Thursday, March 1, 2018


I live in a country where a racist holds the highest office in the land and surrounds himself with fellow bigots and a collection of undisputably evil alt.right Nazis. I live in a country where mass shootings have become so commonplace that scum politicians rattle off the words “thoughts and prayers” so often that those two words have become meaningless. Like my fellow citizens, I live with these kinds of horror every day of my life. And yet...

There are good people in my country and my world. There are things that give me hope and things that bring me happiness. My counter to the bad stuff is to remind myself - every day - of the good things in my life, my country and my world. I post these on Facebook and Twitter to share them with others who look for the light at the end of the Trump Tunnel.

Here are the things that made me happy in January...

January 1: Cleveland Magazine naming me one of its most interesting people of 2018. Add another one to the lengthening list of “things I never expected to happen to me.”

When Sainted Wife Barb and I attended the Cleveland Magazine party for the above, the magazine’s photographer took around 50 photos of me holding copies of my work or looking far more distinguished than is normal for me. Then he asked me to strike a super-hero pose. I told Barb that was the one that would be used. She didn’t think so. The other photos were so much nicer. The photo that leads off this bloggy thing reveals which of us was right.
January 2: Attending the Cleveland Monsters hockey team’s special Marvel Night and signing hundreds of Daredevil and Luke Cage prints for the fans.

January 3: Getting a congratulatory e-mail from a comics reader who hired me for some non-comics freelance writing several years back when I desperately needed the work.

January 4: The LEGO episode of the Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon - “The Thanos Threat” - was hilariously good. I laughed out loud several times while watching it.

January 5: Lucifer’s “City of Angels?” flashback episode revealing our favorite devil’s earliest days in Los Angeles. Kudos to writers Jason Ning and Jenn Kao and, of course, the always wonderful cast of this series.

January 6: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It didn’t kick into high gear until the last 15 or so minutes of the pilot, but now I can’t wait to find the time to watch the whole season.

I’ve since watched the entire season and now I can’t wait for the second season.

January 7: Picked up the first new suit I’ve bought in more than an decade. It looks good and a second made-to-order suit should look even better. Plus it’ll have a Black Lightning label.

My second suit is ready. I hope to pick it up this week.

January 8: Marvel’s Runaways on Hulu. I’ve only watched the first episode, but it certainly feels like the classic series by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona. I liked it.

January 9: Getting a phone call from Salim Akil. Never doubt that all of us who work on Black Lightning in comics or TV are anything but united in our commitment to quality, thoughtful entertainment.

January 10: Galco’s Soda Pop Shop/Galco’s Old World Grocery in Los Angeles. Though I’ve never been there, it makes me happy to know it exists. I will visit there someday soon.
January 11: My Christmas issue of Beano came with a box of pranks.I’m having way too much fun with them for a man of my age.

January 12: For the first time since the 1980s, I have a passport. Waiting for convention invites from around the world. I promise not to cause international incidents.
January 13: The DC Comics in D.C. event. The kindness and respect shown to me by everyone from DC, from the wonderful Black Lightning cast and creators, from the fans. Most of all, being able to share it with my son Ed. I’m going to be paying this day forward for the rest of my life.
January 14: Diet Coke is coming out with new flavors. I’m not a fan of diet sodas, but I’m looking forward to trying the Twisted Mango and Feisty Cherry.

I’ve tried them and, while they were better than regular Diet Coke, they weren’t much better. My new goal is wean myself off Pepsi by switching to various teas. We’ll see how that goes.

January 15: My daughter Kelly getting to work from home from time to time. It’s nice having her around.

Alas, my joy was short-lived. Kelly has moved from our house and to a house she’s renting with a friend. Thankfully, she still visits two or three times a week.

January 16: Orlando Jones. On account of he’s such a genuinely nice and smart and talented guy. The way my career is taking such cool twists, I’m hoping I get to work with him someday.
January 17: The Black Lightning watch party at Casa Isabella. Kelly and Ed put together a great evening, made all the better because we shared it with Nora, Terry, Lauren, Kiera and Justin.

January 18: My 91-year-old mother, who hates violent movies and TV shows and describes herself as a "Hallmark girl" watched the entire first episode of Black Lightning. I never thought she'd make it past my credit line. She couldn't say she liked or understood it all, but thought the acting was amazing and that Christine Adams  was incredibly beautiful. I told her she's off the hook for the rest of the series unless I actually write an episode for a later season.

January 19: Getting to chat with David Harewood (J'onn J'onzz on Supergirl) at the “DC in D.C.” event. I love his performance as a surrogate father to Kara and Alex on that show. I’m the father of a young woman and his J’onn speaks to me. Plus: David was rocking a cool Black Lightning t-shirt.

January 20: Meeting the amazing cast of Black Lightning, feeling mutual love and respect and having that great photo to remember the moment. Maybe the best day of my career.

January 21: Seeing the Legion of Super-Heroes on Supergirl. Okay, we only saw three of them and Brainiac 5's makeup was sketchy, but I’m seeing big-screen potential in the concept.

January 22: On The Flash, Ralph Dibny’s conversation with Joe West about the consequences of “crossing the line” was a great moment. Kudos to Hartley Sawyer and Jesse L. Martin.

January 23: The remarkable Pete Von Sholly’s Ugh! and Son of Ugh! anthologies. It’s vintage Creepy and Eerie if every story in those magazines had been written and drawn by the same amazing creator.

January 24: The second episode of Black Lightning was every bit as good as the first episode. Special kudos to Tracey Bonner for her riveting performance as Lawanda White.

January 25: Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by author and artist Vashti Harrison. A great book for readers of all ages, but especially kids.

January 26: Jim Thome, greatest power hitter in Cleveland baseball history, was voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He was a favorite around here because, besides being a terrific player, he and his family did a lot for charitable causes in the area. It is wonderful to see this great human being so justly honored.
January 27: Meeting Sinbad. We’ve talked on the phone, but this was my first face-to-face meeting with TV’s first Black Lightning. His show was hilarious and he’s a very cool dude. It was a great night.

January 28: Visiting my daughter Kelly’s new house. It’s both cute and functional. She’s a smart young woman.

January 29: I Am Harriet Tubman by Brad Meltzer with illustrations by Christopher Eliopoulos. A powerful addition to their “Ordinary People Change the World” series of children’s books.

January 30: Godholly’s “Black Lightning Theme” from the TV series. The series has lots of great music, but this song has now become my new morning clarion call.

January 31: The family dinner scene in the third episode of Black Lightning. Wonderfully written by Jan Nash and performed by Cress Williams, China Anne McClain and Christine Adams.

With this bloggy thing of mine back from hiatus, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Come back tomorrow for the compilation of those things that made me happy in February.

© 2018 Tony Isabella


  1. Great post Tony! I have 2 positive moments for this year... (1) Discovering Black Lighting and waiting for the new episodes to come out every week and (2) The first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.. just like you, the first episode hooked me. Cheers!

  2. It seems that the first installment of 'Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters' did not make you happy in January. I am guessing that: it took you two or more weeks to get around to viewing it; you have serious reservations about the anime; or both. I am hoping that the second chapter will build upon the first film in a way that benefits both of them.

    Andrew Laubacher

  3. After all that Pee Pee has done overseas, how much bigger a wave can you make?

  4. So glad you like the UGH! books and thank you for the kind and generous mention. I enjoy the hell out of doing those- hope it shows!