Sunday, November 25, 2018


October was another challenging month for me. I had an epic case of  “con crud” that developed into something worse. On the other hand, there were joys like the start of Black Lightning Season Two on TV and the trade paperback publication of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands. My proudest comics creation continues to bring me happiness in so many ways. Which is not to say my life is free of frustration and even disappointment.

I’m disappointed there are folks at DC Comics who think it’s a good idea to reduce a headliner like Black Lightning to another Batman sidekick. I’m frustrated that, while the publisher is making use of my creation in less than optimal ways, they have not yet given me the go-ahead on an ongoing Black Lightning book that would follow Cold Dead Hands. I’m waiting on a “yes” or “no” on several other projects I’ve pitched to DC and other publishers.

I’m disappointed DC isn’t promoting Black Lightning. I’ve done more promotion for the Cold Dead Hands trade than they have.

That lack of promotion extends to merchandise. While we have gotten a real swell high-end Black Lightning/Cress Williams statue, that has largely been the extent of the Black Lightning merchandise to date. They can and should do better.

October was when it became clear that “Tony Isabella” can not stay a one-man operation. I need an assistant to help with my convention and other appearances, and to handle some of the behind-the-scenes stuff on projects I want to launch. The next step in this regard is to figure out how I can make enough money to pay such an assistant a morally acceptable minimum wage of $15 per hour. I’ll be working on that in the months to come.

October reminded me that comics is a crazy business. My character is headlining a hit TV series. My Cold Dead Hands series received critical acclaim. I’ve proven to be a popular guest at conventions and TV shows. Why isn’t my e-mail box flooded with offers from the comics publishers? Go figure.

October was also the run to the mid-term elections. Beyond saying that the Dumpster President and the Republicans have shown me that  there is no rock bottom where they’re concerned, I’m not going to talk about that today.

Still...that’s the comics industry and that’s life. I’ve worked in the former for 46 years and will turn 67 in December. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. And, for all the confusion, disappointments and life’s little pains, there isn’t a day in my life that passes without my recognizing the good in my life. I share my happiness on a daily basis on Facebook and Twitter.

That’s my way too long introduction to this list of the things that made me happy in October...

October 1: Chatting with Mike (Luke Cage) Colter for a few minutes. There’s a bond of sorts between Luke Cage and Black Lightning. Both shows have actors dedicated to telling these important stories and Colter is one of the best. I’m very proud to be associated with the two best shows on television.

October 2: The Ringo Awards. Glad to see Mine!, Batman/Elmer Fudd, Mark Morales and Joelle Jones win. Plus seeing Denny O’Neil receive the lifetime achievement award for his career and Marc Andreyko the humanitarian award for the wondrous Love is Love anthology. A great evening all around.

October 3: Bruce Burke, one of my first three black friends who put me on the career path of writing and creating characters of color, visited me at Baltimore Comic*Con. It was our first time together in over three decades. It absolutely made my weekend!

October 4: Bob Greenberger did a great job moderating my spotlight panel at the Baltimore Comic*Con. I hope we get to work together on something soon. He’s a multi-talented editor and writer.

October 5: Baltimore Comic*Con. What a wonderful event! Great fans, vendors, volunteers! Well over 100 comics and media guests. Amazing cosplay. I hope the show enjoyed having me there as much as I did being there.

October 6: While I was in Baltimore, my daughter Kelly successfully completed the 2018 Akron Marathon. Her best time ever. She had a huge smile on her face in every photo: before, during and after the race. I’m so proud of her.

October 7: The Cleveland Browns won their second game of the season in overtime. It wasn’t pretty and the team has work to do, but they have become fun to watch again.

October 8: Kudos to the “A” team at Metro’s hospital in Parma, Ohio. They were efficient, friendly and knowledgeable treating me early Sunday morning. There are some health issues in play, but I’m on the mend.

October 9: Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson speaking out against mental health stigma in a funny, genuine and thoughtful way. I’ve been impressed by his work and now by him as well.

October 10: Black Lightning Season Two kicked off with an amazing script with a key moment in nearly every scene. Salim Akil deserves an Emmy nod for writing this one.

October 11: Journalist Dan DeRoos put together a wonderful piece on Black Lightning and myself for Cleveland’s CW station. It aired on October 9. This is the kind of respect comics creators deserve and should be a model for other such pieces.

October 12: God Friended Me. Whether its events are driven by human predictive science or a loving deity, this TV series makes me feel good.

October 13: Our Syracuse NY Comic Con weekend was a blast from the event itself and the people we saw there to the fun little town of Baldwinsville where we stayed. We had a great time!

October 14: Destiny USA in Syracuse. Though we didn’t have time to explore the sixth largest shopping center in the US, we had a fine meal at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville.

October 15: Though I’m sad the Cleveland Indians post-season ended so soon, I am thrilled the racist Chief Yahoo caricature has made its last appearance on team uniforms.

October 16: Sirius XM has reactivated the Billy Joel channel (30). After Harry Chapin, Joel is my favorite songwriter/performer. His music continues to speak to me.

October 17: The Ohio Democratic candidates this mid-term season are outstanding! Not just the better choices than their opponents, but overwhelming better choices for my state. [Sadly, the GOP's voter suppression tactics and gerrymandering won them key state offices. I'll be talking about that in an upcoming "Citizen Tony" piece.] 

October 18: The Marvel Monsterbus volumes. I treated myself to this gorgeous two-volume set of the pre-hero Stan Lee/Larry Lieber/Jack Kirby stories I loved as a kid. The love endures.

October 19: I voted today. I’m thankful voting is so easy in this too-Republican and too-white city of Medina. I’m horrified voting is not this easy everywhere and pray that will change as concerned citizens vote the GOP out of power.

October 20: New comics publishers, new comics imprints, new comics  creators. I think 2019 is gonna be a great year...and I hope I'll be part of that.

October 21: Former Republican Max Boot has become a strong voice of opposition to the white nationalist party the GOP has become...and gives me some small hope for the resurgence of sane conservatism in my country.

October 22: Adrian Tomine’s covers for The New Yorker. Every one is a delight.

October 23: This season’s second episode of Arrow was much better than the first. Kirk Acevedo still sucks ass and the flash forward stuff is still silly, but the rest of the show is coming together. I especially like the new villains and the writers developing Katie Cassidy’s character.

October 24: Legends of Tomorrow is back! With John Constantine and a murderous unicorn and more mystical menaces in the future! It’s my second favorite CW show!.

October 25: I was stuck on a bloggy thing I wanted to write. Then I figured out how to make it work. It’ll be the first thing on my schedule tomorrow.

October 26: Midnight, Texas is back for a second season and didn’t take long to make life in that town as scary as ever. Can’t wait to see what happens.

October 27: I’m halfway through the new edition of Barbara Slate’s You Can Do a Graphic Novel: Comic Books, Webcomics, and Strips and loving it. Great tips for new and old creators alike.

October 28: Ian Boothby and Tom Richmond’s send up of Svengoolie in MAD #4 [December 2018]. Maybe the funniest thing I’ve read in the magazine this year.

October 29: Having the thick skin of a Cleveland sports fan. Man, do I need it this year.

October 30: When people contact me to discuss business via e-mail rather than Facebook, Twitter or phone calls. It’s the only way I can keep my business straight.

October 31: Kevin M. Kruse, whose Twitter feed is must-read for its insights into history and politics. Watching him politically slap around know-nothings is a rush.

After three conventions in as many weekends, I’m home for the next two months plus. I’m looking forward to completing two books I’ve been slowly working on. I’m looking forward to completing a bunch of pitches for new projects. I’m looking forward to getting caught up on my e-mail and all the things I post on my Facebook page every day. And I’m looking forward to posting nigh-daily bloggy things.

Thanks for your patience. The best is yet to come.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

No comments:

Post a Comment