Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Saturday’s garage sale was split into two sessions. The first was from the usual 9 am to noon. The second was from 5pm to 7 pm.  At 11 am, there was an honest-to-Godzilla convention-style panel with Mike W. Barr (writer of Batman, Batman and the Outsiders, Camelot 3000, Maze Agency and Star Trek), Tom Batiuk (Crankshaft and Funky Winkerbean) and me.

We set up a long table and three chairs. Over a dozen fans brought chairs from my patio or from their homes. It was a fun discussion  and I got so into it that I failed to take notes while it was going on. I’m going to get someone to videotape whatever panel I do for next year’s Driveway Con.

Going my memory, I asked Mike and Tom to name their favorite comic books and strips. I asked them which comic books and comic strips they would like to write if they had the opportunity. We also took questions from the audience.

Mike and Tom both mentioned The Flash as among the favorite comic books of their youth. I mentioned Cosmo the Merry Martian and the Presto Kid stories from Red Mask.

My memory has failed me when it comes to the favorite comic strips of Mike and Tom, but I named Calvin and Hobbes.

My memory also fails me when I try to remember what comic books my friends said they would like to write, but I think they mentioned the Flash in their answers.

What comic books would I like to write? I said I love assignments that are challenging and fun. When I was at Marvel in the 1970s, I had a hankering to write Thor mostly because I wanted to see if I could master that title’s pseudo-Shakespearean dialogue. Later, in the 1980s, I expressed my interest in following Alan Moore on Swamp Thing. Talk about a challenge.

But if I had to name more realistic - barely more realistic - comic books of comic-book characters I would like to write, my very short list would include the Blonde Phantom, the Rawhide Kid and Howard the Duck. Fun and challenging...and I may have figured out how to do all three of them without writing the actual characters.

On the question of what comic strips we’d like to write, Tom said he always wanted to do a Mary Worth story in which she was forced out of her current comfortable circumstances and had to go back to living small as she did during the Depression when her comic strip was called “Apple Mary.”  Mike mentioned he had been in the running for Mary Worth before the current writer of the comic strip came on  board. I can’t remember what strip Mike said he wanted to write on account of my head was being stupid that morning.

Digression. I will ask Mike and Tom how they answered my questions when next I see them. I will take notes and I will do a follow-up to today’s bloggy thing. End of digression.

The question of what comic strips I would like to write was harder for me because I already ghost-write for several strips and didn’t feel I should mention any of them. I settled on naming two strips that I have never written for.

I’d like to write Doonesbury because I can’t imagine any strip that would be more of a challenge. The thought of having that political pulpit is very attractive to me.

I’d also like to write Beetle Bailey and bring it out of the stone age. I’d probably have Sarge up on charges for his brutalization of Beetle. I’d definitely move the characters out of Camp Swampy and into actual military roles. And I think I could write funny stuff for the strip.

There were questions from the audience about diversity in comics, especially the lesbian relationship in Barr’s Camelot 3000 and the barriers publishers faced when they launched comic books starring characters of color. Good questions. Good answers. I wish I had a transcript of the panel to share with you.

My son Eddie came home for Driveway Con. As the panel was winding down, he ordered pizzas for us. Mike, Tom and some of our friendshad a nice lunch. Probably a better and more relaxing lunch than we would have time for at Comic-Con.


Ever since I began advertising my garage sales on Craig’s List and elsewhere, I can count on receiving anywhere from two to two dozen  messages from people who can’t possibly make it to my garage sales at the scheduled hours and would like to come to my house on, say, the day or night before the garage sales.

These messages piss me off. What these people really want is first crack at whatever I’m selling. They all seem to think I’m too dumb to figure that out. I’m not that dumb and they’re jerks.

However, I do know family and work responsibilities can prevent a customer from attending my morning garage sales. So, because this was Driveway Com 2014, I decided to offer a couple of evening hours on Saturday night. Just to see what would happen.

What happened is that, while I didn’t make a boatload of money in those evening hours, I made enough to make it worth the two hours of my time and I made some customers happy.

I’m going to continue offering Saturday evening hours at my sales.This will only change if those evening hours stop being productive for me and my customers. I don’t think that will happen.


Driveway Con 2014 was a success. I not only reached my goal for the weekend, I doubled it. A lot of comics fans got a lot of terrific items at ridiculously low prices. We had fans in costumes. We did trivia questions. We had a panel.  I don’t know if I can top this next year, but I’m sure gonna give it my best shot.

There will be five more garage sales between not and the last one of the year in October. Here’s the schedule:

Friday, August 15: 9 am to noon
Saturday, August 16: 9 to noon
Saturday, August 16: 5 pm to 7 pm

Friday, August 29: 9 am to noon
Saturday, August 30: 9 to noon
Saturday, August 30: 5 pm to 7 pm

Friday, September 12: 9 am to noon
Saturday, September 13: 9 to noon
Saturday, September 13: 5 pm to 7 pm

Friday, September 26: 9 am to noon
Saturday, September 27: 9 to noon
Saturday, September 28: 5 pm to 7 pm

Friday, October 10: 9 am to noon
Saturday, October 11: 9 to noon
Saturday, October 11: 5 pm to 7 pm

I’m going to try to come up with some special stuff for the sales in September and will probably do some sort of Halloween theme for the October one. Keep watching the bloggy thing for updates on the garage sales and more.

Since I’ll be attending PulpFest in Columbus Thursday night through Sunday morning, this is probably my last bloggy thing of the week. I’ll be back next week to thrill you anew.

Thanks for reading.

© 2014 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. // Driveway Con 2014 was a success. //

    I'm even happier to hear that than I am sorry that I couldn't be there, which is considerably. The likelihood of my dropping in next year is slim, at present, but I would be thrilled if circumstances are otherwise and I could make it part of a road trip to visit old friends in Oberlin. I haven't seen you since the previous millennium.