Tuesday, October 18, 2016


The Grand Rapids Comic Con is on Friday, October 21 through Sunday, October 23, at the DeVos Place, 303 Monroe Ave NW, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This will be my next-to-last convention appearance of the crazy and often wonderful year I’ve been having.

Mark and Jennifer Hodges put on a wonderful show - I was a guest in 2014 - and this year will be no exception. There are comics guests, media guests, literary guests, cosplay guests and what promises to be a bustling artists alley. In addition to a big fat schedule of programming that extends over the main stage and several other spaces within the venue, the convention is hosting a short film festival, an art show, an anime room, a car show and activities for the kids. It’s going to take all my will power to spend most of the show at Booth #539, which is where you’ll find me most of the time.

The comics guests roster for this event is amazing: Kevin Eastman, Jae Lee, Joe Rubenstein, Rodney Ramos, Steve Lieber, Allan Bellman, Greg Wiseman, Dirk Manning, William Messner-Loebs, Arvell Jones, Jason Moore, Thom Zahler and many others. Some are old friends I’ll enjoy seeing again, others are creators I’m eager to meet. I hope to be able to spend a few hours each day exploring the convention and maybe scoring some cool books and comics.

The celebrity guests aren’t as familiar to me, but I really want to meet Denise Crosby. I’ve admired her work for a long time and not just in Star Trek-related shows. She was a highlight of the short-lived (but excellent) Key West and delivered a knockout performance in two episodes of NYPD Blue.

There will be a gaming room offering all kinds of games. There are exhibits from the Hall of Heroes Museum and the private collection of Wes Shank. The latter will include props from sci-fi movies and much more. I’m thinking “much more” should be the overall tag for this convention.

There will be cosplay and cosplay contests. I’m hoping that Black Lightning, Misty Knight, Tigra and Zatanna are well represented. Yeah, I know I didn’t have anything to do with the creation of the Maid of Magic, but a guy never forgets his first comic-book crush.

On Friday, at 5:30 pm in Grand Gallery D-E, I’ll be presenting “Tony’s Tips! Live!” As you can glean from the title, it’s a live version of the column of news, views and reviews I’ve been writing for decades, first in Comics Buyer’s Guide and currently online at the Tales of Wonder website:

Join Tony Isabella, creator of Black Lightning, co-creator of Misty Knight and Tigra, 44-year veteran of the comics industry for a lively discussion of well, everything. We’ll talk comic books, giant monster movies, blogging and anything else that comes to mind. You can ask any and all questions and sometimes the answers might actually match them.

I hope we get a good turn out for this presentation. I mean, I’m no stranger to talking to myself, but if there are other people in the room, I don’t look quite so insane.

When I’m not wandering the convention, I’ll be at Booth #539. I’ll have various Isabella-written things to sign like the recent Black Lightning collection from DC Comics, a few copies of my 1000 Comic Books You Must Read and some of the Garfield comics albums that I have worked on for Papercutz. I’ll have the double-sided Superman poster I helped designed for the 1988 International Superman Expo in Cleveland, Ohio. I’ll have some other items as well.

While I’m at my booth, I will be delighted to sign Isabella-written items. As I’ve noted in the past, I am not charging for autographs this year. That will likely change in 2017.

If you have a great many items for me to sign, and if other folks are also waiting for me to sign their items, I’ll sign a couple of your items and then ask you to go the end of the line until I can sign for your fellow fans. I’ll sign as many Isabella items as you like, but I may not be able to sign them all at once.

I’ll be happy to answering your questions and discuss this and that with you. However, for contractual reasons, I might not be able to answer questions concerning some of those contracts and some of my future projects.

I will not read your scripts or other written materials. That’s for your legal protection and mine.

I will, time permitting, look at your art portfolios. But there’s not much I can tell you if all you have are pin-up shots. I’m not an art expert. My forte is visual storytelling, the proper flow of a comics story from panel to panel, page to page.

The hours for the Grand Rapids Comic Con are:

Friday, October 21, from 2 pm until 8 pm
Saturday, October 22, from 10 am until 7 pm
Sunday, October 23, from 10 am until 5 pm

There will also be late night programming until 11 pm on Friday and Saturday night. 

I’m looking forward to attending Grand Rapids Comic Con. I hope to see you there.

© 2016 Tony Isabella

No comments:

Post a Comment