Friday, June 1, 2018


My May is best described as a mostly melancholy month, alleviated by some really great times. It seems like no May day passed without the Dumpster or his fellow gangsters doing or saying something so incredibly horrible it felt like the United States Constitution was my nut sack and I’d just been kicked in it.

Professionally, it was my worst month in years. Right now, outside of my weekly “Tony’s Tips” column at Tales of Wonder, I haven’t a single paying gig on my desk. A couple of back-end things, but no other writing assignments. One would think having a hit TV series and a critically-acclaimed comic-book mini-series would have made me more employable and even sought after. Sigh.

While thinking about what I wanted to write here today, I found a May 18 thread I posted on Twitter. It was a sad reminder of how far I am from my goals.

Can't sleep, so I ponder what I want out of life. To write Black  Lightning until the day I die. To write other things in between writing Black Lightning. To make enough money from this so that my wife can retire early. To be able to afford to donate to worthy causes. 12:54 AM - 18 May 2018

To reduce my Vast Accumulation of Stuff so that we can eventually  move to a smaller place in a less Republican and less white neck of the woods. To see sanity restored to my country, something that won't happen if my fellow Americans keeping electing racist Republicans. 12:54 AM - 18 May 2018

To visit dear friends I don't see often enough. To lose weight. To  dance like there's nobody watching, but I'm pretty sure that would cause undue distress to anyone who was watching. To move to Nevada  (Carson City or Reno). 12:56 AM - 18 May 2018

To take my wife on a cruise and not get eaten by a sea monster; this pretty much has to be a package deal. To spend a month in Japan. To spend a month in Italy. To spend a month in Great  Britain with a side trip to Ireland. 12:57 AM - 18 May 2018

As I’ve mentioned before, I suffer from depression. It has been a part of my life since I was young and I fight it every single day of my life. One of my battle techniques is to remind myself every single day of my life of the things that make me happy. Here’s my list of those things from the month of May...

May 1: The fierce and funny Michelle Wolf speaking truth to power and the impotent media at the White House Correspondents Dinner. I winced once or twice, but, right on, woman! Bless you for saying what needed to be said.

May 2: Not gaining weight after a convention.

May 3: Both Sainted Wife Barb and myself had letters in our local newspaper supporting Grant Goodrich for U.S. Representative in our 16th District. Barb’s was better. [Sadly, though Goodrich was far and away the best candidate in the Democratic primary, he came in second to someone who will get trounced in the November election.]

May 4: Getting a note like this: “I don’t send messages like this very often, but man, you were hands down the nicest person I’ve ever met at a convention. I really hope you come back to East Coast Comicon again so I can speak with you. Once more I’d like to tell you congratulations on all of the success you’ve gotten with Black Lightning. It’s well earned, sir.”

May 5: Skye P. Marshall’s can’t-take-your-eyes-off-her performance as a homeless veteran on NCIS. The actress, who plays Kara Fowdy on Black Lightning, is herself an United States Air Force veteran.

May 6: Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with Barb, Eddie, Kelly, “other daughter” Giselle (back from NYC for a few days), Greg, Sheri and Lauren...and especially Sheri’s peach margaritas.

May 7: Stormy Daniels on Saturday Night Live and elsewhere. She’s funny and tough. If she ran for office, I’d vote for her over any Republican and a bunch of Democrats.

May 8: Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon. Her chameleon comedy is almost supernatural as she effortlessly parodies so many different characters.

May 9: The Jim Jefferies Show knocked it out of the park on May 8. Great bit on the mistreatment of NFL cheerleaders. Great interview with Carol Burnett. Great bit on the refugees trying to enter the U.S. legally. Well done, sir.

May 10: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Marlon Bundo with Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller. A beautiful book that I would not hesitate to read to my grandchildren if I had any.

May 11: Stormwatch Comics in New Jersey sent me over 50 Free Comic Book Day comic books. Last year, I read and reviewed all of them. I’m going for a repeat this year.

May 12: My son Ed got the keys to his new house. I’m very proud of him and delighted he’s still living in Medina.

May 13: The Sheldon and Amy wedding episode of The Big Bang Theory. Brilliantly written and performed.

May 14: Mother’s Day with Barb, Eddie, Kelly and Simba. We all had a terrific time. Simba saved her allowance to buy Barb a nice card and a Bob Evans gift card.

May 15: Receiving a nice note from one of the biggest names and best creators in comics. There are so many good people in comics. I need to find ways to work with them in the future.

May 16: The Lucifer season finale was brilliant! Satisfying endings to several stories and a hell of a last scene punch! #SaveLucifer #PickUpLucifer

May 17: The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale. I was a big fan of McHale’s The Soup on E! This is pretty much the same except better. Thank you, Netflix!

May 18: Batman Nightwalker by Marie Lu. A great young adult novel by the New York Times bestselling author. Puts the Gotham TV show to shame.

May 19: ECBACC 2018. The East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention in Philadelphia is always a joy. It’s a community that supports my work and has become family to me.

May 20: Don “Mister Fun” McGregor. There’s a reason Don’s writing is still vibrant today. Because, in his life and in his writing, he is always his own timeless self.

May 21: Alex Simmons. A friend and the one of the most accomplished and important comics creators and educators you’ve never heard of. There’s not a publisher on the planet that wouldn’t be fortunate to have him on their team.

May 22: Saturday Night Live’s star-studded season finale. Even when a sketch didn’t quite hit the mark, it was fun seeing so many cool performers.

May 23: Comedian Jim Jeffries twice registered a half-ton camel as his “emotional service animal” to show how ridiculous that process is. Hilarious comedy that serves the public good. Human up, people, and reserve the “service animal” stuff for those who truly need it.

May 24: I love The Bridge: How the Roeblings Connected Brooklyn to New York by Peter J. Tomasi and artist Sara Duvall. By the way, on this date in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was opened.

May 25: The Traverse City Resort in Michigan. A beautiful complex surrounded by natural beauty. The view from our room was absolutely spectacular.

May 26: The Cherry Capital Comic Con. One of the best-run events I have ever attended. The show took wonderful care of Barb and I, the other guests and, of course, the fans.

May 27: Don’s Drive-in and Moomer’s Ice Cream. Just two more great reasons to attend the Cherry Capital Comic Con.

May 28: Northern Michigan’s CW32. They sponsored my appearance and had great Black Lightning swag for the fans.

May 29: Writing a word balloon for Gene Ha’s great Black Lightning sketch, done for a charity auction. Our first collaboration and I hope there’s more to come.

May 30: Having several great conversations with Jim Steranko, one of the first comics professionals to encourage me when I still in my teens.

May 31: Actor Brian O’Halloran. A friendly, talented gentleman who offered me some very kind encouragement as I plan the next chapters of my career.

June has arrived. I’m hoping to turn things around in this bright shiny new month. I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella


  1. Absolutely agree with you on BBT... the wedding of the Shamey was the best finale this season.

  2. I followed up on your recommendation and picked up a copy of Marie Lu's 'Batman' young-adult novel today (well, yesterday now). It's next on my reading list.

    Andrew Laubacher