Thursday, August 1, 2013


Previously in “Tony Isabella’s Bloggy Thing”: I love Comic-Con, but
you already knew that.  I now continue the War and Peace of Comic-
Con journals...

Saturday started with breakfast.  Our merry a.m. band consisted of
Maggie Thompson, Brent Frankenhoff, Sainted Wife Barb, son Ed and
yours truly.  The Marine Kitchen serves up a nice breakfast buffet
and our waitress Cassandra couldn’t have been nicer.  She told me
I looked much younger than my 61 years, which wasn’t necessary.  I
was already going to give her a good tip.

It was great to catch up with Maggie and Brent, my former Comics
Buyer’s Guide
editors and two of the best editors I’ve ever worked
with.  Among other things, we discussed the possibility of working
together on some special projects.  I hope we can make that happen
because I love working with them.

My Saturday schedule was pretty light, so I got to attend what is
undoubtedly one of the best Comic-Con panels year in and year out:

Quick Draw!

It’s the fastest, funniest panel in the whole convention! (Well,
some folks think it is - mainly Sergio and Mark.) Once again, your
Quick Draw Quizmaster Mark Evanier pits three super-speedy
cartoonists against one another as they go mano a mano to create
great cartoon art right before your very eyes. Competing this year
are Sergio Aragonés (MAD, Groo the Wanderer), Scott Shaw! (The
Simpsons), and this year’s Special Guest Quick Draw-er, Neal Adams
(Batman, X-Men). Plus a couple of surprising surprises!

The surprising surprises included contestants Peter David, Jonathan
Ross and Leonard Maltin.  Barb loved the panel so much she stayed
around for Mark’s first Cartoon Voices panel and later attended
his second Cartoon Voices panel.  I was so pleased she was having
such a terrific time at Comic-Con.  I wanted her to see the really
good parts of my world and she certainly did.

Because I didn’t have a panel until 4:30 pm, I was able to wander
Artists Alley and the comics sections of the convention.  I had a
too-short visit with my dear friend Jim Salicrup at the Papercutz
booth.  I stopped by the Shout! Factory booth to say hello to Tom
Chen, who has sent me so many great review items over the years.
I chatted with Thom Zahler, the creator of  Love and Capes and one
of my Ohio friends.  I had the opportunity to tell Keith Knight how
much I enjoy his work.

At my pal Anthony Tollin’s booth, I had the pleasure of meeting his
daughter Katrina for the first time.  I also hung out with Anthony,
but, since I also hung out with him at last weekend’s PulpFest, I
will talk about him in those reports.

Larry Marder, master of Beanworld and one of the smartest guys in
comics, had the table next to Tollin’s.  Which meant I got to catch
up with him as well.  Larry made maybe the most dead-on observation
at Comic-Con when he side, “We won, Tony!”

My long version of that...all of us who were one of the two maybe
three kids in high school who read comic books, we won.  The world
comes to us at Comic-Con.  Hollywood comes to us here because they
need us to sell their wares.  “We” are in the offices and we are in
the boardrooms and we are in the front lines of so many aspects of
the world of Comic-Con and beyond Comic-Con.  We won.  Now all we
have to do is use our great power responsibly.

Remember when these daily columns ran at World Famous Comics, which
also hosted my official message board? Well, the message board has
been offline for months, but Justin Chung, the founder of both WFC
and my board, was at Comic-Con.  I hadn’t seen him since he moved
to San Francisco, but we had a chance to talk for a bit and figure
out how the message board would return.  As soon as a couple things
fall into place, that official message board will be back online.
Keep watching my bloggy things for details.

Jose Delbo, the terrific veteran artist of the Silver and Bronze
ages of comics, recognized me from my “Tony’s Tips” photo in CBG.
That was at the Eisner Awards.  We never worked together, but knew
each other from my brief time at DC.  We talked more at Comic-Con
and Jose is doing fine.  He does commissions these days.  You can
check out his work at his website.

Jamal Igle was at Comic-Con, promoting his new Molly Danger comic
book.  I love Jamal and his work, so I was pleased when we showed
me copies of the complete graphic novel.  I looked at it for a few
long minutes and told him there was something wrong with it.  When
I had him hooked, I hit him with the punch line:

“Oh, yeah, storytelling.  They don’t do much of that in comic books
any more!”

Jamal laughed.  From what I’ve seen, Molly Danger is the real deal.
I can’t wait to buy and read the finished book.

Hanging around Artist Alley, I also had an informative conversation
with my long-time friend Ken Penders, who recently won an important
ruling in a legal battle involving characters he created during his
time working on Sonic the Hedgehog.  Ken has been extremely helpful
to myself and other creators and it’s my hope his success leads to
like success for those creators.

My free time went by way too fast and it was soon 4:30 pm and time
for this event:

That ’70s Panel

It was a time of change in comics with a new generation
intermingling with the old and taking command. Hear what it was
like from Martin Pasko (Superman, Swamp Thing), Tony Isabella
(Black Lightning, The Champions), Val Mayerik (Man-Thing, Howard
the Duck), Elliott S! Maggin (Superman, Green Arrow), George Pérez
(Teen Titans, Justice League), and moderator Mark Evanier (Groo the
Wanderer, Blackhawk).

It was great to see these old friends again. The unstoppable Jamie
Coville, who recorded this panel and so many others, summarized the
panel on his website:

Moderated by Mark Evanier. On the panel was Tony Isabella, Val
Mayerik, Elliot S! Maggin, Martin Pasko and George Perez. They
talked about their 1st pro sale, when they felt they made it, "Oh
Wow!" moments on working with their heroes. They explained was
different about their generation from the previous one. Martin
talked about a sad story of meeting a poor Bill Finger who told him
to "always get the credit." The group talked about royalties. Mark
Evanier told a funny story about being the 1st person to use
express mail for DC. The group talked about how express mail
changed the industry in both good and bad ways. Mark also told a
funny story about being in a strip club with other artists that
were also using Fed Ex. The group also talked about sexism in the
industry back then.

The conversation got fairly heavy at times, so I went for the funny
stuff as much as possible.  You can listen to the panel here.

Wanting to stretch our legs, Barb and I walked from the convention
center to Seaport Village with Bob Ingersoll.  Joined by Eddie, we
had dinner at a neat little pizza place.  Between the restaurants
in the Gaslamp District, those in Seaport Village, the hotels and
a nigh-fleet of food trucks near the convention center, Comic-Con
offered a lot of great dining choices for its attendees.

After dinner, Bob and I went to the Marriott bar for a few drinks
with Lynell Forestall.  He’s the animator who did those fun shorts
starring Black Lightning and his daughters for DC Nation.  Lynell
and I have been Facebook friends for awhile, but, meeting him for
the first time, it seemed like we’d known each other for a longer
time.  The conversation ranged from comics and cartoons to sports
and cheesy monster movies.  It was a fine way to end another great
day at Comic-Con.

OMG! I actually managed to write about a Comic-Con day in just one
bloggy thing.  Come back tomorrow to see if I can do the same thing
with my Sunday experiences.

© 2013 Tony Isabella

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