Friday, May 31, 2019


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 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


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


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 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


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


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


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:

Saturday, May 11, 2019


This is what started things on Twitter. I posted this in reference to the new Batman and the Outsiders title:

Don't try to put a silver lining on DC reducing Black Lightning to Batman's support negro. It's insulting to the character, his fans and the creator with whom he wouldn't exist. For authentic Black Lightning, read Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands and watch the brilliant TV show.

Well, that brought the Batman fanatics, Comicsgate clowns, Isabella haters and just plain racists out in droves. Some falsely accused me of using the “N” word. Of course, though “negro” starts with an “n,” but it’s not the “N” word and the phrase I used it in is one common in film criticism.

Some mocked the sales of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands, which, as I have said, were less than I’d hoped for. On the other hand, DC didn’t go back to print on the first issue when it sold out rather quickly. As it routinely does for other comics.

Nor did it allow more than one variant cover during the entire six-issue Cold Dead Hands series. Every issue of the Detective Comics arc introducing the new BATO had two. The first issue of this new BATO series had three.

Factor in that DC set the new BATO in motion before Cold Dead Hands came out and one could suspect DC editorial had no interest in my reboot of Black Lightning being successful. I suppose it’s decidedly inconvenient for the creator of the company’s most iconic black super-hero to still be alive. How inconsiderate of me.

I’m not planning to spend weeks refuting all the inaccuracies and outright lies of the Twitter trolls or the stories on biased comics gossip sites. But, having a few free moments on my hands in the wee hours of this day, I posted this on Facebook:

Over on Twitter, now-blocked trolls have been trotting out the false narrative that I hate the thought of anyone other than me writing Black Lightning. To be honest, I wish I could write Black Lightning until the day I die. But here's some facts of which the trolls are likely unaware, not that they would note them if they were aware of them.

1. I praised Gerry Conway recognizing that Black Lightning would not join the Justice League in a story he wrote.

2. I praised Mike W. Barr's writing of Black Lightning in the original Batman and the Outsiders.

3. Over the years I have praised the Black Lightning writing of Brad Meltzer, Dwayne McDuffie, Grant Morrison, Adam Beechen and Sholly Fisch in various Justice League and other titles.

4. Among the people I have told they should pitch a Black Lightning project have been McDuffie, Gail Simone, and, in a moment of foolishness on my part, Trevor von Eeden. That was before I learned Trevor had a much worse relationship with DC than I did and was, to be kind, mercurial. There have probably been others, but I never knew there would be a quiz.

5. I praised the Black Lightning shorts written and created by my friend Lynell Hakim Forestall.

6. I believe I praised the Black Lightning appearance in the former incarnation of Young Justice.

7. I have regularly praised the Black Lightning TV series writers. Because they are amazing.

8. One of the many Black Lightning projects I pitched to DC was Black Lightning: Freeland, which would have been set in the TV series universe and mostly written by the writers of the TV series.

9. At various conventions in the past I have said that, if the time came when I couldn't write Black Lightning (a time which, despite DC being stupid, has not yet arrived), and if I could choose my successor, I would seek to find a writer of color, male or female, that I felt would honor the core values I instilled in my creation.

10. I can't think of a "10." This is a terrible click-bait list.

None of the above will sway the minds of those who attempt to hurt me on Twitter and elsewhere. I’ll be called a SJW. I’ll be called a racist. I’ll be called a bitter old has-been who was never a good writer. The venom has been spectacular, though not surprising in the least. None of that works.

You see, I know my true character. I know my talent. I know my true worth. I know the truth of Tony Isabella. So do the many thousands of fans and readers who write to me. I’m not going anywhere and neither are those wonderful fans and readers.

You lose, fools and haters and liars. You will ultimately always lose. Wallow in your venom. It’s where you belong.  

I’m working on my garage sales and a lot of other cool stuff. I’ll be back here as soon as possible.

Have a great Mother’s Day weekend.

© 2019 Tony Isabella

Thursday, May 9, 2019


This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of review of Avengers: Endgame. Warning: it does contain spoilers!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019



I will serve no garage sale before its time. While I could CERTAINLY throw together a garage sale by this weekend, it wouldn't be the garage sale I want to have. It wouldn't be the kind of garage sale that makes driving in from Akron or Cleveland or Columbus worthwhile. So I'm taking a little more time to do it right.

Here's my updated garage sale schedule:

Friday, May 17 (9 am to 1 pm)
Saturday, May 18 (9 am to 1 pm)

Friday, May 24 (9 am to 1 pm)
Saturday, May 25 (9 am to 1 pm)

Friday, May 31 (9 am to 1 pm)
Saturday, June 1 (9 am to 1 pm)

I'll have more details and my June dates soon.

Hope to see you next weekend.

Tony Isabella


Saturday, May 4, 2019


If you reading this on Saturday, May 4, I’m celebrating Free Comic Book Day at the magnificent Rubber City Comics, 74 E. Mill Street,  Akron, Ohio. Voted the city’s best comic-book shop for three years running, the store is open from 10 am to 5 pm. I’ll be signing and otherwise expounding on the comics art form and industry during that time...except when I’m going through the countless comics for a dollar that the store has put on sale. If you’re anywhere in the area, come on over!

My legendary Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales will commence the following Friday and Saturday. Due to inclement weather and a few of life’s other annoyances, I’m just starting work on the first sale tomorrow (Sunday).

Am I up to the challenge of throwing together an outstanding garage sale in just five days? Of course, I am. I’ve survived nearly half a century working in comics and not only am I still alive, I’m also mostly sane.

Normally, when plugging my garage sales, this is where I would be writing about all the wonderful stuff that will be available for purchase. I can’t be definite about that at this time.

There will be Isabella-written comics and books on sale. There will be boxes of dollar comics, quarter comics, more expensive comics,  magazines, manga, hardcover boxes, trade paperbacks and as many of our popular $10 mystery boxes as I can put together between Sunday and that special moment when I open the garage door to welcome the legion of comics fans waiting to hand me their money in exchange for bargain-priced wonderment.

This first garage sale of 2019 will run 9 am to 1 pm on both Friday and Saturday. If you come late, I won’t push you out of the garage at exactly closing time as long as you’re buying. That buying part is key to this. Because, as much as I might enjoying speaking with you, the dozen other things that I have to do before the end of the day will still have to get done.

My second garage sale of the year will be the following week. I’m not exactly sure of the days and hours of that one. My neighborhood is having a two-day garage sale on Thursday, May 16 and Friday, May 17. Their hours are approximately 9 am to 5 pm...and I’m not sure I’ll be able to stay open that long. I’m working on getting someone to assist me those days, so that I can accommodate the longer hours and also be open on Saturday, May 18.

For now, I’m only planning out my garage sales a month in advance. If you keep reading the bloggy thing and follow me on Facebook and  Twitter, you’ll be able to stay in the loop.

May and June are going to be all about my garage sales and writing a book. I’m not going to carve this in stone, but it’s unlikely I will be appearing at any conventions in either month. If you’re a convention promoter who thinks you can talk me off this position, e-mail me and send you my appearance requirements.

My appearance and garage sale schedule as of today:

May 10-11: Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale (9 am - 1 pm)

May 16-18: Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale (TBD)

May 31-June 1: Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale (9 am - 1 pm)

July 12-14: G-Fest (Chicago)

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

August 4: NEO Comic Con (North Olmsted, Ohio)

August 16-18: New Mexico Comic Expo (Albuquerque)

September 21: Flaming River Con

November 8-10: Grand Rapids Comic-Con

Garage sale notes:

I don’t charge for my signature on Isabella-written stuff you buy directly from me. As for Isabella-written stuff you didn’t buy from me, my garage sales are among the only 2019 events where I’ll sign those items for free. It’s possible I’ll sign for free at G-Fest to celebrate my lord and master Godzilla. It’s possible I’ll sign for free at San Diego’s Comic-Con International, but that’s uncertain at this time.

After my May garage sales, I would be open to hosting comics creators at those events. Anything you make at those garage sales is all yours, though, if you’re an artist, it would be nice for you to gift me with a sketch for my blog.

Come June and thereafter, I might also have some convention-style panels at my garage sales. I did this a couple years back with area pals Mike W. Barr and Tom Batiuk. It was great fun, so I’d like to do it again.

Convention notes:

I’m attending Comic-Con International at my own expense because my wife and daughter want to attend. If I have any business reason to attend, it eludes me. However, I hope to enjoy seeing old friends, making new friends, maybe doing some panels if I’m asked, maybe doing some signings for charity. I don’t think I’ve ever been less excited to attend Comic-Con, which is not a reflection on the event itself. I’m 100% open to having a great time.

I’m not a guest at the Flaming River Con, which will take place in the Cleveland Public Library in downtown Cleveland. I’m attending to show my support for the LGBTQ+ comics community. From the con’s Facebook page:

Flaming River Con is the Midwest's first Queer Geek Con! Your queer destination for everything geek, nerd and fandom. With vendors and sponsors, we're bringing you comics, cosplay, drag, panels, art, books, podcasts and more!

Our mission is to foster, showcase, and celebrate LGBTQIA+ voices and the community, and combat bigotry by increasing the visibility of queer and marginalized persons within geek culture.

One last convention note:

If your convention or other event isn’t on my list, don’t assume I’ll be attending just because I’ve attended in the past. The only way to confirm that I’ll be at your convention or other event is to e-mail me. I’ll send you my requirements. Hopefully, I’ll be able to add you to my appearance schedule.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2019 Tony Isabella

Friday, May 3, 2019


Free Comic Book Day is tomorrow. This year, I’ll be appearing at a new-for-me venue. On Saturday, May 4, you’ll find me signing and talking about comics at Rubber City Comics at 74 E. Mill Street in downtown Akron, Ohio. Voted Akron’s best comic-book shop for three years running, the store will be open from 10 am to 5 pm. If you’re in the area, come on over!

I’m sure my bloggy readers already know all about Free Comic Book Day, but, just to touch all the bases, here’s a quick explanation from the official Free Comic Book Day website:

Free Comic Book Day is an annual event founded on the belief that for every person out there, there’s a comic book they’ll love. Every year, on the first Saturday in May, the industry comes together to give away free comics and encourage fans, both old and new, to flock to the best place in the comic book community: local comic shops. These are the hubs of our community, where fans can come together and discover new comics, make lifelong friends, and find a sense of commonality.
There will be over fifty different FCBD comics available at comics shops throughout the country and the world. Not every comics shop will be participating. Not every participating comics shop will be offering every since FCBD title. Most shops will have some sort of limit on how many free comics you can get.

It’s important to note that these free comic books are not free to the comics shops. They pay for them. So, if you’re visiting a shop to get some free comics, help that establishment stay in business by buying some comics from them as well.

Many comics shops will also have special sales on Free Comic Book Day. For example, at Rubber City Comics,  all of the comic books in the shop that are priced $10 and under will be only $1.00 each. New comics. Old comics. Only $1.00 each. Indeed, the store says it has a ton of these dollar comics. NOTE: Sale does not apply to CGC-graded or pull list comics.

Full disclosure. Since I’ve never weighed comic books, I cannot say with any certainty how many issues of comic books comprise a ton of comic books. But I bet it’s a lot.

Many stores will have comics creators in attendance. Some will hold costume contests. There’s no costume contest at Rubber City Comics, but don’t let that stop you from cosplaying as your favorite comic-book characters. Black Lightning. Spider-Gwen. Superman. Daredevil. Zatanna the Magician. Captain Marvel. Nancy. Garfield. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle of your choice. Apama. The Tap Dance Killer. Sailor Moon. If nothing else, you’ll put a smile on my face and, in all probability, see yourself in all of your cosplaying glory in a future installment of this bloggy thing.

I will be bringing some Tony Isabella stuff to sell at Rubber City Comics. I’ll have copies of Black Lightning, Black Lightning Volume Two, Black Lightning: Brick City Blues, Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands, copies of the script for Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1, my entertainingly obsessive July 1963: A Pivotal Month in the Comic-Book Life of Tony Isabella Volume One, and quite probably one or two surprises.

Because it’s Free Comic Book Day, I’ll sign any Isabella stuff you purchase from me, purchase from Rubber City Comics or bring to the event from your own collection for free. That gives you more money to spend on all those $1 comic books in the shop.

Full disclosure. You might have to battle me for some of those $1 comic books.

Two more notes:

R2-D2 will be at the store. Because...why not?

There is free parking in the city decks and on the streets.

As I said above, Rubber City Comics is open from 10 am to 5 pm on Free Comic Book Day. I hope to be there from start to finish. I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2019 Tony Isabella

Thursday, May 2, 2019


I ran a storytelling workshop this past Saturday. The workshop was sponsored by the Cleveland Public Library and the Ohio Center for the Book. It was held at the Rising Star Roastery, located on the near west side of Cleveland. Over a dozen comics fans, several of them artists, attended this workshop.

After being introduced by Valentino Zullo, I explained the concept of this particular workshop. I had written three sample pages for my students in three different genres: horror/western, romance and super-hero. I asked them to select a script page and produce a rough layout for that page. While they were doing this, I would answer questions, discuss my career, and offer storytelling tips I believe will serve them well.

The key storytelling point I wanted to make is that everything has to be in service of the story. The writing. The art. The coloring. Everything. 
Writers need to think about what they ask an artist to draw and how much copy they are writing for a page. Artists have to make sure the story flows and not get caught up drawing stuff they like to draw. (I recounted the tale of one 1970s artist whose main interest was in drawing women. He would sometimes emphasize a minor female background character to the detriment of the storytelling.) And colorists have to learn to work with the story and not overpower it with fancy computer techniques.

Everything has to be in service of the story.

A more minor storytelling tip. If an artist is working from a full script, they should lay in the copy (captions, dialogue, whatever) in the layout stage of a page. That will save them time when they do the finished drawing and also prevent any problems with correct reading order and spacing.

I also gave my students an incentive. If, after the workshop, they wanted to take their rough layout, do a finished penciled page of it, scan and e-mail it to me, I would consider them for an actual paying gig. Drawing an eight-page story at the admittedly low rate of $50 a page. If I placed the finished story in a paying market, they would receive additional money for their work. I’m making that same offer to any interested artist reading today’s blog.

I deliberately threw my students into the deep end of the pool with these pages. I gave them no instructions as to the page layout or the size of the panels. I kept the descriptions to the minimum that was required. I did show them some sample layout pages and, where necessary, I also gave them a few pieces of reference material for the horror/western page and the super-hero page. Normally, when I’m working with an inexperienced artist or an artist I haven’t worked with before, I give more layout and panel directions. However, my layout and panel directions are seldom carved in stone. Unless I’m going for a specific effect, I don’t expect the artist to follow my directions blindly.

Just south of this paragraph, you will see the three sample pages I wrote for the workshop. If you want to take a shot at them, you are invited to do so. At the end of June, I will select the best of the penciled pages and hire that artist to do an eight-page comics story. If you’ve ever wanted to draw a comics story, if you’ve ever wanted to work with me, this is your chance.

Here are the sample pages.

Panel 1. In a dimly-lit abandoned and decrepit saloon, an enraged Dracula menaces the Lone Ranger and a lovely young woman. Drac is stalking toward them with murderous intent. The Ranger has his hand on his gun and the woman is backing away.

DRACULA: You’ve hounded me across this vast land of yours, Ranger, but it ends in this decrepit hovel.

DRACULA: No mortal man or weapon can deny the lord of vampires from what he desires.

RANGER: Stay behind me, Abigail.

Panel 2. A snarling Dracula leaps as the Lone Ranger draws his gun. Movement is key in this panel as there is no copy.

Panel 3. In mid-air, Dracula is riddled with bullets. The vampire is clearly in agony.


Panel 4. The Lone Ranger stands over Dracula as the vampire begins to dissolve painfully into ash.


RANGER: Silver bullets. You should have studied up on me.

RANGER: Like I studied up on you.

Panel 5. The Ranger starts to turn when he hears a voice from off-panel right.

ABIGAIL (off-panel right): Oh, Ke-mo sah-bee...

Panel 6. The Long Ranger is horrified as a vampiric Abigail grabs him and tries to bite him.

RANGER: Abigail?

ABIGAIL: Did you use all your shiny bullets?

Panel 1. A pretty young woman sits next to an older man on a hotel bed. Sunlight comes through the windows.

ALLY: Quick question...

Panel 2. Close-up of the older man looking troubled.

HARRY: What’s a “comics industry veteran” doing spending the night with a brilliant young editor in her twenties?

HARRY: My best guess is parallel dimension.

Panel 3. The young woman makes the older man face her.

ALLY: Actually, I wanted to know when your panel was. But...

ALLY: That you said “brilliant” instead of “beautiful” goes a long way toward answering your question.

HARRY: You do know our timing stinks, right?

Panel 4. Ally and Harry.

ALLY: Yeah. At 60 years old, you’re starting your first job in TV in Los Angeles. And I’m...

HARRY: ...going back to New York after the con so you can be even more brilliant.

Panel 5. Ally and Harry kiss. NO COPY in this panel.

Panel 6. Ally and Harry.

ALLY: We’ll figure it out. If nothing else, we can do this again.And again. And again.

Panel 7. Ally and Harry.

HARRY: Same time, next Comic-Con?

ALLY: Same time, next Comic-Con.
Panel 1. Elasti-Girl and the Chief (of the 1960s Doom Patrol comic books) are looking up at a multi-story apartment building with fire and smoke coming from its windows. Elasti-Girl is in costume. The Chief, sitting in his action chair wearing a headset with goggles device, points up at the building’s roof.

CHIEF: The firemen are pulling out! They can’t contain that blasted inferno!

CHIEF: There are four people trapped on the roof!

Panel 2. A family of four (father, mother, boy, girl) are fearfully clinging to one another with smoke partially obscuring them. There is NO COPY in this panel.

Panel 3. Elasti-Girl is growing to giant size while, below her, the Chief shouts out his concern.

CHIEF: Rita! You can’t grow tall enough to reach them.

CHIEF: The strain could kill you!

Panel 4. Close-up of Rita straining as she grows.

RITA (thought): Hey, he was the genius who *uhn* named us the Doom Patrol!

Panel 5. The family climbs into Rita’s huge hands.

FATHER: Hurry, kids!

Panel 6. Rita looks down at the family in her hands and smiles at the relief on their faces.

MOTHER: Your hands. They’re so soft.

RITA: Thanks! It takes a truckload of moisturizer, but I think it’s worth it!  

If you decide to try your hand at any or all of these pages, have fun with them. If you want to submit one or more finished pencilled pages, scan them and e-mail them to me. Sometime in June, I’ll pick an artist for the eight-page script. At the moment, that script is one of three stories I’m writing for an anthology I have in mind.

My next public appearance will be on Free Comic Book Day, Saturday, May 4. I’ll be at Rubber City Comics in downtown Akron, Ohio. Come back tomorrow and I’ll have more information for you.

© 2019 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


April turned out to be a far more challenging month than expected.  In between and around appearing at the Great Philadelphia Comic Con and doing a comics storytelling workshop for the Cleveland Public Library, I had numerous real-world household and physical problems with which to contend.

April was also a month in which I started making plans to retire. Don’t get excited. I’m not planning to retire. After all, based on my history to date, I have to be ready to go twenty years from now when I am asked to write my fourth Black Lightning series for DC Comics. It just seems prudent to think about these things.

I’m starting to downsize. This involves cancelling several magazine subscriptions, ordering fewer new comics and books and being more than a bit ruthless in putting my Vast Accumulation of Stuff into my Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales. I’m also hoping to eat healthier and exercise more regularly to downsize my very huggable but overweight body. I love challenges.

I’m making decisions about my appearances and conventions, about my book and comics projects and more. I’ll talk about those a little later this week.

You know the drill. We live in a terrible world. We have the worst President in the history of our nation and Republican cowards who are too frightened to challenge him. Because of that worst asswipe, bigotry is on the rise in our country.

I have mourned the deaths of good people. I mourned the death of a friend who turned out to not be dead after all, just hacked by an anonymous hacker. I mourned the loss of my friendship with a crazy person I have tried to help at considerable cost to myself. It has been difficult for me.

But, as a wise man once said, “Justice, like lightning, must ever appear, to some men hope and to other men fear.” I cling to hope, even in the worst times. One of my hope-building tools is to think about something which makes me happy every day of my life. I post these happy things online every day. Then, at the end of the month, I collect them for a bloggy thing.

These are things that made me happy in April.

April 1: The sun is shining brightly outside my office window with snow falling off trees. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

April 2: Al Lewis playing a sympathetic gangster's henchman on Decoy (1957). Especially when someone compared him to Dracula. He played Grandpa on The Munsters.
April 3: Black Dahlia Avenger by Steve Hodel, former LAPD homicide detective and the son of Dr. George Hodel, the killer of Elizabeth Short and others. His multi-book investigation is a fascinating, frightening look at pure evil allowed to flourish through police and government corruption.

April 4: The Lady from the Black Lagoon by Mallory O’Meara, which uncovers the suppressed Hollywood history of Milicent Patrick, the artist and actress who designed the Creature from the Black Lagoon. It’s a riveting real-life detective story.

April 5: Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot. She’s the city’s first black female and first openly gay leader. My concerns about her record re: police accountability aside, I congratulate her on her victory and wish her and her city better times.

April 6: Marooned Lagoon by Paul Gerrish with great illustrations by Scott Shaw. This delightful tale of young animals separated from their families in the aftermath of a hurricane is the kind of book that turns kids into readers and which parents will enjoy reading to their kids. I loved it!

April 7: I ordered a Marvel Collectors Corps box on a whim. I got cool Funko figures of Captain Marvel and Nick Fury, a t-shirt and a Captain Marvel glass. I’m keeping the figures, but the other two items will be offered at my first garage sale of the year (date to be determined).

April 8: Pre-Code Classics: The Crime Clinic Volume One from Great Britain’s PS Artbooks. A different take on crime comics starring a prison psychiatrist and a priest with art by Leonard Starr and John Prentice. More please.

April 9: Finding decent copies of my 1000 Comic Books You Must Read on the secondary market at prices that make it possible for me to sell them for cover price. I’ll have them at my garage sales and at conventions to which I can drive.

April 10: Now in its third season, The Jim Jefferies Show is doing single-subject episodes to wonderful effect. It’s a terrific mix of comedy and compassion, information and opinion.

April 11: Hershey, Pennsylvania. Barb and I had a wonderful visit to this city and Hershey’s Chocolate World. I could easily picture us moving there.

April 12: The story of Milton Hershey, who founded both The Hershey Company and the city he built around it, is inspirational. A great man who used his wealth to benefit others.

April 13: The Great Philadelphia Comic Con had a great backdrop for my booth and let me take it with me. It’ll look great at my garage sales.

April 14: Hanging with Don McGregor and so many other amazing folks at the Great Philadelphia Comic Con. Sal Velluto, Lebeau Underwood, Christopher Priest, Rahadyan Timoteo Sastrowardoyo, Alec Frazier, Jay Justice, Raymond Ramos, Eric Moran and too many others to name.

April 15: Stan Konopka, Kat Bishop and all the other hard-working folks at the Great Philadelphia Comic-Con for making the weekend so terrific for Saintly Wife Barb and myself.

April 16: Gorgo vs. Konga. Craig Yoe reprints four Joe Gill/Steve Ditko stories in a fun flipbook format that includes introductions by myself and Mark Ditko plus opening comments by Yoe’s eight-year- old son Griffin.

April 17: The Flash by Mark Waid Book One. Rereading these comics via my local library. Waid had the goods when he started and he’s only gotten better since.

April 18: Roy Thomas speaking out over DC Comics not compensating him for the use of his creations Artemis and Hazard outside comics. Suffering in silence never benefits creators.
April 19: Barefoot Gen. I’m buying and rereading Keiji Nakazawa’s masterpiece in the handsome hardcover editions published by Last Gasp. These are keepers!

April 20: Harrow County by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook. I’m getting the whole series in trade editions from my library and enjoying them immensely. Great stuff!

April 21: Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell. This was recommended to me for my upcoming “Cheesy Monsters Raid Again” presentation for this July’s G-Fest. It was oddly entertaining.

April 22: MAD #7. Ian Boothby and Gideon Kendall devise the perfect ending for Avengers: Endgame.

April 23: MAD #7. Black Lightning gets a mention in the fun Aquaman parody by Desmond Devlin and Tom Richmond. It’s a stupid mention, but, what the hey, it’s still MAD.

April 24: Svengoolie: Seeing Rodan’s cameo appearances in Valley of the Dragons (1961).

April 25: Gotham’s penultimate episode had fast-moving developments almost on the level of Black Lightning. I’m really looking forward to tonight’s finale.

April 26: Jeopardy. I have been enjoying watching current Jeopardy champion James Holzhauer dominate the game. He’s funny, personable and smart. I’m rooting for him.

April 27: James Warren: Empire of Monsters. A brilliant biography by Bill Schelly, arguably our finest comics biographer.

April 28: My Coffee and Comics storytelling workshop was amazing. My thanks to my students and to the Cleveland Public Library for inviting me.

April 29: Michael Davis lives! His death notice was posted online by a hacker. I look forward to speaking with him in the hopefully near future.

April 30: Samantha Bee’s Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner 2 should receive Emmy awards galore and a Pulitzer Prize. It was on point and hilarious.

If all goes according to plan, I’ll be back tomorrow with a chance for a talented artist among you to pencil an 8-page script and get paid for it. Details tomorrow.

© 2019 Tony Isabella