Friday, December 20, 2019


Several years ago, I decided I would take a few minutes every day to list one thing that made me happy. It was my defense against a world that is often cruel and illogical. These daily affirmations, if you will, have come to mean a lot to me and, judging from reader response, to you as well. Here are the things that made me happy in November...

November 1: Koren Shadmi’s The Twilight Man: Rod Serling and the Birth of Television. A biographical graphic novel of a writer whose works influenced countless writers, including myself.

November 2: Akron Comicon 2019. Building on the work of original promoters Bob Jenkins and Michael Savene, new owners Dan Gorman and Jason Miller put on an amazing event. The place was packed, the sales were great, the fun was huge. Well done, gentlemen!

November 3: Akron Comicon. I was interviewed four times over the show, including live for the WKYC Sunday morning show in Cleveland. My hands down favorite was being interviewed by eight-year-old Max for a You Tube channel he and his dad are creating. He's a bright young man and he's already terrific at this.

November 4: Akron Comicon. Great conversations with fans, friend and fellow professionals. This is the kind of show where you can do that and still make money at your table.

November 5: Bob Ingersoll’s The Law Is a Ass Volume Two: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! I’ll consume this slowly like the fine whine it is. Note: the cover is almost identical to the first book. Make sure you buy the new one.

November 6: In my very Republican home town of Medina, all four of the one-issue, anti-LGBT candidates for City Council were defeated. Bigotry was rejected. It gives me hope for the future.

November 7: My son the political operative. I’m proud of the great work Ed did helping elect progressive candidates in our home town. He’s smart, practical and tenacious. I look forward to the day when he runs for office and disavows me ala Reverend Wright because I’m too far out there. Vote for Ed!

November 8: Grand Rapids Comic Con 2019. Mark Hodges and his amazing team put on one of the best conventions in the country. Great guests and fans and special features. If you’re a comics professional and he invites you, just say “yes” as fast as you can.

November 9: Grand Rapids Comic Con. Spending much time with the adventurous Jennifer Riker, attending her first comics convention. She plays Dr. Helga Jace on Black Lightning and has been on lots of other great shows as well. Her dad Howard was there, so proud of his daughter and, get this, he was a commander in the military. That’s right. He was a honest-to-gosh Commander Riker. Beam me up! 11-9-19.

November 10: Grand Rapids Comic Con. Getting congratulated on Black Lightning by Tony Todd. Meeting Vernon Wells, who was in one of my favorite movies, Weird Science. Meeting Patrick Warburton, who is always fun in whatever he does.

November 11: Grand Rapids Comic Con. Christy McCulfor, a talented young cartoonist who I met and gave advice to at an earlier Grand Rapids event, had a table in Artist Alley and was selling copies of her first books. She had a great show.

November 12: Grand Rapids Comic Con. Spending some time with Gail Simone and husband Scott. They thanked me for my support of Gail at the start of her glorious (and continuing to be so) career. If I played even the smallest part in all that she’s accomplished, I count that as high among my own achievements. Love them madly.

November 13: Grand Rapids Comic Con. Chatting with 90-year-old Vic Carrabotta, who did so much wonderful work for Marvel Comics in the 1950s in virtually every genre they published. It was a highlight of my weekend.

November 14: Grand Rapids Comic Con. The Black Lightning panel with Jennifer Riker went well. She got to see something I’ve experienced many times: a fan tearing up while talking about Black Lightning and what he means to her. If DC Comics execs could experience such things, they’d stop diminishing their most iconic black super-hero.

November 15: Grand Rapids Comic-Con. It’s an annual tradition for Thom (Love and Capes) Zahler and I to drive to the convention in my SUV. He’s a terrific traveling companion. This is a “journey is as much fun as the destination” thing. Already looking forward to our next trip.

November 16: Last Monday’s Black Lightning made me love the cast, crew, directors and writers more than ever. This is the best super-hero show on television.

November 17: Pat Sajak and Vanna White, hosts of Wheel of Fortune, are just so darned pleasant. Saintly Wife Barb and I enjoy watching them. We wish speedy recovery to the recently hospitalized Sajak and look forward to White filling in for him.

November 18: Alter Ego #161. A full-issue tribute to Stan Lee. I’m smiling as I read most entries, getting a little sad reading some others, but, always, always, thinking fondly of a man who meant so much to me and millions of comics fans.

November 19: Bob (Hearts) Abishola gets better every week, combining humor and human stories effortlessly. The emergence of supporting cast members Bayo Akinfemi and Anthony Okungbowa has made the show even more entertaining.

November 20: Rep. Adam Schiff ended a day of hearings with strong rebuke of GOP: “They don’t object to President Trump’s conduct, only ‘that he got caught’.” We need more people like Schiff in our government.

November 21: DC Thomson Media. When a serious problem arose with my Commando subscription, the company moved swiftly to make it right. The situation isn’t entirely resolved, but the snafu seems to be on this end of the Atlantic.

November 22: The Unicorn has become another Barb/Tony favorite at Casa Isabella. It took the supporting players a couple episodes to gel, but we’re getting very funny, very human performances and stories.

November 23: Elise Nussbaum. I try not to get attached to Jeopardy champions, but the 40-year-old financial coach from Jersey City, is a delight. She’s smart, funny and genuine, and she rocks the 1960s and 1970s fashions she favors. She’s won three times and I hope her run continues.

November 24: Brother: A Story of Autism by Carlton Hudgens as told by Bridget Hudgens with art by Nam Kim. The Zucker Teen Topics GNs have been a mixed bag, but this one hits all the right notes. It’s worthy of nomination in the next batch of comics awards.

November 25: Yesterday. As I was loading my SUV, a couple walking their dog stopped to thank me for supporting LGBT citizens in my letters published in the local newspaper.

November 26: Operation Peril. PS Artbooks is collecting this 1950s series from ACG (The American Comics Group). Detective, science-fiction, adventure, horror. There are some awkward “of the times” moments in a few stories, but, for the most part, these are fun tales with terrific art.

November 27: The Isabella Family has cleared another storage unit, reducing our count to just one and saving me $72 a month in rent. Our remaining storage unit is packed, but I hope to empty that one by the end of summer 2020.

November 28: Mac Raboy Master of the Comics by Roger Hill. Another worthy addition to the great TwoMorrows library of comics history books.

November 29: Disney Never Lands. Another fascinating book by Disney historian Jim Korkis. This one is on great ideas that never quite made it to reality.

November 30: Ohio State 56, Michigan 27. That’s eight wins in a row for this rivalry. ‘Nuff said.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2019 Tony Isabella

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