Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Welcome to 2012 and the only blog in the world that doesn’t have a
best of 2011 list, a worst of 2011 list, or even a “What the hell
happened in 2011?” list.  Because someone has to stand up to this
blog epidemic and just say, “Hell, no!”


Somewhere above this paragraph is a drawing of Black Lightning and
Thom Zahler’s Darkblade from Thom’s Love and Capes.  Having made a
few bucks selling original art last year, I used a portion of those
funds to commission the first two in what I hope will be a series
of drawings teaming my creation with my favorite comics characters.
This was the first of those and, in the fullness of time, it will
be framed and hung on my office wall.

I have received the second of the two drawings I commissioned last
year and will be sharing that one with you in the next day or so.
It’s a different artist and character, but it’s every bit as cool
as the one Thom did for me.

How quickly I’ll be adding to this Black Lightning gallery depends
on whether or not I actually have any income in 2012.  My life is
an adventure.


This blog is moderated because it allows me to keep the douche bags
from ruining my fun and yours.  I approve legitimate comments four
or five times a day.  Your comments may not appear immediately, but
they are appreciated.

I don’t respond to most comments because I figure this bloggy thing
is me having my say and the comments are you having your say.  From
time to time, I’ll respond to them here.  Like today.

Several readers expressed their belief that DC and Marvel will not
allow any comics stories they publish to run in The Best American
.  That may be so.  I think if the annual collection weren’t
so insular and were more willing to include comics from traditional
comics publishers, they could make a case to those publishers that
it’s a good thing to be included in the volume.  At the very least,
such material could be included in the “Notable Comics” section of
each year’s volume.

Johanna Draper Carlson wanted to know which superhero comics I’d
have include in this year’s volume.  That’s a tough question for me
to answer because I don’t read comics as Johanna and other bloggers
read comics.  They read them quickly and write about them quickly.
I feel no need to do so.  So I may not have read the best superhero
comic book of 2010 yet, Indeed, since my statement also implied the
volume’s bias against traditional material from leading publishers
and other publishers of comics, I may not have read those terrific
comics yet either.

But, to name one title from Johanna’s own best list, some issues of
Love and Capes should be included in “best of year” volumes.  There
have also been issues of Chew and The Unwritten that should’ve been
include in such volumes.  And how about Jimmy Gownley’s wonderful
Amelia Rules!?  Any number of stories from that series of graphic
novels could and should be included.  Those are examples that leapt
immediately to my mind.  Thinking about it further would doubtless
result in something akin to a “list” and that’s a path I will not
go down unless someone’s paying me to do so.

There were several comments about superhero writing.  Most of them
struck me as “superhero comics aren’t as good as they were when I
used to read them.”  For me, the genre isn’t about nostalgia.  It’s
about using the superhero as a way to examine humanity and all the
issues humanity faces.  I have loved superhero comics from each and
every decade.  Because there have always been at least some really
great superhero comics in every decade.  Maybe not from DC.  Maybe
not from Marvel, though Christos Gage’s Avengers Academy and Mark
Waid’s Daredevil are pretty damn spiffy.  But there are some great
superhero books out there and I see no reason why there can’t be a
lot more.  Well, actually I can see some reasons when it comes to
DC and Marvel, but I’m being nice today.

I wish I could tell reader “John” that I am getting paid for all of
those free copies of 1000 Comic Books You Must Read that are being
given away without my permission on Kindle, but I won’t know that
for sure until I get my next royalty statement from the publisher.
I’ll let you know.

My buddy Mark Dooley (and several others) have lauded DC’s Showcase
Presents Batman Vol. 5
here and elsewhere.  I have a copy and will
probably read it in my usual slow but steady fashion over the next
couple weeks.


DC has apparently bounced me from its comp/review list, which does
not come as any great surprise.  I can borrow most of their super-
hero and adventure titles and a smattering of Vertigo titles from
a good friend.  Ironically, the stuff I’ll miss most are things I
usually reviewed favorably: the Showcase Presents collections; the
Jack Kirby omnibus books; collections of series like Starman, DMZ,
Ex Machina, Fables
, and the like; and some of the original graphic
novels from Vertigo.

Just before Christmas, my friend loaned me another couple boxes of
comics from DC and others.  As expected, he dropped several of “The
New 52" titles after their first issues.  Here are the titles that
didn’t make his cut:

Demon Knights*
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.*
I, Vampire
Justice League Dark*
Men of War*
Red Hood and the Outlaws
Red Lanterns
Suicide Squad

The titles marked with an asterisk (*) are the ones I’ll try to get
from my library system if/when they’re collected in trade editions.
I’m surprised he only dropped a dozen titles. 

You know what else I’m going to miss from those big boxes of free
DC stuff?  Those 100-page Super Spectaculars.  Not every issue was
worth reading, but I love the idea of big fat comic books.  Maybe
I’ll start looking through bargain boxes and conventions and comics
shops.  Could be some gems in them.

No reader should construe the above as my pleading for free comic
books, though such are always welcome.  I always find stuff to read
and write about.  But I do appreciate those creators and publishers
who send me books and comic books and DVDs and more.  I’ll try to
review more of them in this new year.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2012 Tony Isabella


  1. My favorite part of DC from yesteryear were the big, fat Bat Family specials; Robin-Batgirl team up, Helena Wayne from Earth-2, some Man-bat, and sometimes and some Golden Age reprints of Hour Man or Wildcat.

  2. Since you called to mind those 100-page Super Spectaculars, sentimentality forces me to lovingly recall the all too short experiment DC had with 25 cent 52 page comics in the early 70s.

  3. The combination of page count and price made the Dollar Comics that DC published in the 1970s a delight to my 10- or 11-year-old self. Tom Brevoort at Marvel had the right idea with his 100-Page Monster concept, which was inspired by the Dollar Comics. Would love to see some smart publisher revive something similar.

  4. Gotta ditto the props to the BatFam giants. I remember my 9- or 10-year-old self going absolutely nuts over the "Sino Supermen" serial with Batgirl, and the cool "Design Robin's Costume" storyline with great art by the late great Don Newton. Good, good times; wish they were back again...