Thursday, July 5, 2018


This will be a short bloggy thing because I want to clear the decks for my multi-installment series on going coast-to-coast with Marvel Comics a week or so ago. Today is about Frequently Asked Questions with Depressingly Similar Answers.

Two things I should state up front.

One. I am pleased with all the good things that have come my way in the past twelve months. They are more than many of my fellow comics professionals have received and I am very aware of that.

Two. I have been asked each of these questions over a dozen times in the past week. Hopefully enough people will see my answers that I won’t have to keep responding to these questions.

QUESTION: Will you be at Comic-Con International in San Diego? I’d really like to meet you, talk to you, get you to sign a comic book and maybe have your baby. (Okay, maybe I’m only imagining that last one. I’m on the Vicodin today because I tripped over a pothole in Oberlin. I’ll tell you about that at some point.)

ANSWER: No. Comic-Con is an event I can only attend when someone or something covers all my expenses. It’s not a cheap trip. Neither DC Comics nor the Black Lightning TV show is bringing me in. Nor did Comic-Con invited me. Nor did I win the Bill Finger Award because, apparently, all it takes is one good year to disqualify me for that award. Don’t mistake my snark here for anything other than my being disappointed that I won’t be in San Diego this month and that I’ll miss my dear pal Mark Evanier’s 102 different panels. I especially wanted to see the one where Mark tries to remember what day it is and what panel he’s hosting.

QUESTION: Will you have any official role for the second season of Black Lighting or make a cameo appearance in an episode?

ANSWER: I don’t know. As to the former, I’d have liked that. But, as the season has already started filming, I don’t think that will happen.  As for my appearing on Black Lightning, I did offer to be James Remar’s stunt double but there’s some sort of crazy insurance stuff about that.

Make no mistake about this. My love for the TV series and everyone who works on it is as strong as it ever was. Unless you’re me, you can’t imagine how wondrous it is to watch a weekly series based on my creation that respects my work and my core values. If I could, I would hug each and every one of the actors, writers, producers, directors, designers, crafts services people, whatever every day until they got restraining orders. I don’t go as far as practicing writing my name - Tony Williams, Tony Adams, Tony Anne McClain - but I love them all forever.

QUESTION: Are you writing an ongoing Black Lightning series or any other project for DC Comics?

ANSWER: Not at present. I have said countless times that I would be happy to write new Black Lightning stories until the day they pry my keyboard from my cold dead hands. I worked very hard to revamp my creation for 2018. It received critical acclaim and might well have sold much better if DC had gone back to press when the first issue sold out so quickly and if they had given us variant covers every issue, as the company does with Detective Comics and many other titles.. I’m exceedingly proud of the work I did there and of the work done by artist Clayton Henry, colorist Pete Pantazis, and editors Harvey Richards and Jim Chadwick.

That said, I have pitched an ongoing Black Lightning title and also pitched a non-BL, out-of-continuity graphic novel that will knock your socks off if I get to do it. I’m talking something which would make DC a lot of money and quite possibly be adapted for an R-rated animated feature. DC has not given me the go-ahead on either a BL ongoing series or the graphic novel.

QUESTION: What do you think of the current Black Lightning story in Detective Comics?

ANSWER: I have no comment save for this. Black Lightning is clearly a headliner. To make him yet another Batman sidekick does a great disservice to my creation. Obviously, any story that does that will be a story I have problems with.

QUESTION: Will you be writing comic books for other publishers in the future?

ANSWER: I’ve agreed to write a short comics story for a publisher at an absurdly low rate because I like the franchise. I have sent off three pitches to a much larger publisher. As I am not exclusive to any client or publisher, I’d certainly be open to working with other clients and publishers. Especially those clever enough to see that “From the creator of Black Lightning” will be a selling point for whatever I might do for them.

Comic books are my first love. When I’m not writing them, there are lots of other things I do. I’m writing a non-fiction prose book on  Black Lightning, his creation and diversity in comics. I’ve agreed to write several other books for the publisher of that book. I work on them in between my comics writing gigs.

There’s a decent chance I’ll be writing a horror movie for which I would also be a producer. I may also be involved in an exhibition of Ohio comics artists. I have a more expansive skill set than most of my clients and readers realize.

QUESTION: Are you coming to (fill in name of convention)?

ANSWER: If I haven’t already announced a convention appearance, I probably won’t be there. To get me at a convention, the organizers of the convention have to do these things:

Invite me.

Invite me well before the convention. If you wanted me at an event in July, that ship has already sailed. If you want me at an event in August, that ship is about to sail.

Agree to my requirements package. At the very least, the package is going to include travel, hotel and per diem expenses. It will also include guidelines to my billing and promotion. It will most likely include an appearance fee.

I’m a great date, but I’m not a cheap date. If a convention can’t meet my requirements, I won’t take it personally.

If you want me at a convention or other event that you’re putting on, e-mail me sooner rather than later. I’ll e-mail you the afore-mentioned requirements package.

From this point on, I will ignore any invitations or interview requests or other requests that are not e-mailed to me. E-mail is my preferred communication method for these things. Facebook and Twitter are woefully inadequate for my handling these requests in a timely fashion.

I would very much prefer to not have to answer the above questions again and again. I’m a dreamer. I know that.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

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