Tuesday, April 12, 2016


I made my second appearance before a meeting of the Cleveland State University Comic Book Club on Friday, March 4. The club inviting me back to speak to them a second time clearly shows its members are among the finest and most intelligent comics readers ever. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Though Cleveland State University has been an important part of the Cleveland scene for many decades, my own history with it is brief. After I graduated from St. Edward High School, I’d had my fill of religious institutions and wanted to attend CSU. I was overruled by my father who, having survived the Jesuit priests at St. Ignatius High School, wanted his eldest son to experience the delights of a Jesuit education at John Carroll University. When I say “delights,” I am, of course, being sarcastic.

Dad had gone to John Carroll for a brief time before World War II interrupted his education. On returning from his service, he went back to work at the family bakery, putting his own wants aside to do for others. Knowing the sacrifice he made, I agreed reluctantly to go to John Carroll. It was as big a mistake for me as not going back to school had been for him. I didn’t like the Jesuits. I did not like most of my teachers, though my French teacher looked like Gil Kane drew her. I definitely didn’t like the jocks and the ROTC goons who strode across the campus as if they owned it. Back then, they probably did.

I left John Carroll within a year. While working for the Cleveland Plain Dealer - night shift - I considered enrolling as a student at CSU. The closest I ever came was dating a young woman who was going there. She would have given me straight A’s. Her family would have given me straight F’s. My family never knew I was dating the woman because they would have been horrified by my dating an older black woman. It’s one of the reasons why I’m a firm believer in building one’s own family.

But I digress.

Roman Macharoni is - I think - the president of the CSU comic-book club. He put together a meeting program of questions for me and a  bunch of interesting clips and illustrations projected on to a big screen. There were somewhere between a dozen and two dozen comics fans who came to the meeting. I answered their questions and told them stories.

I didn’t take notes. Because I was too busy talking and talking and talking...will I ever shut up? But I’m pretty sure I talked about Black Lightning, the Black Bomber, the Champions, Misty Knight, Jim Shooter, diversity in comics, Stan Lee, why I would have killed the Joker long ago if I were Batman, why I would kill a whole bunch of villains just because they are boring and overused and boring...and there I go again.

I think everyone had a good time. No animals or super-villains were harmed during the presentation. If you are ever invited to attend a meeting of the Cleveland State University Comic-Book Club, accept immediately. You will be delighted you did.

I no longer think about enrolling at Cleveland State University, but I’d be totally up for a honorary degree from the school and a gig as a visiting professor. Someone should make that happen.


On other matters:

People have been asking if I will sign Black Lightning Volume One and other Isabella-written items via the mail. I will, but you need to follow certain steps and be aware of existing conditions in my  exciting and hectic life.

1) You must send the items to me with return packaging that already has postage on it. This allows me to sign the item and pop it back in my mailbox for the next day’s pick-up.

2) Let me know where on the item you’d like it signed and if you’d like it personalized.

3) Remember that part about exciting and hectic? I will sign these items and get them back to you as soon as possible. However, I am getting lots of similar requests and, on occasion, it may take me a few days to accommodate you.

If all of the above is agreeable to you:

4) Email me and I’ll send you my address.


I’ve been so busy of late that, when I sleep, I either don’t dream or don’t remember my dreams. I tend to remember comic-book dreams better than other dreams. The most recent one was a doozy...

Denny O’Neil - as I remember him from the 1970s - was in front of my house with a beat-up junker of a car. I could see him from the window of my office, but couldn’t hear him. I have no idea why he had driven from New York to my home town of Medina, Ohio.

What I could tell from watching Denny was that he was having some sort of argument with Roy Thomas, also in his 1970s incarnation and having just walked over to the car. Denny kept pointing to parts of the car. Roy was doing the same.

I thought about walking down to the street to keep the peace, then decided against it. I told myself I wasn’t expecting either Denny or Roy to visit. They might not have even come to Medina to see me, though both of them being in front of my house would then be a very strange coincidence.

Ultimately, I decided to ignore them and get back to work. If they were here to see me, they’d knock on the door. When I looked down on the street a while later, they had both left.

Comic-book dreams. They sort of freak me out sometimes.


My next convention appearance will be at FantastiCon on Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17, at the Seagate Convention Center in Toledo, Ohio. Convention hours are 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm on Sunday. Check the show website for details.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a new installment of my beloved “Rawhide Kid Wednesday” series. That will be followed on Thursday and Friday by my Gem City Comic Con report.

Thanks for stopping by the bloggy thing today.

© 2016 Tony Isabella

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