Monday, August 15, 2022

VAOS GARAGE SALE (August 19-20)

 

 

My next Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales will be happening at 840 Damon Drive in Medina, Ohio, on Friday and Saturday, August 19-20, from 9 am to noon. If you see a lawn with a bunch of signs advertising a comics and pop culture garage sale and a back porch with a large “Tony Isabella” banner from a convention, you are in the right place. Parking is on the Bradley Court circle as well on Damon Drive across from my house. Parking in my driveway will only be available for those with handicapped stickers.

The above photo may make it appear my garage is a state of chaos. That’s misleading. Things are moving along quite nicely. I’ll have between 4-6 boxes of dollar comics. I’ll have 2-3 magazine boxes, which will include over three dozen issues of G-Fan. I’ll have  boxes of Isabella-written books and comic books, 3-4 boxes of older comics (including Silver Age issues) and 5-6 boxes of hardcovers and softcovers.

My clothing rack is more full than it’s ever been t-shirts priced at $2 each, shirts at $4 each, sweatshirts at $6, jackets at $10 each and even a Sailor Moon wall hanging for just $10. There will also be a couple of much higher priced but incredibly rare jackets.

I’m extremely excited about the Godzilla figures and other Godzilla items I’ll be offering for sale. I may have enough of them to fill one full table.

I expect to fill the remaining table space and my bookcases with manga, paperbacks, collectible glasses, Funko Pop figures, maybe even some binders of non-sport cards and a few odd telephones. It depends on what I find over today and the next two days before the sales.

I also have an empty magazine rack and an empty spinner rack. They won’t be empty when my garage door opens Friday morning.

Everybody loves my $10 mystery boxes, each of them packed with way more than $10 worth of cool things. For the first time this garage sale season, I have a dozen boxes already packed. However, because the demand for these always far outweighs the supply, I’m limiting sales of them to one per customer on Friday and, if any are left on Saturday, two per customer.

A couple more notes:

I am buying comic books, though not in great bulk. I’ll pay $15 for a short box of good condition comics and $30 for a long box of good condition comics. Generally speaking, a short box holds a little over 150 issues and a long box around 300. The only restrictions: I don’t want too many copies of the same issues. I don’t want adults only comic books. I won’t be able to buy dozens of boxes at one time. I’d advise you to contact me before you bring the comics to my sales, both to make sure I can buy the number of boxes you’re bringing me and to make sure I have the funds to pay them.

When I’m at a convention, I sign Isabella items purchased from me for free and charge $10 per signature on stuff you didn’t buy from me at the convention. However, at my garage sales, I don’t charge for my signature. You’re welcome to bring your already-owned Tony Isabella comics and such to the garage sales and get them signed. However, if you’re bringing a lot of comics for me to sign, you’ll need to be patient while I wait on customers. Alas, my garage sales are a one-man operation.

At my sales, you’re also welcome to ask me questions about my fifty years working in the comic-book industry. There are questions that I can’t answer, either because I’ve signed NDAs or because I don’t remember the answers, but I’ll do my best to entertain and inform you. It’s what Stan and Jack would want.

Finally, I am unable to offer any special showings in addition to the listed hours of the garage sales. However, if I have customers in the garage at noon, I’ll stay open a little longer so they can finish their shopping.

Thanks for listening. I hope many of you can find your way to the garage sales. I know you’ll find great bargains and have more fun than at the average garage sale.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAR BLOGGY THING!

Historical note. On this date in 2011, TONY ISABELLA'S BLOGGY THING was launched.

You can send birthday cash to me via PayPal [tonyisa at ohio dot net].

You can mail birthday cards, checks or presents to me at: Tony Isabella, 840 Damon Drive, Medina, OH 44256.

If anyone actually sends me anything, I'll note their generosity or lack thereof in a hilarious bloggy thing sometime in September.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

QUEER COMICS 2

 

 

Last month’s bloggy reviewing “queer comics” was well-received, so it’s time for a sequel. The Republican Party has been working hard to demonize the LGBTQ+ community because it seeks the votes of the bigoted and the insanely religious. Their game plan is to diminish the equal rights protections of the community and deny them their just place in our American commerce and society. It has become more important than ever for all of us to support the community against such cynical hatred.    

Any comics, graphic novels or manga that feature LGBTQ+ characters or themes are eligible for me to cover in this recurring series of reviews. There are a lot of them. Some are heartbreakingly serious, some are humorous, some are autobiographical/biographical. We will start today with one of the most fascinating comics writers in the history of comics.

Flung Out of Space: Inspired by the Indecent Adventures of Patricia Highsmith by Grace Ellis and Hannah Templer [Abrams Comics Arts; $24.99] is a graphic novel “imagining” of a portion of Highsmith’s life and career. Though I have never read Highsmith’s novels, which I hope to correct, this author of Strangers on a Train and other mystery/suspense captured my interest when I read The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith by Joan Schenkar.

Highsmith was an unpleasant person, which Ellis and Templer never shy away from. She wrote comics for ACG and also, recruited by Stan Lee, for Timely Comics. She was a lesbian, but, at least for some long time, uncomfortable about that. She did therapy and struggled financially until she earned some success with her novels. I don’t know if we would have gotten along - I’ve been befriended by quite a few unlikely people - but I would’ve liked to have met her. She would have horribly bored by my questions about her comics work, of course, but that’s an area of comics history which deserves to be examined.  

Ellis and Templer have created an award-deserving graphic novel in this work. As noted, they don’t sugar-coat Highsmith’s unpleasant nature, but they also make it clear that she was often tormented by her sexual preference and initial lack of success in writing non-comics novels. I recommend Flung Out of Space to queer and straight comics devotees, as well as high school and public libraries.

One more thing. This graphic novel needs to be adapted into a movie or series. It’s engaging and powerful.

ISBN 978-1-4197-4433-4

                                                                                     


                                                              

Next up is Flamer by Mike Curato [Henry Holt and Co.; $25.99]. This hefty graphic novel about a young boy whose summer camp experience is one of discovery and acceptance. Aiden Navarro is a thoughtful kid navigating friendships, cruel bullies and a growing attraction to another boy. Is he conflicted? You bet.

“I know I’m not gay. Gay boys like other boys. I hate boys. They’re mean, and scary, and they’re always destroying something or saying something dumb or both. I hate that word. Gay. It makes me feel...unsafe.”

Aiden’s introspections and trials are sometimes amusing, but more often intensely self-destructive. He gets perilously close to the point of no return. Yet, at the end, he is rescued by good people around him. It’s a happy ending, which is perhaps more happy than it logically should have been.

I wish all gay kids found the acceptance and compassion which Aiden finds. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in. Gay kids in America have been targeted by so-called Christians and the vilest members of the already vile beyond belief Republican Party. These children are under siege by those who would utterly erase them from our society. I’m a big believer in hope and the ultimate victory of good, but belief must be balanced by reality. Though he has found supportive friends, Aiden is absolutely right to feel unsafe. He is unsafe and it’s up to us to keep him and others like him safe as he
navigate the hard voyage to the right side of history.

ISBN 978-1-62779-641-5

SIDEBAR. A reader has asked me why I include ISBNs with my reviews of books. It’s because a librarian ask me to do, telling me that’s what they use to order books. I’m more than happy to help them get these books for their patrons.


                                                                              



Okura’s I Think Our Son is Gay 3 [Square Enix Manga; $12.99] is the latest book in the series about Hiroko and his mom Tomoko. Despite the implied uncertainty of the series title, it’s clear to those of us getting all sides of the picture that, yes, Hiroko, is gay and crushing big time on a male friend. Tomoko and her younger son Yuri don’t seem to have any doubts. Hiroko’s father, who isn’t around as much, is hoping that’s not the case, as is a young girl who appears to be crushing on the young man. Whew!

Despite the above, this isn’t a soap opera. It’s a comedy drawing its humor from the nigh-universal awkwardness radiating off almost every character, save for Hiroko’s crush. The chapters are short, but pleasant. My only problem is the humor is wearing thin. There is no emotional growth and so it’s pretty much the same jokes over and over again. Time to move things forward and find some laughs in new situations.

ISBN 976-1-64609-126-3


                                                                                  



I’ve read the first three volumes of the manga series Even Though We're Adults by Takako Shimura [Seven Seas Entertainment; $12.99per volume] and I’m on the fence, leaning toward getting off the fence. Here’s the first volume blurb:

From the critically acclaimed creator of Wandering Son and Sweet Blue Flowers, a heart-tugging manga about two busy women who think they've figured out the whole adulting thing...until they fall in love with each other. Ayano, an elementary school teacher in her thirties, stops by a bar one day and meets another woman named Akari. Sparks fly as the two chat, and before the night is over, Ayano even goes in for a kiss. Akari is intrigued but confused, especially when she discovers that Ayano has a husband! Both Ayano and Akari are about to find out that love doesn’t get any easier, even as you grow older.  

Akari is a sympathetic character. To avoid interfering in Ayano’s marriage, she goes back to her old job as a hairdresser and moves to a new neighborhood. Unfortunately, she finds herself living near Ayano and her husband Wataru. Hubby is not thrilled to learn Ayano is attracted to another woman, but tries hard to be understanding. He’s a good guy.

Ayano is the problematic character in this manga. Maybe I’m reading her wrong, but I think she wants what she wants and isn’t all that concerned if that hurts Akira or Wataru. Even though Akira is gay, I kind of hope her and Wataru end up together.

I’ll give this unsatisfying manga one more book. However, barring an intriguing/unexpected development, I think that will be the last for me.

Volume 1: ISBN 978-1-64505-975-8

Volume 2: ISBN 978-1-84827-228-8

Volume 3: ISBN 978-1-64827-344-5

That’s all for this batch of queer comics reviews. I’ll be back as soon as possible with more stuff.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

TONY'S APPEARANCE SCHEDULE

Here's my updated appearance schedule for the rest of this year and into next year. I'm potentially  available for conventions, college and other school talks,  library and other public talks and store appearances.

TONY'S APPEARANCE SCHEDULE
 
2022
 
Friday, August 19: GARAGE SALE (Medina, Ohio)
Saturday, August 20: GARAGE SALE (Medina, Ohio)
Saturday, August 27: Eastern Rim Funny Book & Vintage Con (Baytown, Texas)
Sunday, August 28: Eastern Rim Funny Book & Vintage Con (Baytown, Texas)
Friday, September 2: GARAGE SALE (Medina, Ohio)
Saturday, September 3: GARAGE SALE (Medina, Ohio)
Friday, September 16: GARAGE SALE (Medina, Ohio)
Saturday, September 17: Troublemaker, Malcontent, Desperado: A Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Harlan Ellison (Cleveland Public Library; 1-2 pm)
Saturday, September 24: Super Kids Save The City (Avon, Ohio)
Thursday, September 29: GARAGE SALE (Medina, Ohio)
Friday, September 30: GARAGE SALE (Medina, Ohio)
Saturday, October 1: GARAGE SALE (Medina, Ohio)
Saturday, November 5: Akron Comicon (Akron, Ohio)
Sunday, November 6: Akron Comicon (Akron, Ohio)
 
2023
 
February 24: Pensacon (Pensacola, Florida)
February 25: Pensacon (Pensacola, Florida)
February 26: Pensacon (Pensacola, Florida)
 
I'm hoping to add a few more appearances before the end of the year and for next year. E-mail me if you want to schedule an appearance.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

NO GARAGE SALES THIS WEEKEND

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT! Due to an issue with my knee, I am moving my August 12-13 garage sales to August 19-20. There will be no garage sales on August 12-13. My apologies for the short notice.

Monday, August 8, 2022

COMIC BOOKS AND POP CULTURE GARAGE SALES (August 12-13)

 

 

It’s early Monday morning as I write this bloggy. Work now begins in earnest on my next Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales at my home in Medina, Ohio. While I do some work on these garage sales every day, straightening up the garage and adding new items to the sales, it’s the Monday before those sales when I really kick that into high gear.

The sales will be at 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio, on Friday and Saturday, August 12-13, from 9 am to noon. The sales are cash only, though I have been known to accept PayPal when you can show me on your phone that I’ve received the money.

You’ll see signs for the garage sale on my front lawn and, hanging from my back patio, a large garish Tony Isabella sign given to me by a convention. Parking is on the side of Damon Drive across from my house and also on Bradley Court, the “U” on which my driveway is located. Except for those with handicapped stickers on their cars, there is no parking in my driveway. Please obey the various parking signs on the streets. I’d feel terrible if any of my customers got ticketed.

My garage sales are a mix of comic books, trade paperbacks, manga, magazines, hardcover books, “coffee table” books, stuff written by me, comics-related clothing, posters, action figures, and sometimes other items. I’ve sold collectible Monopoly games, phones, puzzles  and more at these sales.

When people ask what I have at my sales, my honest answer is that I don’t know. The nature of my “vast accumulation” is that I don’t know what I have until I pull a box from storage and look inside. A while back, I unearthed a box containing Batman #101-242. There’s likely a box filled with contemporary issues of Detective Comics somewhere, but I don’t know where it is. When I find it, I’ll put those issues on sale.

Most of what I have on sale is priced at around 30% of its original price or current value. I’m pricing this stuff to sell. Among the more popular areas in the garage are my “dollar comics” boxes with comics priced at a dollar each.

                                                                                



I also do $10 mystery boxes filled with all sorts of cool things. Because these are hard to keep in stock, I don’t always have a lot of them and they sell incredible fast. It’s why I now limit them to one box per customer per day. My goal is always to start the sales with a dozen mystery boxes. Sometimes I actually do that.

I am buying comic books, though not in great bulk. I’ll pay $15 for a short box of good condition comics and $30 for a long box of good condition comics. Generally speaking, a short box holds a little over 150 issues and a long box around 300. The only restrictions: I don’t want too many copies of the same issues. I don’t want adults only comic books. I won’t be able to buy dozens of boxes at one time. I’d advise you to contact me before you bring the comics to my sales, both to make sure I can buy the number of boxes you’re bringing me and to make sure I have the funds to pay them.

When I’m at a convention, I sign Isabella items purchased from me for free and charge $10 per signature on stuff you didn’t buy from me at the convention. However, at my garage sales, I don’t charge for my signature. You’re welcome to bring your already-owned Tony Isabella comics and such to the garage sales and get them signed. However, if you’re bringing a lot of comics for me to sign, you’ll need to be patient while I wait on customers. Alas, my garage sales are a one-man operation.

At my sales, you’re also welcome to ask me questions about my fifty years working in the comic-book industry. There are questions that I can’t answer, either because I’ve signed NDAs or because I don’t remember the answers, but I’ll do my best to entertain and inform you. It’s what Stan and Jack would want.

My garage sales are fun. You will find lots of cool stuff at them. You will help finance my future work and keep my kids from calling me a hoarder. I look forward to seeing you.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

THINGS THAT MADE ME HAPPY IN JULY

 

 

You know there are many things that make me and other decent people not happy. However, as an acknowledged bringer of joy to the world, I’ve gotten extremely weary with beginning every one of my monthly “happy” blogs with doom and gloom. So I’m going to go directly to more cheerful things.

I’m knocking odds and ends off my “to do” lists and drawing closer to being able to write all sorts of cool stuff. Well, at least, I’m convinced it’s cool stuff.  Eventually, the marketplace will be the judge of my belief in my work.

July brought lots of positive energy into my life. Finding amazing items in my Vast Accumulation of Stuff. Successful auctions on my Facebook page. The return of G-Fest in Chicago. Being honored for my fifty years working in comics by the fans and my fellow guests at North Olmsted’s NEO Comics. Not a bad month at all.  I’m up for a repeat in August.

In the meantime, here are some of the things that made me happy in last month...

July 1: Have you ever been hugged by an eagle? My Funko army grows with the additions of Peacemaker and Eagly.

July 2: John Trumball’s terrific interview with James Robinson and Tony Harris in Back Issue #133. Starman was clearly the best super-hero series of the 1990s. Their discussion is a master class in the series and how to conduct interviews.

July 3: Better late than never? I watched and enjoyed the premiere episode of The Umbrella Academy. It’s got a Doom Patrol vibe to it. I’ll be watching the series over the next several weeks.

July 4: The Princess (Hulu). Joey King and Dominic Cooper shine in this non-stop action film. She’s a strong-willed woman refusing a forced marriage with his cruel sociopath. Too bloody for kids, but great fun for older viewers.

                                                                                 



July 5: Emptied out my desk drawers. I tended to toss all kinds of things in them. Now I have two short boxes of stuff to go through, but I’ve already found some pretty cool items. Like these DC Super Friends mini-cars.

                                                                               



July 6: Isabella Brothers Bakery bags. I unearthed a couple dozen of these bags in the Vast Accumulation of Stuff. I’m not sure what to do with them except maybe frame them. I wish my dad was around to autograph them.

July 7: Jurassic Domination. I got a kick out of seeing this latest Asylum mock-buster on the big screen. It’s the studio’s typical B-movie fare, but I love those things. I’ll be blogging about it very soon.

July 8: The Boys second series finale was an exciting, horrifying episode. Such chilling moments, but none scarier than the idolatry of Janine’s stepfather’s for Homelander. Because it reminded me of those who insanely worship Trump in the real world.

July 9: The Umbrella Academy is dangerously binge-worthy. I watched the first episode of the first season less than a week ago and will start the third season today. Surprising twists. Great characters. Memorable performances. Amazing soundtrack.

                                                                                



July 10: Thor: Love and Thunder. I enjoyed this latest entry to the MCU. It was a balanced blend of action, drama, humor and romance. I’m up for more Thor, both in the next Avengers movie and his next solo feature. Thor and the Young Asgardians, anyone?

July 11: My Facebook auctions have been successful. In fact, they were so successful they are paying for my son Eddie and I going to G-Fest. Look for them to return the week of July 25.

July 12: On special occasions, the Australian Phantom comic books will include trading cards showing the title’s covers. I unearthed hundreds of them from my office this week. I’m slowly but happily putting them into albums.

                                                                                 



July 13: There are many bad things in the world. But there are also Japanese dinosaur love hotels. So that’s something.

July 14: The first season finale of Ms. Marvel was near perfect: the hilarious living room scene, the action sequences, citizens and police opposing excessive authority, a satisfying conclusion and a great cliffhanger. More please.

July 15: Seeing Godzilla vs. Hedorah, one of my favorite Godzilla movies, on the big screen at the magnificent Pickwick Theater and then learning more about at a G-Fest panel the following morning.

                                                                              



July 16: Martin Arlt’s G-Fest tribute to Akira Takarada was one of the best such presentations I’ve seen at any convention. So moving and so packed with information. My friend truly honored the great actor and even greater man.

July 17: G-Fest had a fan tribute to Akira Takarada as well. This panel highlighted the kindness of the man to fans. He was one of the most genuine celebrities and it was wonderful hearing the fans share their encounters with him.

July 18: G-Fest XXVII was not the G-Fest I was looking for, but it was, nonetheless, a glorious event. I’ll share my thoughts on the convention in my blog very soon.

                                                                              



July 19: Flung Out of Space: Inspired by the Indecent Adventures of Patricia Highsmith by Grace Ellis and Hannah Templer is a must-read  graphic novel that, among other things, includes Highsmith’s time writing comic books in the 1940s.

July 20: John LeMay’s entertaining and informative Jaws Unmade: The Lost Sequels, Prequels, Remakes, and Rip-Offs. Easily my favorite writer about these movies I love, LeMay delivers many “wow” moments as he covers his often-weird subjects.

                                                                                      


July 21: I have a new t-shirt. It’s funny because it’s true.

July 22: Blue Diamond Almond Nut-Thins. Guess you found a new and fairly healthy snack. No added wheat or gluten, no cholesterol, no saturated fat, and low sodium! Yummy!

July 23: The Gray Man. Glorious carnage as Chris Evans (playing a psychopathic private contract killer) does battle with Ryan Gosling (a convict recruited by the CIA). Lots of great supporting players as well.

July 24: Valentina Rossi’s tweet: ...if you love comics as I do, you should totally follow @thetonyisabella! He’s the creator of Black Lightning and really progressive stories since the 70s, plus he’s a really nice and positive voice on Twitter.

July 25: Thank you, John Oliver. I will never get tired of you and others mocking the ridiculous Jim Cramer. Your additional dunk on the despicable Ezra Miller was icing on the comedy cake.

                                                                                   



July 26: This coming Sunday’s NEO Comicon is commemorating my five decades in the comics industry with a special poster. Proceeds from sales of this poster and an auction of the individual pieces of art making up the poster will go to charity.

July 27: Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971) is one of my favorite G-films. I couldn’t find an affordable Hedorah figure at G-Fest, but I found this small four-monster set on eBay. Maybe I can upgrade the Smog Monster in the future.

July 28: Medina’s Enterprise Rent-A-Car has been a rock star for us as we deal with even more problems with our Hyundai Santa Fe SUV. Great service and vehicles. I’ll be driving a Chevrolet Blazer to NEO Comicon this coming Sunday.

July 29: Olivia Twist: Honor Among Thieves by writers Darin Strauss and Adam Dalva with art by Emma Vieceli is an engaging future take on the classic Dickens male character. It’s got great color art by Lee Loughridge and a very satisfying conclusion.

July 30: Harley Quinn season three. The first episode was mediocre, but the series was back to its bad old self after that. Love that we’re seeing more of the Batman Family and Kite Man/Golden Glider.
Definitely not for kids.

July 31: NEO Comicon 2022 was everything I could have hoped for. I had a ball talking with old and new friends...and selling a whole lot of comics and books. As long as the event invites me, I’ll be there.

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

© 2022 Tony Isabella