Wednesday, October 10, 2018

TONY'S TIPS #278

This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...On the convention trail with Tony plus my reviews of Die Kitty Die: Hollywood or Bust by Dan Parent and Fernando Ruiz; Howard Chaykin's Hey Kids! Comics! and I am Neil Armstrong by Brad Meltzer and Christopher Eliopoulos!

SYRACUSE NY COMIC CON (October 13)

The Syracuse NY Comic Con is my next convention appearance and the only one I’m making this month. It takes place this Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm at the Center of Progress Building, 581 State Fair Boulevard in Syracuse.

Besides yours truly, the event’s other guests include Brian Johnson and Mike Zapcik from AMC’s Comic Book Men; actors and voice actors Kirby Morrow, J.G. Hertzler and Dana Synder; and comics creators Steve Geiger, Tom Peyer, Charles Barnett III, Mike Garland, Ken Wheaton and Joe Orsak. But we’re only the tip of what looks to be a big fun iceberg.

Besides the usual artists and vendors selling comics, there will be actual comics (as in comedians). The announced line-up: Makenzi Burke, Jarrett Mayo, William Hughes, Joanna Elsie, Andy McDermott and David Britton. The comedy show will begin at 6 pm.

There will also be video game tournaments, video game free play, toys, collectibles, anime, horror, pinball, table top games and, of course, cosplay to the tune of $2000 cosplay contest cash. I don’t know if there are panel presentations on the day’s schedule, but, if there are, I’m probably on one of them.

What can you expect from me at the convention? For one thing, I’ll be on my best behavior on account of Saintly Wife Barb is joining me at the event. Gasp in wonderment as you behold the most patient woman in the universe!

I’ll be selling the individual issues of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1-6 while my dwindling supplies last. Black Lightning Volume One and Volume Two will also be on my table, along with some Black Lightning, Daredevil and Luke Cage posters. I’ll have copies of my script for Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1 and, for the history buffs among you, a few replica copies of the famous “green books” that guided black travelers across our country. I might have a few surprises as well.

If you have questions about Black Lightning, my comics career and other subjects, I’ll do my best to answer them. Keep in mind that I may not be able to answer certain questions due to non-disclosure agreements I have signed or simply because I don’t want to answer certain questions. If I don’t know the answer to a question, I’ll do my best to make up something cool.

I will be signing Isabella-written stuff at my table and only at my table. My signature policy:

Any items purchased from me: no charge.

Any one item not purchased from me: no charge.

Additional items: $5 each.

Items signed in front of a grading company witness: $10 each.

Photos are free.
 
General admission to the Syracuse NY Comic Con is $12 per person, $16 for VIP costumers who will be able to get into the convention an hour earlier. If you are an active college student with ID, you get $2 off the price of your ticket. Kids 14 and under get in for free, as do active members of the military and military veterans. There is free parking at the event.

I’ve enjoyed my rare trips to this part of New York in the past and I’m looking forward to this convention as well. I hope to see you there.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Saturday, October 6, 2018

DIARY OF A SUPER GIRL

John Zakour is a writer of just about everything. I first saw his name on the wonderful Working Daze comics panel, which is drawn by my friend Scott Roberts. It was a no-brainer that John and I would become friends when we met. Which is when I found out John writes everything. Science fiction novels. Young adult science fiction and fantasy. Interactive works. Humor. Computer games. Short stories. Comic books.

Diary of a Super Girl Book 1: The Ups and Downs of Being Super [KC Global Enterprises; $7.50] is by Katrina Kahler, John Zakour and an uncredited Tayah Payne. The book is aimed at girls nine to twelve, but it’s fun for male and older male readers as well. I mean, how could a still-a-kid-at-heart guy like me not respond to a super-heroine who has to worry about farts that could knock out a hundred people in an instant?

I love the construction of this first in a series of books starring just-turned-thirteen Lia Strong. As she finds out on her birthday, she hails from a centuries-old line of women with amazing powers. The powers may vary from generation to generation, but all of them activate on the thirteenth birthday.

Besides the usual learning how to control her strength, Lia has to contend with the effects of exercise on her body odor, which is, of course, greatly magnified because of her super-powers. She has to watch what she eats because certain foods leads to dangerous levels of bad breath and flatulence. Uncooked broccoli is definitely off her menu. None of which stops her from performing amazing and heroic feats on her first day with super-powers.

Lia’s mom shows great trust in her daughter to do the right thing judiciously. Lia’s best friend is a comic-book fan thrilled to be her confidant and her go-to guy for information on all things super-heroic. It’s a likeable supporting cast.

There are an increasing number of super-hero prose books out there. Many of them are suitable for all ages. However, if you’re looking for something not as well known as the various DC and Marvel books, I think this book would make a terrific gift for a young girl who loves super-heroines and would appreciate a book that’s not yet as well known as it should be. Highly recommended.

ISBN 978-1-5431-7908-8

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Friday, October 5, 2018

ICEMAN AND THE CHAMPIONS

Iceman #6 [January 2018] was one of the comic books donated to the Flaming River Con - the Midwest's first LGBTQ comics convention - by Carol and John's Comic Shop. It's a variant cover by Michael Ryan and Nolan Woodard, based on the original cover to Champions #1 (1975) by Gil Kane and Dan Adkins. As most of you know, I was the originator of that original Champions series.

Sina Grace's story has the original members of the Champions coming together to honor the Black Widow, who was, apparently, dead at the time of this issue. I hope she's gotten better since because I love the character. It's a well-written tale with good art by Robert Gill.

Here's my only problem: 

What the heck was Bobby Drake thinking when he dressed for this cover? 

He's the Iceman. He doesn't need a costume like this, especially one that could conceivably limit the use of his powers. All he needs - in the interest of propriety - is some indication that he's wearing trunks underneath the ice. Even that might not be necessary as we all know what cold does to a man's private parts. 

Bobby Drake is today's comics fashion nightmare.

From time to time, when I can't write a full-size bloggy thing for you, I'll be writing one of these fun-size bloggy things.

I'll be back soon with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

Thursday, October 4, 2018

WHY I SORT OF HATE THE BATMAN...

Batman was my favorite super-hero when I was a kid. TV’s Superman (played so well by George Reeves) may have been my introduction to the super-hero genre, but, once I began buying actual comic books, it was Batman all the way.

Even before I decided I wanted to write comic books, I wanted to be Batman. I was even training myself. I had this shoe box containing weather maps I had clipped from the newspapers and envelopes filled with dirt samples from around our neighborhood. If the bully down the street committed a crime and left dirt behind, I would be able to prove it came from his yard. I don’t know what happened to that crime-lab in a shoe box. I’d like to think it will turn up someday and completely confound whoever finds it.

My appreciation for Batman extended into other media. As crude and as racist as it was, I was captivated by the movie theater revival of the original 1943 Batman serial in movie theaters. I watched the second 1949 serial as well. I’m pretty sure - I can’t be 100% certain given the state of my vast accumulation of stuff - that I own both those less-than-stellar cinematic efforts.

When Batman debuted on TV in 1966, I felt insulted by the series playing my hero for laughs. I still watched every episode and went to the movie released that summer. It was only in the past decade or so that I have come to appreciate the series was great fun and, in many ways, faithful to Batman and his comic-book mythos.

I enjoyed the modernization of Batman in the mid-1960s through the 1980s. Indeed, when DC Comics recruited me away from Marvel in 1976 or thereabouts, one of the main carrots dangled in front of me was writing Batman. Just one of the agreements with me that previous DC managements failed to honor. Thankfully, for me, it’s been a lot better dealing with the present-day management.

I started parting ways with Batman when - I assume - someone at DC read a book on aberrant psychology and decided my once-favorite hero was insanely obsessive. To further the madness, they retconned away his bringing the killer of his parents to justice. They didn’t stop there.

DC made Batman distrustful of every other hero. They made him manipulative and scarily secretive, devising plans to defeat every other hero if he deemed them to be threats. He refused to kill the Joker, even in “clean shot” situations, and even, on occasion, went to extreme lengths to keep the clownish killer alive. DC turned my once-favorite hero into a madman, as much a menace as his murderous foes. He deserved better.

There have been a few bright spots here and there, but the darkness had surrounded Batman and remains. Even when he seems to be playing nice with the other heroes and treating his otherwise abused “sons” with some modicum of respect, I keep waiting for him to snap. From what I’ve heard, that may not be too long. The current plan seems to be to send him crashing to rock bottom in an extended story arc. If rock bottom weren’t the character’s default setting - we’ve seen it again and again - I might be more interested.

I don’t hate Batman per se. I don’t care for what DC has done with him and I really don’t care for how they have diminished all their other super-heroes  while doing it. Batman has become the center of the DC Universe. All other DC super-heroes must revolve around him. As one astute reader put it, every other hero is Batman’s sidekick.

My latest beef with Batman concerns Black Lightning. I originally planned to write an entire bloggy thing about this, but I realized I can sum it up in one paragraph.

Black Lightning is a headliner with a hit TV series. He should not be regressed into yet another Batman sidekick. It is disrespectful to the character, to his creator and to his fans.

I loved Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo’s Batman and the Outsiders. That was 35 years ago. My motto for myself and my own Black Lightning work is “Always forward.” My Jefferson Pierce would never abandon his family, students, community and city - which is Cleveland, no matter what DC thinks - to answer “How high?” when Batman commands “Jump!” You either get that or you don’t, and it’s pretty clear not everyone at DC gets it.

Who is “my” Batman?

My Batman is a good man who suffered a horrible loss when he was a mere child. That loss drove him to fight crime and evil however he could. He was driven by those childhood horrors, but he still had a code of honor and a generous spirit. He even took in a young boy who had suffered a similar loss and helped that young boy bring the killer of his parents to justice. In doing so, Batman freed the boy of the demons that haunted Batman.

Then my Batman brought the killers of his own parents to justice. He exorcized his own demons in doing this.

Then he decided to keep being Batman. To keep battling so that no other innocents would suffer the loss he had suffered. In my mind, that’s when Batman went from avenger to hero. When he chose to stay in the dark to save others. I like my grim-but-sane Batman better than their Batman.

We’re not likely to see my Batman anytime soon. He would be too big a transition from the current Batman. However, when asked what I’d do with the current Batman, this is what I came up with:

Batman is logical and smart enough to realize he has a problem. He goes into rehab/therapy/treatment/whatever to help him handle his self-defeating issues. As part of his treatment, he starts working a version of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous tailored to his unique situation.

There is still a need for the Batman, but he can’t walk away from those who need his help. He chooses to stay in the darkness to help those who need his help. However, he would act in a more measured manner, striving to maintain his “sobriety” without giving into the darkness. It would be a constant struggle, but it is a sacrifice he makes for the good of others.

Batman would seek to make amends to those he has wronged. Not all of them would allow this. There are those who have been damaged too much by his manipulations and obsessions. He will fail from time to time. He will not give up or descend completely into the darkness. This is a battle worth fighting and, in committing himself to that battle, Batman could, once more, become my hero.

Not my favorite hero, mind you. That would be Black Lightning. But you probably figured that out already.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

TONY'S TIPS #277





This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...A mini-report on the Flaming River Con, the first LGBTQ comics convention in the Midwest, plus reviews of the Hercules: Adventures of the Man-God Archive, Border Town #1 and Casper’s Ghostland #1!
                                                                                 
 
                                                                                  

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

THINGS THAT MADE ME HAPPY IN SEPTEMBER

September was a crazy busy month for me. It started with my first ever night-club performance and continued with the Hall of Heroes Convention in Elkhart, Indiana, a week-long trip to Los Angeles, an evening spent learning something about raising money in Cleveland and the Midwest’s first LGBTQ comics convention. It wrapped up with the Baltimore Comic*Con, one of the best and best-run conventions anywhere.

The price of attending all those events was paid for by this bloggy thing. I’ll do my best to bring you nigh-daily bloggy things this month, starting with the list of the things that made me happy in September. We begin.

September 1: The Tap Dance Killer’s Comic Book Cabaret. Ted Sikora, a man of frighteningly multiple talents, put on a great show. I had a wonderful time in one of the classic Cleveland clubs. We’ll not see their like again.

September 2: I had an absolute blast reading/performing scenes from Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1 at The Tap Dance Killer’s Comic Book Cabaret. I’m going to do things like this at some of the many comics conventions I attend.

September 3: Snozzberries. They did a terrific set of cartoon and TV theme songs at The Tap Dance Killer’s Comic Book Cabaret. If I ever get my own talk show or podcast, I want them for my house band.
                                                                                 

September 4: Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Mass. This excellent young adult novel pairs Catwoman with Batwing. It’s an intriguing new take on both characters.
                                                                            

September 5: Rubber City Comics of Akron, Ohio. Thanks to them, I was able to help out a Black Lightning fan who got cheated when he ordered a BL statue online. A statue is on its way to him.

September 6: Preacher Season Three. Great character development and interesting new characters. Unsettling events leading to a pretty satisfying season finale with a eye-opening cliffhanger. One of my favorite TV series.

September 7: The people in my life who make my life better just by being in it. You know who you are.

September 8: The Hall of Heroes Comic Con 2018, Elkhart, Indiana. A fun-filled show with great fans, guests, vendors and volunteers. I hope to return every year.

September 9: Elkhart, Indiana. It struck me as a very nice place to live...and how cool that Mayor Tim Neese was at the Hall of Heroes Comic Con every day. He even helped some guests and vendors bring their wares into the show.
                                                                              

September 10: Receiving the second annual Hall of Heroes Hero Award at the Hall of Heroes Comic Con, an honor made all the more special because the first one went to my dear friend Allen Bellman.

September 11: I have the best friends ever. Bob Ingersoll picked me up at LAX, got us a great price on a hotel and did all the driving during my time there. Then we had a great dinner with Mark Evanier and Maggie Thompson.
                                                                                 
September 12: Galco’s Soda Pop Emporium. I’d always wanted to see this store, which is filled with rare beverages, candy and more. It didn’t disappoint. I bought a dozen bottles and several candy bars I hadn’t seen in decades.

September 13: On Hollywood’s Avenue of the Stars, a costume actor saw my Black Lightning shirt, told me how much he loved the show, asked if I worked on it. When I told him to Google “Tony Isabella,” he did so. He was so excited I thought he was going to rip my arm off shaking my hand. Then he asked if he could take a selfie with me. I charged him ten bucks. (I didn’t.)

September 14: I met Amber, the absolutely darling and stunningly beautiful girlfriend of Mark Evanier. As great a wordsmith as he is, Mark has not done her justice.

September 15: I had a wonderful visit to the DC Comics offices. My thanks to all there for their courtesy and respect. I hope things work out so there are many more visits to come.
                                                                                    
September 16: BlacKkKlansman. An amazing movie on so many levels. Hard-hitting with frequent moments of hilarity. This should win a whole bunch of Oscars.

September 17: Lunch with Bob Ingersoll, Elliot Maggin, Ken Penders and Larry Houston. So much talent at one table in a terrific Thai restaurant.

September 18: A pleasant cruise of the Long Beach harbor. Besides seeing sea lions and a Russian spy submarine, I learned a way cool Disney fact. I'll tell you about when I post my trip report.

September 19: Dinner with goddaughter Vanessa Hudak in Long Beach. She is a remarkable woman and it was a blast to catch up with her and share crazy stories.

September 20: Surprise visits to the Golden Apple and Mega City One comics shops on Melrose. Signed Black Lightning books and comics at both. Shop owners beware. I plan to do more of this on my travels this year.

September 21: The Harlan Ellison Memorial Party. It was a wonderful celebration of my friend’s life and the friendships that surrounded him. He loomed large in my life and continues to do so.

September 22: My daughter Kelly’s 27th birthday party. It was much fun and I got to see her new car. I’m so proud of the woman she has become.

September 23: The Cleveland Browns won a game! They came back from behind, which made it even more exciting. Their winning quarterback was making his first NFL appearance. Free beer was given out sans rioting. A good day for my home town.
                                                                            

September 23: The Flaming River Con was the Midwest’s first LGBTQ comics convention. It was an inspirational event, made more so by its venue: West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church. That’s what I call and admire as faith in action.
                                                                          

September 25: Another WolfCop. The 2017 sequel to the original was 82 minutes of good goofy nonsense with a guest appearance by Kevin Smith, a glimpse of WolfCop penis and an eight-breasted catwoman. Sometimes that’s what I need from a movie.

September 26: The increasing number of comics pros and fans who are take public stands against the anti-diversity gang. Inclusion makes for better comics.
                                                                               
September 27: Roger Price. My dear old friend was an enormous help in getting us to the Cleveland airport for our flight to Baltimore. He was even more help during the convention itself as my booth babe and money bunny.

September 28: Being interviewed on Baltimore’s Fox 45 morning news program and then shooting some promos for their sister CW station. Black Lightning’s back on October 9.

September 29: Going out to dinner with longtime online pals Steve Olle, Neil Ottenstein and Sam Tomaino. We saw the murder board from Homicide and the building that “played” the police station.
                                                                               

September 30: Seeing so many friends. Maya Crown Williams, Scott Edelman, Bob Greenberger, Carla Speed McNeil, Paul Storrie, Andrew Pepoy, and so many others.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

BACK FROM BALTIMORE COMIC*CON

I'm back from the wonderful Baltimore Comic*Com. I'll be getting back to blogging today and may even post a new one in a few hours. Thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

TWO DAYS UNTIL THE BALTIMORE COMIC*CON

Hey, kids...

I'm getting ready for my trip to the Baltimore Comic*Con this weekend. I'm incredibly excited to be a guest at this legendary event and hope some of you will be able to attend.

I also want to thank you for your patience. Fingers crossed, you'll be getting more regular bloggy things from me starting October 4. See you then.

Monday, September 24, 2018

TONY'S TIPS #276

This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...The Complete Cosmo the Merry Martian by Sy Reit and Bob White; FTL, Y’All, a 336-page comics anthology that asks "What if faster-than-light travel was suddenly and fairly cheaply available to all?; and Rachel Lindsay's Rx, an unflinching graphic memoir of the cartoonist’s struggle with her bipolar disorder!                                                                               
                                                                                


BALTIMORE COMIC*CON (September 28-30)

The Baltimore Comic*Con is widely regarded as one of the very best comic-book conventions in America. It will be held this weekend, Friday through Sunday, September 28-30, at the Baltimore Convention Center. On hearing that I’ll be making my first appearance at the event, my fan and professional friends alike have been telling me how great this convention is. I think the worse thing anyone has said about it is that the awards ceremony might run long. I think I can deal with that okay.

The comics guest list for Baltimore is stunning, starting with four different artists named Adams (Art, Neal, Josh and Zeea). If they had one more Adams, they would need a special permit.

Mike W. Barr will be there. So will Marguerite Bennett, Buzz, June Brigman, Richard Case, Howard Chaykin, Joyce Chin, Katie Cook, Tom DeFalco, Jose Delbo, Garth Ennis, Ramona Fradon, Joe Giella, Mike Gold, Sanford Green, Jamal Igle, Mike Manley, Bob McLeod, Terry Moore, Denny O’Neil, Jerry Ordway, John Ostrander, Andrew Pepoy, Tom Palmer, Dan Parent, Richard Pini, Wendy Pini, Don Rosa, Craig Russell, Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson, Dan Slott, Jim Starlin, Jim Steranko, Mark Waid, Thom Zahler and many more. So many friends and creators I want to chat with...and I doubt I’ll get to see too many of them.

The convention’s media guest list is smaller but also pretty cool: Mike Colter, Wil Wheaton, Tricia Helfer, and Zachary Levi. Hoping to meet some of them as well. I did meet Colter at the Luke Cage premiere in Harlem a few years back, but I wouldn’t expect him to remember me.

The artist alley will have dozens of artists and studios on hand. There are something like two dozen other exhibitors and even more retailers. Remind me to charge my Fitbit because, if I can escape from my own table, I could set a record this weekend.
                                                                            

Tony, you ask, what will you be doing at the convention?

I’ll be set up at Table 1025 in the Main Hall. Depending on what I can fit in my luggage, I’ll be selling Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands (the individual issues and a very few copies of the forthcoming trade collection), the Black Lightning trades that collect my 1970s run on the character and the stories by other writers that followed it, the first volume of my incredible obsessive July 1963 series, Black Lightning posters, Daredevil and Luke Cage mini-posters and maybe a few surprises. My “booth babe” for this event will be the always sensational Roger Price of Mid-Ohio-Con and voice artist fame.

I charge for my signature, but, like the best drugs, the first one is always free. If you buy anything from my table, I also sign it for free. Beyond that, it’s three dollars per signature, six if you want it witnessed by a grading service or if you have a certificate of authenticity you want me to sign. Photos of or with me are free, though I take no responsibility for damage to your camera or phone.

I’m on the Baltimore Comic*Con programming schedule on Sunday. Here is the official description of that:

1:30-2:30 – Tony Isabella Spotlight

The creator of Black Lightning has had a full career at Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and small presses, dabbling in prose, and hosting some of the coolest garage sales in America. The special guest chats about his career with moderator, and old pal, Robert Greenberger.


Let’s see how long that description holds up. If you’ve read this bloggy of mine for any length of time, you know I’d rather discuss my new work and the exciting diversity that has made comics better and more fun than ever before. And I’ll probably do my fair share of gushing about the Black Lightning TV series and the appearance of other Isabella creations in Marvel movies and TV series. And the amazing adventures I’ve had because of all that. And if Bob and I don’t cover everything you must know about me and my work, we will have some sort of Q&A component of the panel. You can also ask me questions when I’m at my table.

Warning. Because of non-disclosure agreements, there will be a few questions I can’t answer. I will do my best to provide informative answers to other questions. Failing that, I can always make stuff up. I’m told that I’m something of a writer.

Cosplayers! Especially cosplayers cosplaying as characters that I created or have written. Please, please, please visit my table so I can get photos of you for my blog. But even if you’re not rocking Black Lightning or Misty Knight or Tigra, please come by. It’s hard for me to get away from my table for long periods of time, so help the old guy out. Yeah, I’ll play the senior citizen card if I have to. I’ve earned every one of my soon-to-be 67 years.

I think that pretty much covers everything. For more information on the Baltimore Comic*Con, visit the show’s website.

I’ll be back in October with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Thursday, September 20, 2018

TONY'S TIPS #275

This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...Lex Luthor/Porky Pig #1 by Mark Russell; The Punisher #1 by Matt Rosenberg; and Leviathan #1 by John Layman and Nick Pitarra!

                                                                                   




                                                                               

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

BLACK LIGHTNING: COLD DEAD HANDS

I just received my comp copies of BLACK LIGHTNING: COLD DEAD HANDS, which means it will available at comic shops and other fine vendors in the near-future. This trade paperback collects the entire six-issue series and also features a brand-new afterword by me and character designs from Clayton Henry. 

I think this volume represents the best Black Lightning and the best comics writing I have ever done. If you want to see more Black Lightning stories by me, the creator of the character and the comics writer who knows him best, please buy this trade in large quantities. Show DC Comics that you want the real moving forward deal and not a throwback to the 1980s.



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

TONY'S TIPS #274

Last week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...I wrote about Batman, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders and Batman Vs. Two-Face!

New bloggy things are in the works. Keep watching this space.

Friday, September 7, 2018

THE ROAD TO ELKHART AND BEYOND


I’m packing for the Hall of Heroes Comic Con in downtown Elkhart, Indiana, Saturday and Sunday, September 8-9. Today is the start of two absolutely insane weeks for me. So, besides urging anyone who can to come see me in Elkhart, I wanted to let you know that I’ll be almost completely offline until Monday, September 17.

I will be offline while I’m in Elkhart. I will be online Monday, September 10. I will be offline from Tuesday, September 11 through Sunday, September 16. Hopefully, by the end of the year, I’ll have figured out how to stay in touch while I’m on the road.

If you follow me on Facebook, you won’t see the usual birthdays and other postings from me while I’m gone. One of the reasons I want to hire an assistant is so that I’ll have some to do that for me when I’m not at home.

You won’t see any new bloggy posts until Tuesday, September 18 at the earliest. I will write new Tony’s Tips columns for the next two weeks, but those will likely run later in their respective weeks than usual.

I’ll be a guest at the Baltimore Comic*Con later this month. That will be my only other guest appearance in September, though I will be popping in at some local events.

I’m only scheduled for one October comics convention: the Syracuse NY Comic Con on Saturday, October 13. There is another convention possibility, but I’m thinking I might be better off staying at home and trying to catch up on all sorts of things before my incredibly insane three November comics conventions in three weekends. If I don’t feel my age now, I will after that.

I apologize in advance for not responding to comments and e-mails with my usual alacrity. If you absolutely have to speak to me about something from now until September 17, you’ll need to call or text me on my cell phone. If you don’t have that number - because I am not going to put it online - you won’t be able to contact me while I’m out of town.

That’s it for one of the most boring bloggy things that I’ve ever written.  I’ll be back as soon as possible with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

TONY'S TIPS #273

This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...Catwoman: Soulstealer by #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Sarah J. Mass; Tokyo Tarareba Girls Volume One by Akiko Higashimura, creator of Princess Jellyfish; and Guardians of the Louvre by acclaimed manga artist Jiro Taniguchi!

CATCHING UP WITH THIS AND THAT

“Overwhelmed” seems to be my default setting these days. Over the past couple years, I have had a roller-coaster’s worth of ups and downs and twists and turns. A lot of good stuff has happened for me and some not-so-good stuff as well. That’s just in my own life. Don’t get me started on the evil empire that is the Dumpster presidency.

I had “The Talk” with Saintly Wife Barb. At nearly 67, I’m in good health and quite capable of working for as long as my fingers can dance across the keyboards. Yet, one of the sad facts of the comics industry is that there are limited opportunities for me at the handful of publishers that pay decent wages.

When I started working at Marvel in the early 1970s, I worked with a number of what I now call “Depression-Era Kids.” Comics creators who grew up at a time when anyone could lose everything overnight. For creators like them, they could never earn enough money and, no matter how well they were doing, they always feared it would not be enough to take care of them and theirs.

I was born well after the Depression, at least the one referred to above, but I have much the same mindset. Which is ridiculous. Barb and I have always lived a modest lifestyle. Our financial advisers have told us we could retire at any time. But Barb, who is one heck of a pharmacist and who is devoted to her chemotherapy patients, is not ready to retire yet. And, in my case, there’s no reason I can’t keep writing until the day I die.

“The Talk” was...what does Tony do if there are no decent-paying jobs in his future? I’ll get back to that in a moment.

I've been having conversations with comics creators. The general topic is that the comics industry doesn't make sense and never has. When I take a punch to the gut, it’s usually because I forgot that sadly basic truth. I’ve told one professional friend to call me if he ever starts thinking there is logic to how the comic-book business works and I’ll hold an intervention for him.

I’ve had a good relationship with DC Comics these past few years. I cherish that relationship, but it makes no sense for them not to have me working on Black Lightning material. I created their most iconic black hero. I have proven that I write him better than any other comics writer. I have a loyal following among Black Lightning readers. Yet, at the moment, all DC Comics can think of doing with my creation is regressing him to yet another Batman sidekick.

Yes, Mike Barr’s Batman and the Outsiders was a terrific comic-book series. I’m keeping the original comics until the whole series has been reprinted in omnibus editions. But that was decades ago...and Black Lightning is now a headliner.

Is DC Comics mired in the past when it comes to Black Lightning? I see no logical reasons for moving him from the Cleveland of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands to the Metropolis of his 1970's comics. Although, if I do get to write an ongoing Black Lightning series, I will claim the current Detective Comics run takes place before my Cold Dead Hands and subsequent stories. Or completely and utterly ignore it.

People keep asking me why I so object to Black Lightning being part of a new Batman and the Outsiders team. This goes beyond my stated dislike of every super-hero in the DC Universe being treated as if they were Batman’s sidekicks and my considered opinion this hurts those other super-heroes. It even goes beyond my thinking that, for the most part, the current versions of Batman are more than a bit insane. It has to do with who Jefferson Pierce is and what are the most important things to him.

What’s important to Jefferson Pierce is: his family (including his girlfriend Lynn Stewart), his students, his community and his city. How do those priorities jibe with him dropping everything to work for a man he respects but doesn’t actually like or trust?

Digression. What was the point of that recent “Dark Days” event? To see how many twisted, and vile versions of Batman that DC could shove into one event? You’d think they didn’t like the guy.

I’m not giving up on DC Comics. I like the folks there. I think I could do great things for the company. Indeed, I’m hoping to meet with them while I’m in Los Angeles next week. I’m hoping some good news comes out of those meetings, even if it’s good news I won’t be able to tell you about right away.

I’m also not giving up on Marvel Comics, which has always honored its agreements with me. I’ve pitched some ideas to them already and am working on some additional pitches. The company seems receptive to working with me again.

DC and Marvel are the only companies I know of that pay a decent wage. I would be open to other publishers as well. You would think those publishers would recognize the value of being able to put “From the creator of Black Lightning” on comics I might write for them. That’s logical and...whoops...there I go again.

Digression. I recently wrote a script for a smaller publisher for a ridiculously low rate. Because I wanted to work with the editor and because the license was one I liked. I wrote what both he and I thought was a great script. The people who owned the license then tried to take everything “Tony Isabella” out of the script. Which is why I pulled the script. For the kind of money they were paying, I wasn’t about to let them publish a script that would no longer have been up to my standards.

Which brings us back to “The Talk” I mentioned. If I am unable to land decent-paying work in the comics industry, I’ll continue to write comics. I may not be able to bring them to the marketplace, but I’ll write them.

Yes, I know about online fund-raising platforms. You know what I’m as bad at as I am good at writing? Business. I suck at the business end of things. I also would suck at trying to divide my attention between writing and crowd-funding. I’ll never rule it out, but I just don’t think I would be successful at it.

If I can’t get paid to write comics, I’ll write other things. I’m working with a filmmaker who wants to make a horror movie I would write and co-produce. He’s doing the fund-raising for the project. I’m doing what I do best: write and be beloved.

I will be writing a number of books for Pulp Hero Press. There are seven more volumes to July 1963: A Pivotal Month in the Comic-Book Life of Tony Isabella. I am working on a book about Black Lightning and my road to diversity. I have plans to write memoirs of sorts. I have plans to collect and expand upon my reviews of monster and horror movies.

Digression. It’s alarming to realize I could do an entire book just of my previously-published reviews of shark movies. Maybe I’ll call it Blog Shark.

What else could I do to make money?

Conventions. It’s no secret that I charge most comics conventions and other events an appearance fee. It’s a reasonable fee, though I understand why some events can’t or don’t want to pay it. Still, since it’s important to me to continue to make money, almost every convention or events I do will have paid me to be there.

Charging for signatures. If you buy something from me, I’ll sign it for free. I’ll sign one item for free. After that, it’s basically two bucks per signature; five bucks each if you have the signature certified or witnessed.

Garage sales. I enjoy doing them and my customers enjoy them. They help reduce my Vast Accumulation of Stuff. I make a reasonable amount of money at them. Nuff said.

When I talk about being overwhelmed, it’s because there are so many projects and other things I want to do. I have been interviewed by one of my favorite magazines and I’ve been churlishly dragging my feet on completing what will be a major look at my career.

I have stuff to send to people who have been waiting patiently for me to send it to them. I really need an assistant.

I have interviews and podcasts on hold, waiting for me to find the time to do them. I’m hoping to get to all of them before the end of September.

And, as always, I have a bucket list of over three hundred things I want to write before I kick the bucket. A new universe of super-heroes. Comics in every conceivable genre. Novels, short stories, plays and screenplays.

Today’s bloggy thing is not the bloggy thing that you were looking for. It’s not the rewrite of my piece on why I sort of hate the Batman. I’m really hoping DC can convince me that I don’t sort of hate the Batman or, at least, offer me insights as to why they do what they do with the character.

My upcoming conventions and trips are going to delay other bloggy things as well. I have like a year’s worth of convention reports to write. I want to review the movies that I watched during the Syfy channel’s Sharknado week. I also want to review other movies, comic books, magazines, novels and more. I’m trying to find the time to get this blog back on a nigh-daily schedule.

Thanks for visiting this online self-therapy session. Now you know what goes on in my head. I hope to bring you great comic books and more in the weeks and months and year to come. I appreciate all of your support and will always try to be worthy of it.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

THINGS THAT MADE ME HAPPY IN AUGUST

More often than is good for me, I find myself overwhelmed by the multiplicity and speed of events that impact me in some way. There are moments of joy and there are moments of sadness. I took blows to the heart with the passing of creative folks like Russ Heath and Gary Friedrich and Marie Severin and Neil Simon. They were people whose work meant a great deal to me.

I didn’t know Russ well, but we had a few friendly conversations at conventions over the years. I think he would be on anyone’s list of the best four or five war comics artists of all time and probably on similar lists for all the other genres in which his magnificent art appeared. He received assistance from the Hero Iniative and was a staunch advocate of that organization.

Gary and I were friends, albeit convention and long-distance ones. He was exceedingly friendly and gracious to me, the guy who ended up following him on Ghost Rider. He had nothing but good things to say about my work on his creation. At one point, I was seeking to learn who owned his Hell-Rider and Butterfly creations of the very early 1970s with the hope of getting those rights and then working with Gary on new versions of those underappreciated heroes.

Marie was the light of the Marvel Bullpen during the few years of my employment therein. She could do everything. She was gracious, kind and devilishly clever when someone raised her ire. We weren’t even lunch buddies, but she remains one of the best memories of my time in New York City.

Neil Simon was an influence and an inspiration to me. He’s one of the best and funniest writers of all time. I learned a lot studying his works. I never met him, but I read his plays to this day. The Odd Couple is my favorite.

Alongside the sadness of their passing, there is the joy that their lives and the work brought me. I glad I got to know them, even, in the case of Simon, from afar.

Life is always going to be a mixed bag. Things look pretty grim in my country and my industry. But, for all those things, it’s never hard to find other things that make me happy. I try to note one of these other things every day.

Here’s the August list:

August 1: Black Lightning: Brick City Blues is on the schedule for early next year. It collects the 1995 series. I’ll be writing the intro as soon as I come up more superlatives to describe the work of artist Eddy Newell.

August 2: Jiro Taniguchi’s Guardians of the Louvre is a beautiful graphic novel with so much heart and soul and insight. It literally brought me to tears.

August 3: The “Once Upon a Time” episode of Lucifer raised the bar re: respect for comics creators. In that episode, Neil Gaiman was the voice of God. I’d settle for playing a grumpy old man in Black Lightning.
August 4: I love comics more right now than I’ve ever loved comics in my life. Besides the incredible variety of material both new and old, it’s the wondrous diversity of characters and creators that renews my passion daily.

August 5: I find myself quite delighted Nicholas Cage finally got to play Superman, albeit in Teen Titans Go! To The Movies. Now he and I should talk Ghost Rider 3.

August 6: My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame is a beautiful, emotional, reflective and riveting manga. I cherish it.

August 7: I have an intriguing idea for the conservative super-hero I wanted to add to my new universe. If my research pans out, I may have to start thinking about doing four titles initially.
                                                                             

August 8: Dynamite’s Project Superheroes. As individual issues, I didn’t find them entertaining. In trade paperback, I’m liking them much more. Not classics, but solid reads.

August 9: So many e-mails, Facebook/Twitter messages and calls from good folks having my back against Comicsgate. Of course, Comicsgate would be outnumbered if it was just me against them. But it’s not just me. Not by a long shot.

August 10: A Gathering of Secrets by Linda Castillo. Her new novel of former Amish police chief Kate Burkholder - set in Ohio - is one of the best in the series.

August 11: I got a fan letter on my Craig’s List garage sale post. She wrote: “Even though I'm not in the market for anything you're selling, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your ad and looking at your picture. Really brought a smile to my face!  Good luck with the sale.” Of course, now I have to maintain that in my future ads.

August 12: Going back to Duck Tales again. “The Last Crash of the Sunchaser!” was such an emotionally-charged episode. Unexpected and heartbreaking. Can’t wait for the next episode.
                                                                               

August 13: Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons by Mike Reiss. It’s a great book to celebrate thirty decades of one of my favorite TV series.

August 14: The Asylum’s Megalodon, which premiered yesterday on the Syfy channel. Michael Madsen’s final scene was insanely wonderful. This is why I love The Asylum.

August 15: A great start to my day. Finished writing introduction to a collection of my work. Booked my hotel room for next year’s G-Fest. Gonna take the rest of the day off. More or less.

August 16: Incredibles 2. I’m begging you, Brad Bird, don’t make me wait another fourteen years for the next one.

August 17: Flaming River Con, first LGBTQIA+ geek comics convention in the Midwest. It’ll happen on Saturday, September 22, at the West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Rocky River, Ohio. I plan to attend.

August 18: Sirius XM’s Studio 54 channel. Now that’s music to get your day off to a swinging start. Reminds me of my days not dancing at discos. You’re welcome.

August 19: NEO Comic Con 2018. I had a wonderful time at this show. Congratulations and thanks to promoter Shawn Belles and his amazing team.
                                                                               

August 20: 6-Headed Shark Attack. I like my shark movies real big and stupid. This was my favorite of the films leading to The Last Sharknado with Santa Jaws a close second.

August 21: Duck Tales continues to amaze me. “The Shadow War” had so many surprises and so much heart. It’s the best animated show on television.

August 22: Keeping relatively sane in an insane industry by taking more time for myself. A movie a week at the local theater. Lunches with friends. Some social evenings. Pacing myself for the long haul because I ain’t going away any time soon.

August 23: Randy Rainbow. I love this guy’s personality and songs. Comedy is wonderful medicine for what ails us in this era of the Dumpster President. You can listen to Randy on You Tube here.

August 24: Had lunch with Andrew Farago and Shaenon Garrity, who were visiting family in my neck of the woods. It was a fun and came at a time when I needed it. If you’re a comics pro passing through Medina, e-mail me and maybe we can get together.

August 25: Being trolled by Comicsgate clowns. No better proof that I’m on the right side of history.

August 26: This year’s garage sales ended on a high note as I made 147% of my goal. I had great conversations with fans and friends. This goes into the books as a big win.

August 27: My son Ed’s housewarming party was a huge success. The place looked great and it was nice to see so many of his old Ohio State University buddies there.
                                                                               

August 28: I was interviewed by the local CW affiliate for a piece to run just before the second season of Black Lightning starts. They let me pick the location. So we filmed at the Historic Coast Guard Station on Whiskey Island, the scene of the climatic battle between my guy and Tobias Whale in Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #5-6.

August 29: That whatever my differences with DC Comics, the company is honoring its financial agreements with me. That wasn’t the case under the previous management.

August 30: Despite the sadness of their passing, it makes me happy to have known Gary Friedrich and Marie Severin, to know they were among the creators who made me want to create and to know I’m part of the Marvel Comics legacy of which they were such an important part.

August 31: The unexpected twists my life takes. A one-day trip to Los Angeles has now become six days. Catching a surprise break on a hotel for same. Getting a great chauffeur in my best friend Bob Ingersoll. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Monday, September 3, 2018

HALL OF HEROES COMIC CON (September 8-9)

My next public appearance will be the second annual Hall of Heroes Comic Con, Saturday and Sunday, September 8-9, in downtown Elkhart, Indiana. Sponsored by the Hall of Heroes Museum (410 S. Main St.), the convention will be spreading out all over the area. I’m really excited to see what museum master Allen Stewart has put together. This will be first time in Elkhart.

Special guests? The convention has them. John Schneider, the star of The Dukes of Hazzard, father to Clark Kent in Smallville, and a man fearless enough to appear in some of the cheesy monster movies I love, will be there. Will I be the only who asks him about Snow Beast or Super Shark?

William Katt was brilliant in The Greatest American Hero and many other roles. I saw him on Broadway playing Pippin, though I doubt he remembers meeting me back stage. I’m looking forward to meeting him again.

I’m looking forward to meeting Kevin Sussman. He’s best known for The Big Bang Theory, but he’s done many other TV shows and movies. I especially enjoyed him in Killers (2010). Other media-type guests include Katrina Law (Arrow), Seth Gilliam (Starship Troopers) and horror-host Svengoolie (Sunday only).

From the world of comic books and art, Hall of Heroes will host the great Allen Bellman, one of the few Golden Age comics artists still attending conventions; Stuart Sayger, Mike DeCarlo, Charles Urbach, Scott Rosema and...me.

There will be panels and presentations on a wide variety of topics and, at one time or another, featuring most of the special guests in their own spotlight events. My panel is scheduled for Sunday at  11 am on The Lerner Stage. I’m anticipate the usual mix of news and reviews and views on anything you’d care to ask me about. I’ll do my best to regale you with stories of my comics career and insane life in general. There will be questions I can’t answer because of a) Non-Disclosure Agreements and b) None of Your Business. If you ask me a question I don’t know the answer to, I’ll make something up. I mean, I’m a writer, right?

There will be cosplay, free movies and gaming. Cosplayers: please visit me at my table, especially if you’re cosplaying characters I created or have written.

There will be vendors selling comic books and other cool items. I hope I remember to bring my want list.

I haven’t yet decided what I’m bringing to sell at my guest table. I know I’ll have copies of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1-6, as well as the Black Lightning collections. I’ll have July 1963: A Pivotal Month in the Comic-Book Life of Tony Isabella Volume One. I’ll probably have two different Black Lightning posters and mini-posters of Daredevil and Luke Cage. Fingers crossed, my booth babe for this event will be my Saintly Wife Barb.

I will only be signing at my table and I do charge for signatures. Here’s the price list on that:

Items bought at my table: no charge.

Items not bought from me: one free signature; all others $2 per item.

Photo of me or with me: no charge.

Signature witnessed by representative from grading company: $5 per item.

Having me sign a Certificate Of Authenticity: $5 per item.


I hope to see some of my Bloggy Thing readers, Facebook friends and Twitter pals at the Hall of Heroes Comic Con. It’ll be a lot more fun for me if you’re there.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Thursday, August 30, 2018

BATMAN REDUX COMING

I received all sorts of positive comments on yesterday's Batman blog. You know who didn't care much for it? Me. The guy who wrote it.

I'm dealing with all sorts of little issues and problems at the moment. None of them worth talking about, save that they are getting in the way of my writing.

I don't think I did a good job on yesterday's Batman blog, so I'll be rewriting it in a few days. I'm leaving the original up for now, but there will be a new and expanded version next week.

[I've taken down the Batman piece. I didn't do a good enough job with it. I'll be re-writing it in the very near future to add some more nuance. I don't want to come off like one of the old farts who want comic books to be exactly like they were when I was 12. That's just not me.]

Which is when I'll be resuming full-scale blogging. I figure the writing will go better once I deal with  these troublesome issues and problems. See you soon.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

TONY'S TIPS #272

This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder: Back Issue #107 featuring "Archie Comics in the Bronze Age"; Secret Weapons: Owen’s Story #1 by writer Eric Heisserer with art by Raul Allen and Patricia Martin; and Gothic manga Bizenghast: The Collector’s Edition Volume I by M. Alice LeGrow.

Monday, August 27, 2018

GARAGE SALES AND COMIC BOOK CABARETS

My last Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales of 2018 were Friday and Saturday, August 24-25. The hours of the sale were supposed to be 9 am to 1 pm each day, but my garage door remained open a touch longer on both dates. Fun sets its own timetable.

I had a great time and so did my customers. Of course, many of my customers are also dear friends of mine. We talked about all things comics. There were some special moments as well.

Folks I had met at last weekend’s NEO Comic Con and who picked up fliers for my garage sale came to my house. One was a mom and her shy son, who wants to be a comic-book writer. He had a wee bit of difficulty asking me questions, but he has my e-mail address so I can answer any other questions as they occur to him.

Near the end of Saturday’s sale, a woman who had been there earlier in the day came by with her neighbor. Her neighbor loves the Black Lightning TV series and was so excited to meet the creator of the character that she was practically jumping up and down. She called a family member so that he could talk to me as well. When she left, I gave her a signed Black Lightning poster.

Since I’m always asked this...my garage sales were very successful. I made 147% of my goal for the weekend. I sold all but two of the dozen $10 mystery boxes I had prepared. I sold all but one of the collector boxes I had on hand. I sold hundreds of dollars worth of dollar comics and more expensive comics. I sold a great many manga volumes off my fifty-cent table and every issue of Commando that I had put out. Since I have two stacks of unread issues of Commando - it’s a British comics digest featuring war stories - you’ll have a chance to buy issues again next year.

I learned some lessons from this year’s garage sales. Advertising in my local newspaper is simply not cost-effective. There was not enough civilian traffic for the $60 it costs for a tiny classified ad. Next year, I’ll try to come up with “events” that will get the newspaper to give me free publicity.

My Craig’s List announcements were free and seemed to bring in some customers. I even got a “fan letter” from a non-comics fan because she enjoyed the photos and my writing. I’ll try to make them even more fun next year.

And, of course, my promoting the sales on Facebook and Twitter, and in this bloggy thing were the most reliable way to draw customers to the sales. At the risk of sounding hokey, my life is better for all the social media friends I’ve made.

I’ll be starting work on my 2019 garage sales next week. The plan is to utilize my son’s now-vacant bedroom as a staging ground for bagging and pricing comic books, making mystery boxes and preparing all the other items I’ll be selling. You can expect the return of the quarter boxes, the return of the fifty-cent table, collectible phones at insanely low prices, additional boxes of more expensive comic books and at least one box of Isabella-written comic books. With the Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands trade collection coming out in October and Black Lightning: Brick City Blues in early 2019, I’ll have those in stock as well.

Thanks to everyone who came to my garage sales this year. With the advance planning I’m doing, I hope to be able to start them just as soon in 2019 as the weather permits.

******************************
In my new-found zeal to get out of my office more often, I’ll be at the opening reception of the Vagabond Comics Retrospective. It will be held on Friday, August 31 from 5-8 pm at the Gordon Square Art Space, 1386 W. 65th St., Cleveland, Ohio. To quote from the event notice on Facebook:

Join us for the opening reception of Vagabond Comics Retrospective, and celebrate the launch of Vagabond Comics, Issue 9: Midnight Creepers. Vagabond Comics is an independently published, all-ages anthology.

Much like a trash can fire serves as a gathering place for the wild tales of ragtag travelers, we aim to provide a welcoming platform for a diverse collection of voices. This show features work from various contributors across two year’s worth of quarterly comics.

******************************
My next public appearance will be a first for me. I will be doing a reading from my Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands mini-series in a nightclub setting. If you’re going to be in the Cleveland area on Saturday evening, September 1, think about coming to this event:

Tap Dance Killer's Comic Book Cabaret

Hero Tomorrow Comics is throwing a loving farewell for the Phantasy complex featuring a vaudeville show of rock and theatre performers, dancers, poets, and comic book writers! It'll be a night like you've never seen!

The Symposium Nightclub
11794 Detroit Ave
Lakewood, OH 44107

The doors open at 6 pm. The show runs 7 pm to midnight. Admission is $5 at the door. If you’re under 21, it’s $8 at door. This venue is cash only.

Yeah, this is a little out there for me. But, barreling towards 67, I remain committed to trying new things, spreading my “brand” far and wide and always, always going forward.

******************************
My next convention appearance will be the Hall of Heroes Comic Con on Saturday and Sunday, September 8 and 9, in Elkhart, Indiana. I will have more information at that event next week.

In the meantime, I’ll be bringing you new bloggy things on a nigh-daily basis with discussions of Black Lightning and much more more. I’ll also be working on various books and comics. I’ll let you know how those are going as they progress.

Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Sunday, August 26, 2018

WISDOM FROM KRAD

I love my fans and friends more than I can express. Here's some very smart thinking posted on my Facebook page by Keith DeCandido, a terrific writer and one of the best editors I have ever worked with. He wrote:

Separating yourself from the show will damage the show, damage the character, and damage you. Take the high ground and continue to support a use of the character that actually is good and wonderful and also has your name on every single episode. Talk about the character and the TV show's use of him and your creation of him and your role in developing him. When asked about more comics, shrug and tell them you'd love to do more, but it's up to DC.

Black Lightning is one of the most important shows on the air right now because of what's been happening in Trump's America. Having a show like this matters more now than it has in a very long time.

And again, your name is on every episode.

You should be embracing that in every way that you possibly can.

And I will be doing just that. Always forward.

ANOTHER FAN REACTION

This was posted to my Facebook page by Tyrone Tony Reed Jr.:

Mr. Isabella, please don't quit. As an African American man, your character has been an inspiration to me since childhood and I'm sure it has been to others who searched comics for someone who looked like them and faced the same things they did. I truly believe that God has a season for everyone and that it's usually when we feel the most discouraged that God sends someone to encourage us as we approach the great things He has for us. I love Black Lightning and I look forward to seeing more stories from you about this timely and enduring character. Don't lose hope and please don't give up! Let your haters be your motivators, but most of all, look around to all the love and support that you are getting from those who love you and the character you shared with us.

Honestly, I was very disappointed and depressed by DC Comics disrespecting my creation and my myself. I asked myself if I should just walk away. But my fans and friends reignited my fighter instincts. Black Lightning does not exist without my creating him in 1976. No one knows Jefferson Pierce better than I do. So I will continue to speak out when I believe DC handles him in a disrespectful and incorrect manner. I will continue to remind them of what they owe me. I will continue to push for an ongoing Black Lightning series written by me and following in the critically-acclaimed footsteps of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands. I hope my fans and friends will join me in this.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

FAN MAIL

Since I'm not in the right place to write bloggy things at the moment, I figured I'd post a few notes I've received recently. Here's one of them:

Mr. Isabella, I just wanted to let you know that you are a great voice for good. I just read your "Bloggy Thing" and specifically your response to the "Comicsgate" stuff. Well said, sir. I congratulate you on your moderate temperament and ability to seemingly let things just roll off your back. With so much hate and anger in our world today, it really is wonderful to open a title like "Cold Dead Hands" and see that, if we really appreciate each other and strive towards something better and all inclusive, we could truly have some kind of lasting peace and understanding in this world. I just am a Black Lighting fan that just finally wanted to let you know how much I love your work...Thank you, Mr. Isabella and God bless you and your family. Sincerely, Matthew E Bedlion.

I'm not doing well with the moderate temperament and letting things roll off my back this week, but I do thank Matthew for his note.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

TONY'S TIPS #271

This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...I look at the new MAD; the very dark Injustice: Gods among Us: Year One – The Complete Collection by writer Tom Taylor; and Power Man and Iron Fist Vol. 1: The Boys are Back in Town!

TWO MORE DAYS UNTIL MY LAST GARAGE SALES OF THE YEAR

Here's my Craig's List notice:

https://cleveland.craigslist.org/gms/d/tony-isabellas-last-comic/6676848873.html

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

MY LAST GARAGE SALES OF 2018!

My last Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales will take place on Friday and Saturday, August 24-25, at the famous Isabella summer house, 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio. It’s also the famous Isabella fall, winter and spring house. The hours for the sale will be 9 am to 1 pm on both dates.

If you’ve been to my garage sales this year, you know that I’ll be selling lots of comic books priced at just a dollar. These aren’t comic books left over from the comics boom and bust of the 1990s. These are recent comics and even some much older ones. Star Wars. Batman. Groo. Valiant. Marvel. DC. Simpsons. These were a big hit at last Sunday’s NEO Comic Con, so I’ll be adding a bunch of comic books to fill the boxes. You can also expect to find bargain-price magazines.

Kid-friendly comics and books will be displayed in a spinner rack. Though I also have some of them in the dollar boxes, I wanted to be sure any parent can quickly find material suitable for their child. As always, I caution parents that not every comic book is suitable for a younger reader, even some featuring classic characters like Batman. If they have questions about this, I’ll be happy to answer them and direct them to the kid-friendly issues.

I’m devoting a lot of space to hardcovers and trade paperbacks for this last garage sale of 2018. These are usually priced at 70% off their original prices. Sometimes it hurts when I sell some of these books, but such is the cost of downsizing.

I’ll have a rack of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1-6 and the two Black Lightning trade paperbacks of comics from the 1970s and 1980s. As with any Isabella-written item, signatures are free when you buy said items from me. Indeed, even if you haven’t bought the Isabella-written item from me, I never charge for autographs at my garage sales.

We'll have some collectible character phones at $5. Spider-Man. The Simpsons. Mickey and Minnie Mouse. I might have even some phones priced at less than $5. Because I can.

We’ll have posters. The rare double-sided Superman poster that was created for the 1988 International Superman Exposition in my home town of Cleveland. Mini-posters of Daredevil and Luke Cage. A Black Lightning poster featuring Cress Williams and another Black Lightning poster you have to see to believe.

I’ll have July 1963: A Pivotal Month in the Comic-Book Life of Tony Isabella on sale. I’ll also have replicas of the legendary “Green Books” that guided African-American travelers to safe hotels and restaurants across the nation.

I’m not sure how many I have left as I’m still searching for them in the Vast Accumulation of Stuff, but I’ll have some DC and Marvel and Stan Lee subscription boxes on sale. These will be priced at less than half of their original cost.

I’ll have at least a dozen of our popular $10 mystery boxes. Each box has well over $10 worth of comics, books, magazines, collector items and more. You’ll be amazed at what’s in them.

When I’m not adding up purchases - math is hard - I’ll be delighted to answer your questions about comics and my own work. I might even share some choice stories from my career. It’s kind of sort of like a comics convention in a garage. I hope to see you there.

Hey, and if you want to come to my garage sale in costume, I'm absolutely cool with that. I'll take your photo and you could end up in my blog. It's not exactly a "fame and fortune" opportunity, but think how confused my neighbors will be. On the other hand, they've known me for decades. Probably won't bat an eye.

Come back tomorrow and I’ll update you on my schedule for the rest of August and September.

© 2018 Tony Isabella