Wednesday, November 23, 2022

WORKING MY WAY BACK TO YOU, DEAR!

November challenges have kept me from writing any new bloggy things. I should be back up to speed in December. 

Here's wishing you a happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 3, 2022

AKRON COMICON (November 5-6)

Akron Comicon is one of my favorite events and my last convention appearance of the year. It will take place Saturday, November 5, and Sunday, November 6, at Emidio’s Expo Center, 48 E. Bath Road in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The show hours are 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday and 10 am to 4 pm on Sunday. One-day and weekend tickets are $10 and $15 respectively. Child tickets are $5 and $10 respectively. One child thirteen or under is FREE with a paid adult ticket. Considering all the wonderful people and things to be found at this convention, I think the ticket prices are among the biggest bargains to be found anywhere in the country.

Akron Comicon is centered on comics. Part of the event’s mission is placing an emphasis on what it calls “Comics Future.” This means striving to keep Comicon affordable for all families so adults have the opportunity to pass on their favorite comics traditions to the next generation.

Akron Comicon was founded by my friends Bob Jenkins and Michael Savene in 2012. Led by local creators Dan Gorman and Jason Miller, Altered Realm Productions bought the event in 2019. They continue the emphasis on honoring comic books and strips with a guest list dominated by comics creators. The 2022 comics roster includes Tom Batiuk (Crankshaft and Funky Winkerbean), Mike W. Barr (Batman and the Outsiders and Maze Agency), Thom Zahler (Love and Capes), Ted Sikora (Apama the Undiscovered Animal), Craig Boldman (Archie), Sam De La Rosa, Don Simpson, Jay Fife, Matt Horak, Jason Moore, Dave Nestler and more.

Other guests include actor Gianni Decenzo from the hit Netflix TV  series Cobra Kai and a host of horror hosts: Son of Ghoul, Leopold and Lenora, Drac and Carita and the Mummy and the Monster. Also at the convention: Hero Initiative, Akron’s own Rubber City Cosplay and Star Trek groups USS Lagrange and USS Renegade. I was named an honorary member of the Lagrange many years ago and, to honor their 40th anniversary, they’ve asked me to wear a red shirt. Hmmm...are they trying to tell me something?

Halloween 1972. On that day, I reported for work at Marvel Comics in New York City.  to commemorate my fifty years in the industry, my talented friend Dan Gorman created a special poster showing all the monster-type characters I worked on during my years at Marvel. Both Dan and I will be selling the poster and, no matter which of us you buy it from, I’ll sign it for free.

                                                                          



Speaking of selling stuff...

At my Akron Comicon booth, I’ll be selling the usual mix of dollar comics, more expensive comics, books, magazines and stuff written by me. This will include the exclusive-to-me reprint edition of the first appearance of Misty Knight in a Marvel comic book.

When Misty Knight was set to debut on the Luke Cage TV series, my friends at the House of Ideas decided to do a “Marvel’s Greatest Creators” reprint of her first appearance in Marvel Premiere #21. They called me up and asked if I wanted an exclusive variant of the reprint, one with an exclusive cover and only available from me. The numbers worked and a limited print run of 1500 copies was made and delivered to me.

I’ve been signing and numbering the comics ever since. I’m selling them at a bargain price of just $10 each. Considering I charge $10 just for my signature, and you’re also getting an exclusive signed and numbered limited edition comic, that’s a deal.
                                                                                


 

Finally, for the first time, I’m bringing a whole bunch of terrific Godzilla items to Akron Comicon. We’re talking action figures and much more. These items were a big hit at my garage sales over the summer. Be sure to check them out.

Akron Comicon also has a full schedule of panels and other special events to entertain the fans:

Saturday

11 am: Comicsburgh with Marvin Wynn, Grant Lankard, Heroineburgh & Casey WhiteNoise

Noon: The History of Horror Comics with Michael Walton

1 pm: Self Publishing 101 with Ted Sikora!

2 pm: Horror Writing for Comics with David Hayes!

3 pm: Meet Gianni DeCenzo!

4 pm: Cosplay Contest hosted by Rubber City Cosplay

Sunday

11 am: Tony’s Tips Live! With Tony Isabella

Noon: A History of Horror Hosts in NE Ohio with The Mummy and The Monkey!

1 pm: Q&A with Sam DeLaRosa.

2 pm: Batman by the Decades with Chris Lambert


As I wrote up top, this is my final convention appearance of 2022. I’ll be hunkering down to work on a variety of projects through the end of the year and into February.

My first convention appearance of the new year will be Pensacon in Pensacola, Florida, February 24-26, 2023. If you are a convention promoter and would like me to appear at your event, e-mail me and I’ll do my best to make that happen. The same holds true should you want me to speak at a library or school, do a signing at a comic- book store, or act in your movie or TV show. While I’m not planning to do many conventions and such in 2023, I will try to accommodate any requests that come my way.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

THINGS THAT MADE ME HAPPY IN OCTOBER

 

 

In lieu of thinking about grim stuff as we launch into a new month, I thought I’d share a couple cool moments from near the end of the previous month. Local moments that made me smile.

Some clerks at my local post office are Black Lightning fans. One of them likes to introduce me to any other people of color who are there when I am. This time, the person was a fellow employee and he was thrilled to meet me. Black Lightning is his father’s favorite TV show and his son is also a big comics fan. He asked about comics conventions and I told him about this weekend’s Akron Comicon. He hopes to bring his son there. As I was leaving, this gentleman came out into the lobby and asked if he could take a selfie with me for his father and son. Which, naturally, I agreed to. Comics fans are my people.

Later that same day, I called the Medina Library. Some books I had requested had arrived. I asked for them to be put into one of the outside lockers so I could pick them up after the library closed. The librarian handling my request knew I was a comics writer. We spent a few minutes discussing Black Adam, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and DC’s League of Super-Pets. I haven’t seen the first two yet, but I recommended League to her.

In so many ways, I lead a comic-book life. If only it included real super-heroes that could save us from the likes of Putin and Trump and their followers. Sigh.

Here are the things that made me happy in October...

October 1: Though the comics industry does not treat me well, the comics community of colleagues, fans and fellow creators manages to remind me on a daily basis that I am loved, respected and valued in ways I can’t always talk about. Thank you.

October 2: The end of another garage sale season. I truly enjoy my sales and chatting with and selling to those who come to them, but it’s nice to be able to take the rest of October off from the work. And then start working on my 2023 garage sales.

October 3: A neighbor walking by our house complimented Barb on how nice our lawn always looks. Which thrilled her ‘cuz that’s all her doing. It’s not just laziness on my part. If I try to mow, my hands swell up like Popeye’s after he eats spinach.

October 4: Pure Leaf Raspberry Tea. As I try to wean myself off the Pepsi, this seems like a delicious and healthier alternative, at least until someone crushes my spirit and tells me it isn’t. I like the lemon flavor, too.

October 5: When a comic book, comics character, comics creator, comics movie or TV series is an answer on Jeopardy. Also...when a former comics reader asks me questions about their favorite comics from when they were young. The true Golden Age of Comics is right this very minute.

                                                                             


                                                       

October 6: Hello Cleveland: Things You Should Know About the Most Unique City in the World by Nick Perry with illustrations by Jason Lock. A fun little book that will explain why so many of my future stories will be set in the city of my birth.

October 7: Young Sheldon. To help with the family finances, Missy is working in a comic-book store. I love Sheldon’s astonishment at this turn of events and Missy’s dedication to learning more about comics. This is comedy gold.

October 8: Lyle Lyle Crocodile. It’s a delightful movie filled with fun action sequences, great music, sometimes heartbreaking emotion and Brett Gelman playing the neighbor from Hell. There were a bunch of young kids in the audience and they loved it. So did I.

                                                                          



October 9: Bring it On: Cheer or Die is B-movie magic. Low budget notwithstanding, it’s got a good premise, adequate acting, decent kills and, best of all, characters who, once they realize they’re being hunted, stop making dumb horror movie moves.

October 10: The Simpsons: “Lisa the Boy Scout” is nothing short of brilliant. The episode is highjacked by Pseudo-nonymous, who demand a ransom to not show unaired clips that will destroy the franchise. Wonderfully weird clips.

October 11: My Facebook friend Mike Buckley, who was not at NYCC, nonetheless posted a hilarious series of accounts of his adventures there. All in good fun. If I did this, it would’ve involved tossing some people over a balcony. They know who they are.

October 12: At NYCC, MeTV announced original Svengoolie comic books coming next year from Frank Miller Presents. I know someone who has always wanted to write such a celebrity comic book. Hint: it’s me. Just saying. Pass it on. Start the hashtag.

[NOTE: Alas, it seems unlikely I will be writing a Svengoolie comic book in the future. Any other celebrity who wants me to take a shot at turning them into a comic-book hero should e-mail me.]

October 13: It’s not on the same level as NYPD Blue, but East New York is winning me over with great performances from Amanda Warren, Jimmy Smits, Olivia Luccardi and, especially, the ever-entertaining Richard Kind.

                                                                                



October 14: The Werewolf by Night special was fun, but I agree the breakout star was the Man-Thing. More please. Note to Kevin Feige: I’m available to play Man-Thing’s wacky next door neighbor if this goes to series.

October 15: CSI Vegas: In the October 6 episode “The Painted Man,” J.P. Manoux gave an outstanding performance as awkward horror fan Gene Farrow. It was a deep-dive into an odd man out that forced the stars to rethink their prejudice towards such.

October 16: Still Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate (2019) was one of the fruits of recent streaming surfing. Nostalgic and still funny. The series was an American classic, even if it did give a boost to Nixon’s 1968 presidential campaign.


                                                                  

October 17: Our Colors by Gengoroh Tagame. The award-winning author of My Brother’s Husband is a coming-of-age tale of a closeted young gay man and the regrets of an older gay man who becomes a mentor of sorts to the younger man. Heartwarming and hopeful.

October 18: Reboot. Two episodes in, I’m enjoying the show. Props to the wondrous Rachel Bloom for becoming her character so well I didn’t recognize her until the first episode’s end. Also loving the performances of Keegan-Michael Key and Judy Greer.

October 19: DC League of Super-Pets. What a delightful, satisfying  movie. Suitable for all ages without playing down to kids. Action, drama, humor. I’ve done the math and it’s ten thousand times better than the Snyderverse.

October 20: The Cleveland Guardians honored their new name with an exciting season of baseball. While they lost to Satan’s team in the ALDS, they were strong contenders. They should add an exorcist to their 2023 roster.

October 21: The finale of the Jeopardy Second Chance Tournament’s first week was the game at its best. After a close two-day contest, winner Jessica Stephens goes to the 2022 Tournament of Champions. Another Second Chance series starts on Monday.

                                                                                



October 22: Forbidden Worlds #94. Robert Hughes hasn’t quite nailed his greatest creation in “Herbie and the Spirits,” but it’s close. Ogden Whitney did nail the visual. This wonderful early tale can be found in PS Artbooks’ Forbidden Worlds Volume 15.

October 23: I’m making good progress going through closets to find and donate things that no longer fit me. The next step will be to downsize what does fit to get what I laughing call my wardrobe into just one closet.

October 24: In manga creator Mero Okano’s Donald Duck Visits Japan, the Three Caballeros are sent to Japan to learn how to better serve customers. The art is off-model, but the culture is fascinating and their comical determination is heartwarming.

October 25: Funko’s 90s Coca-Cola Polar Bear has arrived! This is the first of two figures I ordered for Casa Isabella’s Christmas mantle. I prefer Pepsi, but Pepsi doesn’t have any cute creatures in its ads. Unless they hire me.

October 26: Funko’s Coca-Cola Santa will be joining 90s Coca-Cola Polar Bear on the Isabella Christmas mantle this year. I’m open to suggestions for New Year’s Day figures.

                                                                                



October 27: The Green Glove Gang. On Netflix, Barb and I watching this Polish comedy about three “Robin Hood” thieves hiding out in a nursing home. A different tone than we’re used to, but the ladies and their crimes are great fun.

October 28: Out of the Blue by Garth Ennis and Kieth Burns. Of all the fine things Ennis has written, I’m most fond of his war comics.This story of a Royal Air Force pilot and new husband is dramatic with action, conflict and dollops of dark humor.

October 29: Rowan Ward. They were everything I want from Jeopardy contestants. Brilliant. Personable. A smile that lit up the place  when they questioned correctly. I’ll be rooting for Rowan when the Tournament of Champions begins next Monday.

October 30: Wil Wheaton did multiple fandoms proud when he won the latest Celebrity Jeopardy contest by a large margin. He moves on to the semi-finals. The contestants this season have been big fun and great players. Host Mayim Bialik has also been terrific.

October 31: Ok, yes, Tracee Ellis Ross' 50th birthday bash was not a costume party, but it was cool to see Kim Kardashian as Mystique with fellow X-Men Magik and Selene. Who could have imagined such a thing back in the 1970s? 10-31-22.

My bloggy goal this month is to bring you more bloggy things than have been the norm of late. I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

I OHIO VOTING?

 

I’m sure Ohio’s current secretary of state is a very busy man. He’s a Republican and part of the GOP’s unconstitutional redistricting in my state, as well as that vile criminal organization’s attempts to disenfranchise those unlikely to vote for them.  Still, someone in his office should have had the time to come up with a better and clearer sticker for voters.

Though I’m not 100% back up to speed, I got up this morning, made myself presentable and went to vote at the Medina County Board of Elections. As I was pulling out of my driveway, I noticed someone had vandalized my Tim Ryan sign. From a distance, it looked as if someone had punched it.

Ryan is running to be reelected to the Senate. His opponent is the truly creepy J.D. Vance, who, after being against Trump in 2016, is now a loyal Trump ass-kisser. Of the several signs on my lawn, the only one vandalized was for a candidate whose opponent was endorsed by Trump. That it was singled out for vandalism does not surprise me. We know Trump’s followers are violent.

I’ve been voting at the Board of Elections for a couple decades or so. I used to vote at the local high school until I had enough of being harassed by an obnoxious Republican poll worker who, knowing I was a proud and relentless liberal, tried to get my goat election after election. When I complained about his behavior to his face, he loudly exclaimed “people like you shouldn’t be allowed to vote.” Which was enough for me to get him removed from his position as a poll worker. You fuck with the tiger, you get the claws.

Those who work at the Board of Elections are efficient and friendly as they carry out their duties. They seem to be pretty good when it comes to prohibiting campaigning within a certain distance of the polling place. They’re also excellent at accepting drop box ballots from drivers who would otherwise have a difficult time getting out of their cars to vote. I assume many of the workers are Republican,
but I think they can be redeemed someday.

There was a small line to vote, but it moved fast. I was in and out of the place in ten minutes. Part of that was because of the aforementioned efficiency of the workers. The other part was that I had downloaded the ballot and made my choices in advance.

Voting for Democrats over Republicans was easy. There were a couple of judge races which were ridiculously considered “non-partisan,” but I knew which candidates were Democrats.

There were two issues on the ballot. One concerned bail, the other voting. Both were race-baiting Republican garbage. I voted “no” on them.

There was also a proposed tax levy renewal for the Medina County Health District. It doesn’t cost voters more than they are already paying. The Health District does fine work. I would’ve vote for an increase if they needed it.

Here’s my voting advice for those of you haven’t yet voted. Three simple guidelines.

Don’t vote for Republicans.

Don’t believe in the myth of “non-partisan” positions. Find out who Democrats support and vote for them.

Make sure you know what the issues actually mean. The two issues I voted against would have led to unequal “justice” for low-income, non-white suspects and an easier path for Republicans to deny the vote to those not likely to vote for them.

Now go out there and make your Uncle Tony proud.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.  

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Monday, October 24, 2022

DEEP SEA MUTANT SNAKE

 

 

Deep Sea Mutant Snake is another of the seemingly endless Chinese monster movies I’ve been enjoying on YouTube. They are seldom very good, but, frankly, I’m easily entertained by such films, even when they aren’t in English and lack English subtitles. Most of them are similar to the movies the Syfy Channel used to air every weekend before the channel replaced them (and much of its other content)  with relentless showings of Harry Potter, The Fast and the Furious and other franchises. Boo on them.

Even without subtitles, I can generally figure out the basic plots of these movies. However, in this case, I found a synopsis online:

Qin Yu’s fiancĂ©e died while investigating the sinister Cass group. In order to successfully testify against this group in court, Qin Yu followed Jason, who had evidence of the group’s crimes, on a cruise, but was suddenly attacked by a group of mutant snakes.

By mistake, they visit the island where the Cass Corporation conducts illegal experiments. The strange ecological environment of the island and the re-emergence of giant snakes put Qin Yu and others in a desperate and deadly situation...


SPOILERS AHEAD
SPOILERS AHEAD
SPOILERS AHEAD
SPOILERS AHEAD
SPOILERS AHEAD
SPOILERS AHEAD

The movie doesn’t spare the CGI slaughter. We see the title snake, a large (not as large) snake and thousands of more normal-size snakes escape from the research facility and make damn short work of the folks who work there.

They next show up attacking the cruise ship, swarming the ship and making equally short work of the crew and passengers. The big snake wraps itself around the cruise ship. The next largest snakes goes through the corridors killing people, as do the normal-size snakes. Just one more reason I’ll never go on a cruise. Unless my Saintly Wife Barb insists on it.

Naturally, there are the usual plucky survivors: besides Qin Yu and Jason, we get a comely photographer, a young girl, an old warrior type trying to protect the young girl, a somewhat shady comedy relief fat guy, a scientist type and a woman who I think is a high-priced escort. These eight people escape in a large lifeboat as the cruise ship blows up and, apparently, takes all the snakes with it.

When the lifeboat reaches an island - the Cass Corporation island - there are suddenly three more people in it than when it left the cruise ship. This trio exists for one purpose only: to be killed by giant man-eating plants. The only explanation I have for this is: the special effects crew created these plants and wanted to use them and the director forgot to add the “red shirts” to the lifeboat when it left the cruise ship.

Okay, I’m being a wee bit facetious here. The plants are important to the movie. The equivalent of Anton Chekhov’s “If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired.” Keep reading.

Having created three characters/victims out of nowhere, the movie adds a fourth such character when they need someone to be killed by a monstrously giant spider. This unlucky fellow wasn’t even on the lifeboat when it landed. He just showed up as the survivors trudged through the forest to the Cass research facilities. Alas, we also lose the old warrior who gives his life to save the little girl he had been protecting.

The research facilities are creepy as hell, filled with many dead scientists and staff as well as scattered documents and such. What the documents mean is anyone’s guess given the lack of sub-titles, but, as someone who’s watched many movies like this, I assume they were up to no good.

In short order, we learn the scientist type was affiliated somehow with the Cass Corporation and that the title snake has made its way back to the island. The title snake kills Jason (I think) because Jason acts as a decoy to allow Qin Yu to escape. I can’t remember what happened to the scientist because, by this time in the two-hour movie, I was just anxious to get to Chekhov’s next act. Which played out exactly as I expected.

Qin Yu lures the title snake to the beach where the plants eat the shit out of it. Anton would be proud.

By the way, a similar ending, albeit with snakes instead of killer plants, was the conclusion of another Chinese giant monster movie. I don’t remember which one because my brain can only hold so much
silly trivia at any given time.  

The movie ends with the survivors waiting to be rescued by a boat we see in the distance. They are joined by Gilligan, the Skipper, the millionaire and his wife, the movie star, the professor and, of course, Mary Ann.


SPOILERS OVER
SPOILERS OVER
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Would I recommend Deep Sea Mutant Snake to be discerning readers? Not really. The extreme carnage at the start of the movie, both in  the research facility and on the cruise ship, is ridiculously fun, but that’s just eye-candy. Lacking subtitles, the film never truly invested me in the characters. The sinister corporation trope has become boring. I need new reasons for the monsters created in these movies. If I get access to a subtitled version of the film, I will watch it again. Otherwise, let my sacrifice in watching it save you two hours of your lives.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.  

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Friday, October 21, 2022

BRING IT ON: CHEER OR DIE

 

 

Categorizing Bring It On: Cheer or Die (2022) as a “B-movie” is a kindness I’m not sure the low-budget film deserves. All the same, when I viewed it on the Syfy Channel, I found it both kind of fun and inexplicably fascinating. It’s the seventh installment of the Bring It On series of cheerleading movies. The last one was 2017's Bring It On: Worldwide Cheersmack.

I have not seen any previous Bring It On movies. I think one of my daughter Kelly’s friends, who was a cheerleader herself, was a fan of the series. Only the first movie, which actually featured some name actors, was a theatrical release. The rest were all direct-to-video. By the time we get to this Halloween release, the acting is adequate at best, though the transition to slasher movie is sort of brilliant in its own way.

SPOILERS AHEAD
SPOILERS AHEAD
SPOILERS AHEAD
SPOILERS AHEAD
SPOILERS AHEAD
SPOILERS AHEAD


Cheer or Die is rated PG-13 for violence, language, sexual material and some drug content. All of those are quite mild, but, it being  2022, I’m sure some religious zealot is calling down the wrath of God on the movie and all who made it. I mean, though it comes very late in the film, two cheerleaders share a sensitive kiss and are later shown to be in a relationship. The school mascot is someone in a devil costume with a pitchfork and the team name is Diablos. Yep, the mark of Satan is all over this one and probably my sarcasm as well.

The Wikipedia synopsis: When Abby and her Diablos teammates are forbidden from doing any risky cheer stunts by their overly cautious school, they fear that they will be laughed out of the upcoming regional cheer competition. The squad comes up with a plan to choreograph a winning routine in secret at a nearby abandoned school. Once at the school to rehearse, one by one, the cheerleaders begin to disappear. By the time they realize they're locked inside with a killer, it may be too late for any of them to survive. They must use their skills to fight off a killer who gives them only one choice: Cheer or die!   
The reason for this restriction is, a few decades prior,  a Diablos cheerleader fell from the top of a high formation, broke her neck and died. A flashback shows pretty clearly that another cheerleader
deliberately pushed the girl’s foot to cause the fall. The killer was then signed by the Cleveland Browns to the largest cheerleading contract in football history. Which is not true, but I like to take shots at the immoral Browns ownership whenever I can. She doesn’t get a contract, but, apparently, no one saw her murderous move and she got away with it.

                                                                                     



Despite the restrictions, the Diablos cheerleaders are competing in a tournament away from their school. Since their principal has made it clear how much she despises them, they don’t figure she’ll show up at the tournament to...ah...cheer them on. But they need to find someplace to practice their forbidden routines in secret...and what better place than an abandoned high school? What could possibly go wrong with this plan?

One of the cheerleaders knows a guy who knows a guy and gets them a bus for the trip. She also gets them a bus driver who does a bad impression of Otto Mann from the Simpsons.

I’m willing to cut the teenagers some slack. They don’t know they are in a slasher film. So they don’t know there’s a killer stalking them. Several uninteresting characters are killed in the first half of the movie. But, to their credit, once the kids realize someone is slaughtering them, they manage to avoid most of the dumb moves characters in horror movies make. Sadly, not before the body count rises by two other students who come to the high school because one of them is horny and the other is sincerely worried about the cheer captain.

                                                                            


                                                 

I’m going to cut to the chase here. Someone wearing the costume of the school mascot is killing the cheerleaders. The surprise turn of events comes when one of the surviving cheerleaders puts a knife to the throat of another cheerleader.

The person in the costume is the niece of the cheerleaders who died decades earlier. The cheerleader with the knife is her twin sister..The principal is their mother and also the kid sister of the dead cheerleader from decades earlier. From the time her twin daughters were toddlers, Principal Nasty brainwashed them into believing they had to avenge their aunt’s death...and sent them to survivalist and other training camps to develop their murderous skills.

This is where the movie actually gets enjoyable. The twins demand the cheerleaders perform certain moves or die. I’d been wondering how they were going to work the title into the film.

The cheerleaders, encouraged by their team captain, all succeed in the cheering. They also manage to get the drop on the twins for a fight scene in which said captain directs her team’s attacks with cheerleading moves. The surviving cheerleaders get away from the twins and, despite the twins having chained all the abandoned high school’s doors shut, manage to escape using various cheerleading skills. The movie commits to the cheerleading team.

                                                                              



As her team makes it to a roof, the captain faces one of the twins.We learn it was the captain’s mom who killed their aunt all those years ago. But, since the twin seems determined to visit the sins of the parent on the child, the captain kills her in self-defense.

Using their cheerleader powers, the captain and her team drop from the roof to the school grounds. They reach their bus and their stoned bus driver. Before the bus driver can fully come out of his buzz, he gets an arrow through the chest, courtesy of the surviving twin. And she’s got more arrows.

The cheer captain ain’t taking this shit no more. Yanking the dead stoner out of the driving seat, she guns the engine and attempts to run over Cheer Arrow. The murderous young lady manages to lie down between the tires and taunts the cheer captain, who promptly backs over the killer and ends her.

A year later, the greatly expanded cheer team is at the tournament they missed and win big. The captain gives an acceptance speech in which she sends love to their late teammates and all those who’ve shown them support.

                                                                               



We pan to the crowd where a woman wearing a large-brimmed hat and  dark sunglasses does not join in the standing ovation. She leaves and...surprise surprise...it’s the principal. Is there a sequel in the franchise’s future?

SPOILERS KIND OF OVER
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Here’s my alternative ending...

The principal is followed by several crowd members. She might have escaped the police, but not the parents of the students murdered by her daughters. They hired private detectives to track her down and then watch her movements, such as when she entered the tournament school.

One of the parents hits her with a pom-pom and knocks her cold. We see the pom-pom concealed a lead weight. When the principal comes to, she’s bound to a chair in the old abandoned high school. Which is about to be demolished by explosives.

She’s forced to watch a tape of the Diablos cheer team’s victory. Which ends with several explosive booms. Each one getting closer to the principal. Fade to black as the ceiling starts coming down on the woman.


In a world where it often seems there are no fitting consequences for doing evil in reality or fiction, I’m becoming bloodthirsty when it comes to such villains. Real or fictitious. I’m making a list for when I die and come back as a vengeful spirit.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

THINGS THAT MADE ME HAPPY IN SEPTEMBER


September? All I want to note this time around is that “crazy” is now the official default setting of the United States and most of the world. I say “most” because I will always be hopeful there is someplace on Earth that doesn’t feel like Arkham Asylum has opened its door and let the inmates escape into our streets and halls of government. On the good news front, my “mute” skills are on point. I can silence political ads as soon as they start.

I’m spending most of October doing odds and ends and deciding what my next projects will be come November. Will it be a book, fiction or non-fiction? Will it be some comic book stories? I’ll know the answer by the end of the month?

While we’re waiting for that, here are some of the way cool things that made me happy last month...

September 1: This weekend’s garage sales are looking pretty great. I’ll continue restocking right up to the moment when the door goes up on another tsunami-like blast of comic books and pop culture bargains.

September 2: Kloe. On Netflix. A Russian assassin betrayed by the Stasi seeks answers for said betrayal and, of course, vengeance on those who betrayed her. It’s true. I love “righteously vengeful women” stories.

September 3: Big Ethel Energy by writer Keryl Brown-Ahmed with art by Siobhan Keenan. I’m so-so on the “new” Archie comics, but this first collection of the Web Toon soap opera is interesting. I’ll be reading future volumes.

September 4: Learning two of my garage sale customers are making a big difference in the life of a young person. These gentleman truly understand the core message of the super-hero genre and are living that message.

September 5: From Adventures into the Unknown #88, “The Strangeness of Mr. McGillicuddy” by Richard Hughes and Kurt Schaffenberger is an utterly charming tale of a guy from Ireland seeking his fortune in the Old West. The 1957 story is reprinted in Adventures into the Unknown Volume 15 from PS Artbooks.

                                                                               


            

September 6: Samaritan is a surprisingly nuanced super-hero movie starring Sylvester Stallone with a stellar performance by the young Javon “Wanna” Walton. Great characters, gritty action, unexpected twists and a whole lot of heart.

September 7: Anything’s Possible. Currently on Amazon. Eva Reign and Abubakr Ali are exceptional in this film about a trans girl navigating her senior year of high school. Funny, heart-moving and very real. Recommended for all.

September 8: Delayed by abject racism, the great official portraits of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are finally hanging in the White House where they belong. Few people have ever deserved the honor more.

September 9: Bunny Mask by Paul Tobin and Andrea Mutti. I read the first book and while I’m not 100% sold on the series, I thought it  was intriguing enough, different enough and creepy enough to keep reading.

September 10: Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme Wong is getting his own series on Disney+. This studly master of magic has evolved into one of the best MCU characters. I hope Patty Guggenheim’s Madisynn will be in the new series.

[NOTE: Sadly, this turned out to be a rumor. But I hope Marvel does add such a series to its schedule.]   
September 11: Last night’s lovely dinner with my “other daughter” Giselle, her boyfriend, her father and his girlfriend, my daughter Kelly and several of her friends. Beautiful weather and great food.
Nights like that are rare and should be appreciated.

                                                                                  


September 12: Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life. Saintly Wife Barb and I were well  entertained by this 2018 Netflix special. Two comedy legends at the height of their talents.

September 13: Thom Zahler, my dear friend of several decades, has been nominated for two Ringo Awards: Best Cartoonist and his Love and Capes: In the Time of Covid for Best Humor Comic. Well-deserved nominations for an outstanding creator.

September 14: The new seasons of Wheel of Fortune (40) and Jeopardy (39) have begun. It’s great to test both my brain and dexterity by answering questions and being fast on the mute button when moronic political ads are aired during the shows.

[NOTE: I no longer watch Wheel of Fortune. While I was aware host Pat Sajak was a Republican, it took a photo of him posing with two of the worst of that vile breed to make me realize his views were as bad as theirs. Time for him to go.]

September 15: Last night’s episode of Stargirl featured wonderful shout-outs to the late great Irwin Hasen and the great still-with-us Don McGregor. Stargirl remains the very best super-hero series currently airing on television, network or otherwise.

September 16: The All Nighter by Chip Zdarsky and Jason Loo. While “different” takes on vampires are common in comics, this one worked for me. Vampires living a subdued life running an all-night diner, one of whom wants to be a super-hero.

September 17: Friday night was my daughter’s birthday and huge fun was had my all. Barb, Eddie and I drove to her house and consumed terrific food from Marsella's Pizza and equally delicious ice cream from Lumpy’s. Happy birthday to Kelly!  

                                                                            



September 18: Troublemaker, Malcontent, Desperado: A Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Harlan Ellison at the Cleveland Public Library. I love talking about my friend with fellow travelers. It was a wonderful event.

September 19: Run on Your New Leg by Wataru Midori. Kikuzato lost his leg, but the high school athlete will run again on a prosthetic leg, striving to reach his athletic goals. Manga forever impresses me with its wide range of subject matter.

                                                                             


           

September 20: My Funko Pop! collection increased by this impressive Ms. Marvel figure. I long for the day when the company releases a Tony Isabella Pop!

September 21: Tails of the Super-Pets. An amusing title for a fun collection of DC Comics stories from the 1950s and 1960s. Includes the first appearances of Krypto, Streaky, Comet, Super-Monkey and the Legion of Super-Pets.

September 22: Quantum Leap 2.0. I enjoyed the premiere episode and several cast members, notably old favorite Ernie Hudson and Mason Alexander Park, most recently seen as Desire in HBO’s The Sandman. I’m on board for now.                                                                      

                                
September 23: Not sure “happy” is the right word, but Profiles in Ignorance: How America's Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber by Andy Borowitz is must-reading if you want to understand how our country got to this point.

                                                                      



September 24: Rhys Nicholson: Live at the Athenaeum. I found this special on Netflix. Recognizing Nicholson from The Imperfects, I watched and spent the next hour laughing. This hilarity is highly recommended.

September 25: Abbott Elementary. I just started watching the first season on Hulu and I’m loving it. But where’s the guest appearance by Jefferson Pierce? Or my cameo for that very special “Bring Your Grandparent to Work” episode?

September 26: Celebrity Jeopardy. The season premiere presented an exciting competition with unexpected (even by himself) winner Simu Liu’s reaction being priceless. Fellow contestants Ego Nwodim and Andy Richter were likewise terrific.

September 27: The slimmed-down and looking great Billy Gardell, who stars in the much-beloved Bob Hearts Abishola. He’s an inspiration to us men of a certain age.

                                                                           


                                                                                                                                                                         

September 28: This week’s Bob Hearts Abishola featured remarkable performances by Billy Gardell (Bob) and Joel Murray (as his late father). Talking to a dead parent is a common TV trope, but these fine actors took it to another level.

September 29: I’m starting to get e-mails about possible convention and other appearances in 2023. I’m hoping they pan out and that I get more. I’d like to do many events in 2023 while I’m still young enough to handle them.

                                                                                    



September 30: Sally Forth. Gosh! Sally and Ted have new neighbors who find them interesting and actually like them. Thanks to writer Francesco Marciuliano and artist Jim Keefe for an exciting and fun development.

We’re well into October and it seems like I’m always playing catch-up. But I’m working on increasing the frequency of these bloggies of mine and hope to be back with more content soon. More to come, my friends.

© 2022 Tony Isabella