Starting tomorrow and running for as many bloggy things as it takes
for me to write about everything I want to write about, I will be
writing about San Diego’s Comic-Con International 2013. However,
I wanted to make a few preliminary comments to “set the stage” for
This year, I was honored to be a special guest of the convention.
That made it possible for me to attend the convention. Barb and I
decided to make a family vacation of it, so, all in all, the Tony
Team consisted of yours truly, Sainted Wife, son Eddie, daughter
Kelly, “other daughter” Giselle, and, joining us for a few days of
the event, my goddaughter Vanessa and her son Josh.
Comic-Con’s staff and volunteers could not have been more friendly,
helpful and just plain wonderful to us. Putting on that event year
and year out is a monumental task. The Comic-Con crew is clearly
up to that challenge.
Speaking as a guest and a fan, I can’t imagine a better convention
that Comic-Con International. There is so much to do at the event
and the programming and displays cover so many different interests.
My wise friend Mark Evanier has often said that, whatever Comic-Con
you want, you can find it at Comic-Con. He’s right.
I cannot and will not speak to the business end of Comic-Con. It’s
not my area of expertise. Just as a rule of thumb, I’m sure there
will always be room for improvement in Comic-Con...just as there is
room for improvement in, well, everything else.
However, speaking as a guest and a fan myself, I loved Comic-Con so
much that we should probably get a room. I saw the con through the
eyes of my loved ones and those eyes were ridiculously wide with
astonishment and excitement. Mine were, too.
I set myself goals for Comic-Con. First and foremost, I wanted to
show my family the good parts of my world. They have suffered with
me through many of the bad parts of my comics career and I wanted,
needed them to see the better parts.
I wanted to have the time of my life. Seeing old friends I hadn’t
seen in years and even decades. Meeting online friends in person.
Making new friends.
I wanted to do what I could to make Comic-Con a little bit better
for other people. Whether that meant finding a quiet corner so I
could autograph Isabella-written items or sitting down with them to
answer their questions. I tried to accommodate as many requests as
time and opportunity allowed.
I didn’t go to the convention intending to look for work or do any
business...except for one scheduled meeting. That meeting turned
out to be far more than I expected. I think what comes next as a
result will definitely be interesting and possibly quite good for
me. It’s not something I can write about now, but it illustrated
to me that Comic-Con can deliver pleasant surprises to those open
The meeting wasn’t my only surprise. I experienced epiphanies
during Comic-Com. Some of which I’ll be writing about and some of
which I won’t. The moments spoke directly to what kind of creator
and writer and person I want to be. I have long considered myself
a work in progress and progress, big or small, will always be one
of my goals.
I have a great life, which, for some reason, pisses off a handful
of anonymous trolls. It’s true the comics industry hasn’t always
or even mostly been kind to me, but I wouldn’t trade my journey for
anything. Look where I am now.
I have a terrific wife and family who had the time of their lives
at Comic-Con. My cool rating went up considerable. I had the time
of my life. It was a dream vacation for all of us.
I have work I enjoy and the respect of the people who matter most
to me. That group includes my bloggy thing readers.
I am in reasonably good health. I live in a nice house in a very
nice neighborhood. We’re not rich, but we make enough to pay the
bills and help out other people from time to time.
My great life doesn’t depend on the comics industry and especially
not on the “Big Two.” I’m in the comics industry because I want to
be in the comics industry. It is the medium in which I have chosen
to express myself in comic books and in blogs and columns like this
one. Particulars aside, I’m pretty much where I want to be and am
often stunned by my good fortune in being here.
I couldn’t stop grinning throughout Comic-Con. That’s how happy I
was to be there and to be part of that amazing event. If you don’t
love Comic-Con, I think the fault of that lies with you.
Among the many soul-lifting encounters I had during Comic-Con was
when I chatted with my friends Richard and Wendy Pini for the first
time in a decade or more. We all met when we were fans doing our
zines for CAPA-Alpha, the first comics amateur press association.
I made them characters in Ghost Rider before they launched the epic
that is Elfquest and, alongside millions of fans, I have delighted
in the success of Elfquest. Both were glad to hear how happy I was
in my life, which is when my darling Wendy uttered a simple short
sentence that knocked me on my heels.
“You should write about that more.”
There are bad things in the history of comics. Some of those bad
things continue to this day. I have to write about such things.
What would be the use of the independence I enjoy here if I didn’t
write about painful things from time to time. But there’s another
side to comics and my life therein.
Some readers may tire of me gushing about my great life and the joy
it brings me each and every day. They should brace themselves on
account of they are going to be reading more of that if they stick
with me. It is just as important for me - and other comics folks -
to show the many avenues to happiness that don’t cross the paths of
the “Big Two” as it is to write about the not-so-pleasant aspects
of the comics business.
I’m drifting away from Comic-Con here, but I wanted to set the tone
for my however-many-it-takes reports on the event. I’ll be back on
the morrow with the first of those reports.
© 2013 Tony Isabella