Thursday, August 30, 2018


I received all sorts of positive comments on yesterday's Batman blog. You know who didn't care much for it? Me. The guy who wrote it.

I'm dealing with all sorts of little issues and problems at the moment. None of them worth talking about, save that they are getting in the way of my writing.

I don't think I did a good job on yesterday's Batman blog, so I'll be rewriting it in a few days. I'm leaving the original up for now, but there will be a new and expanded version next week.

[I've taken down the Batman piece. I didn't do a good enough job with it. I'll be re-writing it in the very near future to add some more nuance. I don't want to come off like one of the old farts who want comic books to be exactly like they were when I was 12. That's just not me.]

Which is when I'll be resuming full-scale blogging. I figure the writing will go better once I deal with  these troublesome issues and problems. See you soon.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018


This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder: Back Issue #107 featuring "Archie Comics in the Bronze Age"; Secret Weapons: Owen’s Story #1 by writer Eric Heisserer with art by Raul Allen and Patricia Martin; and Gothic manga Bizenghast: The Collector’s Edition Volume I by M. Alice LeGrow.

Monday, August 27, 2018


My last Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales of 2018 were Friday and Saturday, August 24-25. The hours of the sale were supposed to be 9 am to 1 pm each day, but my garage door remained open a touch longer on both dates. Fun sets its own timetable.

I had a great time and so did my customers. Of course, many of my customers are also dear friends of mine. We talked about all things comics. There were some special moments as well.

Folks I had met at last weekend’s NEO Comic Con and who picked up fliers for my garage sale came to my house. One was a mom and her shy son, who wants to be a comic-book writer. He had a wee bit of difficulty asking me questions, but he has my e-mail address so I can answer any other questions as they occur to him.

Near the end of Saturday’s sale, a woman who had been there earlier in the day came by with her neighbor. Her neighbor loves the Black Lightning TV series and was so excited to meet the creator of the character that she was practically jumping up and down. She called a family member so that he could talk to me as well. When she left, I gave her a signed Black Lightning poster.

Since I’m always asked garage sales were very successful. I made 147% of my goal for the weekend. I sold all but two of the dozen $10 mystery boxes I had prepared. I sold all but one of the collector boxes I had on hand. I sold hundreds of dollars worth of dollar comics and more expensive comics. I sold a great many manga volumes off my fifty-cent table and every issue of Commando that I had put out. Since I have two stacks of unread issues of Commando - it’s a British comics digest featuring war stories - you’ll have a chance to buy issues again next year.

I learned some lessons from this year’s garage sales. Advertising in my local newspaper is simply not cost-effective. There was not enough civilian traffic for the $60 it costs for a tiny classified ad. Next year, I’ll try to come up with “events” that will get the newspaper to give me free publicity.

My Craig’s List announcements were free and seemed to bring in some customers. I even got a “fan letter” from a non-comics fan because she enjoyed the photos and my writing. I’ll try to make them even more fun next year.

And, of course, my promoting the sales on Facebook and Twitter, and in this bloggy thing were the most reliable way to draw customers to the sales. At the risk of sounding hokey, my life is better for all the social media friends I’ve made.

I’ll be starting work on my 2019 garage sales next week. The plan is to utilize my son’s now-vacant bedroom as a staging ground for bagging and pricing comic books, making mystery boxes and preparing all the other items I’ll be selling. You can expect the return of the quarter boxes, the return of the fifty-cent table, collectible phones at insanely low prices, additional boxes of more expensive comic books and at least one box of Isabella-written comic books. With the Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands trade collection coming out in October and Black Lightning: Brick City Blues in early 2019, I’ll have those in stock as well.

Thanks to everyone who came to my garage sales this year. With the advance planning I’m doing, I hope to be able to start them just as soon in 2019 as the weather permits.

In my new-found zeal to get out of my office more often, I’ll be at the opening reception of the Vagabond Comics Retrospective. It will be held on Friday, August 31 from 5-8 pm at the Gordon Square Art Space, 1386 W. 65th St., Cleveland, Ohio. To quote from the event notice on Facebook:

Join us for the opening reception of Vagabond Comics Retrospective, and celebrate the launch of Vagabond Comics, Issue 9: Midnight Creepers. Vagabond Comics is an independently published, all-ages anthology.

Much like a trash can fire serves as a gathering place for the wild tales of ragtag travelers, we aim to provide a welcoming platform for a diverse collection of voices. This show features work from various contributors across two year’s worth of quarterly comics.

My next public appearance will be a first for me. I will be doing a reading from my Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands mini-series in a nightclub setting. If you’re going to be in the Cleveland area on Saturday evening, September 1, think about coming to this event:

Tap Dance Killer's Comic Book Cabaret

Hero Tomorrow Comics is throwing a loving farewell for the Phantasy complex featuring a vaudeville show of rock and theatre performers, dancers, poets, and comic book writers! It'll be a night like you've never seen!

The Symposium Nightclub
11794 Detroit Ave
Lakewood, OH 44107

The doors open at 6 pm. The show runs 7 pm to midnight. Admission is $5 at the door. If you’re under 21, it’s $8 at door. This venue is cash only.

Yeah, this is a little out there for me. But, barreling towards 67, I remain committed to trying new things, spreading my “brand” far and wide and always, always going forward.

My next convention appearance will be the Hall of Heroes Comic Con on Saturday and Sunday, September 8 and 9, in Elkhart, Indiana. I will have more information at that event next week.

In the meantime, I’ll be bringing you new bloggy things on a nigh-daily basis with discussions of Black Lightning and much more more. I’ll also be working on various books and comics. I’ll let you know how those are going as they progress.

Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Sunday, August 26, 2018


I love my fans and friends more than I can express. Here's some very smart thinking posted on my Facebook page by Keith DeCandido, a terrific writer and one of the best editors I have ever worked with. He wrote:

Separating yourself from the show will damage the show, damage the character, and damage you. Take the high ground and continue to support a use of the character that actually is good and wonderful and also has your name on every single episode. Talk about the character and the TV show's use of him and your creation of him and your role in developing him. When asked about more comics, shrug and tell them you'd love to do more, but it's up to DC.

Black Lightning is one of the most important shows on the air right now because of what's been happening in Trump's America. Having a show like this matters more now than it has in a very long time.

And again, your name is on every episode.

You should be embracing that in every way that you possibly can.

And I will be doing just that. Always forward.


This was posted to my Facebook page by Tyrone Tony Reed Jr.:

Mr. Isabella, please don't quit. As an African American man, your character has been an inspiration to me since childhood and I'm sure it has been to others who searched comics for someone who looked like them and faced the same things they did. I truly believe that God has a season for everyone and that it's usually when we feel the most discouraged that God sends someone to encourage us as we approach the great things He has for us. I love Black Lightning and I look forward to seeing more stories from you about this timely and enduring character. Don't lose hope and please don't give up! Let your haters be your motivators, but most of all, look around to all the love and support that you are getting from those who love you and the character you shared with us.

Honestly, I was very disappointed and depressed by DC Comics disrespecting my creation and my myself. I asked myself if I should just walk away. But my fans and friends reignited my fighter instincts. Black Lightning does not exist without my creating him in 1976. No one knows Jefferson Pierce better than I do. So I will continue to speak out when I believe DC handles him in a disrespectful and incorrect manner. I will continue to remind them of what they owe me. I will continue to push for an ongoing Black Lightning series written by me and following in the critically-acclaimed footsteps of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands. I hope my fans and friends will join me in this.

Thursday, August 23, 2018


Since I'm not in the right place to write bloggy things at the moment, I figured I'd post a few notes I've received recently. Here's one of them:

Mr. Isabella, I just wanted to let you know that you are a great voice for good. I just read your "Bloggy Thing" and specifically your response to the "Comicsgate" stuff. Well said, sir. I congratulate you on your moderate temperament and ability to seemingly let things just roll off your back. With so much hate and anger in our world today, it really is wonderful to open a title like "Cold Dead Hands" and see that, if we really appreciate each other and strive towards something better and all inclusive, we could truly have some kind of lasting peace and understanding in this world. I just am a Black Lighting fan that just finally wanted to let you know how much I love your work...Thank you, Mr. Isabella and God bless you and your family. Sincerely, Matthew E Bedlion.

I'm not doing well with the moderate temperament and letting things roll off my back this week, but I do thank Matthew for his note.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018


This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...I look at the new MAD; the very dark Injustice: Gods among Us: Year One – The Complete Collection by writer Tom Taylor; and Power Man and Iron Fist Vol. 1: The Boys are Back in Town!


Here's my Craig's List notice:

Tuesday, August 21, 2018


My last Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales will take place on Friday and Saturday, August 24-25, at the famous Isabella summer house, 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio. It’s also the famous Isabella fall, winter and spring house. The hours for the sale will be 9 am to 1 pm on both dates.

If you’ve been to my garage sales this year, you know that I’ll be selling lots of comic books priced at just a dollar. These aren’t comic books left over from the comics boom and bust of the 1990s. These are recent comics and even some much older ones. Star Wars. Batman. Groo. Valiant. Marvel. DC. Simpsons. These were a big hit at last Sunday’s NEO Comic Con, so I’ll be adding a bunch of comic books to fill the boxes. You can also expect to find bargain-price magazines.

Kid-friendly comics and books will be displayed in a spinner rack. Though I also have some of them in the dollar boxes, I wanted to be sure any parent can quickly find material suitable for their child. As always, I caution parents that not every comic book is suitable for a younger reader, even some featuring classic characters like Batman. If they have questions about this, I’ll be happy to answer them and direct them to the kid-friendly issues.

I’m devoting a lot of space to hardcovers and trade paperbacks for this last garage sale of 2018. These are usually priced at 70% off their original prices. Sometimes it hurts when I sell some of these books, but such is the cost of downsizing.

I’ll have a rack of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1-6 and the two Black Lightning trade paperbacks of comics from the 1970s and 1980s. As with any Isabella-written item, signatures are free when you buy said items from me. Indeed, even if you haven’t bought the Isabella-written item from me, I never charge for autographs at my garage sales.

We'll have some collectible character phones at $5. Spider-Man. The Simpsons. Mickey and Minnie Mouse. I might have even some phones priced at less than $5. Because I can.

We’ll have posters. The rare double-sided Superman poster that was created for the 1988 International Superman Exposition in my home town of Cleveland. Mini-posters of Daredevil and Luke Cage. A Black Lightning poster featuring Cress Williams and another Black Lightning poster you have to see to believe.

I’ll have July 1963: A Pivotal Month in the Comic-Book Life of Tony Isabella on sale. I’ll also have replicas of the legendary “Green Books” that guided African-American travelers to safe hotels and restaurants across the nation.

I’m not sure how many I have left as I’m still searching for them in the Vast Accumulation of Stuff, but I’ll have some DC and Marvel and Stan Lee subscription boxes on sale. These will be priced at less than half of their original cost.

I’ll have at least a dozen of our popular $10 mystery boxes. Each box has well over $10 worth of comics, books, magazines, collector items and more. You’ll be amazed at what’s in them.

When I’m not adding up purchases - math is hard - I’ll be delighted to answer your questions about comics and my own work. I might even share some choice stories from my career. It’s kind of sort of like a comics convention in a garage. I hope to see you there.

Hey, and if you want to come to my garage sale in costume, I'm absolutely cool with that. I'll take your photo and you could end up in my blog. It's not exactly a "fame and fortune" opportunity, but think how confused my neighbors will be. On the other hand, they've known me for decades. Probably won't bat an eye.

Come back tomorrow and I’ll update you on my schedule for the rest of August and September.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Saturday, August 18, 2018


My next convention appearance will be NEO Comic Con, Sunday, August 19, 10 am to 5 pm at the Soccer Sportsplex,  31515 Lorain, North Olmsted, Ohio. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for cosplayers with anyone age 13 and under getting free admission.

The convention has an impressive list of comics guests and events. Besides me, that list includes Gary Dumm, Ted Sikora, Marc Sumerak, Darryl Banks, Dan Gorman, Phil Hester, Matt Horak, Angel Medina, Ande Parks, Rock Lozano and more. Some small comics publishers and other artists will also have tables at the convention.

In addition to cosplay and gaming events, NEO has also scheduled an “Ask the Professional” panel featuring Mark Sumerak and me. It’ll happen at 12:30 pm.

You can find me at tables 106-107 in between Darryl Banks and Matt  Horak. My current plan is to bring lots of Isabella-written stuff, such as Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1-6; Black Lightning Volume 1 and Volume 2; and July 1963: A Pivotal Month in the Comic-Book Life of Tony Isabella Volume One. I’m also planning to bring Black Lightning and Superman posters; Daredevil and Luke Cage mini-posters; a few DC Comics and Stan Lee collectors boxes; and several boxes of dollar comics.

I will only be signing at my tables and I do charge for signatures. Here’s the price list on that:

Items bought at my table: no charge.

Items not bought from me: one free signature; all others $2 per item.

Photo of me or with me: no charge.

Signature witnessed by representative from grading company: $5 per item.

Having me sign Certificate Of authenticity: $5 per item.

One more NEO note.

Portions from admissions along with individual donations will go to Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana Organization. Last year, the convention raised over $3000 for that organizations. With the help of sponsors Halleen KIA and Lakewood’s El Carnicero restaurant, it hopes to do the same or better this time around.

I hope to see you there.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


On this date in 2011, TONY ISABELLA'S BLOGGY THING was launched. If you'd like to celebrate the occasion, please donate to The Hero Initiative.

I'll be back soon with more bloggy things.

Tony Isabella

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

NEO COMICS CON (August 19)

My next convention appearance will be NEO Comic Con, Sunday, August 19, 10 am to 5 pm at the Soccer Sportsplex,  31515 Lorain, North Olmsted, Ohio. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for cosplayers with anyone age 13 and under getting free admission.

The convention has an impressive list of comics guests and events. Besides me, that list includes Gary Dumm, Ted Sikora, Marc Sumerak, Darryl Banks, Dan Gorman, Phil Hester, Matt Horak, Angel Medina, Ande Parks, Rock Lozano and more. Some small comics publishers and other artists will also have tables at the convention.

In addition to cosplay and gaming events, NEO has also scheduled a panel. Here’s the skinny on that:

Ask the Professional: 12:30pm (approximately 45 minutes)

Comics industry veterans Tony Isabella (creator of Black Lightning, co-creator of Misty Knight & Tigra) and Marc Sumerak (Marvel Comics Editor, Best Selling Author and Game Imagineer) will bring their 50 plus years of experience to this Q&A Session. This is your chance to quiz the experts regarding the industry, writing techniques or to get their insights on your favorite characters or stories.  Due to NDAs (non-disclosure agreements), there will be questions that I can’t answer and assume the same will be true for my friend Marc.

I’ll have two tables at the convention. My current plan is to bring lots of Isabella-written stuff, such as Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1-6; Black Lightning Volume 1 and Volume 2; and July 1963: A Pivotal Month in the Comic-Book Life of Tony Isabella Volume One. I’m also planning to bring Black Lightning and Superman posters; Daredevil and Luke Cage mini-posters; a few DC Comics and Stan Lee collectors boxes; and several boxes of dollar comics.

I will only be signing at my tables and I do charge for signatures. Here’s the price list on that:

Items bought at my table: no charge.

Items not bought from me: one free signature; all others $2 per item.

Photo of me or with me: no charge.

Signature witnessed by representative from grading company: $5 per item.

Having me sign Certificate Of authenticity: $5 per item.

One more NEO note.

Portions from admissions along with individual donations will go to Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana Organization. Last year, the convention raised over $3000 for that organizations. With the help of sponsors Halleen KIA and Lakewood’s El Carnicero restaurant, it hopes to do the same or better this time around.

Last weekend’s Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be. Despite pleasant weather, I didn’t get many customers. The final sales total was only 56% of my two-day goal. Disappointing.

My next garage sale will be Friday and Saturday, August 24-25. That will be my final garage sale of 2018. I will have more information about this sale in the near future.

After the NEO Comic Con, my next convention appearance will be the Hall of Heroes Comicon, September 8 and 9, at The Gateway Mile, 410 S Main Street, Elkhart, Indiana. I’ll have more on this before the event. In the meantime, you can check out the Hall of Heroes Museum on Facebook.

As always, if you are a convention or event promoter who wants to have me as a guest at your convention or event, you need to e-mail me for a list of my requirements. Don’t send me invitations at this blog or on Facebook or Twitter. E-mail me.

That’s all for now. I’m working on several review and other bloggy things and will post them as I finish them. See you soon.

© 2018 Tony Isabella


The very first online communication I received this morning was from a fan who wanted me to read his book and help him turn it into a movie. Because, of course, I have immense power in these things and so much spare time I don't know what to do with it.

Once again, all I owe any fan or reader is putting my very best effort into everything I write. That's it. At this time, I have no role, official or otherwise, in the Black Lightning TV series. I can't buy your script or cast you for a part in the series. I haven't even been asked to visit the set.

Heck, outside of writing an introduction to a collection of my Black Lightning comics from the 1990s, I don't have any DC Comics gigs. Yeah, I know that's crazy. Welcome to the unrelentingly confusing, frustrating and often senseless world of comics.

I'm working on my own projects. Unless you've done me a major solid in the past, I'm not going to take time away from them for your project unless you're paying me to do so.

I love comics. But working in comics is a business. Too often in the past, I have not embraced that notion fully.

I love comics. I love my fans, readers and fellow comics creators. Except, of course, for the bigots and racists and Nazis. I will always give you the best possible work I can give you at the time.

This has been my morning rant.

Monday, August 13, 2018


This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder: Ricanstruction: Reminiscing & Rebuilding Puerto Rico, Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez's amazing comics anthology featuring super-star creators and DC super-hero stars; Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons by Mike Reiss; and My Brother’s Husband Volume One by Gengoroh Tagame!

Sunday, August 12, 2018


Comics Revue is an outstanding comics magazine and one of my own favorites. Edited by Rick Norwood, each bimonthly issues presents  128 pages of classic comics strips. The June 2018 issue [Manuscript Press; $19.95] is one of the best issues yet. From the incredible front cover by Romero, best known for his work on Modesty Blaise, to the hilarious Rick O’Shay Sunday strip by Stan Lynde on the back cover, this was a great issue of the great magazine.

First up was an earlier Mandrake the Magician story by creator Lee Falk and artist Phil Davis. “The Slave Traders of Tygandi” ran from July 20, 1936, to November 28, 1936. This exotic adventure is early in the relationship between Mandrake and Princess Narda. They are smitten with one another, but keeping coy about it. Mandrake comes to her land to help her addicted-to-gambling brother. Mandrake’s description of her is priceless:

Once thinking to protect her brother, she tried to poison me, drown me, knife me and slug me. A very remarkable girl!

In these earliest adventures, it always seemed to me that Mandrake had actual magic powers beyond his hypnosis. I like him best that way and, if I were ever to write him, that’s the tack I’d prefer to take. Hey, King Features, up for a revival?

There’s lots of other great stuff in this issue of Comics Revue. Complete stories of the gently satiric Sig Bagby by R & D Hackney,  Buz Sawyer by Roy Crane, and the Phantom by Falk and Wilson McCoy. Then there are the serials: Flash Gordon from both the 1960s and the 1970s; Casey Ruggles by Warren Tufts, Alley Oop by V.T. Hamlin, Steve Roper, Tarzan, Gasoline Alley, Steve Canyon, Krazy Kat, Rick O’Shay and, from Modesty Blaise creator Peter O’Donnell, the mighty adventurer known as Garth.

Single copies of Comics Revue are $20. One-year subscriptions are only $59. For more information, you can visit the Comics Revue page on Facebook or write Norwood at Manuscript Press, Box 336, Mountain Home, TN 37684.


I have been getting the Scooby-Doo Team-Up trades via my library, which means I get them somewhat out of order. I read and reviewed Scooby-Doo Team-Up Volume 5 [DC Comics; $12.99] a couple weeks back for my “Tony’s Tips” column at Tales of Wonder. You can read that review here.

I just read Scooby-Doo Team-Up Volume 3 [DC Comics; $12.99], which is more DCU-centric than the fifth volume. Written by Sholly Fish with art by Dario Brizuela, this volume collects issues #13-18 of the monthly series with every story featuring characters from all across the DCU.

The Phantom Stranger and Deadman recruit the Scooby and the gang to help find the missing ghosts of the DCU. Included in the spectral victims are Kid Eternity, General Jeb Stuart of the Haunted Tank, The Grim Ghost (formerly known as the Gay Ghost), the Ghost Patrol and even one of my favorites: The Gentleman Ghost.

The remaining stories feature the Flash and a trip to Gorilla City, Aquaman, the Captain Marvel Family, Hawkman and Hawkwoman and - be still my fan heart - the Space Canine Patrol Agents. If, like me,  you know who the SCPA are, you’ll have as much fun with the story as I did. If you don’t know who they are, Google them. I’m not sure you’d believe me if I told you about them.

These are clever and fun comic-book stories. I haven’t seen super-hero comics this clever and this much fun since the long-ago days when E. Nelson Bridwell brought those qualities to Super Friends. Scooby-Doo Team-Up has become one of my favorite modern-day comics title. You should definitely give it a chance.

ISBN 978-1-4012-6801-5

For several years now, NBM’s ComicsLit imprint has been publishing  an extraordinary series of original graphic novels in collaboration with the Louvre museum in Paris. The graphic novels are crafted by comics artists from around the world, each creating a story based on the museum and its many astonishing collections. Some of these stories are more fantastic than others.

Rohan at the Louvre by Hirohiko Araki [$19.99] is a horror tale by the creator of the bestselling manga JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. The graphic novels begins with Rohan working on a manga, his submission to a competition for young comics creators. He meets a mysterious woman who tells him of a cursed two-hundred-year-old painting that was made using the blackest ink ever known. The painter obtained the ink from a thousand-year-old tree and, for that affront, he was executed by the Emperor. The painting itself is saved by a curator of the Louvre.

A decade later, Rohan is a world-renowned mangaka and vacationing in Paris. He visits the Louvre to see the painting, only to find it is not on display. It is held in the deepest regions of the museum and has never been shown to the public. Because the painting is a mystery unto itself, the museum agrees to let Rohan and employees of the museum, including guards, to descend into the darkness and take a look at the painting. And so begins the horror.

Rohan at the Louvre is scary and stylish fare. Once the bad stuff started happening, I found it impossible to put down this graphic novel. Several days after reading it, I have deliciously unsettling memories of its key moments. Needless to say - because why should I be the only one thinking about that painting - I recommend this graphic novel to any comics reader who likes horror, manga and the unusual. You won’t be disappointed.

ISBN 978-1-56163-615-0

This coming week is an “odds and ends” week for me as I do my best to knock a bunch of tasks off my “to do” list. I’ll be working on a number of bloggy things during these next few days and, as they are completed, posting them here.

My next appearance will be at the NEO Comic Con on Sunday, August 19, at the Soccer Sportsplex, 31515 Lorain Avenue, North Olmsted, Ohio. I’ll post more information on that tomorrow.

Following that, I have a Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale on Friday, August 24, and Saturday, August 25. Despite my being listed as a guest for Wizard World Chicago that weekend, the good people at Wizard World and I aren’t able to make that happen. I’m looking forward to working with them in the very near future and will let you know when that happens. If you are going to that Chicago show, I know you’ll have a great time.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Thursday, August 9, 2018


My next VAST ACCUMULATION OF STUFF GARAGE SALE is Friday and Saturday, August 10-11, 9 am to 1 pm each day at 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio.

I'm so excited about this weekend's garage sales that I'm besides myself! And, to share the excitement, I'm going to give you back $1 for every $10 you spend at my sales! Mystery boxes! DC, Marvel and Stan Lee collector boxes! Older comic books! Green Books! Kids comics! Black Lightning Volume One and Volume Two! Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1-6! Archie comics digests! Commando! Manga! Black Lightning and Superman posters! Daredevil and Luke Cage mini-posters! Collectible phones! Dollar comics! Star Wars! Valiant! Marvel! Batman! Groo! Simpsons! Magazines! Hardcovers! Trade paperbacks! Free signatures on any Isabella-written stuff! The more you buy, the more you save...and the more great stuff I have to excavate from my Vast Accumulation of Stuff for my next garage sales! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018


This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...Teen Titans Go! To the Movies; Tenements, Towers & Trash: An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York City by Julia Wertz; and Heavy Vinyl by Carly Usdin, Nina Vakueva, Irene Flores and Rebecca Nalty!


Princess Jellyfish Volume 9 [Kodansha Comics; $19.99] brings to an end the delightful manga series by Akiko Higashimura. I’ve praised this josei - aimed at women in their late teens on into adulthood - series so often my regular readers probably have at least some idea what it’s about. However, for anyone who missed my earlier reviews, here’s the skinny from Wikipedia:

Princess Jellyfish centers on Amamizukan, an apartment building in Tokyo, where the only tenants are otaku women, and where no men are allowed. While each character has her own particular fixation, the protagonist is Tsukimi Kurashita, whose love of jellyfish stems from memories of her deceased mother taking her to an aquarium and linking the lace-like tendrils of jellyfish to the dresses of princesses. Tsukimi hopes to become an illustrator and is an awkward girl terrified of social interaction, attractive people and the prospect of formal work.

The other tenants of Amamizukan are the same, being NEETs who refer to themselves as the "Amars" (nuns). Tsukimi meets the stylish Kuranosuke Koibuchi, illegitimate son of a politician. The young man crossdresses to avoid the obligations of politics and to feel closer to his mother. Tsukimi keeps the secret of his masculinity from her man-hating housemates, though, at times, she’s troubled by the intimacy of having a man in her room.

Amamizukan's neighborhood is under threat of redevelopment, as opportunists aim to turn the quaint area into a more cosmopolitan region, with many of the buildings being demolished to make room for hotels and shopping centers. Although Amamizukan's tenants fear and loathe attractive people, they are helped by Kuranosuke who does not want to see Amamizukan destroyed.

Koibuchi and the women of Amamizukan create fashions based on the jellyfish designs created by Tsukimi. It has been a perilous path as they navigate the fashion world and a mega-corparation’s leader who has “designs” on Tsukimi. In this volume, readers get satisfying conclusions to the main and individual stories that still leave a few matters deliciously unsettled. Over a hundred pages of comics and other material fill out the volume.

Princess Jellyfish is one of my all-time favorite manga series. I would be 100% on board if Higashimura continued the series at some point. In the meantime, I’ll be seeking out the various anime and live-action versions of the series.

ISBN 978-1-63236-564-4


I recently reviewed Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs by Tadahiro Miura [Ghost Ship; $12.99] in my “Tony’s Tips” column at Tales of Wonder. Since then, I read the first volume of the non-dissimilar Yokai Girls by Kazuki Funatsu [Ghost Ship; $12.99]. Here’s the back-cover synopsis of the latter:

Nishizuru Yatsuki has always considered himself a fairly normal guy. He's graduated from school, works a part-time job, and has never had a girlfriend. Yet he does have one unusual ability: he can see yokai spirits! He usually copes with these ghostly visions by ignoring them...until he meets a mysterious young woman named Rokka. Now his normal days have taken a notably abnormal turn, as Yakki finds himself the sole defender of some sexy supernatural yokai!

I like Yokai Girls better than Yunna and the Haunted Hot Springs. That back-cover copy doesn’t mention a major surprise element that makes Yatsuki more interesting than Yunna’s Kogarashi. Though Yokai Girl still has many salacious images of beautiful young woman in various states of undress, it has a stronger story than Yunna. I’ll read at least one more volume of each of these series, but I’m thinking Yokai Girls will be the one I keep reading.

ISBN: 978-1-947804-02-9


Unmagical Girl Vol. 1 by writer Ryuichi Yokoyama and artist Manmaru Kamitsuki [Seven Seas; $12.99] is a different take on the classic “magical girl” genre. Here’s the back-cover pitch:

Pretty Angel NirBrave was once the spirited magical girl heroine of a cult TV show. But when an anime director’s computer goes on the fritz, it brings Pretty Angel NirBrave out of the screen and into our world! With bills and bullies to face, it’ll take more than a sparkly transformation and a frilly skirt to get by in “real” life.

Seven Seas needs a better copywriter because the above leaves out some of the more fun elements of the series. For starters, the “on the fritz” computer belongs to the daughter of the guy who created Pretty Angel NirBrave.

Nineteen-year-old Tanahashi Mayuri has been on her own since the death of her dad two years prior. She has no friends and struggles to make ends meet. She has a special connection with NirBrave; the pretty angel’s non-magical form resembles Tanahashi as seen through the loving eyes of her father. They become roommates, which is the only thing that keeps NirBrave alive. NirBrave is not well suited for our world. She can only speak and act as she did on the anime. Her reactions are usually way too big for real-world situations. She’s also not particularly equipped to do anything but fight magical menaces. Not a lot of call for that in the real world.

I enjoyed this first volume. I found the lead characters likeable. There were some funny supporting characters, including some other heroes and villains from the animated series. Since the series was not a success, NirBrave is mostly known to avid fans of her anime. No fame and fortune on the horizon here.

I’m going to continue reading Unmagical Girl. It’s not a classic, but it’s entertaining. That’s good enough for me.

ISBN 978-1-626925-51-9

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella


My next Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale will be held on Friday and Saturday, August 10 and 11, at 840 Damon Drive in Medina, Ohio. The garage sale hours are 9 am to 1 pm on each of those days. After the great time I had at last weekend's garage sale, I'm beside myself with anticipation for this one. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


The photo is of my friend Leslie Feagan at my August 3 garage sale. Leslie is a fine actor who has appeared on fine Broadway stages and in many other fine productions, including a cable company advertisement in which he played a silent Benjamin Franklin with such aplomb that I immediately wrote to President Obama and recommended him for the position of Ambassador to France.

Leslie makes and sends me videos of him singing birthday greetings to me. I assume he does this for all his friends because it would be kind of scary if he just did it for me. He should have his own line of musical cards. Hallmark, have your people call his people. In short, everyone loves Leslie. Any day that starts with him standing in your garage is likely going to be a good one.

Friday, August 3, was a good day. The temperature was well within my comfort range. Not too hot. Not too cool. My Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale looked good. Within moments of my opening the garage door, several customers started shopping and buying comics, books, posters, collector boxes, mystery boxes and more. I made 68% of my two-day goal and would reach 100% of that goal by the end of the sale on Saturday.

Friends are all the time asking me about my goals for these garage sales. Money-wise, since the sales run four hours each day, I like to make the equivalent of what I would earn from a good eight hours’  work writing comic-book script pages. But the money is only part of why I hold these garage sales.

With Saintly Wife Barb planning to mostly retire in three years, I would like to get my VAOS under control in three years. I’d like to empty the two remaining storage units I’m renting at the Fortress of Storage in the Arctic - look for the giant yellow key - and get all that stuff back in our Tardis of a house.

I’d like to reduce my VAOS to the point where it’s organized and can again be called a collection. I don’t collect a lot of stuff, but I’d like to know what I have before I buy more old issues of comics like The Barker, Candy, Kathy, Gorgo, Konga, Reptilicus and Lassie (but only Lassie issues with my friend Jon Provost on their covers). I want to organize my comics history books and magazines, my Harlan Ellison and Max Allen Collins books, my hardcover/trade collections of great and not-so-great comics of the past and so on.

This will tie in with Barb’s and my plans to renovate our bedroom, our son Ed’s former room, my office, my planned reading room and the rest of our Tardis. My only fear is I’ll be crushed by comics boxes and regenerate into a new incarnation not half as brilliant as Jodie Whittaker.

I owned and managed a comic-book shop in downtown Cleveland for 11 years. Beyond the satisfaction of running a really great comic-book shop, it was a miserable existence. I had a partner who stole from the store and, though he had never put a dime into the place, I had to spend a couple thousand dollars to be rid of him. The majority of my employees stole from me and it was only because the store was so successful that I could keep it going. I made some really dumb mistakes along the way: helping a former employee open a store and learning he had made duplicates of his store keys and would stock his store from my inventory; hiring a scumbag of an attorney who cheated me and failed to do anything he’d been hired to do until I hired a new attorney and sued the first attorney; “loaning” a non-profit organization goods and money totaling over $70,000; and not closing the store about three years before I did. Those unpleasant tales will be written about in the future.

One of the good things about owning that store was talking to fans on a regular basis. It’s the only thing I really miss. The garage sales give me the opportunity to experience that again.

On this pleasant, excellent, cool, not remotely bad Friday, I got to talk with the usual nice folks who come to most of my sales. I got to talk with the map librarian of the Cleveland Public Library, who is providing me with conduits for information I will need for one of my planned comics series. I got to talk with a schoolteacher from Columbus; I gave her a Black Lightning poster for her to hang in her classroom. She loves the show and so do her students. That’s how it went from the start of Friday’s sale to its end.

As I was pulling up the signs and preparing to close, a couple came up to me. I had errands to run, but I offered to stay open a bit. They said they weren’t there to buy anything.

The man was the son of the man who built our house. He had grown up there with his parents, his six siblings and his grandfather. He and his wife just wanted to walk around the place. The happy looks on their faces when I offered to walk them through the house were heartwarming and priceless.

The man told me things about my house that I had suspected, but was never able to confirm. Parts of it were, indeed, salvaged from the other jobs of his builder-father. I’d been wondering about that for three decades.

My future reading room had been his bedroom, shared with one of his brothers. They had bunk beds.

The “girls room” where my wife and daughter keep various wrapping stuff used to be his grandfather’s bedroom.

In the basement, the small pantry that quickly became the storage for our Christmas decorations had been his father’s darkroom.

And, because this is my wild and wonderful world, their daughters are fans of the Black Lightning TV series and have done cosplay at conventions. I gave them some comics and posters to give to their daughters.

Letting strangers into my house might not have been the smartest thing I could have done, but I don’t believe in letting fear rule my actions. It was twenty minutes out of my life. It made their day and it added to mine. Well worth the risk.

After they left, I went to the Giant Eagle to cash a Marvel Comics check. My bank has a kiosk there. I like going to the kiosk because it’s almost always devoid of other banking customers. I think it’s mostly meant to be a relatively quiet place for the bank employees to do paperwork remotely.

When I presented the check to the teller, she asked me how I liked retirement. I don’t know why this would be the case, but the bank has me listed as retired. I told her, no, I was a freelance writer and would be working until they pried my keyboard from my cold dead hands. She asked what kind of writing I did. I pointed to the check and said it was a royalty payment for a character I had created and who had appeared on The Defenders. She asked which character. She had watched the show.

I was wearing a Black Lightning t-shirt. I told her I had created that character as well. She loves the TV series.

We got to talking and, before long, all three of the kiosk workers and I were talking about comic books, about the prominence of the comics characters in movies and TV, about the great diversity that is making comics better than ever. We talked for twenty minutes or so. See what I meant about not too many banking customers at that location?

I love spreading the gospel of comic books wherever I go. It will always baffle me that even some fans can look at today’s comics and only see threats to the absurd sense of privilege.

When I got back home, I checked my e-mail. My editor on a story I’d written for a very low page rate because I liked the franchise it was for asked me to call him. He didn’t want to tell me in e-mail that the owners of the franchise wanted changes he knew would be a deal-breaker for me.
Wait a minute! This is part of my good day? Yes, it was. Because I enjoyed working with the editor. Because I know I'll work on some other project with him sometime in the future. Because not getting the small check I would have gotten doesn’t impact me financially. Because, most importantly, I now have a completed eight-page script  I can, with a little rewriting, re-purpose for another project that I want to do. I feel bad the editor had a eight-page hole to fill, but we’re good and that also was important to me.

Another e-mail waiting for me was a notice I was receiving a large electronic payment from one of my clients. It’s not “you can buy a beach house for Barb” money, but it is “now I can make donations to worthy organizations that I wasn’t able to make earlier this year” money. That's a real good way to end a day.

This is why I never sweat the online jerks who come after me from time to time. They don’t have my life. They will likely never have a life like mine. I feel bad for them. I feel great for me.

That was my pleasant, excellent, cool, not remotely bad day. I’m so glad I could share it with you.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Monday, August 6, 2018


My secret that five years ago, I sent money to Richard C. Meyer, notorious guru/leader/poster child of Comicsgate. Born from the more repugnant Gamergate, this is a gathering of anti-diversity comic-book fans (alleged) who have gotten all butt-hurt because not every comic is tailored to their narrow preferences and prejudices.

Some of them go on and on about how terribly misunderstood they are, and perhaps some of them are fans who still expect comic books to be just as they were when said fans were twelve, but, basically, the majority of these fans are racist, bigoted, misogynist, white supremacists. When I posted this sentiment on Twitter, I included “GOP-loving zombies,” which was unfair of me. As shocking as it is for me to say, even Republicans deserve better than to be lumped in with the collection of creeps, phonies and trolls who came after me on Twitter and got even more butt-hurt when I blocked them. I will get back to them in a bit.

When I initially conceived this “secret shame” bloggy thing, I was going to do this whole satirical thing about my past sin and how I was mortified by it, how it wasn’t reflective of my character and so on and so on. It would have been so good I would have received the support of the entire Guardians of the Galaxy cast. That’s just a joke, by the way. Count me among director James Gunn’s fans and supporters. I’m a big believer in redemption.

The more I fiddled around with my original bloggy thing, the more I blocked Comicsgate members from my Twitter feed, the more I felt something akin to pity for them. Even for Mayer and, Lord knows, he is not someone I’d ever want to hang out with.

Here’s what happened:

I was going through one of the countless boxes that hold my noted Vast Accumulation of Stuff and came across two different editions of Meyer’s No Enemy, But Peace. This was a 28-page comic book with one version in color, signed and numbered, and the other in black-and-white. The color comic was published in 2013. Flipping through the comic, I realized how I came to own these comics when I saw my name on the inside back-cover list of backers in the color version. I had donated to a Kickstarter campaign.

In 2013, I was having a pretty good year. I was making some decent money ghosting for several syndicated newspaper comic strips. So I donated to worthy organizations like the ACLU, the NAACP, the SPLC, Planned Parenthood and others. I also donated to many Kickstarter campaigns, some of which have still not delivered on what they were supposed to deliver. To his credit, Meyer did send me what he was supposed to send me. Okay, he falsely characterized a 24-page story as a “graphic novel,” but other than that...

I looked up Meyer’s successful Kickstarter campaign online. I can see why I backed it. It was a comic book written and published by a Iraq War veteran. I have a lot of friends and readers who have served or still serve in the military, some of them holding high rank. I’ve sometimes joked that I could hold my own coup with all the military friends I have.

Here is Meyer’s short synopsis of the comics:

The true story of Sgt. Marco Martinez, a former gang-banger who joined the Marines and earned the Navy Cross in Iraq. 
My regular readers know I love a good redemption story. Which was another reason to back the project.

Meyer, who says he served in the same unit as Martinez, claims this is the first comic book produced by Iraq War veterans about the war itself. I’m not sure that’s an accurate statement, but that wasn’t a selling point for me.

There was nothing in the Kickstarter campaign to indicate Meyer’s  future vileness. Which is why I have no actual shame about backing it. That was just my lead-in to the satirical bloggy thing that I’d originally planned.

As happens with too many comics and books that find their way into  my Vast Accumulation of Stuff, I didn’t read the comic book until I found it in the aforementioned box. Since Meyer seems to claim it’s his politics that keep him from being a success in the comics field, I thought I should read the book.

If I had received this script as an editor, I would have thought it was a good basic idea that wasn’t well developed. I would have sent it back to Meyer with a few notes.

He needed to develop Martinez and the other characters better. They didn’t come to life in this comic book.

He should have included more on Martinez’s life as a gang-banger. The redemption of this criminal turned hero would be an emotional, powerful core for the story.

He should have dropped the tedious “Rifleman’s Creed” that takes up several pages of voice over captions during the action. It was long and pretentious.

The writing wasn’t even up to journeyman quality, but a good editor could’ve worked with Meyer to give his script more heart and style. The basic bones of the story were good.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. I would be asking him to rewrite his script from start to finish. Something no writer wants to do. But, if he rewrote it in accordance with my notes and showing his determination to make his story the best story he could, I would have bought it.

The art? It was okay, but the human figures often seem stunted. It was a complaint I had about Pete Costanza’s art on Jimmy Olsen back in the 1970s. Everyone in those issues looked like they were four or five feet tall. You would think that would be a positive to a short fellow like myself, but it wasn’t.

Did Meyer’s apparent lack of success in the comics field lead him to his current state? I have no way of knowing. I will say that it is no small thing to produce a comic book, even one such as this. Anyone who does so earns some props from me.

Which brings us back to Comicsgate. My mistake was in responding at all to the Twitter trolls. They have their own hateful agenda and any time I spent with them took me away from my own writing. Which is a key difference between me and most of them.

I am a working writer. I have been for almost half a century. Over the past decade or so, I have never been without a paying gig on my desk for more than a day or two...and I always had my own projects to work on during those few days off. I might not always have the assignments I would prefer, but I always have work in the industry I have devoted my life to.

I’m used to comics fans of good character being upset because their old favorites don’t appeal to them anymore. I get that. But I also realize two other things.

Comics have to adapt to changing times. I don’t write the comics I write today the same way I wrote the ones I did in the 1970s, the 1980s, the 1990s and so on. I would lose interest in writing them if I had to do the same thing over and over again. It’s why I did a reboot on Black Lightning. I wanted reader who weren’t born when I created him to be able to relate to him and his world.

There is more variety in the comics industry right now than there has even been before. If you don’t like modern super-hero comics, you can find hundreds of reprints of super-hero comics more to your liking. You can find thousands of public domain super-hero comics online. You can even find new super-hero comics written and drawn in the styles of the past.

One more note before I put Comicsgate out of my mind. Some members of that grouping claim they object to the politics in comic books written by the likes of me. What they really mean is they object to politics that are not theirs. They object to the inclusive nature of many of today’s mainstream super-hero titles. But, even if one wishes to assume their complaints are not based on their prejudice against “the others,” they are wrong.

They should study their comic-book history. Comics have always been political. Superman ran crooked businessmen and politicians out of town, giving a beat down to at least one spouse abuser. The Justice Society brought food to starving patriots in Europe. A later story attempted to raise awareness of people with disabilities and that they were capable of accomplishing great things.

Captain America punched Nazis in his first issue and was far from alone. Comics heroes were fighting battles against the Axis powers well before the United States entered the war.

Even in the conservative 1950s and 1960s, Superman and Batman and others spoke out for tolerance and inclusion. That’s the American way. The comic books of today carry on the proud traditions of our best comics of the past.

I came to the realization that I love comic books more today that I have ever loved them in the past. I love the variety available to today’s readers. I love the diverse viewpoints that come from our diverse characters and creators.

As an expression of my love, I’m creating a new comics universe in between my paying gigs. I have come up with what I think is a novel approach to universe-building. My plan is to write the first issues of the first three titles in my universe, structuring the scripts so that the first eight pages of each offer a satisfying chunk of story. Then I’ll take those 24 pages and preface them with a two-page comics feature introducing my new universe. I’ll self-publish this comic book and see where it goes from there.

One thing I’m sure of is that I will do my best to include diverse characters in my new comics. Some will be challenging, such as my intention of including a positive conservative hero in at least one of the initial three titles.

[Note: I make a distinction between actual conservatives, a sadly diminished group, and the hate-mongers who have usurped that title for themselves.]

I own part of my renewed love of comics to the venom ejected onto the art form and industry by the likes of Meyer and his followers. The future does not belong to them.

I do feel some small pity toward them. I pity them that they cannot accept the terrific comic books being published today. Great comics from the past. Great comics from the present. Great comics from all over the world. Great comics by voices we haven’t heard from until recently. Their bigotry robs them of so much.

This is the true Golden Age of Comics. I’m more proud to be working in the industry now than at any other time in my long career. There is much to look forward to. Indeed, cribbed from the amazing Luke Cage series on Netflix, I have a mission statement:

Always forward.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella


The bloggy things I was writing yesterday have become more than I anticipated. I'm going to finish writing and posting the first of them later today.

Sunday, August 5, 2018


I have been having an interesting day. I'm writing three columns today - and, yes, I sometimes do go back and forth between then - while checking in on Facebook and Twitter occasionally. I don't think I've ever blocked so many people in one day. But it's reminded me of this:

The ONLY thing I owe you is to give you my best work on every article or book or comic I write. That's it. That's what I think you're entitled to.

Anything else...that's a bonus. 

If I answer your questions, that's a bonus.

If I discuss something with you, that's a bonus.

If I try to help you out with something, that's a bonus.

I try to be generous with others because so many comics creators have been generous with me. I think I do a lot for the comics community in general. Heck, just my listing comics birthdays, remembrances and historical notes every day on Facebook is evidence of that.

And not a day goes by without someone thanking for something I did for them. When I look in the mirror I see a good man and wonder where the heck that double-chin came from. My best guess is Kit Kit bars and potato chips.

I'm not required to debate you endlessly. I'm not required to continue reading your insulting comments. Your purchase of my books or comics doesn't include my putting up with you when I find you annoying.

You get my best work. Every time out. My work will not be tailored to what does or doesn't offend you. My work will be what it is and it will always be created honestly.

You buy my books and comics. You can't buy my integrity.

Tony Isabella


Sometimes you just need to take some time off to hang out at your private clubhouse and reflect on the world around you. I'll be back with a new bloggy thing on Monday.

Friday, August 3, 2018


Today and tomorrow, I will be holding my next Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale at Casa Isabella, 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio from 9 am to 1 pm each day. I’ll have lots of cool, bargain-priced comics, magazines, books and more on sale. As with all of my garage sales, I will sign Isabella-written items free of charge.

NEO Comic Con is my next actual convention appearance. The one-day event is entering its fourth year; this will be my third appearance there. The convention takes place on Sunday, August 19, from 10 am to 5 pm at at the Soccer Sportsplex, 31515 Lorain, North Olmsted, Ohio. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for cosplayers with anyone age 13 and under getting free admission.

Portions from admissions along with individual donations will go to Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana Organization. Last year, the convention raised over $3000 for that organizations. With the help of sponsors Halleen KIA and Lakewood’s El Carnicero restaurant, it'll do the same or better this time around.

The NEO guest list is impressive for a regional show. Besides the creator of Black Lightning and Misty Knight - you might know him - the stellar roster includes Gary Dumm, Ted Sikora, Marc Sumerak, Darryl Banks, Dan Gorman, Phil Hester, Matt Horak, Angel Medina, Ande Parks and others.

I’ll be appearing on at least one panel (details to follow). I will also have two tables from which I’ll be selling Isabella stuff and much more. If you haven’t been able to attend my garage sales, this will give you a sampling of what’s available at them.

I will be charging for signatures at NEO Comic Con. For anyone new to my convention appearances, here’s the price list for that:

Items bought at my table: no charge.

Items not bought from me: one free signature; all others $2 per item.

Photo of me or with me: no charge.

Signature witnessed by representative from grading company: $5 per item.

Having me sign Certificate Of authenticity: $5 per item.

While we’re here, I'll catch you up on my appearance and garage sales schedules for the rest of this year and into 2019.

Some of these appearances are in a state of flux because we haven’t yet finalized all the details. Those appearances are in italics. I expect they’ll happen, but I’m erring on the side of caution. Yeah, that doesn’t sound like me, does it?

Here’s the schedule with occasional commentary...

August 10-11: Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale

August 19: NEO Comic Con (North Olmsted)

August 24-25: Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale
August 31-September 1: Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale

This might be my last garage sale of the year, but I’m not making that call yet. If the weather remains good, I might add two or more sales  before the end of the year.

September 8-9: Hall of Heroes Comicon (Elkhart, Illinois)

I’ll have more information on this event next month.

September 28-30: Baltimore Comic Con

So many people have told me this is the greatest comics convention in the country and the show certainly has the guest list to back up that claim. Many old friends. Many comics creators I have never met but want to. At this time, I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing at this event, but I’m up for interviews, panels, signings and all sorts of crazy fun. If my memory is correct, this will be my first trip to Baltimore. I’d love to talk to publishers and others who would like to work with me, but I’m mostly coming to the convention for my friends and the fans.

I have nothing scheduled for October, but that could change if the right invitation comes along.

November 3-4: Akron Comicon

This is one of my favorite conventions. I always have a terrific time. Highly recommended.

November 9-11: Grand Rapids Comic Con

Another of my favorite conventions. I think this will be my fourth guest appearance at the event.

November 17-18: Great American Comic Convention (Las Vegas)

At present, the above will likely be my last convention appearance of the year. But, as with October, that could change if the right December invitation comes along.

Looking ahead to 2019...

March 9-10: Big Apple Comic-Con

I love going to New York. I’ll probably extend my stay by a couple days to hang out with friends and other loved ones.

Friday, April 12-13: BGSU Batman Conference

Bowling Green State University holds an annual comics conference  and, despite the lofty setting, these conferences are both fun and informative.

July 12-14: G-Fest

All praise Godzilla! I attend this convention mostly just for fun. However, for the 2019 event, I hope to have a collection or two of my monster movie reviews available.

July 17-21: Comic-Con International (San Diego)

This is a total leap of faith. As I write today’s bloggy, I have no reason to believe any entity will cover the considerable expense of attending this event. Still, given the amazing success of a TV series starring a character of my creation, my overall body of work in the comics industry and my insight into comics and the industry, Saintly Wife Barb talked me into attending. So did one of my best friends. So I’ll be there. Make of it what you will and contact me as soon as possible if you want to include me in your own plans for the convention.

If you’re a convention promoter who would like me to appear at your event, please e-mail me with your invitation and all pertinent info thereof. I’ll send you back my requirements package. Said package will include an appearance fee, hotel and travel. I’m a really fun date, but I’m no longer a cheap date. Don’t hesitate to e-mail me and, believe me, having helped Roger Price put on many conventions, I will understand if we can’t make it work.

The above holds true if you’re asking me to speak at a library, a school, a university or any other non-convention event. I tend to be flexible with my requirements for elementary and high schools, especially in the Cleveland area. But it all starts with a e-mail. That’s the best way to contact me.

One last thing. While going through my Vast Accumulation of Stuff, I came across something truly horrific. It filled with shame. I’ll be writing about this tomorrow in the hopes that, it being Saturday and all, the mainstream media won’t see it and my secret shame will be short-lived. One can only hope.             

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Thursday, August 2, 2018


On Friday, June 22, in New York City with my son Ed, we attended a special “Marvel family” screening of the first two episodes of the second series of Luke Cage on Netflix. We flew back to Cleveland on Saturday and I spent one day at home in Medina before taking flight on Monday, June 25, for the second part of my coast-to-coast Marvel adventures. I was flying to Los Angeles with Saintly Wife Barb to attend the world premiere of Ant-Man and the Wasp.

We had a direct flight. I had my usual aisle seat. Unfortunately, these planes are getting smaller all the time. While my briefcase used to fit easily (albeit tightly) under the seat in front of me, no matter where I was sitting, it didn’t on this flight. The aisle seats on the left side of the plane had less room. I’ll need to go shopping for a smaller briefcase.

Also on the plane was a family heading to L.A. to compete on Family Feud. Their enthusiasm was contagious. I hope they won.

For our overnight stay, we booked a room at a Holiday Inn Express near to where the premiere and after-party would be held. Because our room was not ready for a while, we checked our bags and went out in search of lunch. Neither one of us was feeling adventurous, so we had lunch at Johnny Rockets.

The hotel was slow to get our room ready for us, but that’s my only complaint. Our room was nice. Our bed was comfortable. The pillows were the most comfortable hotel pillows I’ve had in recent memory. It was within walking distance of such attractions as the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Magic Castle.

Guest check-in for the premiere began at 5:30 pm at the will call tent at the beginning of the red carper on the northwest corner of Hollywood and Highland. Visible from some distance was a huge sign announcing the movie. Inside, check-in was fast and easy with water bottles provided to help attendees beat the heat. Adding to the fun were cosplayers dressed as Marvel Comics characters.

As we started down the red carpet, albeit not the red carpet set up for the stars of the movie, we ran into my old friend Jan Utstein- O'Neill. The last time I saw Jan had to be decades ago and probably in New York City. Today, she works in production finance at Marvel Studios and gets to go to lots of premieres. It was great catching up with her.

Quick sidebar. Every comics industry person I met at this premiere congratulated me on the success of the Black Lightning TV series. Since I don’t have an official role with the series, I often feel a little odd accepting those congratulations. On the other hand, I realize Black Lightning doesn’t exist without Tony Isabella having created him in 1976, so I’ve learned to accept the congratulations  in the spirit they are offered. However, I always mention the Black Lightning show runners, writers and cast. All of whom I love madly.

On the red carpet and inside the theater, we ran into more comics people. John Jackson and Meredith Miller were there. John and I go way back to the days when we both worked on Comics Buyer’s Guide, which remains about a thousand times better and more accurate than most of today’s comics “news” sites. Inside, John introduced me to artist Jorge Lucas, who drew many of John’s Iron Man comics and had come to the premiere from Argentina.
Marvel Studios had decorated the outside of the theater with giant props. There was a huge coffee cup and a Pez dispenser. Just about everyone with a cellphone took photos of these props, usually while standing in front of them.

You had to take your cell phone photos before entering the theater. Security was very tight at the premiere. All phones were placed in tamper-proof bags. The efficient and friendly security people were standing by to remove your phones from the bags when you exited the theater. Honestly, I thought that was pretty cool.

Inside the theater, I ended up sitting next to Michael Lovitz, the amazing attorney who represents me with both DC and Marvel Comics. Michael was the “plus one” of writer/artist/filmmaker Bob Layton, another one of his clients and another old friend of mine. Working in comics is like having an extended family that extends all around the globe.

We saw Ant-Man and the Wasp in IMAX, the first IMAX film I’ve seen in years. I was so impressed with the presentation I suspect I’ll be seeing more IMAX films in the future. I’ve reviewed the movie in my “Tony’s Tips” column over at Tales of Wonder, but here’s part of that review:

This sequel has everything that made Ant-Man one of my favorite Marvel movies. Despite the trippy adventures within the Quantum Realm, this is a seriously down-to-earth story centered on family. Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a good father to his delightful daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson). Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and the Wasp/Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) are trying to find and rescue Hope’s long-missing mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the Quantum Realm. Those are the obvious families.

Yet Scott Lang’s formerly criminal associates (Michael Peña, T.I., David Dastmalchian) are like unto a family themselves. We even get a paternal vibe from Dr. Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) and the Ghost/Ava (Hannah John-Kamen), the desperate young woman he tries to help. All these family elements resonate with me.

If you haven’t read my full review, you can find it here.

After the film, Barb and I attended the after-party. Marvel Studios put on an exceptional event. The space was large and comfortable, though some areas were more packed with people than others. There great food and drinks. I had several “Stingers” in tribute to the Wasp becoming the first female Marvel character to have her name in the title of a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. The “Stingers” are probably why I can’t remember the name of the after-party location or any of the food I ate.

But I do remember have brief but wonderful conversations with three of the movie’s stars. I would introduce myself as one of the Marvel writers listed in the Special Thanks credits. The stars I observed were friendly with their fans, but it seemed to me they were quite pleased to meet us comics folks.

When I spoke to Paul Rudd (Ant-Man/Scott Lang), I complimented him on the movie’s excellent writing. As he was one of the writers, his face lit up when I said that. His performance was spot-on terrific, but I think he appreciated my comments on the writing. Many great lines that hit their marks as well as the actors.

Barb was nervous about meeting Michael Douglas because she’s had a crush on him since he was in The Streets of San Francisco. I told Douglas that his performance in The American President helped make that movie one of my all-time favorites. When I introduced Barb to him, I mentioned her crush on him. He took one look at her and said “You’re much too young to have seen me in that!”

It had been a long day for us, but, before we left, I nearly bumped into Lawrence Fishburne. I introduced myself to him as the writer who gave his Bill Foster character super-powers in the comic books. He thanked me for that and chuckled when I told I hoped Professor Foster would have a “bigger” role in the next movie. He was just as hopeful for that. He was thrilled to be in a Marvel movie. I think he deserves to be an actual super-hero when next he appears in the MCU. Hey, Kevin Feige, sir, let’s make that happen.

Barb and I got a good night’s sleep. We had been dreading the long ride to the airport, but my dear friend Mark Evanier picked us up at the hotel, took us to breakfast and drove us to the airport. We are so blessed to have someone like Mark in our lives. Or, as Mark put, “I wish I had a friend like me!”

Barb is still a few years away from retirement, but I’m trying to get her to attend more conventions and events with me. She has been a rock during my shakier times in the comics industry and, now that things are going better for me, I love sharing these better times with her whenever possible.

That’s all for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2018 Tony Isabella