up,
pardner, we got some hard riding to do if we want to catch up with
the greatest gun-slinging hero of them all!


The Rawhide Kid #63 [April 1968] seems like an “off” issue to me,
despite the return of Larry Lieber.  Maybe it’s because there was
so much other stuff going on at Marvel in early 1968, but this issue
almost seems thrown together to me.

Lieber’s cover for this “BIG ALL-ACTION ISSUE!” is an exciting one,
with Rawhide leaping from his horse at a brutish bad guy trying to
shoot him.  A second owlhoot is firing away as well.  Inker Vince
Colletta lavishes a great deal of attention on the cover’s horses.
Though westerns aren’t something Colletta’s style was suited for,
I like his work on this cover.

There are two Rawhide Kid adventures in this issue.  “Shoot-Out at
Mesa City!” (8 pages) is written by Ron Whyte with Lieber/Colletta
on the art.  The tale reads like a condensed version of some older
Rawhide stories.  Our young hero is in a small town in a territory
where he’s not a wanted man.  His peaceful moment is interrupted by
a thrown knife that pins his hat to a tree.

The town sheriff is none too happy to have a guy with Rawhide’s rep
in town.  He makes the Kid feel downright unwelcome and pretty much
tells him to get out of town.  The Kid doesn’t show the sheriff the
note that was on the knife blade:

Come to Hungry Horse Mesa tonight at midnight!

The Kid rides out to the mesa and finds outlaw Gila Johnson waiting
for him.  Johnson wants the Kid to join his gang.  The Kid refuses
and only manages to escape by using Johnson as a shield.  He rides
back to town to warn the sheriff...who still doesn’t want the Kid in
his town, not even to help him stop Johnson from robbing a big gold
shipment coming in my stage.

The sheriff sets a trap for Johnson, but is outgunned until the Kid
charges to the rescue.  Rawhide shoots Gila’s men and goes man-to-
man with the slippy outlaw.  Lieber puts a lot of energy into the
several-panel battle and it’s the high point of an otherwise so-so

The sheriff apologizes to Rawhide, but the Kid rides away.  He
knows he will always be a fugitive until he clears his name.  His
departure from a territory where he’s not a fugitive makes no more
sense this time than in did in all those other stories.

There’s a bit of the fantastic in “The Gun that Couldn't Lose!” (7
pages), which is both written and penciled by Lieber.  The Rawhide
Kid is called out by Cheeno Yates, who claims to be the fastest gun
in the West.  The Kid outdraws Yates, but he can’t pull the trigger
and is wounded in the arm.  You see...

Cheeno’s partner has what appears to be “just an innocent-looking
pocket watch.” But, instead of a watch, the case conceals a small
but powerful magnet.  The magnet creates a force field attracting
the iron trigger of any gun and prevents Cheeno’s opponents from
squeezing the trigger.  The partner is not named in the story, but
I’m guessing he’s some black-sheep ancestor of Tony Stark.

While his arm heals, Rawhide follows Cheeno from town to town and
figures out the scam.  When the Kid is able to draw his gun again,
he challenges Cheeno to a gunfight.  But, this time, the Kid first
knocks out Cheeno’s partner and takes the magnet.  One humiliating
defeat later, Cheeno retires from gunfighting.

Lieber gets a lot of story into just seven pages.  I’m not sure I
buy the magnet bit, but, what the heck, I was just glad to see
him writing and drawing Rawhide again.

This issue’s reprint is a Kid Colt story from Kid Colt Outlaw #105
[July 1962].  “Dakota Dixon, the Badman” (7 pages) is an outlaw who
lived with Colt and his father for a few years back when he was a
teen.  Colt’s dad has promised Dixon’s father he would look after
and protect Dakota.  Colt feels honor-bound to do the same, even if
it means walking away from a fight.  The story was written by Stan
Lee and drawn by Jack Keller.

Dixon’s gang doesn’t believe Colt won’t stop them and figure they
have to get the Kid out of the way first.  Outgunned, surrounded,
Colt figures he’s going down fighting.  That would have been what
happened, but Dixon jumps between Colt and one of his back-shooting
henchmen.  Colt asks the dying Dakota why he gave his life to save
the Kid.  Dixon’s dying words:

Maybe–-maybe I wanted to prove yore father was right–-when he said
Dakota ain’t–-as bad as he–-seems–-ohhh...

Kid Colt reflects:

Fate works in mighty strange ways! Because my dad tried to befriend
a teen-ager years ago, my life was saved today! Well, I reckon Dad
was right, after all! I reckon maybe nobody is really all bad!

It’s rare for a reprint to be the best story in an issue of Rawhide
, but this moving tale is an impressive one.  As for the art, I
really like Keller’s work.  Along with Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers and,
of course, Larry Lieber, he was one of the reasons I liked Marvel
westerns so much.

The “Marvel Bullpen Bulletins” page was filled with announcements
of new Marvel titles.  Captain America and the Incredible Hulk were
getting their own books.  Two other heroes would appear in Iron Man
and Sub-Mariner
#1 (and only) before getting their own titles next
month. The new Not Brand Echh was said to be “the unexpected smash
hit of the decade” and the Kree-born Captain Marvel was starring in
Marvel Super-Heroes.

A new Marvel rank was announced.  If a reader had previously been
awarded the ranks of RFO (Real Frantic One who bought three or more
Marvel comics a month), QNS (Quite ‘Nuff Sayer who had a published
letter in a Marvel comic), TTB (Titanic True Believer who had won
a No-Prize) and KOF (Keeper of the Flame who had recruited a “new
disciple into the rollicking realm of Marveldom), that reader held
the rank of PMM (Permanent Marvelite Maximus).

Because I didn’t have a No-Prize, it wasn’t until the 1990s that I
was able to claim the rank of PMM. A sarcastic Marvel editor sent
me one in a response to my query letter about what he was looking
for in the titles he was editing.  That editor is no longer working
in the comics industry or, near as I could determine from a quick
online search, any other creative field.

In “Stan’s Soapbox,” our fearless letter announced Marvel would no
longer refer to its competition as “Brand Echh.” In light of DC’s
malodorous “New 52,” maybe Marvel should consider resurrecting the
phrase.  Just saying.

“The Mighty Marvel Checklist” was filled with cool comics this time
out.  Not Brand Echh #7 has the origins of the Fantastical Four and
Stuporman.  Fantastic Four #73 had Doc Doom, Spider-Man, Daredevil
and Thor.  Hercules was battling Typhon in Avengers #50 and Charlie
Xavier was allegedly dying in X-Men #42.

Thor was being claimed by Hela, Goddess of Death in his own book.
Captain America was reliving his origin during a team-up with the
Black Panther.  The Hulk was “vacationing” in Asgard.  In Strange
#167, Steranko was knocking our socks off with his Nick Fury
stories.  Back in World War II, the second issue of Captain Savage
had the Leatherneck Raiders going up against the Samurai Squad with
Baron Strucker in the background.  Good times.

There’s no “Ridin’ the Range with Rawhide” letters page this issue.
There is a nearly full-page ad for Not Brand Echh #7 and Strange
#167 with great covers by Marie Severin and Steranko.

Also on this page - in teeny type - is the statement of ownership,
management and circulation.  The statement is dated October 1, 1967
and list the total average paid circulation of The Rawhide Kid as
205,221 copies.  The single issue nearest to the filing date was
238,200.  I’m going to speculate that the larger number represents
an issue published during summer when, traditionally, comics sales
were higher.   

That’s it for this edition of “Rawhide Kid Wednesday,” my rannies.
I’ll be back tomorrow with other stuff.

© 2013 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


My next Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale will take place on
Friday through Sunday, August 23-25, 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio.
Sale hours are 9 am to 1 pm each day.

I’m restocking my comic-book boxes and already anticipating having
to restock them for Saturday and Sunday.  The new additions to the
boxes are a nice mix of mainstream super-hero titles and some very
cool stuff from smaller publishers.

I found and added a box of People magazines to the sale.  I have no
idea if these are desirable or not, but at a quarter apiece (five
for $1), I figure my customers will want to go through them and see
what’s there. 

I found some cool novelty items.  There’s a cool looking Superman
table cloth in it’s original and unopened packaging.  This item is
at least 25 years old.  I can’t find it on eBay or anywhere else on
the Internet, so I’m guessing at what I think is a fair price for
it.  I don’t go in for garage sale haggling on most items, but I’ll
entertain reasonable offers on some of the oddball stuff.

I also excavated several containers of Batman bubble bath and bath
soap from maybe two decades ago.  These are topped with figures of
Batman, look cool and, best of all, are priced at just two dollars
apiece.  They are unopened, but I make no guarantees as to whether
or not the soap is still inside the containers.  It may well have
evaporated or, over the years, evolved into sentient life.

Although I haven’t yet put together any of my now-famous $5 mystery
boxes for this weekend’s sales, I hope and plan to have some ready
for Friday morning’s sale.  I’m shooting for at least four of them,
but am prepared to be ambitious if the rest of the restocking goes
quickly and well.

I still have a lot of boxes to go through before Friday morning, so
keep watching the bloggy thing for more updates.   


The She-Hulk Diaries [Hyperion; $14.99] is the second of Marvel’s
“chick lit” novels.  Written by Marta Acosta, the story unfolds in
Jennifer Walters’ diary entries.  It’s a somewhat lighthearted way
to tell a story, but I found it enjoyable.

Things you should know.  The She-Hulk of this novel is a reckless
party animal who is not as respected as the She-Hulk in the Marvel
Universe comic books.  She’s been demoted from a major role in the
Avengers and is on call for smaller emergencies whenever she’s the
closest super-hero to the scene.

The Jen Walters of the novel is almost as gorgeous as the She-Hulk.
Her lawyer skills are a match for her comics counterpart, but she
and She-Hulk are quite distinct personalities.  One of the problems
Jen faces in the book is her inability to integrate her two selves.
Her other problems: making good at a top lawyer firm that’s hired
her and assigned her to a major case, finding an apartment she can
afford and which allows She-Hulk to protect their shared identity,
finding romance and dealing with the reappearance in her life of an
old flame.

Unlike Rogue Touch, reviewed here yesterday, The She-Hulk Diaries
makes good use of the Marvel Universe.  The Avengers remain a key
part of Jen’s life.  Jen’s previous work in super-hero litigation
is mentioned several times.  I got a special kick from how smoothly
the Avengers operation works to deal with all the litigation and
situations that are side effects of saving the world from menaces
large and small.

This novel is more of a super-hero romance than Rogue Touch was and
a lot more fun.  It even has battles with a super-villain that are
reminiscent of humorous She-Hulk comics by John Byrne and others.
It has some flaws - the identity of the big bad main villain is
telegraphed frequently, the personality of that villain is twisted
outrageously - but they didn’t keep from enjoying the book.

The She-Hulk Diaries earns my recommendation.  It’s a nice change-
of-pace from the usual super-hero fare.

ISBN 978-1-4013-1101-8


Yet another version of She-Hulk appears in Hulk and the Agents of
., the newest Marvel animated series.  The premise is that
Rick Jones, now transformed into a Hulk-like monster called A-Bomb,
is producing a web reality show to convince the public the Hulk and
his allies/family are heroes and not monsters.  The other “Hulks”
are Red Hulk (the former General Ross) and Skarr (not yet aware he
is the Hulk’s son).

I’ve watched and enjoyed the first three episodes of this series.
The two-part debut was written by Paul Dini.  We meet the Hulk and
his team and see a desert city that actually likes having the Hulk
as its neighbor.  Annihilus is the villain of the episode; he seeks
to open a permanent gateway between Earth and his Negative Zone.
We get a guest shot of J. Jonah Jameson and a guest voice of Stan
Lee.  Plus we learn Skaar is working for the Leader...because only
the Leader can tell Skaar who he is.  The third episode guests Iron
Man and has Blastaar the Human Bomb-Burst with the Leader taking a
more visible role.

The show isn’t incredible, but it’s entertaining enough for its half-
hour length and has some excellent voice work.  She-Hulk is voiced
by Eliza Dushku and, in this series, she’s a Hollywood stuntwoman
longing to be more than some cinematic crash-test dummy.  That’s an
interesting take on the character.

The Hulk and his allies haven’t figured out what S.M.A.S.H. stands
for yet.  They figure no one’s going to press a bunch of powerful
monsters for that information.  That made me laugh.

Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. may not be to your taste, but I
suggest you give it a chance.  Sometimes all you need from a show
is a half-hour of fun and relaxation.


SyFy’s Heroes of Cosplay almost lost me in the first ten minutes of
its debut episode.  The first cosplayer the show focused on was so
unpleasant that I stopped the show and went off to do some work on
my garage sale.  However, the concept of a reality show about those
who so enrich the convention experience was just too alluring for
me to give up on the show that quickly.  I’m glad I stuck with it
because, by the end of the first episode, Heroes of Cosplay showed
a more-rounded picture of that cosplayer.

Overall, I like Heroes of Cosplay.  Some of the intricacies of the
costume-making process are fascinating, as are the motivations of
the cosplayers. There’s a heartwarming scene in which a cosplayer
dressed as Merida from Brave has a conversation with a young girl
dressed as Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  We also get
a look at other contestants and costumes, including an absolutely
sensational Galactus outfit.

The negatives? Some of the drama is overblown, as if Heroes wanted
to match other less-appealing-to-me reality shows.  Likewise, I’m
disappointed there was only one male cosplayer in the cast.  That
makes the series unbalanced.  But I liked what I saw in this debut
episode enough to keep watching.


Tomorrow is our weekly “Rawhide Kid Wednesday” bloggy thing, which
will be followed by more reviews and other cool stuff.  Clearly, I
am a blogging maniac.

© 2013 Tony Isabella

Monday, August 19, 2013


This week in "Tony's Tips" at the Tales of Wonder website, I review Avengers, Peter Cannon Thunderbolt and the latest issue of MAD.  Check it out here.


My next Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale will take place on
Friday through Sunday, August 23-25, 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio.
Sale hours are 9 am to 1 pm each day.

No battle plan survives contact with the enemy and that’s exactly
what happened with my original plans for this upcoming garage sale.
Rather than excavate wondrous items from my nigh-mystical Fortress
of Storage, I intended to go through the dozens of boxes occupying
various corners of my Tardis-like house and restock the garage sale
from them.  Which would have been a good way to go if time hadn’t
slipped away from me.

Without going into details...last week was interesting in so many
ways and quite a few of those ways were good.  I may soon be able
to devote several months to working on new projects from my lengthy
bucket list of things I want to write before I kick the bucket and
join my lord and master Godzilla in Monster Island Heaven.  Anyway,
before I knew it, days had passed and I had to go to an alternative
plan for the garage sale restocking. 

Sainted Wife Barb and I went to the Fortress of Storage on Sunday
and returned with almost two dozen boxes of stuff.  Starting today
and continuing through Thursday, I’ll be going through those boxes
and restocking the garage sale. 

On a related note, the Fortress is looking less like the final shot
of Raiders of the Lost Ark these days.  I actually got to the back
wall, albeit only by a sliver.  Barb and I even got rid of a large
kitchen play set and made some tentative decisions about some other
non-comics or comics-related items.

At the end of my garage sale season, I’m thinking of recruiting a
few strong young people of meritorious character to help me remove
everything from the Fortress of Storage and rearrange it to allow
me easier access to the VAOS during the winter months.  It’s become
obvious to me that some stuff currently within my house will have
to go back to the Fortress until I’m ready to either make it part
of my personal collection or offer it for sale at next year’s VAOS
garage sales.

Keep watching the bloggy thing for more updates.   


Some online commentator described Christine Woodward’s Rogue Touch
[Hyperion; $14.99] as “chick lit meets super-heroes” or something
like that.  My apologies for not naming the commentator - I didn’t
think to make a note of it at the time - or if I’m misquoting the
description.  I wasn’t exactly sure what makes a book “chick lit,”
so I looked up the definition and got this:

noun Slang: Sometimes Offensive. literature that appeals to women,
usually having a romantic or sentimental theme.

Rogue Touch is too square a peg to fit into that round hole, so I
guess I’m on my own here.

Anna Marie is 20 and on the run.  Her newly-emerged mutant power,
though she doesn’t realize that’s what it is until well into this
novel, put her boyfriend into a coma as she drained his abilities
and memories.  She didn’t mean to do this.  It was just bad fortune
all around that her power manifested itself at what should’ve been
a wonderful first kiss.

Anna Marie is, of course, Rogue, though she isn’t given that name
until well into this novel.  A whole bunch of stuff doesn’t happen
until well into this novel, which made it tough going for me.  It’s
an interesting take on Rogue, but it loses something by not having
any real connection to the Marvel Universe.  I didn’t need Woodward
to include guest appearances by Marvel characters, but some brief
mentions of them would have given more depth to the world of this
novel.  Why slap “Marvel” on the cover if you’re going to totally
ignore what “Marvel” stands for?

Anna Marie knows she can’t have actual skin-to-skin contact with
anyone.  She dresses accordingly and takes a job as a night baker
to minimize the chance of such contact.  Things start going wrong
when James, a mysterious stranger, enters her world.  Things start
going weird when it becomes obvious that James isn’t from anywhere
around “here” and that he has reasons of his own for staying well
below the radar.  Two unusual young people living on the outskirts
of society.  Of course, they fall in love.

Woodward definitely faced a challenge in writing a science-fiction
romance about a protagonist who can’t touch or be touched without
dire consequences.  Most of the romantic scenes drag and the action
sequences never quite come alive either.  Those action scenes are
there to add some action, some mystery, some suspense, and, “well
into the novel,” give readers some answers about James and what he
is running from.

Chris Claremont found Rouge Touch to be “an interesting take on
Mike Carey said it was “told with elegance and conviction
and attention to detail”
and deemed it “really entertaining.”  I’m
afraid I found it merely workman-like.

Some readers will certainly enjoy Rogue Touch more than I did.  If
they were intrigued by my comments here, they should read the book
and make their own determination of its worth.  In the meantime, I
am about 150 pages into The She-Hulk Diaries and finding that book
to be much better-written and a lot more fun.  Look for my review
of that second Marvel “chick lit” book tomorrow.

ISBN 978-1-4013-1102-5


Batman was once my favorite comic-book hero...until DC Comics went
into psycho-babble mode and turned him inhuman, insane, vicious and
seemingly omnipotent unless it was inconvenient to the story.  It
started with editor Dennis O’Neil - I liked him just fine when he
was writing Batman stories for Julius Schwartz - and just got worse
and worse and worse.  Too many of today’s comic-book executives and
editors and writers are uncomfortable with heroism in general.  So,
like the straw men in Steve Ditko screeds, they labor to diminish
that which they can never be.  Their hearts are too small and their
envy too large.

When I come across a Batman story that breaks that ridiculous mold,
I rejoice.  Thus I applaud Batman: Death by Design by Chip Kidd and
Dave Taylor [DC; $24.99]. This 2012 black-and-white graphic novel
embraces the heroic natures of Batman and Bruce Wayne while using
architecture as its backdrop and raison d’etre.

Set early in the Batman’s career, the story has Wayne attempting to
tear down and replace the aging Wayne Central Station meant to
be part of his father’s legacy to Gotham.  The place is rundown and
a danger, which doesn’t stop some Gotham residents from protesting
its coming demolition.  There is villainy afoot, of course, born of
corruption and madness and revenge.  Kidd balances the action with
more human stories.  A crusading architectural critic is a delight,
rising uncomfortable from his sedentary beat to become a courageous
investigative reporter.

Death by Design delivers a satisfying story and conclusion and it
has absolutely gorgeous art and storytelling.  If you yearn from a
Batman who is heroic and sane, you’ll love this graphic novel.  I
recommend it most highly.

ISBN 978-1-4012-3453-9


I’m not quite finished dumping on DC’s inane version of the Batman
today.  Let’s take a very quick look at Batman #11 [$3.99] with a
title blurb proclaiming “The Epic Finale of the Court of Owls” and
an interior story that is no such thing.

Okay, apparently, a great many readers bought into the premise that
a mysterious organization has been operating in Gotham City without
Batman knowing about it...because his standard omnipotence would be
ever so inconvenient for this storyline.

The Owls have an army of - yawn - undead zombie warriors in spooky
costumes and have sent them out to kill dozens of prominent Gotham
City movers and shakers.  Gosh, all that secrecy had them ready to
burst if they didn’t do something.

One of the warriors is allegedly the previously unheard-of brother
of Bruce Wayne.  Who died in the womb or who was so brain-damaged
he was thrown into a asylum or who maybe isn’t really Bruce Wayne’s
brother.  Yawn, yawn, and yawn.

Yes, the Court of Owls know Bruce Wayne is Batman.  All by itself,
that should have been enough for them to take him out.  Because, as
previously noted, he’s not omnipotent for this story.

This epic finale? Well, it ends with Batman and his allies failing
to save a whole bunch of people.  It ends with some court members
dead, but the clear indication that others are still out there and
will be weaving new plans.  It ends with the body of the supposed
brother disappearing from where said brother dies in battle.  Which
prevents Batman from testing the guy’s DNA.  No body, no DNA, gee,
do you suppose he’ll return to menace Batman again?

If you thought this “Court of Owls” story was good, you’re wrong.
I can’t even try to make you feel better about it.  You’re wrong.
Better luck next time.


One more jab at DC. I read Nightwing #10 [$2.99] and didn’t enjoy
it, save for the notion of Dick Grayson wanting to rebuild Gotham
City’s Amusement Mile.  That could be interesting, but, as I know
there’s another huge Batman crossover event in the title’s future,
I bet it got derailed by that event.  If I liked the Batman books,
I’d make more of an effort to get current with them.

Here’s what bugged me most of all.  The captions are first-person
narration, which doesn’t bug me because it’s as valid a technique
as any.  What does bug me is that the first first-person narration
caption of every page gets stamped with Nightwing’s chest insignia.
Which made it hard to read the words in that first caption.  It’s
a spectacularly dumb affectation.

That’s all I have for you today, my friends.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2013 Tony Isabella

Friday, August 16, 2013


This week's installment of "Forgotten Gems" at the Tales of Wonder website features a Crack Western cover and story by Reed Crandall.  Check it out!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


When I was writing all those blog entries about Comic-Con International 2013, I missed writing about the event's very cool souvenir book.  This isn't a review - I'll be enjoying the book a few pages at a time over the next several weeks - but I did want to mention this wonderful production.

The Dave McKean cover celebrates the 25th anniversary of Neil Gaiman's Sandman and was created exclusively for the convention.

Behind that cover, the 224-page book has articles about Superman, Doctor Who, the Avengers, Doctor Strange, the X-Men, ElfQuest, the Tick, the Eisner Awards, Bongo Comics, Milestone Comics, Strangers in Paradise, TwoMorrows Publishing, Aspen Comics, and, of course, the Sandman.  Illustrating the articles is art from professionals and fans, all expressing their love for these great creations, events and publishers.  In addition, there are articles on SDCC 2013's special guests, on the Eisner Awards, on the 2013 Eisner nominees, on the 2012 Eisner, Inkpot and other award winners.  There's also a moving "In Memoriam" section on creative greats who have passed since last year's event.

The souvenir book is a special treasure and, if you are fortunate enough to attend Comic-Con, make sure you get one.  You'll cherish it.

© 2013 Tony Isabella


New from my pal Anthony Tollin’s Sanctum Books is The Shadow #74:
“The Crystal Buddha” & “The Vindicator”
[$14.95]. These two classic
pulp novels were written by Walter B. Gibson (writing as Maxwell
Grant) and provided inspiration for Batman stories from the Golden
Age of Comics.

In “The Crystal Buddha” (1938), The Shadow investigates how a dying
man’s bequest turns deadly.  In “The Vindicator” (1939), the hero
who knows where evil lurks invades a castle to unmask a villain.
Will Murray’s historical essay examines how the adventures of The
Shadow influenced the Batman’s formative years.  Editor/publisher
Tollin writes on the comic-book artistry of noted pulp illustrator
Edd Cartier and reprints a 14-page Red Dragon from a 1947 issues of
Super Magician Comics.

As with the other Sanctum Books series - Doc Savage, The Whisperer
and others - these Shadow double novels are entertaining journeys
into the heroic fiction of the pulp era.  They’re wonderfully made
books and I regularly despair I might never get around to reading
them all.  But what I can do is let you know about the new releases
as they appear.  More Sanctum Books news is on the way.

© 2013 Tony Isabella

Monday, August 12, 2013


This week in "Tony's Tips" at the Tales of Wonder website, I'm sending you to the back issue boxes in search of some terrific comics!  Read the column here.


This will be a regular feature to keep bloggy thing readers in the
loop on my appearances, garage sales and other important events in
my deliriously busy happy life. 

Friday, August 23: GARAGE SALE (9 am to 1 pm)

Saturday, August 24: GARAGE SALE (9 am to 1 pm)

Sunday, August 25: GARAGE SALE (9 am to 1 pm)

Looking ahead to September...

Friday, September 6: GARAGE SALE (9 am to 1 pm)

Saturday, September 7: GARAGE SALE (9 am to 1 pm)

Friday, September 20: GARAGE SALE (9 am to 1 pm)

Saturday, September 21: GARAGE SALE (9 am to 1 pm)

Friday, September 27: MIX 2013 (Columbus)

Saturday, September 28: MIX 2013 (Columbus)

There is a possibility I’ll add Sunday hours to my September garage
sales.  Keep watching the bloggy thing for updates.

Please note I’ve cancelled my appearance at Wizard World Ohio. The
cancellation is on me, not the event.  I’d agreed to be a guest in
exchange for an artist alley table, but it became clear to me that,
in light of other recent expenses, the cost of doing the convention
was prohibitively expensive for me.  

I’m very much looking forward to being part of Mix 2013, a comics
symposium being held at the most excellent Columbus College of Art
and Design.  I’ll have more to say about the symposium in the near

In the meantime, if you want me to appear at your October, November
or December conventions, you need to contact me ASAP to see if we
can make that happen.  At the minimum, convention organizers should
be prepared to cover my hotel and travel expenses.
© 2013 Tony Isabella


My weekend Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale didn’t meet what
I’m now calling my “old modest expectations.”  Some of my regular
customers weren’t there, though only one had the really good excuse
that he was working in India those days.  However, I did meet what
I’m now calling my “new modest expectations”...albeit only with the
addition of Sunday hours to the sale.

Sunday was an odd day.  I only had five customers over the sale’s
four hours, but two of them spent around $60 each.  I wouldn’t have
realized my “new modest expectations” without them and one of them
wouldn’t have been able to shop any other day that weekend.

My next garage sale will be at the usual 840 Damon Drive in Medina,
Ohio, Friday through Sunday, August 23-25 from 9 am to 1 pm each of
those days.  I am looking into ways I can accommodate customers who
can’t make it to the garage sale at those times and will announce
something in the next batch of garage sale updates.

What will my next VAOS garage sale be like?  I have some ideas to
make it better and more fun and more profitable.  I’m also open to
your suggestions.  Feel free to e-mail me with suggestions or post
them on my Facebook page. 

Regular blogging with resume sometime this week, but I can’t tell
you exactly when.  I have a whole bunch of odds and ends I need to
attend to, not to mention helping to get my daughter Kelly ready to
move back to Columbus for - My, how the time flies! - her senior
year at The Ohio State University.  You should probably also expect
delays in my responding to e-mails and other messages.  I will be
dancing as fast as I can.

Thanks to all my customers for shopping with me this past weekend.
I hope you had as good a time as I did. 

Tony Isabella

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Today [Sunday, August 11] is the final day of my Vast Accumulation
of Stuff garage sale at 840 Damon Drive in Medina, Ohio.  The sale
hours are 9 am to 1 pm. If this Sunday experiment pans out, I will
continue holding three-day sales.

The weather predictions for Sunday’s sale hours are partly cloudy
with temperatures ranging from 65 to 73. Good news.

Saturday’s sale results were not what I’d hope they would be, but
I still made more than most of America’s fast food workers.  All of
whom work harder than I do at my garage sale.  Congress must raise
the minimum wage.  It’s the right thing to do and it will help our
economy improve faster than most tactics.

There are thousands of great items available at my garage sale at
insanely low prices.  Come on by and see for yourself.

Look for a wrap-up report on this weekend’s garage sale tonight or
early Monday morning.

Tony Isabella 

Saturday, August 10, 2013


I just watched today's episode of Beware the Batman.  To answer the questions that have already been e-mailed to me...

1. I created Tobias Whale.

2. Trevor von Eeden drew the character from the description in my script.

3. DC Comics owes me money for this appearance.

4. I wasn't credited for the character creation in the end credits.

5. It's a toss-up whether or not DC pays me for this appearance.  The company has tended not to honor its agreements with me.

6. I am not honored by this use of my creation.  Maybe I'll feel honored if DC pays me. 

That's all I have to say at this time.



My Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale continues today and will
continue tomorrow [Sunday, August 11] at 840 Damon Drive in Medina,
Ohio.  My sale hours are 9 am to 1 pm both days. If this three-day
experiment succeeds, I’ll continue holding three-day sales.

After Friday’s sale, I went to the Fortress of Storage and returned
with ten boxes.  I went through them and, as a result, I completely
filled the comics boxes from Friday’s sale and even added one more
comics box.  There are many terrific comics among these additions,
including a good run of Dark Horse Presents.

I added a bunch of hardcovers and trade paperbacks to those boxes.
I think today’s customers will be amazed by what’s there. 

I added a bunch of mass market paperbacks to that table.  So many
that they are now stacked two or three deep.

The weather predictions for today are for partly sunny/sunny skies
with temperatures between 67 and 75 degrees.  That’s good weather
for a garage sale.

Friday’s results were good, but below my modest expectations.  I’m
seeing a pattern in sales that will probably result in a change in
my sale hours.  The first hour is great, the second okay, the third
and fourth are flat.  With so many projects and obligations before
me, I have to be protective of my time and energy.

It’s almost a certainty that, going forward, my garage sale hours
will be reduced to 9 am to noon.  Recognizing this might deter some
customers, I’m experimenting with Sunday hours.  Should my Sunday
sales not reward that experiment, I won’t repeat that experiment.
But I am looking into other ways to accommodate customers who
can’t make it to my sales before noon.  

Some of my online friends have asked about mail order.  Currently,
I plan to resume online sales through this blog once I wrap up the
summer’s garage sales.  It’s not cost-effective or time-effective
for me to sell items online at garage sale prices or to sell garage
sale mystery boxes for less than $40 (including postage).  But my
online friends will have an opportunity to buy some amazing stuff
before I offer it on eBay.

Despite all the cold business talk, I do enjoy these garage sales.
There is something very cool about seeing customers walk away with
a huge stack of items and smiles on their faces.  I thank them for
their patronage.

I’ll have more to say about garage sales to come in the very near
future.  Look for another update on Sunday.

Tony Isabella 

Friday, August 9, 2013


My current Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale starts today and
will continue on Saturday and Sunday, August 10 and 11 at 840 Damon
Drive, Medina, Ohio.  Sale hours are 9 am to 1 pm each day. If this
three-day experiment is successful, I’ll continue holding three-day

As I write this update in the wee hours of Friday morning, I’m in
my typical “wish I had a bigger garage and more time” mood.  There
are thousands of comics and books and other items on display in my
garage, but, as always, I wish there could be more. 

I’m pleased with the items I’ve placed on my magazine and spinner
racks. These are comics and books I don’t want my customers to
overlook. Check them out.

My biggest concern at the moment is the weather.  Checking the most
recent hour-by-hour predictions, there are warnings of “scattered
thunderstorms” all morning and afternoon.  On the bright side, the
advance predictions called for Friday thunderstorms on Wednesday,
then changed the predictions to Friday being “cloudy” or “partially
cloudy” on Thursday before returning to scattered thunderstorms in
these wee morning hours.  Ohio weather is largely unpredictable, so
I’m hoping for the best for the garage sale hours. 


If we do get scattered thunderstorms and the inclement weather is
likely to come into my garage, I’ll need to close the garage door.
Customers will be able to come into the garage via our screened-in
porch.  It’s not the way I would prefer it, but, with so many of my
customers traveling some distance to come to the garage sale, I’m
not going to turn them away.

That said, the safety of my beloved customers comes first.  If you
are at all concerned about traveling in possibly inclement weather,
then stay home on Friday.  The Saturday and Sunday predictions are
looking much better at the moment.

I’m looking forward to the sale and to seeing my regular customers
once again.  Have a great day and thanks for your patronage.

Tony Isabella

UPDATE: The weather forecast has now changed to cloudy, mostly cloudy and partly cloudy with a chance of light rain.  Sheesh!


One of my 2013 resolutions was to see more movies in actual movie
theaters.  I saw Iron Man 3 earlier this year and, two nights ago,
I saw Pacific Rim.  I haven’t achieved “more” yet, but I still have
almost five months to go.

Pacific Rim was half a sure thing for me.  It had giant monsters;
I’m quite fond of those.  It also had giant robots; I kind of sort
of like those some of the time. 

In Pacific Rim, a breech to another dimension has opened up deep in
the ocean.  Giant monsters enter our world through the breech and
visit destruction and death on cities and humans.  The only weapon
that has been successful against these “kaiju” are Jaegers, giant
mecha controlled by a team of mind-linked pilots.  Unfortunately,
as the movie opens, the monsters are getting better and smarter at
fighting Jaegers.

The Jaegers program had united all the countries of Earth against
a common enemy, but is now considered obsolete.  Huge coastal walls
are being built to protect cities from the monsters.  The remaining
Jaegers - four in all - are reassigned to a single base near Hong
Kong to await the end of man on Earth.  You didn’t really think a
bunch of walls was going to stop the monsters, did you?

Directed by Guillermo del Toro, written by him and Travis Beacham,
Pacific Rim shares a lot of familiar elements with old war movies.
The main protagonist is a spirit-crushed pilot who watched his own
brother die on their last mission together.  The commander is one
tough cookie with a soft spot for the kaiju attack survivor he has
raised since she was a child and a dark secret.  The pilots include
a trio of Chinese brothers, a man-and-woman team from the Soviet,
a cocky Australian who thinks the main protagonist is a liability,
the Aussie’s career soldier father, and, that young woman raised by
the commander.  Almost no time is spent developing the Russians or
the Chinese.  You know what that means.

You’ve seen the clips and the trailers, so you don’t need me to tell you
the special effects are top-notch.  Even without the 3-D, Pacific Rim
draws you into the action and leaves you more than a little breathless. 

Kudos to del Toro and Beacham for doing an excellent job mixing the
character development with the action and the rising sense of doom.
There’s an urgency to the escalating situation and that made me all
the more interested in the characters who represented the world’s
only chance of survival.  The acting was good throughout the film.
Nothing Oscar-worthy, but solid craft that did what it was supposed
to do from start to finish.

Three non-pilot characters are worth mentioning.  Ron Perlman plays
Hannibal Chau, a black marketeer dealing in kaiju organs.  I love
Pearlman and, even though he plays this character way over the top,
he fits with the larger-than-life scale of the monsters and robots.

Charlie Day and Burn Gorman play bickering scientists whose scenes
together are gold.  Day has figured out how to link minds with the
monsters.  Gorman has figured out a mathematical method to predict
when the monsters will appear.

Pacific Rim never stops upping the ante.  One monster is bad, two
are worse.  Bigger monsters even more so.  Battle plans are drawn
and do not survive contact with the enemy.  Surprises keep coming.
This was an exhilarating night at the movies.

Pacific Rim isn’t performing well at the box office.  I went to see
it when I did because, as of today, it’s no longer running at the
local theater.  If it’s still playing at your area theaters, don’t
put off seeing it. Definitely recommended.  I enjoyed it so much I
already ordered the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. 


What with being a freak for SyFy movies, I was always gonna watch
Blast Vegas.  The casting of Frankie Muniz of Malcolm in the Middle
and Big Fat Liar fame was just delicious icing on my cheesy movie
cake.  Muniz did not disappoint.

Muniz plays a nerd among frat boys come to Vegas for spring break.
Also in town are a group of sorority girls, one of whom is Muniz’s
female counterpart, and an ancient curse that threatens to destroy
the city and everyone in it.  Always in town is Barry Bostwick as
a lounge singer who has been a Vegas performer for three decades.
Between Muniz’s often shaky courage and Bostwick’s comically sleazy
street smarts, everyone else gets blown off the small screen.  The
world needs a Muniz/Bostwick sitcom.

The blasting of Vegas happens when an ancient sword is stolen and
displayed in a casino...and when the idiot frat boys steal it and
stick it into the ground.  Then we get the supernaturally horrible
weather and a giant snake thing and decent special effects for the
kind of movie this is.  I also like the escaped tiger roaming the
devastated streets eating Elvis impersonators.  I think we’ve all
had that impulse at one time or another.

Blast Vegas is mildly entertaining, which is all I needed it to be.
The finale is delayed by a bit of padding involving a scavenger in
a hotel parking lot.  It’s a lifeless scene that would have worked
far better if they had used the tiger in it.  In fact, I was more
than a little disappointed that Muniz and the tiger didn’t team up
to lay the ancient curse to rest.  Can we add a tiger to the Muniz
and Bostwick sitcom I mentioned two paragraphs ago?

I had fun watching Blast Vegas.

Keep them coming, SyFy.

I’ll be back on Monday with more stuff. 

© 2013 Tony Isabella