Friday, November 25, 2016


Eating lots of turkey on Thanksgiving makes you no more drowsy than eating lots of anything would make you. So, since gluttony is off the table as an excuse for not writing today’s bloggy thing, I’ll try the “odds and ends” option.


If you happen to live near or are passing through Manhattan Beach or Culver City, California, you should check out “Black Lightning Friday” at the Comic Bug stores in those cities. Apparently, this is something the shops have been doing for a few years now and it looks like they have some fun stuff planned for the events. If you do visit them, tell them Black Lightning’s daddy says hi.


To the Republicans in the audience, please spare me your ridiculous claim that President-Elect Donald Trump stands opposed to the alt-right Nazis. As long as Steve Bannon is part of his administration, Trump is just lying. Again. #dishonestdonald


The recent-released Doctor Strange movie is pretty darn sweet. For being part of the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe, it gave us a mostly self-contained story of a hero’s journey from self-centered egotist to selfless hero. Even when he’s playing a jerk, it’s easy to like actor Benedict Cumberbatch, but, by the end of this movie, it’s impossible not to fall in love with him. Again.

Rachel McAdams deserves credit for her understated but all the more wonderful for it performance as Christine Palmer. She holds her own with such heavyweights as Tilda Swinton (The Ancient One) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Mordo).

I don’t play to do a full-on review of this movie, but I did want to make this comment. The special effects are spectacular and fill so much of the screen and running time that I was exhausted when I walked out of the theatre. The filmmakers did a great job bringing Strange co-creator Steve Ditko’s imaginative drawings to cinematic life. But, without the flawed and yet glorious humanity that comes from co-creator Stan Lee’s contributions to the original comic, the movie would’ve been little more than a big light show. An awesome light show, to be sure, but just a light show. As always, it’s the human elements that make for a great super-hero comic book, movie or TV show.


People have asked me about Black Lightning t-shirts. While I don’t have a license to make these, there are a couple of online sources I can direct you to.

Black Action Tees has a Black Lightning shirt with an image of my character taken from the cover of Black Lightning #9 (1978). They also have a multi-character Soul Power Heroes and Heroines t-shirt, which is also very nice.

Stylin Online has a couple of different Black Lightning shirts that feature a more modern version of the character. They come in a few different styles.

Given that 2017 is the 40th anniversary of Black Lightning’s first publication, I think it would be a wonderful thing if lots of you bought Black Lightning shirts and wore them at conventions across this great land of ours. No, I’m not the least bit biased on this. And if you believe that, you probably voted for #dishonestdonald.

Don Thompson, my late friend and mentor, used to have this line he used when he didn’t like a comic book but didn’t want to come out and say that. I’m going by memory, but I think It was “If you like this sort of thing, you’ll like this.”

Which brings me to...

The Crackpot and Other Twisted Tales of Greedy Fans and Collectors by John E. Stockman [Ramble House; $20]. Amazon offers this brief pitch for the collection:

Doomed fans, obsessed collectors, crooked dealers - they’re all here in some of the wildest and wackiest yarns ever typed on a mimeograph stencil. Written by John E. Stockman and published in his only too aptly named fanzine Tales of Torment between 1963 and 1979, the stories were centered around the pulp magazine and comic book collecting subculture of the period but are still fresh and funny today. Utterly unique, a little twisted, and taking place in a timeless world of their own that even non-fans can appreciate, the stories have been largely unseen since their original publication. This collection includes eight of Stockman’s best, selected by editor Dwight R. Decker, as well as notes and an introduction to explain it all.

If you like this sort of thing...

Oh, who am I kidding? I’m no Don Thompson.

These are hideous stories featuring awful men-children who behave in loathsome and even violent manner. These are misogynist screeds that demean women at every opportunity. In one story, a sociopath trades his wife for a stack of magazines. I couldn’t read all eight tales. I skimmed my way through the last two chapters of the sixth and never even started the last two.  If you’re looking for good or even decent writing from Stockman, you won’t find it.

“Old Man Teeverberg” is the only story that didn’t make my stomach churn. It’s a sweet little story of a lonely old man who loves his comic books and who, when fortune favors him, spreads good will to others. Stockman didn’t think much of it. Which speaks volumes as to Stockman’s own mental and moral character.

Outside of the one story, the only redeeming value in this book is the scholarship of editor Dwight Decker and foreword-writer Richard A. Lupoff. Both open a door to an examination of a fandom that may or may not still exist.

So...if you like this sort of thing...I would really appreciate it if you stepped away from me. Way way away from me.

ISBN 978-1605438511


Rick Oliveras did a really terrific interview with me and you can read it here. However...

There’s one statement he made - I hope I didn’t give him the wrong impression in our back and forth emails - that I feel I must clarify to a certain extent. He wrote:

Although the 64-year old Isabella is done with his writing monthly books, he remains a respected voice in the industry as he still writes in his blog, Tony Isabella’s Bloggy Thing.

I can’t deny that I’m 64 years old, though I will be hitting 65 on December 22 of this year. I would never dream of denying that I am a respected voice in the industry, though that may be more a case of my wanting to believe that than actual fact.

However, for that record, I am not done with writing monthly comic books. I’ve started writing a six-issue series for a pretty major publisher. The first issue’s script is done and I’ll be starting on the next one right after Thanksgiving. I’m hoping to have all six issues written before I start hitting the convention trail in mid-February. I’m hoping to be able to tell you about it before then.

I don’t envision myself writing two or three monthly comics titles. There are too many other things I want to write. But my hope and my plan is that I will be spending a portion of every month from here on in writing comic books or graphic novels.

That’s all for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with another “odds and ends” bloggy thing. See you then.

© 2016 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. I never cared for Evan Dorkin's Eltingville stories. I'm guessing Stockman's are even worse.

    Quote Investigator says that line originally came from Artemus Ward. He wrote a joke review of one of his lectures, credited to O. Abe: "For people who like the kind of lectures you deliver, they are just the kind of lectures such people like." The line was often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, QI suspects because of the "Abe" monicker.