Monday, June 17, 2019

DELAYS

Hello, my friends.

I'm going to do my best to catch up on your e-mails and other messages before the end of the month, I'll also be posting some informational blog entries to answer some frequently asked questions. There will be some actual bloggy things posted in the coming weeks. However, in all likelihood, we won't see the return of my nigh-daily postings until I return from San Diego's Comic-Con International in July. Thanks for your patience.

Tony Isabella

Friday, June 14, 2019

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2019 REVIEWS #2

What Has Gone Before:

I’m reading and reviewing the Free Comic Book Day comic books sent to me by my pals at Stormwatch Comics in West Berlin, New Jersey. When I read and review FCBD comics, I look at three areas.

QUALITY: Is the material worthwhile?

ACCESSIBILITY: Is the material presented in such a way that someone coming to it for the first time can follow it?

SALESMANSHIP: After reading the FCBD offering, would someone want and be able to buy more of the same?

I score FCBD offerings on a scale of zero to ten. Each category is worth three points with the tenth point coming from my interest in seeing more of what’s ever in the book. 
 
We begin with...

Disney’s Descendants: Dizzy’s New Fortune [Toykopop]. Made for TV, the Descendants movies feature the teenage children of four Disney villains. The villains live on the Isle of the Lost, but their kids are allowed to attend school on Auradon. There have been three of these movies and, despite my best intentions, I have not yet seen any of them. Would this free comic book make me want to binge-watch them as soon as possible?

QUALITY: The 23-page story is poorly written. If you don’t know the characters, you get no good clues as to who they are, what they’re all about or what’s happening in this story. I wasn’t enthusiastic about the manga-style art either.

ACCESSIBILITY: Total fail. As I said, the story doesn’t welcome me into this world. I read it twice to see if I was somehow missing details that would have changed that. I wasn’t. Those details were not there.

SALESMANSHIP: Better than the story. There’s an advertisement for the full Dizzy’s New Fortune graphic novel. That’s followed by an ad for Fathom Events, which includes some anime movies. We get four pages of ads (including the back cover) for other Disney and Pixar manga. There’s an ad directing readers to the Disney Manga portion of the Tokyopop website.
 
SCORE: Three out of ten points.

                                                                              

Deadly Class: Killer Set by Rick Remender and Wes Craig [Image] has a 17-page story set in the early days of protagonist Marcus Lopez’s time at Kings Dominion. If you’ve read the Deadly Class comics or watched the TV series on the Syfy channel, you know Kings Dominion is training the next generation of assassins.

QUALITY: The story is a dense done-in-one story focusing on Viktor, Marcus’s enemy and fellow student. It’s well-written with intricate art. On my first attempt to read Deadly Class, shortly after I saw the first TV episode, I couldn’t get into the series. However, this story was good enough that I’ll likely give it another shot in the near future.

ACCESSIBILITY: The inside front cover features “The Story So Far” and that brought me up to as much speed as I needed to follow this FCBD story. Remender’s writing kept me in the loop and artist Craig did a good job differentiating the characters.

SALESMANSHIP: Excellent. There’s an ad for the TV series, followed by an ad for the dollar-priced Image Firsts first issue reprints and the first trade paperback values whose prices start at $9.99. A two-page spread advertises Reminder’s other trade paperbacks and a second spread showcases all the Deadly Class volumes. Other ads pitch Wes Craig and Toby Cypress’ The Grave Diggers Union, Remender and Greg Tocchini’s The Last Days of American Crime (soon to be a Netflix feature film), the just-released Deadly Class Volume Eight and various Image Classics titles.

SCORE: Ten out of ten points.

                                                                           

Spider-Man/Venom #1 [Marvel] has two 10-page stories. Though this isn’t explicitly stated, they seem like brand-new stories done for this Free Comic Book Day issue. The Venom story is by Donny Cares with artists Ryan Stegman and JP Mayer. The Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man/Miles Morales: Spider-Man story is by Saladin Ahmed and Tom Taylor with artists Cory Smith and Jay Leisten.

QUALITY: Though I’ve never been fond of Venom, I have been reading good things about Cates’ work on Eddie Brock. [I have requested his first Venom volume from my local library character.] This story is a lead-in to something called Absolute Carnage and reveals, to me, at least, the chilling bit of business that anyone who has worn a symbiote still carries a piece of it inside them. That’s one scary notion.

The Spider-Men story is a lighthearted competition between Peter and Miles as to where the best pizza can be found. Even the Shocker gets in on the debate. It’s a fun little vignette.

ACCESSIBILITY: The credits page, which, unfortunately, runs after the two stories, gives one-paragraph summations for Brock, Parker and Morales. I was a little lost reading the Venom tale, but found the Spider-Men story very accessible.

SALESMANSHIP: Very good. The inside front cover plugs the Cloak and Dagger TV series. A full-page ad for Fathom Events clumsily breaks into the Venom story. There’s a full-page ad for Absolute Carnage, which comes out in August.

The Spider-Men vignette is interrupted several times with ads for Immortal Hulk, House of X/Powers of X, Spider-Man Far from Home and related trade paperbacks, and Journey into Mystery #1, a War of the Realm tie-in. The last page of the story is separated from the rest of the story by three ad pages. Not cool.

There’s a cool double-page spread touting the continuation of “the scariest spider-year ever.” The inside back cover advertises Marvel Select trade paperbacks and the back cover pitches the first Venom trade paperback by Cates.

SCORE: A disappointing six out of ten, mostly because of the truly awful placement of the ads.

If you’re reading this bloggy thing of mine on Friday evening or early Saturday morning, and you live in driving distance of Medina, Ohio, you could visit my latest Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale at 840 Damon Drive in Medina. The hours are 9am to 1pm.  Lots of cool items are bargain prices.

Keep watching the bloggy for more Free Comic Book Day reviews and other columns. I’ll be back soon.

© 2019 Tony Isabella

Thursday, June 13, 2019

GARAGE SALES UPDATES

GARAGE SALE UPDATES. 

I'm going to be working late into the night to prepare for Friday and Saturday's garage sale. I put several dozen issues of Jimmy Olsen out for sale at absurd low prices. I hit a box with some Disney comics and added those to the "suitable for all ages" box. I reduced the prices on several higher price items. I have a few more comics, trades and other things to add to the sale. Then I'll put together as many $10 mystery boxes as I can manage before I collapse. Great Caesar's Ghost, I wish I could shop at these sales.

This weekend's garage sale runs Friday and Saturday,June 14-15, 9 am to 1 pm each day at 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio. There's a classified ad in the Medina Gazette and a listing on Craig's List.

I will NOT have garage sales next weekend (June 21-22). I have some cool stuff to write. I also want to take a break so that I can make the following garage sales (June 28-29) as terrific as humanly possible.

I hope I see you this weekend.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

COMMANDO: THE RED DEVIL

Commando is a black-and-white British war comics digest that publishes four issues every two weeks. Two of those issues feature reprints, two feature new stories. It launched in July 1963 and, as of this writing, I’ve received up to issue #5226.

Received? That’s correct. I subscribed to Commando a couple years back. Each issue features a 63-page story of generally one to three panels per page. I’ve described them to friends as being somewhat like the non-series stories that used to run in the back of DC war comics titles like Our Army at War, albeit a bit more involved than the DC Comics tales. Those DC stories rarely exceeded eight pages.

Back issues of Commando have been steady sellers at the conventions I’ve brought them to and at  my garage sales. As much as I enjoy them, these issues mount up too quickly for me to keep them. My current pile of unread issues numbers 74. So I read them and then sell them to others for fifty cents to a dollar. I take a loss on them, but I like exposing my customers to pretty great comics they would not otherwise see.

Commando #5153 featured “The Red Devil” by writer Iain McLaughlin with art by the great Vicente Alcazar, who I worked with a bit in the 1970s. The cover is by Graeme Neil Reid.

Commando stopped being an all-boys club a long time ago. This tale is about Irina Dzenkho, a young Russian woman who lives alone on a farm. Her parents have passed and she lost both of her brothers to the war. The Germans are coming closer every day.

When Russian soldiers try to seize her farm animals for food, Irina holds them off with her expert marksmanship. However, when Germans approach, she and the soldiers forget their differences to battle their common enemy. She leaves with the soldiers to join others fleeing the invaders.

The Germans have taken everything from Irina. She refuses to give her rifle to the Russian army, saying she’s a better shot than any of her homeland soldiers. The soldiers who fought with her back her claim. An exasperated officer says to get the woman a uniform. So she’s in the army now.

Before long, her skill has made her very valuable to her officers. She becomes the deadliest sniper and, in doing so, becomes a little harder with every kill.

In its poignant conclusion, the story asks if Irina and the other Russians can ever go back to who they were before the war. It’s an  unanswered question that will haunt readers.

“The Red Devil” is one of the best stories I’ve read this year. At the end of the year, I hope to present a list of my choices for the best comics of the year. This first year would be a shorter list on account of I’m just starting to take note of these stories. Expect more of these short bloggy things.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2019 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

THIS WEEKEND'S GARAGE SALES


My next Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale will be held Friday and Saturday, June 14-15, from 9 am to 1 pm each day at 840 Damon Drive in Medina, Ohio. I've just started restocking for the sales. I think my customers are gonna like what they find. For example:

Silver and Bronze Age issues of Jimmy Olsen.

A puppet Spike.

Several dozen hardcovers and trades.

More dollar comics.

More mystery boxes.

Black Lightning comic books, collections, pins and posters.

The exclusive Marvel's Greatest Creators: Tony Isabella #1 variant, available only from me and limited to 1000 signed and numbered copies.

Saw something you liked on a previous visit to my garage. but you didn't have the money to buy it on that visit? I'll be reducing the prices on many collectible phones and other items. 

What else will I be adding? All I know is that I keep going through boxes and finding more great stuff. Come to the garage sale and make my stuff your stuff.

Tony Isabella

Friday, June 7, 2019

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2019 REVIEWS #1

Free Comic Book Day is like Comic-Book Christmas. Held the first Saturday every May, it’s when participating comics shops across North America and around the world give away specially-produced comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their shops. On that wondrous day, most shops run terrific sales and many bring in special guests (comics creators, cosplayers and more) to add to the celebration.

This year, over fifty Free Comic Book Day issues were prepared by  publishers. They ranged from Doctor Who, Deadly Class and Avengers to My Hero Academia, Bob’s Burgers and Lumberjanes. My friends at Stormwatch Comics in West Berlin, New Jersey sent all those comics to me so I could read and write about them in this bloggy thing of mine. Only once have I reached my goal of reading and writing about all the FCBD comics available in one year. Maybe this year is the year I finally repeat that achievement. Wish me luck.

When I read and review FCBD comics, I look at three areas.

QUALITY: Is the material worthwhile?

ACCESSIBILITY: Is the material presented in such a way that someone coming to it for the first time can follow it?

SALESMANSHIP: After reading the FCBD offering, would someone want and be able to buy more of the same?

I score FCBD offerings on a scale of zero to ten. Each category is worth three points with the tenth point coming from my interest in seeing more of what’s ever in the book.

Let’s begin...
                                                                                 

Dear Justice League was my first encounter with DC Zoom, DC’s new “middle grade” imprint. The digest-sized comic contained chapters from the upcoming graphic novel by the New York Times bestselling author Michael Northrop with art by Gustavo Duarte. The background of these and presumable the graphic novel’s other chapters are the Justice League members getting and responding to texts from their young fans.

QUALITY: The Superman chapter is hilarious. Superman is asked if he has ever messed up and, in thinking about it, proceeds to “mess up” in humorous ways. The Hawkgirl chapter is okay, but not up to the quality of the Superman chapter.

ACCESSIBILITY: Yes. The characters are well known enough that any casual reader will be able to follow and enjoy this graphic novel.

SALESMANSHIP: High marks. Besides an ad for Dear Justice League, we get ads for Teen Titans Go collections, a new Super Sons graphic novel, the ongoing Scooby-Doo Team-Up comic book, the ongoing Teen Titans Go comic book, and the new Super Hero Girls animated series.

SCORE: Ten out of ten points.

                                                                                

Next up was the digest-size Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by New York Times bestselling author Lauren Myracle with Isaac Goodhart on the art. This is from the DC Ink imprint aimed at readers a little older than DC Zoom. We get 20 pages of the Under the Moon graphic novel and a six-page preview of Teen Titans Raven by New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia and artist Gabriel Picolo.

QUALITY: Disappointedly low. The Salina Kyle in the Catwoman part of the comic doesn’t ring true; she’s this poor set-upon teenager living with a subservient mother and that mother’s brute boyfriend. Myracle learned how to write comics from two online tutorials and her lack of skill bears that out. It’s just a mess and something I can easily pass on. As for the Raven excerpt, it’s only marginally better, though maybe a longer and less confusing excerpt might have raised my opinion of it.

ACCESSIBILITY: The Catwoman excerpt is accessible, but, as noted, not good. The Raven excerpt is not accessible.

SALESMANSHIP: Decent use of the advertising pages. The inside front cover pitches the forthcoming Johnny Quest: The Complete Original Series on Blu-Ray. There are full-page ads for Under the Moon and Teen Titans Raven on the off-chance that a reader found themselves wanting more of those graphic novels. There’s two-page ad for DC Ink’s Mera: Tidebreaker graphic novel, which I found readable but unremarkable. There’s a DC Nation text feature on the creators of Under the Moon. There’s an inside back cover ad for the Super Hero Girls animated series. There’s a back cover had for a quarter of YA prose novels featuring Batman, Catwoman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

SCORE: 4.5 out of ten points.

                                                                                 

No more digests for a bit. Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor [Titan Comics] is the first of the full-sized Free Comic Book Day issues I read. I am a huge-but-sadly-lapsed fan of Doctor Who. I’m several years behind in watching the TV series. That said, I’m planning to skip over those years for now to start watching the adventures of the first female Doctor.

QUERY: Do the people of Gallifrey experience gender as we know it, however imperfectly, here on Earth? We’ve seen indications they are sexual beings, but, gender and sexuality aren’t necessarily the same thing. I may have to research this.

Back to the review...

QUALITY: Good. This issue has a 16-page story by writer Jody Houser and artist Giorgia Sposito. Though it’s on the slight side, it does  a decent job introducing the cast of characters and introducing the basic concepts of the Doctor, her companions, the Tardis and their adventures, explorations and battles against evil.

ACCESSIBILITY: Excellent. The story is prefaced by a page showing all the characters and the Tardis. Combined with the story itself, a new reader will have a smooth entry into this series.

SALESMANSHIP: Very good. The inside front cover showcases the fine Doctor Who swag available via the BBC Shop. There’s an unrelated-to-Doctor-Who ad for Fathom Events which includes for reasons that escape me, a special showing of The Giant Spider Invasion. After the story, there’s a double-page “Reader’s Guide” showcasing the covers of a Tardis-load of Doctor Who trade paperbacks. There are a great many of them. The back cover pitches the first collection of the comics featuring the Thirteenth Doctor. I’m looking forward to reading those issues.

SCORE: Eight out of ten points.

I’m posting this the morning of today’s garage sale, so that’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2019 Tony Isabella

Thursday, June 6, 2019

CONAN e KAZAR #27 (1976)

My next Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale will be tomorrow and Saturday, June 7 and 8, at my home: 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio. The sale hours are 9 am to 1 pm each day.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of these garage sales for me is going through long unopened boxes of stuff and finding cool items. Today I’m going to share one of those items with you.

Conan e Kazar was published by Italy’s Editoriale Corno. The title ran 44 issues from 19 Marzo 1975 to 10 Novembre 1976. According to the Grand Comics Database, the publishing format of this comic book was serie mensile poi quattordicinale, which roughly translates to monthly series then fourteen. As you can tell, it reprints Marvel Comics stories from the 1970s.

Why is this full-color Italian comic book in my Vast Accumulation of Stuff? I’m getting to that.

The cover comes from Conan the Barbarian #53 [August 1975]. It’s by Gil Kane and John Romita.
                                                                                 

There are three stories in this issue. Conan il Barbaro is the lead feature. “Tre-Contro-Uno” (Three Against One) reprints “Brothers of the Blade” by Roy Thomas with pencil art by John Buscema and inks by Frank Springer. It’s an 18-page story.
                                                                                  
                                                            
Next up is the reason someone sent me this book many decades ago. From Astonishing Tales #22 [February 1974]. Lui, il Colosso Vivente (He, the Living Colossus) stars in the 19-page “...Noi, i Fenomeni” (We, the Phenomena). Or, as it appeared in the original American version, It! The Living Colossus in “...We, the Gargoyles!”

The writer of the story was Tony Isabella aka me. Dick Ayers drew and inked the new pages. To expand this story from my allotted 15 pages, I cobbled together four additional pages from "Gorgolla! The Living Gargoyle!!" [Strange Tales #74; April 1960]. I always tried to give my readers as much story as I could, even if it meant some extra work for me and the production department.

NOTE: I get a kick out of finding foreign language reprints of my stories. If you come across away, e-mail me and maybe we can work out some sort of deal, be it cash or trade.
                                                                              
With a title like Conan e Kazar, one would think the third feature in this comic book word be Kazar. That’s not the case.  
                                                                               

Kull the Conquistatore (Kull the Conqueror) stars in “La Morte Nel Vento” (“Death in the Wind”) by Steve Englehart with Mike Ploog on the pencils and Ernie Chan on the inks. This story originally ran as “Wings of the Night-Beast!” in Kull The Destroyer #15 [August 1974]. It’s a 12-page story.
                                                                                  

The back cover of this issue is an advertisement for L’Uomo Ragno [Spiderman] #153. My first thought was that this reprints an issue of Marvel Team-Up, but I was able to pin the cover to any specific issue. If any of my bloggy readers can identify the cover/issue, I will say wonderful things about them in a future bloggy.

That’s all for now. I’ll be devoting most of today to getting ready for my garage sale. However...

I will be back soon with more stuff.

© 2019 Tony Isabella

TONY'S TIPS #305

This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...Fantastic Four by Dan Slott; Hawkman by Robert Venditti and Bryan Hitch; and, in the category of this should be back in print, the IDW adaptation of Richard Matheson’s Hell House by Ian Edginton and Simon Frasier!
                                                                             
                                                                                 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

THINGS THAT MADE ME HAPPY IN MAY

Life can be hard. Especially when the comics industry you’ve been part of your entire career defies logic and your country is being run by one of the worst human beings imaginable. Especially if you have suffered from depression your entire life. If you suffer from depression, I urge you to talk to someone, talk to anyone, so that your depression does not take you away from those you love and who love you right back.

Find ways to cope with your depression. For me, a favorite coping tool and a great source of hope for the future is to seek out and think about those things in my life that make me happy. I do this every day. I post these happy things online every day. Then, at the end of the month, I collect them into a bloggy thing that this one..

These are things that made me happy in May.

May 1: A note from a fan who told me my Black Lightning comics gave them hope and joy when they needed it most. Now you know why I’ll always speak out against DC Comics abuse of my creation. Because he means so much to so many people.

May 2: Maggie and Valerie Thompson discovered incredible photos of me and my old comic-book store in Maggie’s attic. It’s like taking a ride in the Tardis.

May 3: Avengers: Endgame. Ten years in the making, the film is the nigh-perfect celebration of the Marvel Universe in both comics and movies. An astonishing achievement.

May 4: Genocide (1968). Insects attacking mankind and Kathy Horan as a mad scientist. This Japanese horror film overcomes over-the-top acting for a satisfying scary experience. I love discovering movies like this.

May 5: Free Comic Book Day at Akron’s Rubber City Comics. Terrific store and customers. Sold many books. Visited Oddmall, the Emporium of the Weird, across the street. A fun day.
                                                                               

May 6: Black Lightning cookies. Sweet Mary’s Bakery, located next door to Rubber City Comics, had special cookies for Free Comic Book Day. The Black Lightning ones were the best.

May 7: Apama the Undiscovered Animal #9 did its take on one of my favorite moments in Cleveland history: the ill-conceived Ten Cent Beer Night. Kudos to Ted Sikora, Milo Miller and Benito Gallego for the action and laughs.

May 8: Geekerella by Ashley Poston. Enjoyable young adult take on classic fairy tale. Thanks to the Beat for cluing me in on this and some other books I’ll be reading this summer.

May 9: Alter Ego #158 with coverage of two of my favorite comics creators: William Woolfolk and Pete Morisi. Plus tributes to Russ Heath, Marie Severin and Gary Friedrich.

May 10: Klepper, a new Comedy Central show starring Jordan Klepper, debuted with a episode on the Valhalla Club, veterans fighting PTSD by performing as wrestlers. Klepper at his best: compassionate, hilarious, thoughtful. He is a comedic treasure.
                                                                                  

May 11: Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The annual Halloween Heist gets moved to Cinco de Mayo and is more convoluted and hilarious than ever. So many twists. So many turns. I laughed so hard I cried. I love this show!

May 12: The blessed mania of All-Star Squadron fan John Joshua who, as shown in Back Issue #112, has commissioned artists to do covers continuing the series with homages to covers done for Marvel comic books written by Roy Thomas. Now I want to do something like this for my ongoing Black Lightning series that DC Comics rejected. Any volunteers?

NOTE: I changed my mind about commissioning covers for an ongoing Black Lightning series within hours of posting the above. From my viewpoint, DC looks to be experiencing some serious upheaval. It’s a long shot, of course, but perhaps those shocks to its system will result in the company changing its attitude towards yours truly and my vision for Black Lightning. I’ll keep my ideas close to my vest and heart for the time being.
                                                                            
May 13: Teen Love Stories. Did you know Jim Warren published three romance comics magazines in 1967? I didn’t until I read about them in the Warren biography by Bill Schelly. I now own all three and sm looking forward to reading and writing about them.

May 14: Jennifer Blood. I just discovered this dark comedy about an average suburban housewife who’s also a ruthless vigilante. Created by Garth Ennis, it’s hilariously violent. Dynamite is publishing a 744-page omnibus edition in July. I’ve already ordered it.

May 15: The Lollipop Kids by Adam and Aidan Glass with artist Diego Yapur. The monsters came over with the first American immigrants. They were imprisoned. They escaped. The safety of the world is in the hands of a team of courageous kids. Exciting fantasy action with loads of heart and personality.

May 16: Product placement in Lucifer. Scarlett Estevez (Trixie) was shown reading Skyward. That excellent comics series was created and is written by Lucifer showrunner/writer Joe Henderson. Trixie has great taste!
                                                                             

May 17: The Big Bang Theory finale was a nigh-perfect conclusion of that beloved series, made more special by a cross-time crossover on the Young Sheldon season finale and an emotional behind-the-scenes mini-documentary. I now want to watch all dozen years of the series over again.

May 18: Veni! Vidi! Autism! by Alec Frazier is a collection of his essays and reviews on autism, history and popular culture. Alex’s writings offer great insight into another under-included segment of our comics readership.

May 19: Kondaeel. Available on Amazon Prime for $1.99, this is 50 minutes of WTF? It’s missing key scenes - my guess is a $12 budget only goes so far - and the monster is an animated drawing. If I can find decent scans, it’ll be part of my cheese monsters presentation at this year’s G-Fest.

May 20: Retro Fan. I’m catching up on this magazine and loving it. Kudos to editor Michael Eury and TwoMorrows. This is currently my second-favorite TwoMorrows magazine, just behind Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego.

May 21: Billionaire Robert F. Smith’s pledge to pay off the student loans of the Morehouse College Class of 2019. This story actually brought tears to my eyes.

May 22: Medina Post Office fun. The young boy maybe four years old proudly proclaimed he was half human and half Transformer. He then turned into a very small Ferrari and drove out the doors.
                                                                            

May 23: The delicious cheese of Megaconda (2010). The heroes have no cell service as they face the giant snake. In the background of at least two scenes during this chilling climax is a freeway full of moving cars.

May 24: Jordan Klepper. This is his third time making my list. The “Underground University” episode of his Comedy Central exposes the racism of Georgia’s regents and the courage of those standing with undocumented immigrants who pursue education to better their lives and contribute more to our country. Ignore the ongoing hate-speech from that fucking Trump and his ilk. Immigration is and always has been the great strength of our nation. One more thing. Klepper was arrested for protesting at an Atlanta regrets meeting. He’s funny, insightful and willing to walk the walk.

May 25: I'm having the best time reading three years worth of one of my favorite comic strips in preparation for writing an intro for the collection.

NOTE: All of you who guessed Funky Winkerbean were right.

May 26: Cristy Road. Cuban-American illustrator, graphic novelist and punk rock musician. I’ve never read her work or listened to her music, though I plan to do both. I added her to my comics birthdays list today and, not for the first time, was moved by the wondrous diversity of our art form. Comics inspire and I can’t wait to see where that inspiration takes us all next.

May 27: Saintly Wife Barb and Wonder Son Eddie boarded and bagged hundreds of comics for my garage sale. I’m pricing them now. Almost half will be going into dollar boxes and the rest will represent incredible bargains.
                                                                                  

May 28: Red Sonja: Worlds Away by Any Chu. I got a kick out of Sonja’s embracing modern times in Las Vegas and elsewhere. Undocumented immigrant or not, I want Sonja to stay here. The flagons of ale are on me!
                                                                              
May 29: Go with the Clouds, North-by-Northwest by Aki Irie. This is a haunting manga series about a 17-year old private investigator. By the end of the first volume, a mystery involving his own family
comes to the fore.

May 30: Chelsea Handler’s Life Will Be the Death of Me and You Too. I read it because I wanted to know more about the showrunner of the upcoming Dazzler/Tigra cartoon show. She likes dogs and older men, so I sense a connection. I’m sure Saintly Wife Barb would pimp me out to advance my show biz career. Chelsea, call me.

NOTE: Seriously, it’s a terrific book. You should read it.

May 31: Godzilla, King of the Monsters (2019). It was everything I was expecting and hoping for. My son called it “the most expensive fan service movie ever” and he’s not wrong. Many nods to previous movies. Highly recommended.

I have nigh-weekly garage sales coming up this summer, which also bring me happiness and some much needed cash. I’ll also be a guest at several conventions between now and the end of the year. All of these and much more will be reported on in future installments of the bloggy thing, which I hope brings you as much happiness to you as writing it does to me.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2019 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

RETURN OF THE GARAGE SALE


My next Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale will be Friday and Saturday, June 7 and 8, from 9 am to 1 pm each day. The location is my home at 840 Damon Drive, Medina, OH

My first sale of the summer was a tremendous success. I made 136% of my two-day goal. I had wonderful conversations with customers and friends. I saw a great many fans excited about their bargain-priced purchases. It was a fun and profitable weekend all around.

My garage sales are always unknown quantities. I don’t know what’s going to be in them until I’m done restocking and I don’t know what will sell any particular weekend.

Some of my biggest sellers were the more expensive (but still very cheap) older comics. As I expected, the Lois Lane issues from the 1960s did very well. Some of those issues, including the infamous “I Am Curious...Black” issue, will still be available this weekend. You’ll also find issues of Marvel’s Collectors Item Classics, just to name one more title. More will be added.

My stuff always does well at these sales. I sold a number of Black Lightning trades along with individual issues of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands. Isabella-adjacent books like Gorgo Vs. Konga (with an introduction by me) and Scooby-Doo Team-Up (guest-starring Black Lightning) also sold briskly.

Last weekend’s garage sales also saw the debut of the exclusive-to-me Marvel’s Greatest Creators: Tony Isabella #1 variant edition of the first appearance of Misty Knight. Selling at $10, it features a cover showing Misty in action for the first time and is limited to 1000 signed and numbered copies. Copies #101-110 were available at the garage sale; #101 and #106 sold.

If you’d like to order one of these exclusive signed and numbered comics, the cost is $20 for U.S. residents. If you’re ordering from outside the country, I’ll need to adjust the price accordingly. For more details, e-mail me.

I sold out of the Commando digests within the first hour of sales. Commando is a British war comic that covers all the modern-day wars with the occasional foray into the distant past or even the future. I’m several months behind on this weekly title and try to read at least one a day, so you’ll see a few new issues in upcoming garage sales. Don’t expect them to last long.

Hardbacks, trade paperbacks, quarter and dollar comics sold well. I’ve been restocking those all week.

What didn’t sell? Collectible phones, manga and posters. The phones are always unpredictable. I’ve had customers come in and buy almost every one on display. If the phones don’t sell at their already low prices, I drop the prices even more for the next sale.

The manga volumes are priced at fifty cents each. I’m not sure that I sold any of them during my first sale. However, like the phones, some customer will show up and buy stacks of them. Which is a good thing since I just discovered a few more boxes of them.

The posters are pretty cool. The double-sided Superman poster that I conceived for Cleveland’s International Superman Expo of 1988 is a steady seller. I’m down to my last two dozen of that one. Other available posters include three different Black Lightning posters, one drawn by local artist Dan Gorman; a Hawkman poster, also drawn by Gorman; and mini-posters featuring Daredevil and Luke Cage. The mini-posters are reproductions of covers of issues I wrote of those titles. Like some of the other items, customers tend to buy several posters at once.

Other sale items include: Black Lightning pins at six bucks each; 1000 Comic Books You Must Read; July 1963: A Pivotal Month in the Comic-Book Life of Tony Isabella; our popular mystery boxes at $10 each; and the British weekly Beano at a mere ten cents per issue.

What else will be available depends on what I discover in the many boxes scattered throughout the four corners of my house. I’m always finding terrific items and pricing them to sell.

One more thing. My garage sales are currently the only venue where I sign comic books and other Isabella items for free. I don’t mind signing items you’ve brought from home. That said, you don’t want to be that ungrateful comics fan who comes for the free signatures and doesn’t buy anything. I do a mean stink-eye.

Life has been chaotic for me for most of the year. But I’m working hard at getting back on track, reducing stress in my life, giving myself more personal time. Thanks for your encouragement online and your support of my garage sales locally. It helps a great deal more than you realize.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.
 
© 2019 Tony Isabella

Friday, May 31, 2019

THIS IS WHO I AM

The above is my favorite convention photo of all time. Baby Thunder brought such joy to every one who saw her. One friend of mine said that is what I’ve accomplished in my career. I made it possible for kids like her to believe they, too, can be heroes. Though I think my friend gives me too much credit, his comment makes me feel even more committed to inclusion in comic books.

I have a reason for sharing this photo and my friend’s comment with you. Bear with me.

Today was the start of the first Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales of 2019. It was a great start in which I made 106% of my two-day goal for the weekend. Even if I don’t make a single sale on the morrow, I’ve still made my goal.

I had a great time chatting with customers who have become friends and old friends who have become customers. Some of my responses to questions and some of the stories from my career I shared with will end up in future installments of this bloggy thing of mine or one of my several books in progress.

I’m too exhausted to do a major restocking for tomorrow’s sale, but I have gone through a few boxes and added some really nice trades and hardcovers to the sale. I also came across an e-mail I received after I was a guest at a convention. I have redacted proper names from the e-mail since it was a private communication:

I love you, Mr. Isabella. Every person on my team that works with you falls in love with you. It is my absolute pleasure to help you during your [redacted] visit. It’s fun to hear Mr. Isabella every time [redacted] or I see you.

That e-mail is a keeper.

I hadn’t planned on writing and posting a bloggy thing today. But two other communications and my coming across that e-mail changed my mind. I have something to get off my chest.

After I posted the photo of Baby Thunder and myself, I received an anonymous message from a disgusting jerk who trolls from behind his anonymity and, in doing so, reveals what an absolute coward he is. It was a short message:

I always knew you were a pedophile.

What kind of filth looks at that photo and goes there?

Shortly after midnight, I was reading about the Dumpster President needing to be protected from seeing a Navy vessel named for one of his political rivals. I posted this:

Did I disagree with many of the late John McCain's choices and positions? Yes, I did. But, you know, he was still a billion times a better person than the Baby President Dumpster.

Most readers gave a presumed nod of agreement to that post. Some of them added their own equally negative opinions of the criminal in the White House. One guy didn’t.

He’s been blocked from my Twitter feed, but I’m pretty sure he’s a MAGA hat-wearing jerk who I met at a convention a few years back. He asked for a signature on a book I’d written. That was before I started charging for my signature. I said I would be happy to sign his book if he would remove his MAGA hat while I did so. He got all huffy and scampered away with his balls up his ass and, to be clear about it, without my signature.

The more I learned about this guy, the more I realized I wouldn’t give him a signature even if he was willing to pay for it. I found out he had harassed a friend of mine on several occasions. He was a privileged right-wing asshole. If I see him at other conventions, I will alert security to his presence.

His comment on my Facebook/Twitter post was to tell met I was a hypocrite. Forgive me for using words more precise that his angry ranting. He said I hated John McCain (not true) and I never voted for McCain (actually true) and something to the effect that Trump had saved us all from the economic ruin left behind by Obama. That last is not true because, of course, Trump inherited an improving economy from Obama and has since made certain that any improvement since then benefits the rich more than anyone else.

I never hated John McCain. I was disappointed by him. It bothered me to see him pander to the worse parts of the Republican Party and how, in doing so, he helped make sure that there are no longer any good parts of the Republican Party. Because I can read and think, I also knew McCain was not the maverick his supporters have claimed he was. His voting record was, overall, pretty dismal.

That said, McCain was a war hero and, I’d like to believe, a good person despite his bad choices and sins. I wish he had listened to his better angels.

I don’t agree with his daughter Meghan McCain on a lot of issues, but I do think she’s spot on with her assessment that Trump, that bone spur draft dodger, hated and hates McCain because he knows he will never be as good a man as the late senator and soldier could be and will never be as loved as the late senator and soldier was.

Those who criticize Meghan McCain for taking the Dumpster President to task on this over and over again are, as I see, as wrong as they can be. If Trump attacked the memory of my late father the way he continually attacks Senator McCain, I’d have to be restrained from ripping his fucking wig off his head and shoving it down his lying throat. Fortunately, for Trump, that’s an exaggeration. I have far more control of my emotions than does President Hippo-Ass.

This is who I am. The guy who delights in inspiring people of all ages and takes inspiration from them. The guy who loves talking to my fellow comics readers and sharing information and stories with them. The guy who spend an hour every morning posting birthdays and remembrances of comics people because he does not want to see them forgotten by an often heartless comics industry. The guy who is not shy about calling out the vile right-wing jerks of my country. The guy who faces his keyboard with a clean heart and soul and always gives his best effort to what he’s writing.

This is who I am. I’m not on top of the industry. I never was and I likely never will be. But, sorry, you pathetic trolls, I have a better life than you do. I have a loving family. I have people who love my work. I have friends from all over the world and from every walk of life.

Enjoy this brief moment in my bloggy spotlight.

It’s the best you are ever going to have.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2019 Tony Isabella

Thursday, May 30, 2019

MY FIRST GARAGE SALE OF 2019 IS BUT ONE DAY AWAY

My first Vast Accumulation of Stuff Garage Sale of the summer will be held tomorrow, Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1, at 840 Damon Drive in Medina, Ohio. The photos you see scattered around today’s bloggy thing were taken around noon yesterday. The garage sale is looking much better this morning, though I still have a lot of work to do before I open the doors on Friday morning.

The sale hours are 9 am to 1 pm each day. I don’t throw anyone out if they’re still shopping and buying at closing time. That said, I may push you along tomorrow because, after the garage sale, I’ll be seeing Godzilla, King of the Monsters with my son Ed.

I have so much stuff that it’s impossible to get it all into just one garage. Looking around the garage this morning, there are only a couple of $10 mystery boxes, though I hope to put together a few more today. I’ll be working on these boxes daily, so you can expect to find them at every one of my nigh-weekly sales.

I found a box of Marvel and DC role-playing games from back in the day. I expect they will go fast.
                                                                          

I haven’t yet put together the boxes of hardcovers and trades, but there will be several of them. You definitely want to check those out. More will be added every week.

The boxes of higher priced old comic books have amazing bargains in them. I’m hesitant to let some of them go, especially those Silver and Bronze Age issues of Lois Lane. But the idea is to sell stuff quickly and I’ve priced issues accordingly.

Isabella-written stuff? I have copies of 1000 Comic Books You Must Read, Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands, the other Black Lightning trades with my writing and July 1963: A Pivotal Month in the Comic-Book Life of Tony Isabella. On the comic-book display rack, I will have the individual issues of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands, the Gorgo Vs. Konga comic for which I wrote an introduction, the issue of Scooby-Doo Team-Up featuring Black Lightning that I didn’t write but I really love and maybe some surprises. Older Isabella-written will have to wait a week as I bag, board and price them.

This garage sale will see the debut of my exclusive variant edition of Marvel’s Greatest Creators: Tony Isabella #1 with the very first appearance of Misty Knight. There were only a little over 1000 of these printed. Selling for $10, they will be signed and numbered. I plan on offering #101-110 at the garage sale.

MAIL-ORDER NOTE. The Misty Knight exclusive will be available in a week or so. I have to determine packaging and shopping costs. Look for an announcement next week.
                                                                               

There will be a poster table at the garage sale. I found what I’m pretty sure is my last box of the two-sided Superman in Cleveland poster I conceived for the 1988 International Superman Exposition. I’ll also have various Black Lightning posters and mini-posters of Daredevil and Luke Cage.

I have several cool collectible phones for the sale, as well as a few other interesting items. All priced to sell.

The middle tables in my garage sale feature terrific buys. I have issues of Beano, a British comics weekly, priced at ten cents each. Commando, the U.K. war comics digest, and a handful of Archie digests at fifty cents each. Mass market paperbacks at fifty cents each. Manga volumes at a buck each. So much wonderful reading.

I have boxes of dollar comics and quarter boxes. In between them, I have a box of kids comics, a box of magazines and great oversized books that don’t fit into boxes. And all the above is just the tip of the Vast Accumulation of Stuff iceberg.
                                                                                 

Some other garage sales notes, which bear repeating:

My garage sales are cash only. I am an unfrozen caveman writer and your modern technology confuses and frightens me. I hope to learn how to use one of those credit-card cube things before the end of the summer. I am not confident that will happen.

I don’t charge for my signature at my garage sales, even if you’re bringing stuff from home for me to sign. However, if you just come to these sales to get free signatures and don’t buy anything, I’m gonna think you’re a jerk.

Parents should understand that not every comic book is suitable for all ages, even if the comic book features a classic character like Batman. I will have a dedicated box of suitable-for-all-ages comic books. For example, that’s where you’ll find classic Archie comics. The more current stuff will be in the dollar boxes. If you aren’t sure about a comic’s suitability for your child, I’ll be happy to talk to you about it and/or steer you to more appropriate reading material for your child.

I’m delighted to set up a complimentary guest table in my driveway for comics professionals and fan organizations. No one took me up on this offer for this first garage sale, but the offer does remain open for future sales. Please e-mail me with your credentials. I’ll do my best to accommodate you.

I’m excited about this garage sale and can’t wait to share it with my customers and neighbors tomorrow. I’ll be back soon with more bloggy things.

© 2019 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

TONY'S TIPS #304

This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...Remembering Tim Conway and television comics; Zagor: The Lost World by Mauro Boselli with artwork by Michele Rubini; Imperfect: A Story of Body Image by Dounya Awada with art by Miralti Firmansyah; and Fausto Vitaliano’s Uncle Scrooge!
                                                                               
                                                                              
                                                                              

Monday, May 27, 2019

SOMETHING GARAGE SALE THIS WAY COMES

My first Vast Accumulation of Stuff Garage Sale of the summer will be held Friday and Saturday, May 31 and June 1, at 840 Damon Drive in Medina, Ohio. The sale hours are 9 am to 1 pm each day, but I’m not gonna throw anyone out if they’re still shopping and buying at closing time.

The plan for this summer is to reduce the VAOS significantly. As in allowing me to get rid of my offsite storage unit and clear all the extraneous boxes from my son Eddie’s former bedroom. The "looking at the future plan" is that Barb and I will move into Eddie’s bedroom while our master bedroom is renovated.
                                                                              

As you look at the photos included with today’s bloggy thing, you may be thinking...it doesn’t look like a ready-to-go garage sale. You’re right. It doesn’t. But it will by the time I open the garage door on Friday morning.
                                                                             
      
Whenever I announce one of these garage sales, I get many questions about what I’ll be selling. Honestly, I can’t give any definitive answer on that. I know I’ll have several boxes of quarter comics, several boxes of dollar comics and several boxes of higher-priced comics. Expect to be blown away by the bargain prices of the comics in those higher-priced boxes.

There will be bargain-priced hardcovers, magazines, manga volumes, mass market paperbacks and trade paperbacks. There will be copies of Beano and Commando from the U.K. I’m pricing the Beano issues at 10 for a dollar and the Commando digests as half a buck each. Most manga volumes will be a buck.

I have a bunch of collectible phones, but I can only put so many of those in each sale. Among those that will be available are phones featuring Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley.

There will be other cool collectibles as well. I found a box of Marvel Super-Heroes role-playing game stuff. If I can fit that into this first sale, I will. If not, they will show up in a week or so.Because, this summer, I’m holding garage sales every weekend, save for those weekends when I’m at conventions.
                                                                             

There will be posters for sale as well. I found what I’m thinking is my last batch of the two-sided Superman poster I conceived for Cleveland’s International Superman Exposition in 1988. I have some Black Lightning and Hawkman posters. I have Daredevil and Luke Cage mini-posters. If I can figure out to display them properly, I will also have some cool Black Lightning pins for sale. Vast just barely covers all the great stuff I have for sale.
                                                                                         

Isabella stuff will include: 1000 Comic Books You Must Read; Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands; Black Lightning Volumes 1-3; July 1963: A Pivotal Month in the Comic-Book Life of Tony Isabella Volume One; and copies of my original script for Cold Dead Hands #1. I’ll also have individual copies of Cold Dead Hands #1-6 and other Isabella or Isabella-associated comic books.
                                                                                    

This garage sale will be the first offering of the variant edition of Marvel’s Greatest Creators: Tony Isabella #1 featuring the first appearance of Misty Knight. This edition is available only from me. The print run is just over 1000. Each copy of this variant edition will be signed and numbered. I’m pricing this variant edition at $10 per copy.

I’m looking at this special edition of Marvel’s Greatest Creators: Tony Isabella #1 as a fundraiser to help support my future projects  and travel. Copies will be available by mail as soon as I calculate the shipping costs. Look for that announcement next week.

There are a few components of this garage sale that won’t be up to stuff this first time out. I have a bunch of older Isabella-written comics to bag, board and price. I’ll do my best to keep the prices down on these, but I don’t think I’ll have a box of them ready for this first garage sale.

My $10 mystery boxes are among the most popular items at my garage sales, but I probably won’t have more than a few of them ready for this first weekend. I’ll have more of them as these sales continue over the summer.

Some other garage sales notes:

My garage sales are cash only. I am an unfrozen caveman writer and your modern technology confuses and frightens me. I hope to learn how to use one of those credit-card cube things before the end of the summer. I am not confident that will happen.

I don’t charge for my signature at my garage sales, even if you’re bringing stuff from home for me to sign. However, if you just come to these sales to get free signatures and don’t buy anything, I’m gonna think you’re a jerk.

Parents should understand that not every comic book is suitable for all ages, even if the comic book features a classic character like Batman. I will have a dedicated box of suitable-for-all-ages comic books. For example, that’s where you’ll find classic Archie comics. The more current stuff will be in the dollar boxes. If you aren’t sure about a comic’s suitability for your child, I’ll be happy to talk to you about it and/or steer you to more appropriate reading material for your child.

I’m delighted to set up complimentary guest tables in my driveway for comics professionals and organizations. Please e-mail me with your credentials and information. I will do my level best to accommodate you.

Tomorrow, I’ll place a Craig’s List announcement about the garage sales and a classified ad in the Medina Gazette. I’ll be plugging the sales on Facebook and Twitter. Feel free to share those plugs on your social media. You never know when someone might decide that a road trip to Medina would be fun.

With time out to complete some other gigs, I’ll be working on this weekend’s garage sale up to the moment I open the door at 9:00 am. If Friday’s sales are brisk, I’ll restock as much as possible for Saturday. The VAOS is strong within my garage.

I’ll be back soon with more bloggy things.

© 2019 Tony Isabella

Monday, May 20, 2019

TONY'S TIPS #303

This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder: Femme Magnifique: 50 Magnificent Women Who Changed The World; One Dirty Tree by Noah Van Sciver; and MAD magazine #7!
                                                                                     

Thursday, May 16, 2019

UPDATES

I'm pushing back my first garage sale of the year to May 31-June 1. I need the extra time to either do all the preparation myself or convince myself to hire an assistant I can't afford. This further delay pains me more than I can express. As to the why of it...

I'm not feeling too good on multiple levels, the least of which is some kind of flu thing. In addition, I'm tired of the madness that is the comics industry and especially how that madness expresses itself online. 

I'm tired of wanting to vomit every time I think about the Dumpster Traitor and the vile Republicans who support him and their own evil agendas. If you're a Republican and take offense at that, that's just too fucking bad. I consider you the biggest threat to all life on this planet.. 

I'm tired of planning my daily work schedule and not accomplishing what I want to accomplish. God dammit I'm exhausted!

I'm going to put a bunch of stuff on hold while I do the stuff that really needs to be done sooner rather than later. Hanging out on Facebook and Twitter is part of what I'm putting on hold, though I will use both for any announcements I have to make. Don't expect me to respond to even legitimate posts and know I will be swift to block trolls and other creeps.

I won't be doing any interviews or podcasts unless someone offers me a platform that truly blows my mind. That's not likely to happen.

I'm not putting Tony Isabella's Bloggy Thing on hiatus, but it's not a priority for me at the moment. I have several paying gigs I need to do before I start blogging as frequently as I have in the past. I also have several promises to keep, even if they don't put a dime in my pocket.

I'm not sure if I will be posting my usual birthdays, historical notes and remembrances on Facebook. That platform's inability to offer me easy access to my previous posts in those areas is making the process far more time-consuming than it used to be. I'm going to make every effort to continue the work I've started with this, but that's not a dead certainty.

I do plan to post my daily Things That Make Me Happy on Facebook and Twitter. In these terrible times, I need to express whatever joy I can find in my life.

If you have anything important to say to me - important being convention invitations, paid gigs and things that will brighten my day - send me an e-mail. I'll respond as swiftly as possible.

It's my hope that I will emerge in June with my spirits high and my shit together. 

Thanks for your patience and continued support. I'll be back as soon as possible. 

Tony Isabella





Monday, May 13, 2019

TONY'S TIPS #302

This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...Black Lightning cookies; James Warren, Empire Of Monsters: The Man Behind Creepy, Vampirella, And Famous Monsters by Bill Schelly; Rick Norwood’s Comics Revue; and Geekerella by Ashley Poston: http://blog.talesofwonder.com/?p=1431