Friday, December 30, 2011


My kids will go back to Columbus and The Ohio State University on
Sunday and Monday, respectively.  Eddie has to go back a day early
to start a new job and we’ll drive Kelly back the next day.  Then,
on Tuesday, I start my work year.

There are five projects on my desk and none of them comes with any
guarantee of a payday. Two graphic novel pitches.  One long script
for a benefit book.  A second very short script for another benefit
book.  An article for a magazine.  It’ll be a busy month that won’t
pay any bills, but there is a chance a welcome royalty check or two
might appear in the mail.

I’m hoping/planning to put three or four items on eBay every day.
Once I start doing that, you can expect to see a link to my sales
at the end of each day’s bloggy thing.  I should probably put up a
PayPal “donate” link as well.

While I’m not actively seeking “work-for-hire” jobs, I’d certainly
consider any such offers that crossed my path.  My gigs with Atlas
Comics and Tom Batiuk worked out well for all concerned.  I figure
there must be more clients like them out there. 

I still can’t write about some of the not-so-good things making an
impact on my life, but I’m dealing with them well enough and making
my priorities clear.  Barb and the kids come first.  My work comes
second...because it keeps me sane and pays the bills.  Everything
else lines up behind those two priorities.

Bring it on, 2012.  I’ll try to meet you halfway.


In Wednesday’s bloggy thing, I most churlishly maligned my friend
Harlan Ellison by stating that he does not care much for Christmas.
He ever so gently chastised me on his message board:

"I have no problem with “Christmas," a holiday honoring The Christ
Child. My furiousisness, ferociousness and ferocity at the manque
hustle known as "Xmas." I have NEVER liked Xmas, and have written
about this odious tsunami of buybuybuybuy that is slavishly
attended by one and all. Holidays are good; Xmas is not a holiday.

"Peace on Earth, good will to all...otherwise.

"Wise guy."

Let the record be corrected.


Bob Ingersoll took this photo of a Black Lightning cosplayer at the
Baltimore Comic Con and ran it in his apazine.  Seeing my creation
always delights me, but Bob made it even more special with his wry
description of the costume:

“The best feature of Lightning is that the waist-high lightning
bolts wrap around his waist and originate on his ass.  So this
Black Lightning literally eats thunder and craps lightning.”

Bob will be here all week.  Be sure to tip your waiter.


My pal Alan David Doane is one of my favorite comics commentators.
I sometimes disagree with his positions, but two of his most recent
Tweets gave me something to think about.  He wrote:

“I believe superhero comic art has suffered a monumental loss as a
result of pencils/inks/letters no longer being on the same physical

And then:

“There’s no question I read as few superhero comics as I do in part
because technology has turned them into something I can’t see as

On his first Tweet, I definitely agree.  Computer inks and letters
remove those creative elements from the intimacy of collaboration.
This even carries over to my appreciation of original art.  I can’t
connect to a page of original art without on-the-page lettering and
inking.  It looks unfinished to me.  It’s not a sketch, which is a
different appreciation for me, and it’s not the page that appeared
in the published comic book.  It’s not all there.

However, if I read fewer superhero comics than I used to, it’s not
because of the technology.  It’s because the writing in them isn’t
as good as it used to be.  It’s because the characters don’t act in
a manner than draws me to them.  It’s because the characters don’t
look right, even allowing for the artist’s individual style.  The
technology only comes into play because so much of the computerized
coloring is still muddy and overbearing. 

If you want to read more of Alan’s thoughts, you can visit Trouble
With Comics, the blog he writes with Christopher Allen:

And you can follow him on Twitter:



One last note for today’s bloggy thing. 

As of Wednesday, December 28, my 1000 Comic Books You Must Read was
Amazon Kindle’s sixth best-selling item in the category of “Comics
and Graphic Novels.”  The print edition continues to rank high in
those Amazon listings.  Currently, it’s ranked seventh.  Given that
the publisher has done nothing to promote the second printing of my
book, I think that’s pretty spectacular.

I’m pretty happy about the continued success of my book.  I’ll be
even happy if my next royalty check actually reflects that success
and not the “Hollywood bookkeeping” of the last royalty statement
I received.  I’ll let you know how that turns out.

I’m taking the three-day weekend off, but I’ll be back on Tuesday,
January 3.  Here’s wishing you the happiest of new years from start
to finish.

© 2011 Tony Isabella


  1. Hey Tony,

    I definitely agree with you that the writing is not up to snuff in the vast majority of today's superhero comics. I attribute that to what I call "The Fan-Fiction Age of Superhero Comics."

    The Fan-Fiction Age of Superhero Comics

  2. I definately agree that the writing is comics is not what it once was.

    I have fond memories of, and often reread, a lot of done in one stories from my youth. Comics weren't written with a plan of collecting the comics later in trades. They were solidly written stories. Done. In One. Issue.

    Too many of the stories told today SHOULD be told in one or two issues but are needlessly padded to make them "trade worthy" stories.

    I hate that.

    --Tom Hunter

  3. Here is my two cent. I would like to call it "The Knock-offs of the Knock-offs of the Knock-offs Age."

    When you look at the stuff written in the early sixties, ex: Flash, it was written by established writers like Garner Fox, which will surpass anything written today. Even the FF stuff of Lee/Kirby of using somewhat possible imaginary worlds that needed to be saved. After that, the first phase of fan writers came in. I'm not saying that was bad, but they grew up on good writing skills.

    We now read regurgitated rehashed redone plots that doesn't resemble the original character any more. How many times does one have to read an alien is shipped here, from there exploding world, who grows up with powers to save Earth? We now have to add that over the top thing sensationalism to sell a book.

    So the question should be, What is a Superhero comic? Is there one any more?

  4. I am sure this comes as no surprise to you but I agree with Mr. Ellison. Xmas is not a holiday.

  5. Tony, your book is free in the Kindle lending library and for Amazon prime members. So those downloads count as sales. I have been wondering how those "sales" might turn into royalties for artists. For your sake I hope they do because it is obviously turning into readers. Please let us know.

  6. I have to agree with you Tony. I can't get into what is supposedly the new super hero comics. I am very much a 60's and 70's comics fan and mostly buy books from that era. When the marketing people took over, comics aren't what they used to be. I shall never forget those Marvel Tresury Editions and DC's own version of that also. The DC hundred page specials also hold a special place for me. Because they gave you re-prints from an early era of comics along with the modern stories.

    Happy New Year to you and your family Tony!.... and all of our board members!

  7. I read way more superhero comics than I probably should. Nothing will get me to drop a book faster than -- bad layout. Layout is the skill that is most lacking in today's superhero comics. Not sure why, but it's getting so that good layout stands out by its rarity. Bad layout can make even good writing incomprehensible.

    The fact that inks and letters are not on the same page anymore does not bother me. Colors never were. I've done comic art as well as writing, and I've done lettering and coloring for other people. It's much easier on computer and it does not change the original art, which to me is a good thing.

  8. I just did a review on my blog of one of the best periods of Batman comics now reprinted in Showcase Presents Batman Vol. 5, rendered in glorious black-and-white and is a class-A study in pencil, inking and lettering techniques by the masters of the craft, Bob Brown, Joe Giella, Irv Novick, Neal Adams, Dick Giordano, Gasper Saladino, and Todd Klein, completely unfettered by the primitive and mostly ham-handed coloring process of the period. Oh, and the stories by Denny O'Neil, Gary Freidrich, and Frank Robbins don't suck either.

  9. I think he meant to write MIKE Freidrich, but I
    agree with his assessment totally!

    Sam Kujava