Sunday, September 13, 2015


Today marks the return of regular bloggy things. I’m aiming to post six new columns a week, taking one day off each week to write my weekly TONY’S TIPS column for Tales of Wonder. I’ll also take a day off whenever I post a new Vast Accumulation of Stuff online sale. Life sometimes tosses surprises my way, but the bloggy things for Monday and Tuesday are close to completion even as I write today’s “catching you up” entry.

My life is both challenging and exciting these days. I can’t tell you everything that’s going on, but, if all comes to fruition as I am guardedly optimistic it will, I’ll have all sorts of cool news to share with you.

Some announcements...

My next Vast Accumulation of Stuff sale will be in October. I ask the forgiveness and patience of those of you who bought stuff from the current sale. I had planned to package all the orders last week and mail them on Saturday. That did not happen for a multitude of reasons involving life’s little challenges. I should be able to get them all out by the end of this week and will be tossing a bonus or two into your packages to make up for the delay.

With the exception of the Akron Comicon in early November, I have cancelled all my remaining 2015 appearances. I’m undergoing dental work that includes serious surgery and a whole lot of medication. The latter will limit my ability to drive long distances and, on some days, at all. I hope to make up for my absences in 2016 when, if my writing progresses as hoped, I will be a somewhat bigger draw than in 2015.

I was very much looking forward to attending my friend Teddy Hanes’ comics shows on October 3 (Rochester) and October 4 (Buffalo). It’s been way too long since we’ve gotten together. For the latest info on Ted’s shows, contact him via Facebook.

I was also looking forward to returning to both the Cleveland Comic Con and the Grand Rapids Comic-Con. I had a wonderful time at these events in 2014 and recommend them highly.

Some personal stuff...

The Isabella family has said farewell to the house at 11203 Peony Avenue where I grew up and from which I wrote all those letters to comic books and all those articles and stories for comics fanzines. With the passing of my father last year, the house was just too big for my mother and sister, even with the dog and too many cats for me to count. But that’s only part of the story.

The deciding factor in my mom moving to a very nice senior assisted living facility and my sister moving to a suburb of Cleveland was what had become of our old neighborhood. When Sts. Philip and James Grade School and Sts. Philip and James Church were going concerns, it was a pretty nice middle-class neighborhood. Then, as families moved from the area, the school closed. The church followed maybe a decade or so later. The Catholic Church in general had and has a shortage of priests. The Church also has enormous legal bills and payouts stemming from the sexual abuse committed by some priests and the Church’s cover-up of those crimes. Sts. Phillip and James was closed in a wave of cost-cutting.  

The closing of the school and the church were major events, but the leading cause of the neighborhood’s deterioration was the city of Cleveland’s record of ignoring its middle-class and poorer citizens to bankroll the downtown play palaces of the wealthy and powerful, and to bolster gentrification of trendy neighborhoods within close access to those play palaces.

In the last six months that my mother owned the 11203 Peony house, there were eight shootings in the area. Resulting in six fatalities. In the early 1970s, when I was working the late shift at the Plain Dealer, I used to walk home from my Lorain Avenue bus stop at 2 am or so. Just a brisk ten-minute walk down Bosworth Avenue to Peony Avenue. I couldn’t make that walk now. I would be killed or, at the very least, beaten and robbed.

Few things have made me happier in recent months than the sheer joy I hear in Mom’s voice when she tells me she goes for walks around her new digs. Even in broad daylight, it would not have been safe for her to do that in our old neighborhood.

This is what happens when people allow the rich and the powerful to control our cities, our states and our government. Please consider that when you cast your future ballots.

My online presence...

As mentioned above, I write a weekly TONY’S TIPS column for Tales of Wonder. These mostly review columns continue the feature I did for Comics Buyer’s Guide for decades. Most weeks, you get a trio of reviews of comics and collections of comics. Occasionally, you get comics history or more extensive comics commentary. I’m proud of my TONY’S TIPS work and, if you’re not already a regular reader, check it out. I think you’ll enjoy it.

When I first got on Facebook, I did so because I thought it would be a good promotional tool for my work. It had been that, but it’s evolved into so much more. It’s a community of nearly 5000 online friends who visit the page to enjoy my remembrances of comic-book creators and other people important to me, to celebrate birthdays of comics creators and others, to read a historical fact or three, to nod in agreement or get peeved at my political/social commentary and links. It’s where I ask my friends for research assistance on occasion or try to make them chuckle. It’s a place where my friends can promote their own endeavors.

I spend a lot of time on my Facebook page. It’s still an excellent promotional tool for my work, but it’s also a friendly place where I can go and where everybody knows my name. It’s become a hobby and my neighborhood bar. I love it a lot.

Facebook only allows 5000 friends on a personal page. I’m usually pretty close to that, but I do accept friend requests when I have openings and when I can learn something about the potential friend from their own page. If your page doesn’t contain sufficient open-to-the-public information, I’ll deny your request. page is open to the public. So, even if you aren’t an official “friend” and can’t comment on my posts, you are still very welcome to visit the page and enjoy the content there.

I maintain two other Facebook pages.

The Official Tony Isabella Message Board is a continuation of the board from World Famous Comics. Many of my friends from that board are members of this board.

The most major difference between the message board and my personal page is that the message board is pretty much politics-free. So, if my political positions on my personal page make you see Republican red, you can join the message board instead.

My third and final Facebook page is The First Church of Godzilla. This page celebrates the Great Scaly One who protects us from alien invaders, giant monsters and Man's own folly with his fiery atomic love. It’s devoted to Godzilla and kaiju from all around the world. It is my dream to sometime hold an actual First Church of Godzilla service at a convention.

I also have a Twitter account - @thetonyisabella - though I haven’t yet figured out how to make the best use of it. As you could probably guess from these long-winded bloggy things of mine, it’s difficult for me to express myself in 140 characters or less. I’m working on it.

Somebody spends too much time online. In the fairly near future, I hope to have some pretty great news to share with you. In the meantime, I’ll keep on writing these bloggy things of mine. Thanks for reading them.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2015 Tony Isabella

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