Thursday, October 6, 2016


This is one of those bloggy things I just don’t want to write. I’ve moved it back on my schedule three or four times. But it’s also one of those bloggy things that I need to write so I can get it off my mind. So here we are.

I attend a lot of conventions, comics and otherwise. Most of them are delightful. However, I have had some bad experiences recently at some of those delightful conventions. This is what I’m writing about today.

None of these experiences ruined the conventions for me. They were great events. None of these experiences affected my blessed life. If you’ve been following these bloggy things of mine, you know I’m kind of on a roll. That doesn’t make my life immune from hardship, such as the situations with my mother-in-law. But, all in all, I’m good. I can’t say the same for the men-children I’ll be telling you about today.

Note. I will not be using the real names of the convention bad boys of today’s title. They may recognize themselves. Some of you might recognize them. My aim is not to bring them pain of bad publicity. My aim is to discuss their behavior in the hopes others might avoid it in the future.

Monsterfestmania was one of those delightful conventions I attended this year. A first-time event, it was a blast. It will combine with Akron Comicon next year. I wish I were two people. At this year’s event, I was enjoying a pleasant conversation with Fritz the Nite Owl, the legendary horror movie host from Columbus, Ohio. The distinguished Fritz now does the occasional live event. If I may presume, I think we were sizing each other up to see if we might work together on something in the future. That’s when we were interrupted - constantly - by two louts.

One of them was a fan I see at area conventions. The other was one of my comics shop customers back in the 1980s, who I hadn’t seen in over thirty years and whose name I don’t think I ever knew. Lacking even a single clue, they didn’t realize or care that I was talking to Fritz. I said hello to them, told them I would be able to talk with them in a little while and tried to go back to my conversation with Fritz. They kept interrupting...with snide little wise cracks and insults aimed at me. Eventually, Fritz gave up and headed back to his own booth. We never got another chance to talk at the show, though I hope we’ll reconnect soon. If you’ve been reading this bloggy thing of mine, you know I’m very capable of taking a joke at my expense. Heck, I do an awful lot of self-deprecating humor in my writings. But, these two individuals were just being assholes.

They didn’t come to my table to buy anything or to get me to sign something. They came to annoy me without thinking they maybe, just maybe, they weren’t the center of my universe. After their boorish behavior, I asked a volunteer to watch my table and walked around the room to get away from them. I’m hoping I never see them again. If I do see them and they pull this again, they’ll hear my Godzilla voice loud and clear.


At another convention, I had a couple of unpleasant encounters with a friend who has been going through some rough times, health-wise. We’re talking some serious stuff, so I can give him quite a bit of slack. He exceeded that slack by a long shot.

He spend quite a lot of time complaining about an editor who wasn’t buying work from him and was rewriting material purchased by the previous editor. The company has been publishing comics for over a decade and has been popular and small-scale successful. I like the comics they publish a lot.

The titles don’t have steady writers. By my rough guess, something like two dozen writers have contributed to their titles. Probably more. My friend’s stories were good, but, when I compared them to the stories of other writers, they didn’t hold their own. I could see why the editor might prefer his other writers.

But we’ve all been there. We like working with one editor and the next editor isn’t as much fun or as high on our work. I sympathize with my friend, just as I sympathize with his health problems. I’ll never wish him anything but the best.

Yet, the older this fellow gets, the more his sexist and misogynist jokes cross the line. They aren’t amusing. They are offensive. He’s not nearly as witty as he thinks he is. In fact, when he goes into these jokes, he’s pretty much a rude dick.

This friend of mine has many accomplishments to his name. He still does good work in other areas of creativity. Yet his bitterness at his terrible circumstances has twisted him into that most horrible of creatures: a Donald Trump supporter.

I don’t think my friend - maybe I should start thinking of him as a former friend, as much as that pains me - buys into the racism, bigotry, dishonesty, pettiness and unsuitability to lead our country of Trump. I think he’s so unhappy that he wants everyone else to be unhappy. He wants us to share his pain. I gasped at how horrible he was during these convention encounters, even as I wished he could reclaim his past cheerful demeanor.

My own life is complicated, hectic and mostly wonderful. If there were someway I could help my friend, I would. But I don’t think I can reach him. I fear I have no choice but to keep my distance from him in the future.


At yet another convention, I was harassed by an individual who has something of a shaky reputation. He is working on a video interview with a comics professional who also has a shaky reputation. It’s a professional who has lied about me on several past occasions...and is apparently repeating those lies in this interview.

We have two bad boys here.

The comics professional is a man who can rightfully claim amazing accomplishments and good deeds. He has also done some crappy things that quite a few of our fellow professions took issue with...and still do. I don’t much like the guy, but my only current beef with him is that he keeps lying about me. I’ll likely write about him in the memoirs of sorts I’m slowly but steadily putting together. I’d have less to write about him if he simply stopped lying about me. I suspect he’s too arrogant to consider that option.

That brings us to the low-rent entrepreneur trying to sell DVDs of his interview with the comics professional. He harassed me at this convention, trying to coerce and then bully me into responding to the professional’s lies about me on camera. Which he thinks would help sell copies of his DVD.

This is classic “Let’s you and him fight” bullshit. I was having no part of it. If I want to respond to something, I’ll do so in my own venues. Like this bloggy thing of mine.

Mr. Low Rent hung around my table for over a half an hour. I never wavered in my refusal to be part of his project, but he would not let it go. I ignored him and turned my attention to fans who wanted to buy something or have me sign something. As soon as those fans would leave my table, the guy would continue to harass me.

I honestly don’t remember the circumstances of his departure from my table. I’m pretty sure I told him he was being an asshole. I’m pretty sure I told him to walk away from my table. But, frustrated as I was with him, I don’t remember why he left. Only my sense of relief that he did leave.

Show promoters who are familiar with this guy have offered to ban him from their shows if I’m a guest at them. I haven’t come to any decision on that, but I’m certainly considering taking them up on the offer. I don’t attend conventions for jerks like Mr. Low Rent. I’m there for my work, for the fans and for my professional friends who are also at the conventions.


Whew! I feel better now. I thank you for allowing me to sully the bloggy thing with this sort of stuff. I have dusted the jerks from my hands and am ready to move on.

Come back tomorrow for a report on Marvel’s and Netflix’s Luke Cage premiere and party. I’m going to try to fit it all in one bloggy, but you know how I get.

© 2016 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. Yikes,
    What terrible experiences. I have been a comics fan for most of my life, but I haven't yet gone to a con. I hope I see none of this behavior when so finally make it to one.