Sunday, April 8, 2018


Don’t let my title fool you. This occasional series of bloggy thing has nothing to do with Rod Serling or The Twilight Zone. You see, as I was going through my Vast Accumulation of Stuff, I found several file folders with pitches I sent to various publishers over the years. Some of them date back to before I start working in comics professionally.

I thought my bloggy readers might enjoy seeing these concepts that didn’t go further than my original pitches. Since “never say never” is a mantra of mine, I won’t entirely rule out my revisiting them in the future, but, for now, I have no plans for them. This first one is from January, 2013...

pitch for licensed comic book

Korean entertainer Psy’s "Gangnam Style" reached 1 billion views on YouTube, becoming the first video to do so.  It’s easy to see why. It’s a catchy tune, but it also has a most appealing singer in Psy himself.  He moves like a comical action hero and he’s clearly very willing to poke fun at himself.

Psy is an international sensation and I think that could translate into a very funny and successful comic book.  After all, DC Comics managed to publish over 100 issues each of comics starring Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis.  With some updating, I think their basic formula could work for us as well.

The concept would be to treat Psy as an actor playing our version of Psy.  His music could be a cover for his secret identity as an agent for a world-wide good guy association.  Or we could use his touring as an excuse for putting him into adventurous situations of a comedic and outright wacky nature.

We start with him touring the United States as a way of introducing him and his supporting cast to our American audience.  I’m thinking he has an enthusiastic agent who sometimes commits him to more than he can actually accomplish.  Which won’t stop him from triumphing over ridiculous odds and succeeding anyway.  No matter how many missteps they might make, the good guys always win.

Just as the happily-married Bob Hope was always shown with gorgeous women in his comic-book adventures, our Psy will not be a married man.  He’s not going to be hot and heavy with any of his comic-book co-stars - that would be inappropriate for an all ages audience - but pretty girls will be an added attraction to young male readers. If we take care to make those girls laudable characters who dress really cool, that will draw young female readers as well.

With a set-up like this, we can send Psy anywhere in the world and even indulge in the occasional fantasy or science fiction stories. By keeping him on the move, we can always keep the stories fresh. We can also do mild spoofs of anything else that happens to be big in pop culture.

Psy’s international following also means that we should be able to sell this all over the world.  Given [redacted] relationship with so many foreign markets, [redacted] is positioned to go after that international market.

If you like this idea, I can work on whatever further materials you need to make the series a reality.

I sent something like a dozen pitches to Roy Thomas when he became editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics. This was 1972.


Baron Karl Friedrich Hieronymys von Münchhausen, the sportsman and soldier of Gottingen, was either the most extraordinary figure of the 17th Century or its most outrageous liar. His exaggerated, often fantastic adventures have thrilled and entertained millions since they first appeared in book form in 1785.

This book would treat the Baron’s adventures as gospel truth, but with typewriters planted firmly in our cheeks. Issue #1 would introduce the Baron in the story of how he battled some 100 demons to kidnap a sultan’s daughter and reunite her with the man she had wanted to marry. Succeeding issues would introduce two companions for the Baron in Sinbad (who is hiding out from a shrewish wife he picked up during his travels) and Aladdin (who is one the outs with the genie of his lamp and trying to get back in her good graces by performing feats of bravery).

Stories will alternate between the Baron’s adventures against the Turks, who in these stories will be a lot like the Romances that Asterix fights in Gaul, and his more fantastic adventures. In the latter category, for example, the Baron invents the submarine some years before the fact because he has fallen in love with a mermaid and seeks to steal her away from her father.

This 1972 pitch to Roy embarrasses me, even beyond being a blatant  rip-off of Cat Ballou. Let’s just say that I wasn’t as “woke” back then as I would become in later years.


One-third of the town of Busted Skull, Texas, praises the day the daughter of the late Sam Glory returned from the Boston school he had sent her to. One-third of Busted Skull curses the same day that brought Beatrice Glory back to the place of her birth. Those in the remaining third haven’t decided if that day should be celebrated or mourned.  

Before she had spent twenty-four hours back in town, Beatrice had made an enemy of Ben “Cattle” Baron, who wants her to sell him the Glory ranch. Beatrice wins her “Blaze” nickname by taking first prize in a local shooting contest, then hires four of the most incorrigible outcasts in town and chases off Ben Baron and his men when they pose as Indians and try to scare her off her ranch.

The four outcasts consist of Kid Galahad, formerly a hero of dime novels and now little more than a bum; Johnny One-Eye Crazy Fox, an Indian philosopher sworn to drive the white man from the West; Rev. Righter, who was a fire-and-brimstone traveling preacher until he start getting his fire from firewater; and young Steve Mina, a new reader who models himself after the hero of whatever novel he is currently reading.

Some of the stories for this book will be in a humorous vein, as when Johnny One-Eye Crazy Fox decides to challenge the saloon’s rule against serving Indians. Some will be serious, as when an ex-convict threatens revenge on the town and it’s up to a nervous and scared Kid Galahad to defend the citizens.

One more. Before I was hired at Marvel, while I was trying to sell stories from my native Cleveland, Ohio, Roy suggested I pitch for Chambers of Chills and Tower of Shadows. The titles either were in the planning stages or had just made their debut. This story pitch actually resulted in a sale after I started work for Marvel. Alas, I only had three pages to tell the tale. It wasn’t enough and, to add to the difficulty, I had to work “Marvel style” with an artist who was years past his prime. I froze when I got the pencils and it took me a week to script the three pages. That almost torpedoed my Marvel writing career, but that’s a story for another time. Here’s my plot for what eventually became “Haunt and Run.”


James and Linda Tilburn are heading home for a late party at the house of some suburban friends. They are “social drinkers.” When they get on the entrance ramp, James doesn’t see a young hitchhiker in time to avoid hitting her. The entrance ramp is deserted. Linda convinces James to drive on as it nothing had happened. No one can prove them guilty of anything.

They get on the freeway. They are haunted by the ghost of the young woman. Every time they try to exit, she appears and prevents them from doing so. On and on they drive, unable to exit from the freeway. They find they can’t even slow down. Their only hope is to run out of gas. Then they can get out of the car and walk to the exit. The gas meter reads “empty.” Surely this means they’re almost out of gas. But as the minutes stretch into hours and they do not even slow down, they realize their horrible fate. To travel this freeway forever as if their car was a modern-day Flying Dutchman.

I have an entire file folder full of other anthology ideas, plots and a script or two. With a little encouragement, I could share some more of them with you in future bloggy things.

That’s all for today. See you tomorrow.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

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