Saturday, September 19, 2015


This is the concluding chapter of my Indy Pop Con 2015 report. As was the case with the second and third chapters, my Star Wars title has zilch to do with the events of Sunday, June 28. My only defense is that the titles seemed like a good idea when I wrote the opening chapter of this report. I am clearly not a very good Jedi.

Despite being kept awake for much of Saturday night by the rowdies across the hotel hallway, I was up and about my business early in the morning. I went to Steak ‘n Shake for breakfast and discovered the restaurant was out of...eggs. No, really, whoever was ordering supplies for the place had screwed up royally.

This distressed the wait staff as much as it did their customers. These friendly ladies love comics and media conventions. They told me that whenever there’s an event like Indy Pop Con at the Indiana Convention Center, they do great business. Fans appreciate a decent meal at a good price...and are generous tippers.

At least one of the waitresses was one of us. As soon as her shift was over, she was going to the convention. She was trying to figure out if she would have time to go home and get into costume. Like I said, one of us.   

I’ll start my con report proper with a shout-out to BlueMoon Comics of Lafayette. The store had the booth across the aisle from my own booth and seemed to do a bustling business throughout the weekend, offering a variety of sales and specials for the fans.

Of course, it would be hard to walk by the BlueMoon booth without Jennifer Otto-Lahr (seen above) catching your eye. She cosplayed as Batwoman on Saturday, Maleficent on Sunday. She is also a Godzilla fan which makes her, after my own Sainted Wife Barb, pretty much the most perfect woman on the planet. It was fun chatting with her over the weekend.

Attendance was solid on Sunday. The convention had gotten a lot of great press from the local media. Nuvo, an alternative newspaper, featured the event on the cover of its June 24-July 1 edition and devoted eight pages to the event, to local artists, and to some of the featured guests of the convention. I was one of the guests writer Emily Taylor interviewed.

NUVO: You knew pretty early on what you wanted to do.

ISABELLA: Oh yeah. It was 1963...I didn’t know for sure if I could get that job [writing comic books] but my full back position was to be Clark Kent and work for a newspaper.

NUVO: What was the story behind Black Lightning?

ISABELLA: I created Black Lightning...The first black friends I ever made were comic fans. Very early on it struck me as off that there weren’t more comic characters that my friends would relate to. So while I was working at Marvel I worked on a number of their black characters. Black Lightning was the process I was working towards. He was created because I wanted a very positive character, someone the younger readers could get into. In Black Lightning, I was able to address some of my own political and social issues involving inner city communities and racism and things like that.

We are living in a very diverse age. Comic book characters don’t have to be all white. More and more we are getting a whole range of comic book characters. The comic books in America are beginning to reflect the diversity of own country. I am proud to be somebody who was involved in that very early on. I’m very happy to be continuing that kind of work. Originally, when I was first asked to come to this convention, I turned it down because of your asshole governor and representatives. Then I became convinced I could do more for the cause by attending the convention.

One of the few disappointments of the weekend was that Scott Shaw! had to cancel his appearance for medical reasons. Scott and I have known each other for decades. He’s a funny and talented cartoonist with a love for oddball comics. I was looking forward to spending some quality time with him. Since Scott wouldn’t be at the convention to put on his hilarious “Oddball Comics” panel, I filled in with my not remotely as hilarious “Tony’s Tips Live!”

I’ve done “Tony’s Tips Live!” at many conventions and it’s pretty much what the title indicates: a live version of the columns I’ve been writing for decades. I talk about comics old and now, share a few crazy stories from my career, drop a little political wisdom on the audience and answer questions. I didn’t draw a big crowd with this late addition to the schedule, but I think those who did come to it left sufficiently entertained by my nonsense.

On Saturday, Wil Brendel, the artist who drew my sensational Indy Pop Con trading card, gave me the latest issue of The Redeemers, a creator-owned comic he does with writer Eric Rampson. I had read this issue that night and waved Wil over so we could talk about it.

The Redeemers are a Chicago-based rock band with a recently-outed secret. One of their three members is part-angel. The others are a sorcerer and a werebeast. The band has decided to use their powers to help as many people as possible while seeking their own kind of redemption. As readers of my own comic-book writing know, I love a good redemption story.

I liked The Redeemers #4 [Lonely Robot; $3,99] quite a bit. Between the “previously in our story” summary on the inside front cover and the story itself, I found it very easy to get into and follow the three-tiered tale. (Each of the band members has his own back story and storyline.) Kudos to Rampson for his writing and to Brendel for his storytelling. I’m hoping to see these guys do many more issues of The Redeemers.

If you’d like to order this issue, you can do so at the Lonely Robot website. If you’d like to see more of Wil’s wonderful work, you can visit his online portfolio.

My final panel of the weekend was the “Comic Creator Panel” which I moderated on account of I had seniority. There’s something to be said for doing comics while surviving the frequent dinosaur attacks that were common in the old days. The other panels were Tony Moore of Walking Dead and Fear Agent fame; Brooke A. Allen, whose lively art on Lumberjanes delights me issue after issue; and writer Troy Brownfield, who I mentioned in Wednesday’s bloggy thing. It was a terrific panel with the participants sharing all kinds of wisdom. If you’re an aspiring comics creator, you should never pass up an opportunity to hear working comics creators discussing their craft and the business of making comics.

With a five-hour drive ahead of me, I left the convention shortly after my last panel. My friend and handler Stephan Friedt recruited a few volunteers to help me break down my booth and load my car for the journey back to Medina, Ohio.

I had a fantastic time at Indy Pop Con 2015. I hope to attend next year’s event as well. Whether I manage that or not, I do recommend the event to one and all. There will be entertainments for fans of all interest and you can count on the show runners and volunteers to keep everything running smoothly.

Thank you, Indy Pop Con. I had a blast!

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2015 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. No Thank you Tony... You were an amazing guest and an even more amazing person.