Saturday, April 30, 2016


What Has Gone Before:

Tony had a fun Saturday at Fantasticon and an equally fun evening. Around midnight, he left the show’s after hours party to head back to his hotel room. That’s when this happened...

As I walked to the elevators, I was greeted by a very attractive young woman. She was at the hotel attending a wedding reception. Her dress left little to the imagination and she was obviously quite inebriated. I didn’t have to guess that because she told me as much a couple seconds later when she draped herself all over me, clinging to my neck and shoulders. I think she’d mistaken me for another reception guest. She slurred:

“Hello. I’m drunk. I need to lay down somewhere. Can I come up to your room...”

Oh, get your minds out of the gutter.

Have you seen me at a convention? I look like somebody’s granddad and I might as well have a forehead tattoo that reads “safe zone.” At other convention parties, women who feel like they’ve had enough of men talking to their breasts tend to gravitate to wherever I am sitting. Keeping my ego in check - and, guys, this is a very useful skill if you, I don’t know, want to behave like an adult - I assume that was what the young lady was picking up on.

I untangled myself from her. Twice. Because the first time I didn’t think she could stand under her own power. When I left her, she was leaning against the hotel’s front desk. The desk clerk was keeping an eye on her and, after a brief conversation, the desk clerk and I figured someone would come by and collect the young lady. I went up to my room and got a good night’s sleep.

Sainted Wife Barb called me in the morning before she went to work. Naturally, I told her about this incident. She laughed. We’ve been married for 32 years come June and Barb knows crazy shit happens to me all the time. Just another drop in the bucket.

Here’s the funny part of this story.

When I came down from my room later that morning to go down to the convention, I was stopped by one of the show’s dealers. He gave me a funny look and asked me who my evening companion was. I told him what I just told you, albeit in somewhat abbreviated form. It was clear from his snort and the even more suspicious look he gave me that he didn’t believe me for an instant. I keep waiting for some comics website to “expose” my scandalous behavior. Which hasn’t happened yet, but who knows.

Guys...this is why you tell your wives and significant others every damn crazy thing that happens to you at a convention. People, even comics people, talk shit as easily as they take breath. Don’t step in it.

Sunday was a slower day than Saturday, which is almost always the case at comics conventions. Oddly enough, I’ve had very busy days at small Sunday-only shows. I don’t try to predict what will happen on any given day of an event. I just go with it.

Fantasticon hit a bump in the road Sunday morning. Streets around the convention center were blocked for a 10K race. So fans coming to the show couldn’t get to the show for an hour or so. I can well imagine how infuriating this is for convention promoters and don’t understand why such races can’t be routed away from conventions and other such events. Does anybody in the city governments, which have to approve races and routes, ever consider such things?

I still had a good time on Sunday. I signed a bunch of comic books and other items. I sold some stuff. I talked to fans. I bought some Isabella-written comics from a dealer and will have them for sale the next time around.

I enjoyed the cosplayers who were in attendance on both days of the convention. There was a contest for kids and a contest for adults. My pal Scott Crawford, who was the hit of many a Mid-Ohio-Con with costumes he made for himself and others, was wearing his incredible Phantom suit. The Ghost Who Walks has rarely looked better.

There was one awkward moment on Sunday. A long-time friend who I’ve signed many comics for in the past brought me a copy of Astonishing Tales to sign. I had forgotten that he prefers his comics signed on the inside of the book and, to his horror and mine, signed on the cover. My only excuse is that I sign so many comics at conventions that details like this sometimes slip through the cracks of my aged brain. I usually remember to ask a fan where he or she would like their comic signed.

Help an old guy out, will you? If you want me to sign a comic book or any other item, hand it to me open to where you want me to sign it so I don’t head for the cover immediately. And know where you want the book signed. Don’t leave it up to me. It’s your comic. You get to choose.

My son Ed wanted to watch the opening Cleveland Cavaliers playoff game against the Detroit Pistons. Our plan was for him to walk to a highly-recommended brew pub. I would break down my artist alley table and load the van before picking him up for the drive back to Medina. Advance planning paid off.

I had found an elevator at the other end of the convention center than few dealers knew about. It opened very near to where our van was parked. I was ready to hit the road within fifteen minutes of the end of Fantasticon.

I did go back to say goodbye to my friends. I was there when Keith Pollard told a story about our Marvel Bullpen days. The star of the story was Don McGregor.

Those of you who have met Don know he is a combination of madness and genius and energy in compact form. In Keith’s anecdote, Don was having an argument - possibly a mock argument - with the late John Verpoorten, Marvel’s production manager and a giant of a man in so many ways. At one point, Don reportedly jumped on John’s desk so he could argue with him eye to eye. I got my best laugh of the weekend when I said:

“That McGregor. He brought a Don to a John fight!”

I met Eddie at the brew pub in time to watch the Cavaliers win the game. The Cavs would go on to sweep the Pistons in four games. Our drive back to Medina was uneventful.

I had a good time at Fantasticon. In fact, I’m trying to figure out my schedule so I can do another of promoter Joe Nieporte’s events  before the end of the year. I’ll let you know if that is happening as soon as I know it’s happening.

In the meantime...

My next appearance will be at the store Toys Time Forgot in Canal Fulton, Ohio, on Free Comic Book Day, Saturday, May 7. That will be followed by a trip to Philadelphia later that month for the Glyph Awards ceremony and the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention. I’ll have more details on all those events soon.

My 2016 convention schedule is almost full. Come back tomorrow for that schedule as it now stands and for other bits of Tony Isabella news. It’s an exciting time for me and I love to share it with you and all my other bloggy thing readers. See you tomorrow.

© 2016 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. At first Tony when I saw your headline I thought, I was AT that con and have no memory of it. This memory loss thing is a lot worse than I ever thought! But seeing the story, I have to say, I don't recall jumping up on John Verpoorten's desk. A lot of OTHER desks, yes, but I'm not sure about John. Back when I was on staff and writing the Panther and Killraven, I did often hide under my desk whenever I heard John coming down the hallway, looking to see if I had any pages for the book. If you were coming into the office, and were an artist or writer, you were the easiest to check on before heading for the phones. John would come into the office and ask, "Where's Don?" People would look about and finally reply, "Gee, John, we could have sworn he was here a minute ago." Finally one day, I came out from underneath the desk and told John, "You know I don't have any pages, because if I did have pages, I'd be rushing down to give them to you, I'd be so guilt-free. I'm getting too old to be under anymore." That wasn't quite true. Today, it is really true. Don McGregor