Thursday, June 27, 2013


Both of my July garage sales have been cancelled.  There will be no garage sales until August.

I'll have more details after I return from the Derby City Comic Con.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Just out from Anthony Tollin’s Sanctum Books is The Shadow #73:
“The Seven Drops of Blood” & “Death from Nowhere”
[$14.95]. The two
novels were written by Walter B. Gibson writing as Maxwell Grant.
In “The Seven Drops of Blood” (1936), the mystery man who knows the
evil lurking in men’s hearts follows a trail of murder to retrieve
priceless rubies.  In “Death from Nowhere” (1939), the Shadow must
prove the innocence of a man accused of an impossible crime.  The
two novels are liked by the presence of the enigmatic Rahman Singh.
In addition to the usual excellent historical essay by Will Murray,
the volume also features a short adventure of The Whisperer by Alan
Hathway writing as Clifford Goodrich.

Batman fans should keep an eye out for The Shadow #74: “The Crystal
Buddha” & “The Vindicator.”
Those two novels foreshadowed a pair of
Golden Age Batman adventures.

As with the other Sanctum Books series - Doc Savage, The Whisperer
and others - these Shadow double novels are entertaining journeys
into the heroic fiction of the pulp era.  They’re wonderfully made
books and I regularly despair I might never get around to reading
them all.  But what I can do is let you know about the new releases
as they appear.  More Sanctum Books news is on the way.

© 2013 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


ust out from Anthony Tollin’s Sanctum Books is Doc Savage #67:
“The Invisible-Box Murders” & “Target for Death”
[$14.95].  Written
by Lester Dent, the first of the novels finds Doc accused of serial
murders, leaving his cousin Pat Savage and his aides to ferret out
the deadly secret behind the murders.  The story originally ran in
a 1941 issue of Doc Savage Magazine.

“Target for Death” is by William G. Bogart and sends Doc Savage and
his men to Honolulu.  It’s from 1947.

In addition to Will Murray’s usual and wonderful historical essays,
this issue also features Dent’s “The Hang String,” a short story
from a 1933 issues of The Shadow Magazine

As with other Sanctum Books editions - The Avenger, The Shadow and
others - these Doc Savage double novels are entertaining journeys
into the heroic fiction of the pulp era.  They’re wonderfully made
books and I regularly despair I might never get around to reading
all of them.  But what I can and will do is let you know about the
new releases as they appear.  More Sanctum Books news is on the

© 2013 Tony Isabella


My next convention appearance will be at the DERBY CITY COMIC CON, Saturday, June 29 from 10 am to 5 pm at the Kentucky International Convention Center, 221 Fourth Street in Louisville.  Admission to the show is a budget-friendly $10 and kids 12 and under get in free.

My son Eddie will be joining me at the show.  We'll be selling copies of my bestselling 1000 Comic Books You Must Read as well as other Isabella-written items.  I'll be happy to sign any Isabella-written items and, as always, there is no charge for my autograph.

There will be dozens of comics guests at Derby City, including old friends like Bob Hall, Craig Boldman, Darryl Banks, Steve Scott and Tom Stillwell.  The promoters have packed the event with so much talent  that I think I'll be hard-pressed to man my own table and get around to see check out the other creators.  But I'm sure gonna try.

In addition to the guests and a terrific selection of vendors, Derby City will also be presenting a six-pack of panels on creating comics, small press comics and more.  With an emphasis on both mainstream creators and local talent, Derby City promises to be a unique convention experiences. 

For more information on the Derby City Comic Con, check out the event's website.

I hope to see you there.

Monday, June 24, 2013


From time to time, the bloggy thing will be supplemented with brief
looks at items found in my Vast Accumulation of Stuff.

This time around, I found an envelope from artist Chris Yambar with
two photos of me from my childhood.  I can’t remember why I would
have sent these to Chris or what use - if any - he put them to, but
here are they are for your amusement.

The photo of me holding that toy duck was taken by a professional
photographer.  The full-color original still has a place of honor
in my parents’ living room in a row that includes similar photos of
my brothers and sisters.  I’m the cutest one by such a wide margin
that I under why my older sister tried to murder me at least once
while we were growing up.

The second photo shows an older Tony with a cardboard Mickey Mouse
clubhouse.  The Mickey Mouse Club was daily weekday entertainment
at the Isabella household.

This was the only Mickey clubhouse my parents ever bought me, but
they also bought me two or three cardboard grocery stores complete
with cardboard grocery items.  My brothers and I were really tough
on these cardboard constructs.  I’m sure none lasted longer than a
couple weeks before their inevitable destruction.

Look for more oddball VAOS items every week.

© 2013 Tony Isabella


It seems unlikely that I'll be posting any full-length bloggy things this week.  However, I will be posting some content and probably several times a day.  Watch for it.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


There will be no Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale on Friday, July 5 and Saturday, July 6 as previously announced.  We had some water leak into my future reading room and, while there doesn't seem to be much damage to the books that were stored there, it's a problem that needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later.  At this point, I still plan to hold the July 12-13 garage sale.  More news as it develops.


Just out from Anthony Tollin’s Sanctum Books is The Avenger #10:
“Pictures of Death” and “The Green Killer”
[$14.95]. The two novels
were written by Paul Ernst, returning to the series for the first
time in a year.  In an historical essay, Will Murray writes “During
that time, Ernst cemented his reputation in the slick magazine
field and wrote less and less pulp.”

The novels were originally published in the November 1941 and the
January 1942 issues of The Avenger.  Besides Murray’s essay, this
volume also contains an Avenger short story by Emile Tepperman from
the March 1943 issue of Clues Detective.

As with the other Sanctum Books series - Doc Savage, The Shadow and
others - The Avenger double novels are entertaining journeys into
the heroic fiction of the pulp era.  They’re wonderfully made books
and I regularly despair I might never get around to reading all of
them.  But what I can do is let you know about the new releases as
they appear.  More Sanctum Books news is on the way.

For ordering information, visit The Shadow's Sanctum website.

© 2013 Tony Isabella


War Combat [Marvel] ran five issues from March 1952 to November
1952.  Its numbering was continued in Combat Casey.  This initial
issue hit newsstands in my birth month of December 1951.  The best
guess for the cover artist is Carl Burgos, one of the more prolific
Marvel cover artists of the 1950s.

War Combat is your basic war anthology.  The Grand Comics Database
lists these contents and credits...

“Platoon Leader” (6 pages, art by Joe Maneely);

“Sixty Seconds” (4 pages, story by Hank Chapman, art by Werner

“Behind the Lines” (5 pages, story by Hank Chapman, art by Bill

“First-Time Soldier” (2 pages, text story);

“Silent Night” (3 pages, art by Mac Pakula; and

“Battleground” (5 pages, art by Robert Q. Sale).

When I find affordable copies of comics from my birth month, I buy
them or trade for them.  Alas, most of them are out of my checkbook
range.  The search goes on.

Keep watching this bloggy thing of mine for more vintage comic-book
covers from my birth month.


I’ve almost been too busy these past few weeks to read comic books,
but I did manage to catch up with a few titles.  Let’s start with
All-New X-Men #4-11 [Marvel; $3.99 each].

When I read Marvel super-hero comics, I assume that each and every
title is taking place in its own universe without regard to what’s
happening in other Marvel titles.  It’s the only way I can remotely
accept characters appearing in multiple titles simultaneously and
seemingly remaining unaffected by life-changing events in some of
those other titles.  Marvel personnel would probably dispute this,
but continuity is dead at the House of Ideas.  Surprisingly, this
doesn’t bother me.  Indeed, I find it liberating.

So we have this All-New X-Men title in which a slowly dying Henry
McCoy brings the original X-Men from their teenage years into the
dark present.  McCoy is hoping that, once the teen mutants see what
they and their world have become, they will be able to prevent the
darkness from overwhelming their past world.  That McCoy is insane
doesn’t seem to be as big an issue with the cast as it should be.

Though the story is slow-moving, I’m enjoying it.  The reactions of
those purer versions of the X-Men as they encounter themselves as
thoroughly messed-up adults is intriguing.  When one of the teens
decides to join Cyclops and his mutant terrorists, it makes sense
in a genuinely sad way.  Kudos to writer Brian Michael Bendis for
making this outlandish notion entertaining.  The series also boasts
excellent art by (mostly) the team of Stuart Immonen and Wade von
Grawbadger.  If readers, even old school readers, approach All-New
with an open mind and my “its own universe” mantra, I think
they’ll enjoy it as well.

Of course, even though my days writing for Marvel are likely well
behind me, I can’t help but read some of their titles and not think
about what I would do if I had the latitude Bendis seems to have.
In this case, I’d probably have someone try to set the timeline to
rights and, in doing so, wipe the adult versions of the original X-
Men out of existence.  Whoops!

You’d have the kids facing the enormity of what their adults selves
have done, maybe even being blamed for the various crimes of their
adult selves, and trying to make their way in a world that really
has every right to fear and hate them.  Yeah, this would seriously
screw with the Marvel Universe, but, why not?

We’re never gonna see a return to the Marvel Universe of the 1960s
and 1970s and so on.  I’m good with that.  I even relish it to some
extent.  As long as the comics are entertaining, intriguing and can
adhere to their own internal logic, I’m on board.


Happy! [Image; $2.99 each] wasn’t on my radar until I actually read
the 2012 series by Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson.  I’m sure
I saw the Previews solicitations, but despite the title being drawn
by one of my favorite artists and written by a writer whose work is
always intriguing even when it’s not precisely to my liking, I just
wasn’t consciously aware of the four-issue series.

Robertson’s quietly unsettling covers caught my eye when I flipped
through comics loaned to me by a friend.  Grim images of a grungy
hitman, a seedy Santa with a suspiciously heavy sack and more.  I
had all four issues at hand, so why not read them?

Happy! is the “movie” I could imagine being made by some bastard,
twisted, recently escaped son of Walt Disney.  The title character
is the imaginary friend of a frightened little girl facing death at
the hands of a human monster.  He seeks out a dirty ex-cop who has
turned killer-for-hire in the hopes that the cop can save the girl
from her murderous captor.  Oh, yeah, and this is all taking place
around Christmas.  Ho...ho...ho.

I won’t tell you anything more about Happy! You need to experience
this entertaining slay ride without further description.  All I’ll
add is that this should be a movie and it would be the rare movie
I’d actually go to the theater to view.  Check it out.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more reviews.
© 2013 Tony Isabella

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Essential Captain America Vol. 5 [Marvel; $19.99] reprints Captain America #187-205, Captain America Annual #3 and Marvel Treasury Special: Captain America's Bicentennial Battles.  That includes two issues fully written by yours truly and a third issue plotted by me and scripted by Bill Mantlo.  I think I did a good job on my issues, but the real gems in this thick black-and-volume are hundreds of pages of stories written and drawn by Jack Kirby.  I think you'll enjoy the wacky wonderment of my own stories and the even bigger, more boisterous wonderment of Kirby's.  Hundreds of pages of cool comics at a very reasonable price.  I recommend this collection.

Friday, June 21, 2013


My Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale continues Saturday, June
22, at 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio.  Sale hours are 9 am to 2 pm
each day.

Here is the final update for this weekend:

Saturday’s weather is looking good up until around 1 pm.  Should we
actually get the isolated thunderstorms that are being “predicted,”
I might close the sale an hour early.

This brings me to an announcement that’s long overdue.  For all of
my future garage sales, the hours will be 9 am to 1 pm.  The vast
majority of my sales always come in the first hour.  It falls off
for the second hour and really falls off for the third and fourth
hours.  More often than not, the sale gets no customers during that
fifth and last hour.  Knocking two hours off the two-day sale means
I can make an extra trip to the Fortress of Storage between Friday
and Saturday or write something for this bloggy thing of mine.  Or
even goof off for an hour, something which would probably be good
for me. That said...

Because pretty much everything from my waist down was hurting after
Friday’s sale, I didn’t do a major restocking.  However, I did add
around 600 comics to the quarter comic boxes.  Some of the titles
I added - and I’m talking runs of these titles - were Adventures of
Superman, Aquaman, Azrael, The Authority
and Batgirl.  I also added
25-50 Archie comics to my “suitable for all ages” boxes.

Yesterday, I sold four of the seven $5 mystery boxes I’d prepared
for this weekend’s sale.  I made one more mystery boxes before it
got too hot in my garage.  I am a frail old man, though I can still
kick more ass than seems humanly possible.

I added two dozen or so hardcovers and trade paperbacks to those
boxes...and a dozen or so paperbacks to that table.  I still have
a very nice selection of Superman merchandise and that’s going to
be getting nicer as I research the other rare Superman items that
have started turning up in my trips to the Fortress.

My biggest thrill of Friday’s sale was seeing very happy customers
walking away with a lot of great comics and books.  It was also fun
watching people walk by the mystery boxes, stop cold, look at them
with a combination of excitement and fear and then take the gamble
and buy one.  I hope the customers who bought them have as much fun
with the boxes as I did putting them together.

I had three outside tables on Friday.  One for the mystery boxes,
one for stuffed animals and one for VHS tapes.  No one even looked
at the stuffed animals and no one bought any of the tapes.  Since
I have a place for the mystery boxes inside the garage, I won’t be
setting up any outside tables for Saturday.  I’ll try to figure out
something cool for them for the next sale.

After Saturday, the next garage sale will be Friday and Saturday,
July 5-6, from 9 am to 1 pm.  I expect to put together several more
mystery boxes and do some major restocking.  Look for garage sale
updates starting around July 1.

Have a great day and thanks for your patronage.

Tony Isabella 


My next Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale will be today and
tomorrow, June 21-22, at 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio.  Sale

hours are 9 am to 2 pm each day.

Here is today’s update:

Today should be a warm and sunny day with the temperature hitting
80 around noon.  That means the outside tables are a go.  One will
have mystery boxes priced at $5 each.  Another will have audio and
VHS tapes at a quarter each.  The third will have stuffed animals
and other children’s toys at a quarter each.

I’m pleased with the inside the garage tables.  Lots of comics and
trade paperbacks and hardcovers and magazines.  There’s a table of
Superman merchandise. 

There is a box of specially priced (more expensive) comics, but I
have reduced the prices on Miracleman and Adventure Comics Digest.
Naturally, I also have copies of 1000 Comic Books You Must Read on
sale at just $20 each.

My spinner rack is now filled with TONY’S PICKS, comic books that
I feel are of special note.  I’ve added a second TONY’S PICKS rack
showcasing some great trade paperbacks and hardcovers my customers
have been overlooking.

If today’s sales meet my expectations, I’m not adverse to making a
trip to the Fortress of Storage to restock for Saturday.  I’ll have
another update for you tonight or Saturday morning.

Tony Isabella 


War Battles #1 [February, 1952] arrived on the nation’s newsstands
in my December 1951 birth month.  The cover is terrific.  The logo
and the Lee Elias cover are striking - no pun intended - especially
on that bright yellow background.  War Battles ran for nine issues
from February 1952 to December 1953.

The Grand Comics Database doesn’t have any writer credits for this
issue, but it does have a list of the contents and has identified
some of the artists who drew these stores.  Here’s what that most
useful and wonderful of resources has...

“Guns... Guts... Glory!” (contents page)

“Devils of the Deep!” (7 pages; art by Bob Powell)

“The Trap!” (5 pages; art by Lee Elias). Heritage Auctions claims
this story was drawn by Ray Bailey, but GCD contributor and really
smart guy Ger Apeldoorn says: "after seeing it up close, I have to
go with Lee Elias. I have seen a lot of Bailey and this is ‘cuter',
there are no close shots in the way Bailey would use them and no
Caniff profiles Bailey uses all the time."

“The Battle of Brooklyn” (7 pages; art by Jack Sparling)

“Aces Low!” (4 pages; artist unidentified at this time)

The issue also contains some short feature pages and text pieces.
Counting the Elias cover, over 28 pages of the issue’s 36 pages are
devoted to editorial content.

Keep watching this bloggy thing of mine for more vintage comic-book
covers from the month of my birth.  There are only a handful left
for me to write about, but, when I’m done with them, I’ll switch to
comics from another important month in my life.


We’ve lost one of our best. Fantagraphics co-publisher Kim Thompson
passed yesterday, June 19. Diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this
year, Thompson would’ve been 57 years old this September.  When I
learned of his death, I posted this on my Facebook page:

RIP Kim Thompson. I didn't know Kim well. We probably shared no
more than a couple conversations and a half-dozen e-mails over the
many years. But I own hundreds of great books that he was involved
with in one way or another. He left his mark on comics and did so
with grace, honor and intelligence. I'm very sad for all of us, but
especially for those who knew him well.

After I posted that, I read many comments about Kim and attempted
to do a little math.  The number of books I own in which Kim had a
hand likely reaches the high hundreds.  Fantagraphics has published
so many outstanding works in our field and done this for decades.
The company has the most impressive backlist in comics.

The Comics Journal has had a contentious history over the years and
some of those mourning Kim commented on that.  The older I get, the
more I cherish that kind of in-your-face commentary, even when it’s
turned on people and things I love.  So much of the comics press is
so deferential to the larger publishers that they might as well be
unpaid interns of those publishers.

Gary Groth usually comes in for the bulk of any ire comics people
might have towards Fantagraphics.  Kim seemed to sail through the
controversies easily.  He was universally respected and even liked.
There are days when I wish I were more like Kim.  Most days I admit
I’m more like Gary.  It just took me longer to get there.

Kim leaves a legacy of comics publishing that will be honored for
as long as there is a comics industry.  He also leaves behind his
loving wife, his family and his friends.  He will be missed doesn’t
begin to cover it.  But he will be missed.


Comments to this bloggy thing of mine must be approved by me before
they appear.  I don’t have to explain the reason for this to anyone
who has spent even one minute reading online comments.

I’m not a fan of anonymous comments.  I put my name to my opinions.
Others should do the same.  For the most part, I don’t have a firm
rule about anonymous comments.  But if I consider someone’s comment
to be on that line between approval or rejection, anonymity doesn’t
work in the poster’s favor.

Using a pseudonym is the same as not signing your comments at all.
It works against you and your comments.

Of course, you can sign your name, include your address and phone
number, send me a copy of your birth certificate and your comments
will still be rejected if you’re an asshole.  I rejected comments
by a wrong-winger who agreed with some of my comments on Superman
because he also felt compelled to add I was an immoral person who
was destroying America and whose political views made him vomit.
I suspect forensics would prove it’s his own bile spewing from
his Fox News-infected soul that’s causing his digestive problems.
In any case, insulting your host is a sure way to make yourself an
unwelcome guest at this blog.  I’m still amazed I have to explain
that to anyone.


Besides this bloggy thing, my favorite social media venues are my
Facebook page, The Official Tony Isabella Message Board (Facebook,
replacing my mysteriously vanished Comics Community message board)
and the “Tony Isabella & Friends” board at The League of Extremely
Nostalgic forum.

My Facebook page has around 5000 friends, which means I’m getting
very selective about who I add.  My turn-offs include people who’ve
taken the names of fictional characters, people whose likes include
racist groups and women young enough to be my daughter who, having
seen my picture and profile, want to make the sweet love with me.
I use my Facebook page to post remembrances of comics creators who
were friends of mine or whose work I admire.  These are among the
most popular threads I post, often getting over 100 likes and even
dozens of responses.  Still, the Internet being what it is, from time to
time, I must delete posts denigrating the creator I’m remembering. 
That anyone would do this baffles me.  To me, it’s like going to a
wake and shouting that the deceased was a prick.  When someone
doesn’t like the person I’m honoring, they should just keep their
pie-hole shut.  I’ve un-friended people who can’t understand
this simple etiquette.

I also post notices from The First Church of Godzilla, of which I’m
the pastor.  The Great Scaly One protects us from enemies alien and
home-grown with his fiery atomic love.  It can be a tough love at
times, what with the folly of man and all, but it is a love which
does not discriminate.  Whatever your race, creed, nationality or
political preferences, we all scream the same when we are crushed
underneath our Lord’s big scaly feet.  I think there’s a lesson to
be learned in that.

I do post the occasional political comment or link on my Facebook
page, but these are NO COMMENT ZONES.  Take what I say or
link to for whatever you think it’s worth, but don’t start a comment thread
which I will then have to police.  If you don’t think this simple
request is tolerable, then un-friend me.  Because if you attempt to
post, your comment will be deleted and, if you continue to annoy,
you will be un-friended.  As with this bloggy thing, I’m your host
and I try to make things pleasant for you.  If you then make things
unpleasant for me, I’ll show you the door.

Having now entered the grumpy zone, I’m going to end today’s blog
entry here.  I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2013 Tony Isabella

Thursday, June 20, 2013


My next Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale will be Friday and
Saturday, June 21-22, at 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio.  Sale hours
are 9 am to 2 pm each day.

Here is today’s update:

Ohio weather being what is, there can be no guarantees about what
Friday and Saturday will be like.  At the moment, the predictions
are for sunny days with temperatures in the low to mid 80s.  That
means I will be able to have some outside tables.

One of those outside tables will have mystery boxes, sealed boxes
filled with comics, hardcovers, trade paperbacks and other garage
sale items.  I’ve priced them at $5 each.  Even at my insanely low
garage sale prices, each box contains merchandise worth well over
that $5 price.  So...are you feeling lucky?

Since I had some writing to do this morning, I’m doing this update
before I’ve actually gone into the garage to continue preparing for
Friday and Saturday’s sales.  Besides the stuff I’ve written about
in previous updates, I’ll be adding as many other items as I can in
the time between now and when the sale opens.  If at all possible,
I’ll post one last update either later tonight or very early in the

Tony Isabella


The SyFy Channel has moved its first-run and original movies from
Saturday to Thursday.  I can’t say I’m thrilled with this change.
Watching weekend monster movies were a special part of my Cleveland
childhood and, with SyFy’s previous schedule, I could relive those
days in part.  Sigh.


My original plan was to record Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan
[2013] and save it for the weekend.  However, after learning more
about the film and watching its trailer, it just seemed to be too
much goofy fun for me not to watch as it aired.

This Paul Bunyan is a giant who went berserk when his only friend -
Babe the big blue ox - was killed and cooked by a band of hungry
lumberjacks.  Bunyan takes his axe to the entire camp, splattering
body parts all over. The understandably peeved townspeople captured
Paul and trapped him in a cave with a landslide.  That took place
100 years prior to the time of this movie.

Paul was able to escape the cave and continued to grow.  Though his
damaged brain never healed, he grew to 15 feet tall (or larger when
the CGI special effects get a little wacky) and remained hidden in
the vast forest.  Only a crazy old man knows of Bunyan’s existence
and he thinks of the giant as his son.

Enter the gruff Sgt. Hoke and the young first offenders sentenced
to his boot camp.  With a female counselor along for the ride, Hoke
takes his charges deep into the woods.  The first offenders are a
mixed bunch: a drug dealer, a computer hacker, a young mother who
refused to testify in a drive-by shooting, a brawler who assaulted
a police officer because he was staring at her ass and the daughter
of a local sheriff arrested on a DWI.  Hoke does not make the trip
pleasant for anyone.

The drug dealer and hacker desecrate the grave/shrine that Bunyan
created for his ox.  They take one of Babe’s horns.  It’s time to
unleash the CGI slaughter effects.  The promiscuous brawler is cut
in half from head to crotch because the horny kids are always the
first to die.  However, the second death came as a surprise even as
it reminded me of a bit from a Monty Python film.  However, because
the CGI gore is so shaky and silly, the movie never horrifies the
viewer.  From here on in, it’s the good goofy fun I was hoping for.

Axe Giant gets points for decent acting and action.  Several of the
characters are well developed and that makes the perils they face
and the sometimes bloody conclusions to those perils moving.  The
climax is exciting and well played.  I can see why this movie won
awards at small horror events.

I could watch Axe Giant again, though I think I’ll wait until I can
get it from my local library system.  The bleeping of curse words
and the blurring of boobies are so noticeable that they took me out
of the movie on occasion.

Axe Giant is worth watching.


Over the weekend, I watched two other monster movies, both directed
by Burt I. Gordon. In Earth vs. the Spider (1958), a giant mutant
spider is preying on a small rural community.

The first victim is a father on his way back from a drive to pick
up a birthday present for his teen daughter.  In just a few short
moments, we get a sense of this man and feel loss when he becomes

The next day, the girl and her boyfriend almost become the spider’s
next meals.  They manage to escape and convince their high-school
science teacher that such a creature exists.  The town sheriff is
skeptical, but he does his job and takes a small group of men into
the caverns where the spider lives.

From there, we get a mix of action sequences and character scenes.
The spider is believed dead, but the DDT used to kill it only put
it into suspended animation.  Its body is taken to the high school
awaiting pickup by scientists when it comes to life.  The monster
tears its way through the town on its way back to its cavern lair.

Digression.  Most of the teenagers don’t look remotely like teens.
But their clothing and speech is so 1950s movie teenager that this
didn’t bother me.  I was amused when a practicing band awakens
the creature and not at all surprised by its first victim after its
awakening.  In monster movies, holding some jobs naturally leads to
gruesome death.

Decent acting and writing.  Some truly suspenseful moments.  This
is a classic “B” monster movie of the era and perfect for a quiet
weekend evening.  I’d watch it again.


War of the Colossal Beast (1958) isn’t as much fun as Earth vs. the
, but this sequel to The Amazing Colossal Man (1957) remains
a solid B-movie thriller.  Glenn Manning, exposed to radiation in
a bomb test that caused him to grow to tremendous size was thought
to have been killed in a fall from Hoover Dam in the first movie.
However, he survived and turns up in Mexico.

Manning is brain-damaged and horribly disfigured from that plunge.
Ravenously hungry, he’s been preying on food trucks.  The opening
scene shows a terrified young Mexican driving a truck and trying to
escape from his unseen (by us) pursuer.  It’s a scary scene.  When
the driver is found by the local police, he is in shock and there’s
no sign of the truck.

Manning’s sister Joyce sees a TV news story about this incident and
calls the Pentagon.  The disbelieving military goes to Mexico as a
matter of due diligence.  When Major Mark Baird gets his first look
at Manning, he becomes an instant believer.

Giant loaves of drugged bread enable the military to capture Glenn,
but a courageous Mexican police chief is killed in the operation.
That the sympathetic character died wasn’t a problem for me.  That
his death was never again mentioned, not even at the scene of said
death, struck me as intolerably dismissive.  Later in the film, a
scientist is treated with equal disregard.

The capture of Manning is followed by some wonderful scenes of any
number of politicians and bureaucrats passing the hot potato that
is the Colossal Man to each other.  Reluctantly, Los Angeles agrees
to house the giant prisoner in an airport hanger.

Manning’s first escape attempt is thwarted, but, brain-damaged or
not, he learns from his mistakes.  His second attempt succeeds and
he’s on the loose in the City of Angels.

Ultimately, with help from his sister, Glenn recovers enough of his
humanity to calm his temper.  But he also decides there’s no place
for him in a world too small for him.  He clutches electrical wires
and disintegrates himself.  Oddly enough, the black-and-white film
switches to color for this last scene.

The movie ends without any real reaction from Joyce of anyone else
to Manning’s death.  It’s as if the makers of War of the Colossal
had a problem facing the film’s relatively few deaths.  This
reluctance diminishes the movie’s dramatic impact.

Having not seen the movie previously, I was happy to watch War of
the Colossal Beast
.  But, having now seen it, I wouldn’t watch it
a second time.  Once was sufficient.

That’s all for today, my beloved bloggy readers.  I’ll be back on
the morrow with more stuff.
© 2013 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


My next Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale will be Friday and
Saturday, June 21-22, at 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio.  Sale hours
are 9 am to 2 pm each day.

Here is today’s update:

The same damn thing happens to me before every garage sale and you
would think I’d have figured this out by now and not let it happen.
I guess we all have our blind spots.

I have years to sell off that portion of the VAOS I wish to sell.
Yet, every time I prepare for a garage sale, I get anxious and try
to do more than I can reasonably do for the sales.  I try to put
more into the garage sales than there’s room for...and then I beat
myself up because I can’t do it all.

What I can tell you is that a lot of great comics are waiting for
my customers in the quarter boxes.  What I can tell you is that I
added hundreds of issues of 2000 AD to the quarter magazine boxes.
What I can tell you is that I have two full boxes of suitable-for-
all-ages quarter comics.  I’ve also added dozens of $5 hardcovers
and $2 trade paperbacks to their boxes.  This stuff alone should
make the trip to this week's sale worthwhile for anyone.

What else will I have?  I’m still working on a full table of cool
Superman merchandise that’s at least 25 years old.  I still have a
good supply of rare Superman posters.  I still have copies of 1000
Comic Books You Must Read. 

What else I have for sale this time out will depend on the weather
- good weather means outside tables - and how much I can get done
between now and the start of the sale on Friday morning at 9:00 am.
But, as of right this moment, I’m very pleased with the selection
of items I know will be available at the sale.

Look for another update tomorrow.

Tony Isabella 


Previously in Tony Isabella’s Bloggy Thing...

The Rawhide Kid - the one created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, then
continued by Larry Lieber - is my favorite western character.  So,
inspired by Essential Rawhide Kid Volume 1, which reprinted all the
Lee/Kirby issues and then some, I’ve been writing about the Rawhide
Kid most every Wednesday.  When I ran out of the issues reprinted
in the book, I tracked down some owlhoots, brought them in and used
the reward money to buy more issues of the title.  Because that’s
what the Kid would have done.

See the desperate kid helplessly trapped by the deadly guns of “A

The terrific cover of The Rawhide Kid #59 [August 1967] is by Dick
Ayers.  Though Dick didn’t always capture the short stature of the
Kid, he was and is a master at depicting gritty western action.  He
did a great job on this cover and on the interior story.

Digression. In case you’re wondering, Larry Lieber was on leave for
a few issues while he penciled over fifty pages of art for Amazing
Spider-Man Annual
#4 [November 1967].  That annual is a favorite of
mine and, whenever my well-read copy surfaces, I’ll likely devote
an entire bloggy thing to the issue.

Written by Denny O’Neil, “A Man Called Drako” (17 pages) was drawn
by Ayers and unfortunately inked by Vince Colletta.  Unfortunate
because the Colletta line doesn’t convey the rough and ready world
of these western adventures.  I’d have preferred John Tartaglione,
who had already proven to be a fine inker for Lieber.

O’Neil’s story is a pretty good one.  The burnoose-wearing Drako,
who affects an Arabian sensibility and style, is a very different
villain for the Marvel western titles.  Having killed the owner of
a mine and claimed it for himself, he’s fired any workers who have
families and made slaves of those who don’t.

Seeking a job, the Rawhide Kid blunders into this situation.  He’s
manhandled by Drako’s foremen, manhandles them right back and gets
the job.  The usually savvy Kid doesn’t question the odd actions of
those foremen or that Drako makes surrendering his guns a condition
of employment.  I guess even my favorite western hero can have an
off day.

When the Kid gets between a co-worker and the brutal foremen, both
he and the other man end up in a metal cage.  Given only bread and
water, they are “sentenced” to several days of the blistering hot
sun.  A sudden downpour allows them to escape, but, in attempting
to lead the miners in a revolt, the Kid’s new friend is ruthlessly
murdered by Drako.  As you can imagine, this is highly motivating
to Rawhide and it doesn’t take him long to get that revolt going.

Once again armed, as are the miners, the Kid makes short work of
Drako’s cowardly foremen.  Drako tries to ambush Rawhide, but our
guy has anticipated that move and set up his hat behind some rocks
as a decoy.

Drako is a master with a gun, knife or sword, but the Rawhide Kid
is his superior in hand-to-hand combat.  Drako flees across a muddy
path to a bridge.  He has a horse on the other side and figures he
can reach it before the Kid can stop him.

Nature has a different plan.  The downpour has loosed the pegs that
hold the bridge tight.  The pegs pull free from the mud and Drako
is clinging to the fallen bridge.  The Kid yells that he can drop
a lasso to Drako, but Drako refuses.

No! I will accept nothing from my enemy...not even my life! What
fate has must obey!

Man, what a gloomy son of a bitch.

Drako falls to his apparent doom.  The freed miners thank the Kid.
One miner has ridden into town to bring back the law.  Which means
it’s time for the Rawhide Kid to ride off into the sunset.

Why do western heroes always ride off into the sunset?  Don’t they
ever get to knock off a couple hours early?  Or maybe get a decent
night’s sleep and leave in the morning?  Why am I just now asking
these questions after 44 Rawhide Kid Wednesdays?

This issue’s “Marvel Bullpen Bulletins” page is a disappointment.
It leads with a plug for Brand Echh, which must have been a working
title for Not Brand Echh, then moves on to plugs for some annuals,
for upcoming Fantastic Four and Spider-Man cartoons and for a new
M.M.M.S. (Merry Marvel Marching Society) membership kit.  There is
a brief “Stan’s Soapbox” in which thanks Marvel readers for their
support, but none of the personal information about Marvel writers
and artists that I loved reading as a kid.  The page also features
“The Mighty Marvel Checklist” and the names of 26 more members of
the M.M.M.S.  An off-month for this page.

The non-series story this issue is a just-three-years-old reprint
of “The Winner” from Rawhide Kid #41 [August 1964].  This is what
I wrote about the story when I wrote about that issue...

The issue’s non-series story is “The Winner” (5 pages) by Stan Lee
(plot) and Larry Lieber (script and art).  Like their collaboration
in the previous issue, this one is also more serious than most of
these back-ups.

Frank Dawson, the fastest gun in the territory, rides into a town.
The citizens are terrified of him, even though he does nothing to
justify that fear.  It’s his reputation that has them cowering at
his presence.  He reflects on his life:

That’s how it’s been since I became the fastest draw! All these
years I’ve been shunned by decent folks...treated like a vile
animal! But I’m not! I’m a person and I crave the companionship of
other people! But it’s hopeless! My reputation cheats me of
friends! And surely no woman will ever love me! I’ll never get
married...never raise children! I’ll die a lonely unwanted old man!

Arrogant and brash Rafe Collins decides to make his own reputation
by outdrawing Dawson.  The older man tries to ignore him, but Rafe
keeps pushing Dawson.  A gunfight ensues and, much to the surprise
of all, Collins beats Dawson.  The triumphant youth takes his leave
of the wounded Dawson.

Dawson is amazed by the reaction of the townspeople no that he is
no longer the feared fastest gun.  One man even invites him to have
dinner with him and his wife.  Dawson thinks: They no longer fear
me! They’re even befriending me! My plan worked! I could’ve won
that gunfight, but I purposely lost it!

His thoughts continue into the next panel:

Now I’ll no longer be known as the fastest draw! My reputation was
a curse that deprived me of worthwhile human contact! But at last
I’m free!! I can have friends! Maybe some woman will even marry me!
My days of loneliness are over! After all these long years!

Now it’s Rafe Collins who carries that burden.  The townspeople are
afraid of him and even his friends shun him.

By beating Frank Dawson, I’ve made myself an outcast! I’m the real
loser! I’ll be alone the rest of my days unless–-unless I can get
beaten in a gunfight as he did! But if I deliberately lose, I’m
liable to get killed–-not just wounded! I can’t take the chance!
I’ve got to go on this way! I’ve got to give up everything and
forever remain...

...the fastest draw!

The reprint is followed by a page of Marvel merchandise.  The top
half of the page with its t-shirts, sweat shirts, and ever-present
stationery kit hasn’t changed.

The bottom half of the page is for the Super-Heroes Club.  As with
the previous issue, it offers a set of eight full-color, 12" by 16"
posters of Marvel characters for a buck.  But, this time around, it
adds giant-sized 2-1/2 by 3-1/2 foot posters of Spider-Man and the
Hulk for a buck each and also a set of five “batty bullpen booster
buttons” for two bucks.  The buttons read:


This “Super-Heroes Club” seems to be a Marvel venture, but it had
a different address than the one for the top half of the page.  I
didn’t wonder about that back then, but it puzzles me now.  Can any
of you explain this oddity to me?

The “Ridin’ the Trail with Rawhide” letters page finishes up this
issue.  There are three letters.

Al Russell of Baltimore thinks Rawhide is too much like Kid Colt.
He suggests Rawhide clear his name and get a new job as foreman of
a cattle drive.  Marvel asks readers what they think.

Gilbert Romero of Dupont, Colorado doesn’t like Two-Gun Kid as much
as he likes Rawhide and Kid Colt.  He prefers seeing outlaws fight
for justice?  The Marvel response plugs Two-Gun Kid #89 wherein the
three heroes all appear in the same story.

Jimmy Wingfield of Washington, D.C. liked seeing the Kid fight the
Scorpion in issue #57, but also wants more “Indians, stage robbers
and gun-slinging pretty gals.”  The Marvel response plugs the next
issue which will feature General George Custer.

That’s all for this week’s Rawhide Kid Wednesday, partners.  Come
back tomorrow and I’ll have some other stuff for you.
© 2013 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


My next Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale will be Friday and
Saturday, June 21-22, at 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio.  Sale hours
are 9 am to 2 pm each day

Here is today’s update:

Thunderstorms last night and Casa Isabella had some minor flooding
- more like damping - of a small part of our basement.  Though it
was easily controlled by putting down newspapers, I had to spend a
back-breaking hours removing and bagging up those wet newspapers.
Which, of course, puts me behind where I had hoped to be with both
my writing and the garage sale preparation.

I won’t have as many quarter comic books as I usually do, but they
will have a lot of new comics.  I pulled all those back issues of
Isabella-written Hawkman and the various manga anthology titles to
make room for runs of books like: Strangers, Strangers in Paradise,
Impulse, Incredible Hulk, Infinity Inc., Baker Street, Marvel Saga,
Blood of Dracula, Jon Sable Freelance, the Official Handbook of the
Marvel Universe, Who’s Who in DC Comics, Mask, Lone Wolf and Cub,
Legion of Super-Heroes, Legionnaires, Superman: The Man of Steel

and more.  I’m already anticipating a Friday night trip back to the
Fortress of Storage for restocking.

Later tonight, I’ll do some straightening up of the quarter comics
tables to make room for between one and three boxes of magazines.
Then, tomorrow, I’ll be restocking and straightening the hardcovers
and trade paperbacks.  The plan there is to eliminate a couple of
trade paperback boxes to make room for the hardcover boxes, a box
or two of higher priced comic books, and 1000 Comic Books You Must
.  There probably won’t be a box of Isabella-written items for
this garage sale.

If all continues to go according to plan, I’ll have a full table of
Superman items.  Some very cool stuff has turned up.

I’m undecided about the table in the middle of the garage, which I
have been using for paperback books.  I may give those a rest and
use that table for odds and ends I think my customers will really
dig.  We’ll see how that works out.

Right now, the extended weather forecast is showing temperatures in
the low 80s both days, partly cloudy on Friday, and a possibility
of possible thunderstorms on Saturday.  Keep watching this bloggy
thing for more garage sale updates.

Tony Isabella 


Nothing I’ve read about Man of Steel, even from those who appear to
love it, has swayed me from avoiding the movie until I can watch it
for free via my local library system.  Actually, I’m not even sure
I’ll watch it then.

Superman is one of the greatest characters in comics and, arguably,
the greatest super-hero of them all.  But that was then and this is
now.  Then he was a brightly-clad inspiration who spoke to all of
our better natures.  Now he is just another dark brawler, reduced
in spirit, more kin to the worst of our natures than the very best
of them. 

This is where someone out there will get all offended and proclaim
“He hasn’t seen the movie yet!” Correct, but I don’t need to have
seen the movie to recognize and comment on the debasing of
Superman.  That tragedy is all around us.

There are some very fine people in my birth town of Cleveland, Ohio
who have tried to honor Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators
of Superman.  Yet, even with the best groups and organizations who
have attempted this, the emphasis is overwhelmingly focused on the
corporate-owned creation and not his creators. 

The corporation savagely abused Siegel and Shuster and their heirs.
They sicced the most predatory of lawyers on the heirs while many
mewling fan-zombies applauded their despicable actions.  Neither DC
nor the lawyers nor those walking dead of heart understand the core
message of Superman. 

I have been invited on many occasions to take part in the various
local celebrations of Superman’s 75th anniversary.  I’ve declined
them all.  Show me a celebration of Siegel and Shuster, show me a
condemnation of DC’s heinous treatment of those men and their kin,
show me a lament for the debasing of their creation...and then I’ll
gladly be a part of the “festivities.”

Twenty-five years ago, I tried to honor Siegel and Shuster through
my involvement with Neverending Battle Inc.  That was ever my key
interest in that Cleveland organization.  To this day, despite what
ever else happened to me and others as a result of my involvement,
I’m proud NEB kept Siegel and Shuster from being the forgotten men
of that celebration and that the group managed to put on one of the
best conventions I’ve ever attended.

Everyone in the organization had their own reasons for being part
of NEB. A few were like me.  Some were Cleveland boosters.  A few
thought it would be their ticket to comics careers.  Two of them,
the worst two, were more interested in Superman as a stepping stone
to their hoped-for future careers as event promoters.  They didn’t
give a damn about the stated goals of NEB.

One of those men is now dead, the other has been reported to be in
a distant city.  Both were connected with the Cleveland elite and,
when NEB came crashing down around us, they were protected as the
local media laid all the blame on a board of trustees duped by the
two men.  The joyous birth of my son Ed was followed by an enormous
shit storm of condemnations and threats and financial loss so great
it still pains me to think about it.

This is not a plea for any kind of sympathy.  There was a time very
early on when I could have walked away from Neverending Battle and
spared myself much anguish.  I chose to believe those two men who
had already proven untrustworthy because I really wanted Cleveland
to celebrate Siegel and Shuster and because I arrogantly, foolishly
believed I could keep them in line.  That’s on me and no one else.
I ignored that these men were scorpions.

The damned Cleveland Plain Dealer published my business address and
phone number in their deceptive articles about the collapse of NEB.
While I was dealing with a failing business, failing to a certain
extent because I had paid for well over $50,000 in merchandise for
NEB to sell and for which I would never be compensated, I started
getting dozens of angry phone calls each day.

I learned that services the trustees and I were told were donated
by various companies and individuals were not and had never been
intended to be donations.  We were lied to and now those creditors
were demanding payment.

I learned that money collected at the International Superman Expo,
funds I calculated to be in the neighborhood of $150,000 had been
dispersed illegally to those two men and their cronies.  All that
remained in the organization accounts was enough to hire a lawyer
to handle the bankruptcy and dissolution of NEB. 

I learned of other questionable occurrences and deals done and made
behind our backs and in the shadows.  One recipient of these deals
bragged openly about his crooked score, though I’m pleased to note
he later ran into considerable trouble with the authorities in his
related endeavors. 

I lost a few friends in the aftermath of NEB.  I also received an
incredible nasty phone call from one of the celebrity guests.  She
had profited greatly from the Expo, but, because she didn’t want to
stay at the hotel that had donated rooms for her and others, ended
up having to pay her own hotel bill.  That bill could not have been
for more than a pittance of the tens of thousands of dollars that
she made at the show.  After haranguing me for a good 30 minutes,
she hung up when she finally realized her bullying wouldn’t get me
to personally to pay her bill.  Even if I’d wanted to pay her bill
- and I can’t imagine a world in which I would want to appease such
an awful woman - I couldn’t afford it and it would have set a very
bad precedent with other NEB creditors.  

Digression. The hotel in question would try to collect all of the
NEB hotel bills from me because I was the only NEB person available
to them.  They hired a sleazy lawyer to harass and then sue me.  My
own sleazy lawyer dropped the ball on this one.  I had to enlist a
second attorney to get the lawsuit dismissed. 

I never cared about the nasty celebrity, but other lost friendships
pained me greatly.  Over the years, I have been able to repair some
of those friendships as people realized I was one of NEB’s biggest
victims.  One man who lost as much money as I did never blamed me
and I remain eternally grateful for his friendship.

Cleveland had come to the International Superman Expo and some of
NEB’s other events and had a great time.  But the city’s movers and
shakers almost never opened their wallets or made time to help out
the organization.  I had signed on to the Board of Trustees on the
promise that other more connected Clevelanders would soon sign on
to add the clout needed to get things done in the city.  I waited
too long for that to happen.  It never did.

The next year was a struggle.  I lost my business, but I survived
due to the support of my wife Barbara and my true friends.  I took
some small comfort from having honored Siegel and Shuster, from my
part in a really great convention and from my being able to rescue
some treasured items to return them to their proper owners.  Small
comfort, but comfort nonetheless. 


The June 21 issue of Entertainment Weekly cover-features “75 Years
of Superman.” The biggest image on the cover is an incredibly
powerful image of the Man of Steel in flight as drawn by Curt Swan
and inked by Murphy Anderson.  The artists are not credited inside
the issue. “Comic-Book Superman” is copyrighted DC Entertainment as
if a corporation had the hands, heart and integrity to create such
a powerful image.

I’ve only skimmed the Superman material, but one sidebar caught my
attention.  It’s a “close-up” of DC Entertainment co-publisher Jim
Lee.  Asked to name “the best thing about drawing Superman,” Lee’s
response is disgustingly juvenile:

“All the incredible wreckage and rubble and destruction that a tiny
little figure can create on a page.”

It’s a child’s delight in breaking someone else’s toys and this is
one of three men charged with the care of Superman and other great
creations.  He doesn’t understand Superman.  DC Entertainment does
not understand Superman.  The arrogant and shallow makers of Man of
don’t understand Superman.  

Why would I celebrate their Superman?


I have not hesitated to read spoilers about this movie.  Frankly,
when I watch movies or television shows, I can spot what’s coming
a good 70% of the time.  So it doesn't "spoil: the movie for me if
someone tells me DC’s new dark Superman fails to save many
millions of people from horrible deaths or that he kills the villain. 

Mass slaughter and destruction are Hollywood’s substitutes for
characterization, for entertainment, for inspiration...and the same is
increasingly true of super-hero comic books.  There are blessed
exceptions, but many of our current generation of comics creators
don't "feel" super-heroes and don't understand super-heroes and
don't seem to like super-heroes much.  They are poor imitations
attempting to destroy what they can never be and dismiss what
they can never achieve.  I can only hope their time passes.

I will always respect “my” Superman and I say that for the benefit
of the ignorant trolls who will try to frame my comments in their
irrelevant “he’s lost in the past” canards.  You see, part of the
greatness of Superman is that he can be updated again and again and
for generation after generation.  Part of the greatest of the Man
of Steel is that he can be as big an inspiration today as when he
was created.  Part of the greatness of this last son of the doomed
planet Krypton is that he can speak to all times...if his handlers
understand the character and the intent of his creators.

But they don’t and I doubt they ever will.  The current handlers of
this mythic creation are just creatures of mindless entertainments
and soulless corporations.  They are less real than Superman.

Overcoming them may well be Superman’s greatest challenge.

Siegel and Shuster created a legendary hero.  Any celebration must
start with them and continue with the determination that theirs is
the Superman that matters.
© 2013 Tony Isabella

Monday, June 17, 2013


My next Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale will be Friday and
Saturday, June 21-22, at 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio.  Sale hours
are 9 am to 2 pm each day.

My son Eddie called me on his drive home for Father’s Day, asking
me what father-son thing I wanted to do this weekend.  I told him
I wanted to go to the happiest place on Earth.  His immediate - and
I mean not missing a beat immediate - response was “The Fortress of
Storage!” I am so proud of him.

My original intent was to focus on boxes of comic books that could
go into my quarter boxes...and we did find a bunch of those.  But
we also found some other cool stuff, including two giant boxes of
Superman memorabilia and some Marvel and DC super-hero role playing
games from the dawn of time.  Though this is the sort of stuff I
must look up on eBay to price, I’m anticipating having a full table
of the Superman stuff for this garage sale.

Time permitting, I hope to have two boxes of specially-priced comic
books, including issues from the first series of Justice League of
and reduced prices on Miracleman.  I may also have a box of
Isabella-written material.

New to the garage sale will be “Tony’s Picks” racks.  When I went
through my trade paperback and hardcover boxes, I saw many terrific
books that no one seems to be noticing.  These will be given more
prominent display because I honestly feel that anyone buying them
will be very pleased with those purchases.

It’s too early to say what my magazine boxes will look like for the
show.  Magazines are tricky.  I never know when I’m going to come
across issues of 2000 AD, extra copies of TwoMorrows magazines like
Alter Ego and Back Issue, or the entire run of a great series like
Comics Revue.  Trade paperbacks are getting a little trickier, too,
because those have only become prominent in the comics industry in
the most recent decades. 

Comics suitable for all ages will fill at least two boxes.  Since
a customer bought all my available Archie digests at the previous
sale, I won’t have any of those.  But I will have dozens of those
great Garfield collections and specials at a buck each.

Weather permitting - and, at the moment, it looks like we’ll have
mostly clear skies for the garage sale - I’ll be able to set up 1-3
outside tables.  One of those will feature mystery boxes of comics,
trades, hardcovers and other items and those mystery boxes will be
sold at the ridiculously low price of $5 each.

As this garage sale comes together, I’ll post additional updates.
Keep watching the bloggy thing for those updates.

Tony Isabella


I’ve worked very hard to create as stress-free a life for myself as
possible.  While I do my grumpy old man routine as well as anyone
and better than most, I’ve determined bugling veins on my forehead
are not a good look for me.  For the most part, you won’t see much
political commentary in this blog.  Those of you who agree with my
political views, marvelously intelligent beings that you are, don’t
need me as a cheerleader.  Those of you who disagree with my views
aren’t likely to achieve political enlightenment because I can turn
a mean phrase.  Comics is neutral territory.

But not always.

When I learned a higher court had overturned Marvel’s “Ghost Rider
victory” in the lawsuit brought against the company by Ghost Rider
creator Gary Friedrich, I was delighted for Gary.  Commenting on my
Facebook page, I wrote: 

I hope Disney/Marvel does the right thing. There is money enough in
these characters for the creators to receive a fair share. For good
will alone, Disney/Marvel should settle with Gary and recognize his
creative contributions with an ongoing commitment.

Yesterday, I posted this:

It took less than 24 hours for some ignorant, uninvolved so-called
fan to post the usual pro-corporation and anti-creator nonsense on
a mailing list of which I’m a member.

I told myself I wasn't going to comment, but the ignorance of the
uninvolved always gets my goat. So...

Just because a publisher claims something was work-for-hire doesn't
make it so.

In my case, my creation of Black Lightning was not work-for-hire.
I created the character and formed a partnership with DC Comics.
That DC violated that partnership agreement is the major bone of
contention between me and the company. Back in 1976, I thought the
agreement was fair for both DC and myself. I still feel that way
and would honor it today...if DC would honor it.

The next ignorant question, which I've answered many times before,
is “So why haven’t you sued DC?” That action is never far from my
thoughts. But any decision I might make has to be weighed against
factors like...

Do I really want to devote a significant portion of my life to such
a lawsuit?

Do I want to devote significant income to such a suit when I still
have a child in college and many other expenses?

Would my health permit such a lawsuit, given DC's blatant attempts
to wear out Joanne Siegel with frivolous depositions?

Putting aside the merits of my case, DC has thousand-dollar-an-hour
lawyers. It would be like my bringing a plastic knife to an atomic
bomb fight.

The courts, wrongly in my considered opinion, have been treating
corporations more fairly than they treat individuals. Corporations
aren't people. But some judges act like they are and, indeed, even
more deserving of protection than actual people.

It always saddens me when comics fans support corporations over
creators. Why don't such fans just admit they are pathetic junkies
and graduate to heroin?

Harsh words? They were and they were intended to be harsh.  When I
write about anything, I write from my heart, I write from my head,
I write from the fire in my gut that makes me take strong positions
when I believe strong positions are required.

This makes me more friends than it does enemies, but I’d be foolish
to pretend my manner doesn’t make me enemies.  It’s stressful, but
I think holding back would be even more stressful for me.  I gotta
blow off some steam every now and then.

Some people take pride in having enemies.  I’m not one of them.  I
am, by nature, a very forgiving man...if and when those who wrong
me admit their wrongdoing, make an effort to make amends for their
wrongdoing and honestly seek my forgiveness.  Even when they don’t
do any of those things, I don’t waste any time thinking about them.
Indeed, pretty much the only time I think about any of them is when
I’m writing about my career and my life.

If I’m writing about past wrongs, I will often soft-pedal details
to protect those who may have wronged me but towards whom I hold no
ongoing enmity.  Yes, they wronged me.  Even basically good people
do the wrong thing sometimes.  I try and usually succeed in getting
past such ancient wrongs to live my remarkably full, good and happy
life.  I don’t sweat the small stuff.

Are there “enemies” I can’t forgive?  I guess I’d find  out if they
were to seek my forgiveness.  I’d like to believe that forgiveness
is in me, but I won’t know for sure until I’m tested.

A couple times per month, I receive hilarious communications from
an anonymous coward who may or may not live in the Cleveland area.
Trolls like him or her are why comments to this blog aren’t posted
until I approve them.  Let them have whatever pleasure they receive
from trying and failing to get to me.  Maybe it’ll make up for the
obvious fear they have of me and envy of my life.

In one such communication, my devoted troll tried to ruffle me by
writing about how one of my “enemies” had turned around his life.
I confess that I would have a hard time forgiving this particular
individual as he was, hands down, the worst human being I have ever
known.  If I were to write my autobiography, it would take a full
chapter to cover the terrible things this man did to others and did
or tried to do to me.

I hadn’t thought about this guy in years until I came across thick
file folders filled with depositions, letters and threats from our
past association.  I moved those file folders to an inactive drawer
in my file cabinet and promptly forgot about him again.  Until the
troll mentioned him in one of his communications.

Did my “enemy” turn around his life?  I don’t know.  I could easily
verify what he was doing these days and, on the surface, yeah, it’s
possible he has.  But he was in positions of authority when I knew
him back in the day and abused those positions.

If he has, indeed, turned his life around, that’s terrific for him.
It doesn’t change what he did or tried to do to me, but I’m in no
need of closure.  If he’s no longer doing evil, the world is better
for it.  That’s good enough for me.

Getting back to Black Lightning - mostly because I don’t think that
I should be speculating on the Ghost Rider case at this time - one
of the other members of the list asked a question in a somewhat
challenging fashion, “So Trevor [Von Eeden] had nothing to do with
the creation of the character?”

My lengthy response to that question:

Everything important to the character was created before I brought
Black Lightning to DC.

In the past, I have very generously credited Trevor as the primary
designer of the original Lightning costume. However, his claim of
having come up with the costume on his own is false.

Trevor was one of five people in the room when the original costume
was designed. He was the one doing the drawing, but he was working
from group ideas. Some of the key elements of the costume came from

Bob Rozakis, who was supposed to be the title's editor, came up
with the Afro-Mask. It should be noted that Trevor, who raised no
objection at the time, now claims to have always loathed the mask.

Joe Orlando opened up the shirt to show more skin. I thought that
was silly, but said nothing. I didn't think it was a big deal.

I specifically asked for the lightning bolts on the sleeves and
what I called the Captain America boots. I can't recall who came up
with the idea of extending the lightning bolts to the chest. It
might have been Trevor.

Save for Trevor, every still-living person in the room confirms my
version of the design process.

All other characters in the first series were described by me in
the scripts. In a couple cases, Cleveland friends did the original
model sheets and these were sent to DC for Trevor to follow.

I'm pretty sure Jack Harris came up with the design of the original
Black Lightning logo. I designed the logo of the second series,
which only used designs from the first series in its rare flashback

 Eddy Newell designed the Lightning look in the second series,
working from nothing more than my wanting it to look like something
Jeff Pierce could make on his own.

The flashing lightning eyes were my concept. I'd read of a bank
robber who disguised his features with Hollywood-style scars and
boils and the like. All witnesses could recall was how ugly he was.
I figured people who saw Lightning in action would only remember
the lightning shooting out of his eyes. Nothing else.\

Eddy created the look of the second series and its new characters
from my brief descriptions. I credit him as the visual designer of
the second series and he remains my favorite Black Lightning artist
of all time.

My original agreement with DC - the one they have failed to honor -
recognized me as sole creator. This was several weeks before I ever
heard of Trevor. Indeed, DC assigning Trevor as the artist violated
my agreement with DC. I had been working to get one of the artists
I knew from Marvel. Perhaps I should have insisted, but Trevor was
so enthusiastic that I didn't object. But enthusiasm does not equal

DC didn't retroactively decide Trevor was a co-creator until a
couple of years after the first BL series ended and I inquired
about buying out DC's share of the character. That's also when they
started giving him half my incentive/merchandise/royalties money.
There have been incidents when they gave Trevor all that money.
When I found out about this, it took up to two years for me to get
my money from DC.

Currently, DC has not paid me anything on Black Lightning for over
two years. Despite my creation appearing on clothing, on other
merchandise and on TV. My e-mails requesting payment have been
ignored and remain unanswered.

I admire Trevor's abilities. I tried to work with him on a project
as recently as three years ago. That didn't work out and that was
more on him than me.

Although I still felt Trevor was getting half my money, I suggested
we share royalty statements to make sure we were both getting what
DC claimed we were entitled to. I suspected he hadn't received
payment for everything I had. Trevor took this as an insult.

I have stated in my blog that, should I ever regain Black Lightning
from DC, I would continue to pay Trevor what DC currently pays him,
if, indeed, they have continued to pay him. Trevor was insulted by
this statement as well.

I also stated Eddy Newell would receive equal payments to those
made to Trevor. I don't know how Trevor feels about that because I
haven't had any contact with him in two years. However, when an old
friend asked me about Trevor, I recommended him for the project
under discussion.

I’ve never wished Trevor less than the very best, but he is not and
never was a co-creator of Black Lightning.

 Another poster pointed out that, while my situation with Lightning
was not clear-cut, DC probably owns all rights to Black Lightning
art done by Trevor, Eddy and others.

My response to that polite comment:

If I were to regain control of Black Lightning, there's nothing of
Trevor's art from the first series that I would want to use.

Obviously, I'm much more fond of Eddy's work, but I never expected
to keep that look either.

No, if I were to regain Black Lightning and bring it to the current
marketplace, I’d reinvent it. Just as I reinvented the character
and concept for the 1990s.

This bloggy thing is way too long for a Monday morning.  However,
with my being a guest at this year’s Comic-Con International in San
Diego, I wanted to (once again) answer the usual Black Lightning
questions as thoroughly as possible in the doubtless vain hope that
I will not have to answer them (again and again) at the convention.

Keep watching the bloggy thing for updates on Comic-Con, my garage
sales and other Isabella appearances.  I’ll be back tomorrow with
another friend-winning piece on why I don’t celebrate Superman.  If
I have any readers left after that, I’ll get back to writing mostly
about things that delight me.

© 2013 Tony Isabella

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Hey, it's my anniversary...and they said it wouldn't last! Of course, some of "they" still say Sainted Wife Barb could do better. They're right, but I'm glad she married me and has stuck with me all these years. I love you, Barb, now and forever!

Friday, June 14, 2013


I will be attending Pulpfest this year.  The convention is held at Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Columbus, Ohio.  The event runs from Thursday evening, July 25 to Sunday, July 28.  I'llbe at the show Friday, Saturday and part of Sunday.  While at the show, I'll be signing Isabella-written stuff at the table of my dear friend Anthony Tollin.  This is my way of relaxing after Comic-Con International.  Go figure.


This week in Forgotten Gems at Tales of Wonder...a hilarious science-fiction story by Richard E. Hughes and Odgen Whitney.  You have to read this one!


Courtesy of Bob Hoskins and my good friends at Stormwatch Comics in
West Berlin, New Jersey, I have all of the 2013 Free Comic Book Day
giveaways.  As a supplement to the bloggy thing, I’ll be reviewing
them one by one.

Rebellion’s 2000 AD is an impressive showcase for the long-running
British weekly that changed the face of British comics and, to be
honest, American comics as well.  The 48-page magazine includes two
Judge Dredd stories.  “The Jimps Club” by Matt Smith and artist Ben
Willsher tells of thrill-seeking Judge impersonators.  One of the
strengths of the Judge Dredd series is how its writers find so many
new and fascinating corners of Mega-City One to explore.  A second
Dredd tale - “Alien Wedding” - by John Wagner and Cam Kennedy looks
at the disconnect between alien customer and Mega-City law.  Both
are excellent introductions to Judge Dredd’s world.

Dredd is almost always the best strip in any issue of 2000 AD, but
I’ve always loved the variety to be found in the weekly.  In this
Free Comic Book Day special, the other features include:

“Indigo Prime” (adventures in the Multiverse with agents trying to
keep reality in general from becoming unstable);

“DR & Quinch” (alien juvenile delinquents);

“The Visible Man” (an espionage science-fiction strip from early in
2000 AD’s history); and

“Insurrection,” in which a mining colony, ignored by Mega-City One
in its hour of need, has declared its independence.

Contributors include Andy Diggle, Al Ewing, Henry Flint, Pat Mills
and others.

Given how many stripes appear and have appeared in 2000 AD over the
decades, I think this FCBD special does a fine job of acquainting
potential new readers with the magazine.

Keep watching for more Free Comic Book Day reviews.

© 2013 Tony Isabella


I'm a guest at this year's Derby City Comic Con, which will be held on Saturday, June 29, 10 am to 5 pm, at the Kentucky International Convention Center, 221 Fourth Street in Louisville.  I'll be posting more updates on the show and my appearance over the next several days, but you can get all the news by visiting the convention's website.

In addition, you can watch the Derby City Comic Con's television commercial on YouTube.

More to come, my friends.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Sometimes the bear gets you...and, this week, for me, it's a godless killing machine that had shredded my schedule.  There are a couple dozen "must do" items I have to get to before I can return to blogging.  I'm hoping I can wrap them up today and tomorrow.  Thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Previously in Tony Isabella’s Bloggy Thing...

The Rawhide Kid - the one created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, then
continued by Larry Lieber - is my favorite western character.  So,
inspired by Essential Rawhide Kid Volume 1, which reprinted all the
Lee/Kirby issues and then some, I’ve been writing about the Rawhide
Kid most every Wednesday.  When I ran out of the issues reprinted
in the book, I tracked down some owlhoots, brought them in and used
the reward money to buy more issues of the title.  Because that’s
what the Kid would have done.

Hang on to your bandana, cowpoke...and get set for...ROUGH RIDIN’,
SHARP-SHOOTIN’ and FAST ACTION...straight outta the Marvel corral!

That cover copy notwithstanding, The Rawhide Kid #58 [June, 1967]
is the first issue of the title that truly disappointed me.  Larry
Lieber’s cover is first-rate, but the Rawhide adventure it heralds
comes up short.

Lieber penciled “When a Gunfighter Faces the Enforcers” (17 pages),
but Gary Friedrich wrote it.  Though I’m a fan of Friedrich’s work,
this story never clicked with me.  Making things even worse, Vince
Colletta inked Lieber’s pencils and that’s a real letdown after the
outstanding John Tartaglione’s inks of the previous issue.  Though
this is mere speculation on my part, I’m wondering if there was a
deadline problem going on here.  We know from the previous issue’s
Bullpen Bulletins that Lieber had sprained his sacroiliac recently.
That would’ve certainly slowed him down and, as a result, Colletta
might have had to do a rush job on the inks.  I’ll try to get the
straight scoop on this the next time I talk with Larry.

A criminal gang called the Enforcers, said to be the same owlhoots
who tangled with Kid Colt recently, though that link is tenuous, is
ruling the tiny town of Buzzard’s Roost.  They lock Grey Wolf, the
son of the chief of the neighboring Comanches in a cage until the
tribe turns over its gold.

The cage is in the town saloon. The Rawhide Kid is in the saloon.
What’s going on in the saloon doesn’t sit right with the Kid.  He
takes down the gang with fists and six-shooters, frees Grey Wolf,
then escapes into the hills with him.

The Comanches are divided with the hothead faction wanting to ride
into town and slaughter all white men, starting with Rawhide.  The
Enforcers have blocked the tribe’s water supply, so the braves are
understandably testy.  The wise chief gives the Kid until sundown
to take care of the Enforcers for good.

Meanwhile, the Enforces have hired Patch Cooley, a gunfighter with
a fast draw and a sure aim, to fight the Kid.  When Rawhide first
gets back to the town, he tries to recruit the townspeople to stand
up to the outlaws.  The townspeople are too scared to do so.

Left to his own resources, Rawhide goes after the gang and acquits
himself well.  But he’s outnumbered and soon captured.  Grey Wolf
sneaks into the saloon and frees the Kid.  The two get back to the
job of beating down the Enforces.  Unfortunately, the tribal hawks
have launched a war party.

Grey Wolf calms the war party, pointing out that he and the Rawhide
Kid have captured the Enforcers.  The nearly forgotten Cooley draws
down on the Kid.  Rawhide disarms him easily.

Grey Wolf thanks Rawhide for his service.  The Kid says he did what
he had to do and rides out of town.

There goes a man, my brothers–-the likes of which we will not soon
see again!

It’s not a bad story, just not a very good one.  The Comanches are
treated in a mostly respectful manner, though I would guess there
are historical inaccuracies in their depictions.  No one, with the
possible exceptions of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, wrote the Rawhide
Kid’s adventures as well as Larry Lieber or matched the layers of
my pal Larry’s characters.

Here’s an oddity about my copy of this issue.  The splash page has
two stamps on it for the Library of Congress.  One is dated “Mar 17
1967" and the other “May 21 1967.”  I don’t believe I’ve ever seen
that in any other comic book in my collection.

The “Marvel Bullpen Bulletins” page is next, leading off with the
announcement of the first Merry Marvel Messenger.  The newsletter
will be sent free to members of the Merry Marvel Marching Society.
At least one issue was published.

There’s an item on the 1967 annuals: Millie the Model, Sgt. Fury,
Avengers, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and, taking the place of Thor,
Daredevil.  That’s followed by welcomes to Dan Adkins, Herb Trimpe
and the returning Ogden Whitney and George Bell.  As you probably
know, “George Bell” was a pseudonym for George Roussos.

In his debut “Stan’s Soapbox” feature, Stan writes about the Marvel
Philosophy.  That philosophy is to entertain readers by doing the
kind of comics the Marvel crew would like to read.  Sounds crazy.
Maybe just crazy enough to work.  Wrapping up this Bullpen page, we
get “The Mighty Marvel Checklist” and a list of 26 more members of
the M.M.M.S. 

This issue’s non-series story is a reprint of “The Judge” from The
Rawhide Kid
#32 [February 1963].  Here’s what I wrote about it when
I covered that issue:

Stan Lee teamed with Al Hartley for “The Judge,” the issue’s non-
series story.  Judge Harper Bates comes to Tornado, a town so wild
the sheriff takes prisoners to the next town to be tried.  Bates is
determined to change that.  The local owlhoots disrupt the Judge’s
makeshift courtroom, but Bates is packing under his black robe and,
with the sheriff’s help, he quickly restores order to his court and
tames Tornado:

“For that was the breed of man who tamed the west...Judge Harper
Bates and the countless others like him!  Dedicated men –- honest
men –- courageous men –- who proved that a steady gun hand and a
fighting heart are also weapons on justice!”

Hartley isn’t known for his work on adventure comics, but he does
a nice job with this one.  I especially like the shocked expression
on an owlhoot’s face when the Judge shoots the gun right out of the
man’s hand.

Next is a page of Marvel merchandise for sale.  The top half of the
page is the usual t-shirts, sweat shirts and stationary kit.  The
bottom half is for something called the “Super Heroes Club” with a
different address.  For a buck plus a quarter’s postage, fans could
get a set of eight Marvel heroes posters.  Printed in full-color on
heavy stock, these 12" by 16" posters featured Captain America, the
Sub-Mariner, Thor, Dr. Strange, the Human Torch, Spider-Man, Iron
Man and the Incredible Hulk.  Such a deal!

The “Ridin’ the Trail with Rawhide” letters page has four letters
from readers and, alas, a repeat of the insensitivity toward native
Americans that I mentioned last issue.  In the letters:

Julio Hernandez of Los Angeles is new to the Rawhide Kid and loves
the title.  Make his Marvel.

Pam Abeny of Gadsolen, Alabama wants the Kid to wear black instead
of blue.

Eric Hollander of New York City thinks the Kid is beating foes too
easily.  He wants to see more of Nightwind, the kid’s trusty horse.

Finally, Larry Hrywhak of Rochester, New York wants to see villains
Red Raven and the Rattler return to challenge the Kid once again.
He also wants to see Rawhide team up with Kid Colt and the Two-Gun
Kid to fight a team of western baddies.

That’s it for this week’s Rawhide Kid Wednesday.  Come back on the
morrow for the mercifully brief return of Grumpy Old Tony.

© 2013 Tony Isabella