Tuesday, July 23, 2013


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
my reports.

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
to them. 

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


  1. I for one am pleased to read about whatever you want to write about, whenever you choose to share it with us. And I find that topics on how you enjoy your life without reservation do good things to my own soul when I read about them. So you go right ahead and do your thing your way.

    David Peattie


  2. Wait. You went to Comic-Con with Barb, Eddie, Kelly, and Vanessa for the entire long weekend... and didn't get a room?!?

    I'm so glad that you had a great show. There hasn't been a year since my last trip to San Diego a baker's dozen years ago that I wished I could have been there more. And while I don't take your candor or crusading to be curmudgeonly, Wendy's probably right that it couldn't hurt to emphasize the good stuff from time to time.

    CAPA-Alpha's 50th anniversary is next year. My 20th anniversary of joining it, thanks to you, is a few months from now. Now that I'm finally on Facebook I should check on the plans for the golden jubilee.

  3. As always, I look forward to reading of your adventures!

  4. I agree with David whole-heartedly. I, too, have chosen a life path that brings me and others joy. There may not be great financial gain in it, but it warms my cockles. And I prefer warm cockles to cold cash, although I'd never turn down the latter.
    Leslie Feagan

  5. Michael Kelly SchurmanJuly 23, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    I'm so glad you had such a great time at Comic-Con. You needed (as we all do) the positive experience. I look forward to the further reports. I hope your wife and the younger folks in your party had an equally good time, and especially Josh (whom I take to be the youngest) had a life enhancing experience.

    If most of your readers hadn't a certain amount of affection for you, we wouldn't be here. (Don't know why the trolls hang around; no life of their own, I guess.) Consequently, it's good to hear/read of your happy times.

  6. It was great seeing you and Bob in San Diego. Thanks for letting me hang out while you were signing. It was a real treat being there when Jerry Ordway stopped by, what a genuinely nice guy.

    Hard to believe that I've known The Tony Isabella for so many years, especially after being a fan of his work for more than a decade prior to those CAPA-Alpha days.

  7. Just catching up on your Comic-Con posts Tony. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip, and a wonderful time "away out west". I can't wait to read on! And, I agree, you should write more about the things in your life that have brought and continue to bring you joy, whether they be comic related or not. It does the mind good to set to print both its tribulations and its treasures. So type away my friend... type away.