Tuesday, November 15, 2016


The end of Daylight Savings Times on Sunday, November 6, meant that I gained an extra hour to relax before heading over to the John S. Knight Convention Center for the second day of the Akron Comicon. I slept in a little bit, then headed downstairs to have breakfast at The Bistro.

The Bistro served a mighty fine breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, sourdough toast and orange juice. Big portions, too. More than I could eat. At 65, the days when I would soldier on and clean my plate are well behind me. I try to limit how much food I eat at all times. After all, I have to look my best for the special Tony Isabella’s Bloggy Thing Swimsuit Edition.

I ended up eating breakfast with Mike Curtis who, with Joe Staton, creates the Dick Tracy newspaper strip. Mike and Joe have brought new life to the adventures of the legendary detective. The strip is one of my favorites. Coming soon in the strip: Dick Tracy teams up with Will Eisner’s The Spirit. It is permitted, nay, expected that you squeal with delight like a small child on hearing this exciting news. I know I did.

Back in my room, I finished one of Guy H. Smith’s giant crab novels on my Kindle. These aren’t exactly great literature, but, as I have said, they are the prose equivalent of cheese monster movies. Just the ticket for when I have a little bit of time to kill.

I determined Sunday at the Akron Comicon was going to be all about catching up with old friends, doing some shopping, and enjoying the cosplay. My plans went south because Sunday turned out to be near as busy for me as Saturday was. I never got to do any shopping and, for some reason, the cosplayers were mostly hanging out across the convention center from me. I did see a spectacular Mary Jane Watson whose “Face it, tiger, you just hit the jackpot!” was perfect. I gotta tell you...John Romita really knows how to draw sexy women!

In more or less alphabetical order...

New pulp novelist and pop culture historian Jim Beard was across the aisle from me. I think I first met Jim at a Pulpfest, an annual show held in Columbus. Alas, having been screwed over by its Hyatt Regency venue, Pulpfest has not yet landed a venue for 2017. Which makes fitting it into my schedule impossible. I’m hoping the event can set the dates and location soon because I always enjoying going to the show and seeing old friends, even those who were dicks after the presidential election.

Craig Boldman, whose run on Jughead is one of my favorites, was one of several creators I didn’t get much of a chance to hang out with at the convention. To that number, you can add Mike Gustovich, Bob Ingersoll, Arvell Jones, Dirk Manning, Milo Miller and Ted Sikora of Apama and Hero Tomorrow, and Mark Sumerak. Have I left out some names? Of course, I have. As I said yesterday, I really to need to get a helper human.

George Broderick, Jr., one of the most clever, multi-talented and underrated cartoonist of our time was at the convention and sharing a booth with multi-media creator Chris Yambar. George gave me his three most recent comics and I gave him a copy of Black Lightning Volume One. I’ll be reviewing George’s comics soon.
As for Chris Yambar, though he has been dealing with some serious health issues, including the loss of vision in one eye, he has not stopped making art. He gave me a cool postcard set from his Artist and Model collection, which opened October 7 at The Soap Gallery in Youngstown, Ohio. He even quoted me on the back of one of the cards in the set:

“Chris is the poster boy for over-achievement in the arts.”
I also managed a nice conversation with P. Craig Russell, a friend of mine from when we both broke into comic books in the 1970s. He is one of the most masterful artists and storytellers in the field and I always look forward to his new work. He gave me a DVD of his P. Craig Russell’s Guide to Graphic Storytelling (Elric Edition). Before the end of the month, I’ll be writing about that and all the other cool stuff that’s been given or sent to me in recent weeks.

If the 2016 Akron Comicon was a disappointment in any way, it was only in my not getting to spend much time with all the incredible cosplayers who came to the event. For the most part, I could only glimpse them from across the room. I’m determined this will never happen again. My battle plan is two-fold...

One. I’m getting a smart phone that will allow me to take photos I can share with my bloggy thing readers.

Two. At every convention I attend in 2017, I will have money and a certificate for cosplayers. Here’s how that will work...

Before the end of the year, I will post a list of the cosplay I’d like to see at my 2017 appearance. There will be 20-25 costumes on the list. Many will be characters I created, like Black Lightning, Misty Knight and Tigra. Others will be characters I wrote, such as Hawkman, Hawkwoman, the Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider and others. Some will just be characters I love like the Blonde Phantom, Cosmo the Merry Martian, Herbie Popnecker, the original Sugar and Spike, the classic Zatanna, Mademoiselle Marie, and others. If you come to my convention booth/table cosplaying as these characters, I will give a dollar and a special certificate.

A dollar? Yeah, but it’s the thought that counts and I will have at least fifty bucks per event to hand out at each convention.

The certificate? That will be a whole lot cooler. It will have all kinds of flowery language and a terrific design. It’ll be suitable for framing. I’ll be sitting down with a designer before the end of the year to create this certificate.

Okay, now that I’ve written this down, it sounds like I’m the kid who could only get a dog to play with him by tying a burger around his neck. However, I’m willing to come off as pathetic to see some great cosplay. If it works, it’ll be fun. If it doesn’t work, well, it won’t be the first time a plan went awry. Always forward.

The 2016 Akron Comicon was, as expected, enormous fun for everyone who attended. Next year’s event will take place on Saturday/Sunday, November 4-5, at the John S. Knight Convention Center. The Comicon will include Monsterfest Mania, giving fans two great shows for the price of one. I’ll be there. You should be there, too.

As always, my thanks to Akron Comicon promoters Robert Jenkins, Michael Savene and Jesse Noble for putting on such a spiffy event and for treating the fans, the guests and me so well. Just as Mid-Ohio-Con used to be my home show, the Akron Comicon is now my home show. You can expect to see me there every year.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2016 Tony Isabella

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