Wednesday, June 5, 2019


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

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