Thursday, July 30, 2020


Now there's a headline that makes you want to do business with me, right?

Here's the skinny. I'm looking to buy comics in decent condition for my garage sale quarter boxes and mystery boxes. But since these are both loss leaders, I can't pay a lot for them. In addition, I need these comics to be at least arguably suitable for all ages. In other words, I can't use your copies of Naked People Doing Naked Things to One Another.

I'm willing to pay $10 for a short box of comic books and $20 for a long box. I know that's not much. It's the best I can do.

If you're in the area and looking to reduce the comic-book footprint in your house or apartment, send me an e-mail and we'll arrange for me to buy your books. And, yes, this offer is open to comic-book retailers as well. Obviously, there will be limits on how much I can spend on this in any given week.  

The price isn't negotiable. It's what I can pay for your comics. If you're interested, get in touch with me. But, always, always, contact me before showing up at my garage with boxes of comics.

Stay safe, stay sane and be wonderful to one another.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020


Today’s bloggy thing will seem familiar to you because I covered a lot of the same territory a week ago. I’ll put the most pertinent stuff up front.

My next open-to-the-general-public Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales will be Friday, July 31, and Saturday, August 1, from nine am to noon. They will be held at my home: 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio on the corner of Damon Drive and Bradley Court. There will be a lot of cool comics and pop culture related stuff on sale...and I’m adding over a hundred items every day between now and then.

Only two customers will be allowed in the garage sale at any given time. Don’t fret if you’re still waiting to get in at noon. I will keep the sales going until all my customers have been able to shop.

There are some other rules as well, but I’ll get to them after I’ve given you some idea of what you’ll find at the sale. Here comes the quick tour:

There are a couple boxes of comics priced at a quarter. I’d love to have more, but I haven’t come across a fresh supply of such items as I search through the Vast Accumulation of Stuff. How vast is it? I just this week came across the books I had promised to send one of my dearest friends in exchange for an item he sent to me. That was a year ago. It’s good to have patient friends.

I have a couple dozen PlayStation and Xbox games on sale at a buck each. There may be a few more before the end of the summer. I also have a couple dozen CDs at a buck each and there definitely will be more of those as I go through the CDs amassed by Saintly Wife Barb and myself during our 36 years of marriage.

There are hardbacks and trade paperbacks throughout the sale. You won’t believe the prices on some of these. I just sold two volumes of Russ Manning’s Tarzan for fifteen bucks each.

You’ll see some collectible items. As my search continues, you’ll probably see more. Over the years, I’ve sold over a couple hundred collectible Monopoly games and collectible phones. I don’t think I have any more Monopoly games but some more phones could turn up as the summer progresses.

I have several boxes of comic books priced at a dollar each. These will be restocked throughout my “garage sale season.” I anticipate running garage sales through the end of September.

I have DVDs and Blu-rays at a buck for single discs and two bucks for TV season sets. Normally, I have stacks of the British comics war digest Commando at just one buck each, but my first appointment customer cleaned me out of them. As I read the several dozen unread issues I have - Commando publishes eight issues a month - I’ll have more copies to sell.

Posters? I have the rare double-sided Superman poster created for Cleveland’s 1988 International Superman Exposition. Priced at $20, these gems have been a consistent seller for years. I don’t think my remaining supply will last the summer.

I have other posters for sale at $10 each: three different Black Lightning posters, a Misty Knight and Tigra team-up and a Hawkman poster. I also have Daredevil and Luke Cage mini-posters at just $5 each. My supplies on most of these are low.

Tony Isabella fans will find comic books and other books written by me. They’ll also find copies of my script for Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1.

As always, I will sign any Tony Isabella items you purchase from me for free. In a slight change from previous garage sales, I’ll only sign any Isabella items you didn’t buy from me for free if you have already made a purchase of $10 or more.

I have a couple of boxes of older comics from the 1960s and 1970s, all priced to sell. You’ll find Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane and Thunder Agents to name but a few.

My $10 mystery boxes will be in short supply initially because it does take quite a bit of time to put them together. I’m limiting sales of mystery boxes to one per customer until I can build up a decent supply. I’m shooting to put together one mystery box every day. I currently have four in my garage.

Here are the important rules I mentioned earlier:

YOU MUST WEAR A MASK. If you absurdly find this to be some sort of infringement on your freedom, don’t come to my garage sale. I will not make an exception for you.

MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCING AT ALL TIMES. Try to keep six feet away from any other customer. Most of my tables are six feet long, which will give you a good idea of what that distance is.

USE THE HAND SANITIZER OR WIPES. I’ll have hand sanitizer and wipes as you walk into the garage sale. I’ll have also have a few extra masks in case you forgot yours at home.

CASH ONLY. At some point in the distant future, when the world is a little safer and conventions are again possible, I will be able to take credit cards. Not this year.

NO WEAPONS. Unless you are an on-duty police officer or member of the armed service, you will not be allowed to bring any gun, rifle, bazooka, sword, bow and arrows, etc. onto my property. Don’t try to “outfox” me trying to bring something not included on this list as I have a wide range of what I consider “etc.”

NO RACIST GEAR. This includes (but is not remotely limited to) Confederate paraphernalia, white supremacist paraphernalia and anything Trump or MAGA related. It’s a garage sale, not a platform for your political, religious or social bullshit. My property, my rules. Don’t test me on this. You’ll fail spectacularly.

If you can’t make it to my garage sales on Friday and Saturday, you can make appointments to shop at other times. Except for Sunday, I’m open to morning, afternoon and evening appointments from 9 am to 7 pm. This is, of course, conditional on whatever else I have going on in my life. E-mail me or send me a private message on Facebook to make an appointment for you and, if you want, one other person. I’ll do my best to accommodate you.

I think that covers everything. If you have any questions...I can tell you right now I can’t/won’t answer questions about whether or not I have a specific item...I’ll try to respond to them as swiftly as I can manage.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with more stuff. Be safe, be sane, be wonderful to one another.

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Monday, July 27, 2020


BLACK LIGHTNING FUNKO POP update for 7-27-20.

The lowest open auctions currently stand at $107.50 (4 bids, 4 days) and $130,50 (12 bids, 6 days).

The BUY IT NOW offers range from $180 to $450.

The complete listings show the lowest sales were for $99 and $120. I think that's the proper range for this figure, not that I can influence the market.

The complete listings show the highest sales were three figures that each sold for $399,99 from the same seller. Something's wrong with the process when one dealer is able to get multiple figures.

I still hope Funko does a larger, non-exclusive release of this figure. Write them and let them know of your interest. They are a good company that makes a great product. (I just bought their four cancer awareness DC figures for my Social Justice League.) The more people contact Funko, the better chances there are of getting a general release.

For that matter, do the same with Warner Bros and their Black Lightning season collection. Tell them you want Blu-rays of Seasons Two and Three...just like they do for all the other DC/CW shows. Tell them you want general releases of those sets. By making only DVD sets available and making them manufacture on demand, they are self-fulfilling the nonsense that Black heroes don't sell. We know better. We know there's a large audience that is being under-served by Warner Bros and so many other companies.

In fact, if you want to see authentic Black Lightning comic books that are again written by me, contact DC Comics in enormous numbers. Contact Jim Lee. Contact editors. Find out who oversees DC Comics from Warner Bros or even AT&T and tell them what you want. Hell, if those individuals would give me an hour, I could explain to them how much money they are leaving on the table.

It's up to you because, as we've seen, the comics news sites aren't interested in Black Lightning or any positive stories about me.

That's my Monday morning message.

Friday, July 24, 2020


I didn’t realize it when, at the tender age of five or so, I first discovered the Phantom in the pages of one of our local Cleveland, Ohio newspapers, that The Ghost Who Walks was destined to become one of my favorite heroes. In retrospect, this is remarkable.

My father Louis was the Atlas who carried the family bakery on his shoulders. He woke early to get the bread started, then delivered bread to families and stores, then returned to the bakery before he came home to eat dinner, help us kids with homework and projects, and maybe do some odd jobs around the house. He didn’t have a lot of time to read newspapers, so he would only buy one a couple times a week. Mostly on his one day off.

Naturally, I would read the comics pages. Even though I only read the Phantom once a week or so, I liked the strip a lot. I couldn’t figure out what was happening in the strip, but I would make up my own stories to fill the gaps. My writer’s mind developed at a very early age.

When I was older, I bought the Phantom comic books. When I was even older, I followed the strip wherever I could find it. Newspapers. Magazines. The novels that adapted classic episodes from the strip. In addition, for several years now, I’ve been buying Phantom comic books from Australia. We’ll talk more about those fantastic comics from down under a bit latter.

Through my library, I was able to read The Phantom: The Complete Newspaper Dailies Volumes One (1936-1937) and Two (1937-1939). Both of these hardcover editions are out of print and priced way out of my range in the secondary market. I wish I’d bought them when they were first published, but anything resembling disposable income was in short supply back then. Alas, the third volume isn’t available from the Cleveland area Usenet system, so I must skip ahead to the fourth volume.

SIDEBAR: I would love to get all of these Phantom newspaper strip collections, but funds for such things are tighter than ever. If anyone out there wants to hire me to write stuff and pay me off in these volumes, that’s something we could do. If interested, you can email me with the details.

I love these early Phantom stories. I get a kick seeing how Phantom creator Lee Falk took an abrupt turn from his original plan and, in doing so, introduced a whole new world of jungles and pirates and more to his character. There’s almost a comedic element to all the stuff that keeps the Phantom and his beloved Diana apart, even though the machinations sometimes make me want to scream. These tales are action-packed adventures with delicious side dishes of comedy, mystery and romance.

Of course, there is always going to be the elephant in the strip. In the 1930s, you’ll find racial stereotypes in the Phantom. They might be somewhat milder than in other entertainments of the era, but they are there. The way I handle them is to remind myself and my readers that they were products of their time, not appropriate then or now, but part of the history. These stereotypes are not to be celebrated, simply acknowledged and understood. However, let’s not forget that Falk made a sincere and somewhat successful effort to undo those stereotypes as the strip continued into more modern and enlightened times.

I’ve been buying Frew Publications’ The Phantom comic since around issue #1100. Published more than monthly, the title has now passed #1850. I haven’t read all the issues I bought, but I’m managing to keep current on the most recent ones.

The standard issue of The Phantom runs 36 pages counting covers and almost all the interior pages are devoted to story. Some of these feature tales originally published in Sweden and other countries. Some reprint daily and Sunday newspaper strips from the earliest days to modern times. Most are in black-and-white, but the series has published color issues. Very occasionally, a brand-new story by Australian creators will appear.

The Phantom #1857 features “The Forgotten Tribe” by Mikael Sol, the current editor of Sweden’s Fantomen whose position now encompasses editorial control of all Team Fantomen stories. Janusz Ordon is the artist. His work is similar to the great work that came out of the Philippines in the 1970s and beyond.

I enjoyed this tale of a proud tribe oppressed by white devils and who think the Phantom is one of those demons. Sol plays with some of the standard jungle tropes, but does so with a sensibility that fits in comfortable with our occasionally more progressive society. The story was first published in Sweden in 2018.

This issue also includes the latest chapter of a seemingly endless story called “Heart of Darkness” that has been running in the title for years. To be honest, I have long since lost track of the plot. My current plan is to wait until the story is finished, assuming it ends in my lifetime, and then read all the chapters back to back.

One of the really cool things about Frew’s Phantom is the specials that are part of the ongoing numbering. The Phantom #1858 was also their 2020 Annual featuring over 200 pages of newspaper adventures set on the Isle of Eden. That’s the island paradise, surrounded by a reef and a river filled with hungry piranhas, where the Phantom has raised animals who don’t eat one another. Lions and tigers co-exist with apes, deer and giraffes. Among the interesting citizens are a stegosaurus, a prehistoric creature with his wife and family, a tormented-by-man giant gorilla who has found peace on the island and doll-size aliens awaiting rescue from their fellows. Only the Phantom, his family and a handful of few fortunate humans have been allowed on Eden.

There are nine stories dating from 1960 to 1996. Lee Falk wrote all of them. The artists: Wilson McCoy, Sy Barry, George Olesen, Keith Williams and Fred Fredericks. It’s a great collection that delves into a wondrous element of the Phantom lore.

The issue came with two premiums. The first is a gorgeous poster of the Animals of Eden that identifies them by name. The second is a Kid Phantom booklet. I’ll be kind about the latter and simply say it’s not to my liking. There were a few issues of “The Adventures of the Phantom as a Young Boy,” but the series didn’t catch on with the readers any better than it did with me.

One more for today. The Phantom #1859 is also “Collectors Replica Series No. 22.” Every issue of this series reprints three original Frew issues. In this case, it’s issues #136, #135 and #134. Yes, I know that’s in backwards order, but that’s how they appear in this comic book. Thank the previous owner of Frew; that’s how they began this replica series and that’s how it (ridiculously in my opinion) continues to this date. To read this 100-page issue and the other replica specials like it, I start at the back of the issue with the earliest numbered issue. Then I move to the middle and then to the most recent issue.

Each replica issue (and, indeed, every issue of the Phantom) has an inside front cover editorial describing the issue’s contents and, usually, offering some historical context to the material. I enjoy these “meetings” with publisher Dudley Hogarth, whose love for the Ghost Who Walks is evident in his writing and the care with which he produces these comic books.

Frew’s earliest editors and publishers reprinted the Phantom comic strips in a fairly rigid formula. They cut and pasted and trimmed the original source material to fit that formula. That worked out okay sometimes but not always.

The reprinted issue #134 had two stories. One is a Sunday story relating “The Childhood of the Phantom” that shows how the legend continued to evolve over the years. The second is another Sunday adventure in which our hero is pursued by the powerful “Queen Pera the Perfect.” The originals were published in 1944/1945.

Issue #135 also had two stories, both reprinted from 1945 Sundays. “The Strange Fisherman” is a repugnant potentate who “fishes” for women from an elephant and sells his “catch” in slave markets. He is portrayed in a somewhat comical and thus utterly inappropriate manner. Not every Phantom story is a gem.

The second story is “The Dragon God of the Wambesi.” Set after the Second World War, the tale has a pair of German soldiers teaming up with an evil witch doctor to convince the area tribes to surrender to and follow a powerful vengeful god. I’m not sure if it was too severely abridged to work, but it’s disappointing. A prose version of the story, republished in a special anthology I’ll discuss next time around, is better and more detailed, but suffers from our hero surviving more through luck than anything else.

Issue #136 reprinted “Lago The Lake God” from a 1945 daily story. It’s another white man tricking tribesman into obeying a powerful god. Falk’s treatment of the jungle people improved over the years, but he wasn’t there in 1945.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week of bloggy things. I’m taking two to four days off from blogging to put the finishing touches on my Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales, but I’ll be back with a bunch of cool stuff after that. Look for new installments of "Phantom Friday" every few weeks or so.

Be safe, be sane, be wonderful to one another. 

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Thursday, July 23, 2020


The world-famous Tony Isabella’s Vast Accumulation of Stuff Garage Sale will finally return next week. Customers will have a choice of making one-on-one appointments to shop the garage sale via e-mail or Facebook private messages.

My garage sales are held at 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio. I’m going to be as flexible as possible about accommodating appointment requests. I’m willing to schedule morning, afternoon or evening appointments seven days a week from 9 am to 7 pm within reason and dependent on the many other things I have going on in my life.

If you don’t have an appointment and see that my garage door is open for someone who made an appointment, you will be allowed to wait in the end of the driveway until the customer is finished. When they're done, I’ll wave you in and give you time to shop. How much time is dependent on the time of my next appointment.

Customers will also be able to shop the garage sale without prior appointments. Here’s how that will work:

My garage sales will be open to the public on Friday and Saturday mornings from 9 am to noon. Only two customers will be allowed in the sale at any given time. While those customers are shopping, you will be able to sit in socially distanced chairs in the driveway. When one of the customers inside the garage finishes their visit, I’ll wave the next customer in.

My first garage sale appointment is on Monday, July 27, at noon. My second is on Tuesday, July 21, at 9 am. Customers who make such advance appointments will be able to bring one other person with them.

The first open to the public garage sales will be Friday, July 31, and Saturday, August 1, from 9 am to noon. If you’re still waiting to get in at noon, don’t fret. I will keep the sale open until all my customers have been able to shop.
There are some important rules you’ll have to follow.

YOU MUST WEAR A MASK. If you absurdly find this to be some sort of infringement on your freedom, don’t come to my garage sale. I will not make an exception for you.

MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCING AT ALL TIMES. Try to keep six feet away from any other customer. Most of my tables are six feet long, which will give you a good idea of what that distance is. And, yes, I wish I had a bigger garage.

USE THE HAND SANITIZER OR WIPES. I’ll have hand sanitizer and wipes as you walk into the garage sale. I’ll have also have a few extra masks in case you forgot yours at home.

CASH ONLY. At some point in the distant future, when the world is a little safer and conventions are again possible, I will be able to take credit cards. Not this year.

NO WEAPONS. Unless you are an on-duty police officer or member of the armed forces, you will not be allowed to bring any gun, rifle, bazooka, sword, bow and arrows, etc. onto my property. Don’t try to “outfox” me trying to bring something not included on this list as I have a wide range of what I consider “etc.”

NO RACIST GEAR. This includes (but is not remotely limited to) Confederate paraphernalia, white supremacist paraphernalia and anything Trump or MAGA related. It’s a garage sale, not a platform for your political, religious or social bullshit. My property, my rules. Don’t test me on this. You’ll fail spectacularly.

As always, I will sign any Tony Isabella items you purchase from me for free. In a slight change from previous garage sales, I’ll only sign any Isabella items you didn’t buy from me for free if you have already made a purchase of $10 or more.

My garage sales are shaping up nicely at this point. Every day, I’m adding around a hundred items to the displays. I’ll have lots of comic books for sale, many of them priced at a dollar or a quarter. I’ll have Isabella-related books and posters. There will be lots of books and trade paperbacks. There will be cool odds and ends. There will be almost two tables of DVDs and Blu-rays at a buck or two each. There will be copies of the British comic war digest Commando at fifty cents a pop.

My $10 mystery boxes will be in short supply initially because it does take me quite a bit of time to put them together. I’m aiming to put together one mystery box every day, so I should have five or six of them by next Monday.

Because my garage is not a Tardis, I will be limited in what I can  display. Among the things that may have to wait until I sell enough other stuff to have room for them are collectible cards, comics or movie related clothing, a pretty cool collection of VHS tapes, manga volumes, collectible phones and much more.

Barb and I are starting to downsize for her eventual retirement and a possible move to a smaller house. We’re not precisely on the same page here. I’d like to finish our planned renovations before even thinking about moving in the hope that the final results will make Barb want to stay where we are.

But I’m taking the downsizing seriously. I don’t know when I’ll be putting them on sale, but I’ve decided to part with some treasured items. Like those Alan Class reprint comics from the U.K. Like the dozen or so issues of Quality’s Candy and The Barker I’ve purchased over the years. On the fence is my not quite complete collection of Marvel’s Kathy by Stan Lee and Stan Goldberg.

SIDEBAR FOR MARVEL COMICS EDITORS: I want to pitch for a new Kathy series. The concept will astonish you. Trust me.

Back to the garage sales...

I will be publicizing them online. I won’t be putting ads in the local Medina newspaper because, as near as I can tell, over the many years I've been doing these sales, I’ve never gotten more than a couple customers from the ads I placed.

If you’re an area comics creator with your own table and chairs, I would love to have you set up in my driveway during the Friday/Saturday morning garage sales. No charge, but space will obviously be limited. E-mail me for scheduling.
Now that I think about, I'll extend that effort to local charitable organizations whose positions are in line with my own. E-mail me.
If you’re one of my neighbors holding your own garage sales, I’ll be happy to hand out fliers for your events.

If you’re selling comic books, I’m almost certainly not going to be interested unless...don’t tell Barb I said’re willing to take literal pennies on the dollar for what you’re selling. I would want to turn a reasonable profit if I stick the books in my quarter boxes or in mystery boxes. The best way to go on this would be to set up an appointment to bring the comics to me. I'm not adverse to coming to you if you're in the area, but my schedule is going to be pretty tight this summer.

I think that covers everything. If you have any questions...I can tell you right now I can’t/won’t answer questions about whether or not I have a specific item...I’ll do my best to respond to them as swiftly as I can manage.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with more stuff. Be safe, be sane, be wonderful to one another.

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, July 22, 2020


Today we celebrate the debut of The Outbursts of Everett True, the two-panel newspaper feature created by A.D. Condo and J. W. Raper. Originally titled A Chapter from the Career of Everett True, this strip ran from July 22, 1905 to January 13, 1927. Condo abandoned it for health reasons.

Everett True is 115 years old today and, amazingly, wonderfully, he is finding a new audience. Strips like the one that leads today’s bloggy thing resonate in today’s troubled world. In a world where we have far too many brutal police officers wearing military gear and attacking citizens exercising their right to protest that very brutality, in a often unrecognizable United States where an insane  president’s unidentified storm troopers grab people off our streets and throw them into unmarked vans and whisk them away to who knows where, there is something oddly comforting about one ill-tempered portly man who dispenses rough justice with two ham-like fists and a decidedly solid moral code and umbrella.

I met Everett True in 1983. I can’t remember whether I discovered him on my own and through the recommendation of my dear friends Don and Maggie Thompson, but my introduction to said volatile crusader came in the form of The Outbursts of Everett True, a collection of his decades-old strips from Vestal Press. To quote that volume’s back cover copy:

Everett True is a portly man with a big temper and a short fuse, who takes a dim view of the various transgressions that are inflicted on him from time to time by various members of the human race.

Is there one of us who wouldn’t like to give a poke on the hose to the fellow who cuts in front of us in the waiting line, administer a sound thrashing to the chap who abuses an animal, throw onto the street a rude bus driver or give a verbal lashing to the chronic borrower? Of course, we’d all like, mentally at least, on occasion, to do all of these things.

The rules of social decorum (to say nothing of the simple laws on assault and battery) prevent most of us from behaving the way Everett True does. But when he wreaks havoc on his fellow man, he’s really acting as our surrogate and we can take out our own frustrations by laughing at his antics!

I was so taken with this turn-of-the-century force of nature that I wrote hundreds of modern-day, comic-centric Everett True cartoons for Comics Buyer’s Guide and the same publisher’s Movie Collectors World. When I pulled the feature from CBG over creative/ethical issues, I wrote a dozen or more strips for Amazing Heroes and The Comics Journal. These strips were mostly drawn or at least inked by the great Gary Dumm.

Gary and I revealed Everett True was a comics fan. This made creators, editors, fans and publishers the natural targets for his outbursts. Sometimes Everett delivered a righteous pummeling while other times he poked gentle fun at comics. Only occasionally did he comment on “real world” events.

This gag involving the DC Comics character Arion Lord of Atlantis falls into the “gentle fun” category. Arion was created by my dear friend Paul Kupperberg and artist Jan Duursema. As you can see, we gave Paul the original to this cartoon.

Mrs. True figured prominently in both the original version and my version of Everett True. Along the way, Gary and I added Everett’s young son and his fetching adult daughter. For the most part, even comics industry targets who were treated harshly enjoyed the strip. However, one comics creator took such offense to a strip involving his creation that he struck me in my forehead. I wasn’t hurt, just stunned by this reaction. Comedy is dangerous.

Confession time. This is not the Everett True tribute I originally planned for today. I was going to share several Everett True gags from Comics Buyer’s Guide with you. I was unable to find those file folders in the chaos that is my Vast Accumulation of Stuff. Truly I’m deserving of an Everett True beatdown during which he’d surely call me a “dithering dilettante” or an “unorganized orangutan.” I’d accept his righteous ire and strive to do better in the future. As to what that future might entail, we’ll swing around back to that by the end of today’s bloggy thing.

There was a second collection of Everett True strips published by Underworld Amusements in 2015. Their Outbursts of Everett True is nearly 300 pages. The 1983 book was just under a hundred pages, so this one gives you more beatings for your bucks. Best of all, it’s available from Amazon.

Recently, Everett True has been discovered by a new generation of fans. Even before television writer Tim Neenan (Childrens Hospital, NTSF:SD:SUV) posted a tweet of the classic comic strip, folks were flocking to the Barnacle Press website and enjoying a frighteningly large selection of the old cartoons.

Unaware of my work with Everett True, cartoonist Randy Milholland drew a one-shot “The 21st Century Outbursts of Everett True.” Since the character is in the public domain, that was fine with me...and I enjoyed what Milholland did with my old friend. Milholland has also done a bunch of “Popeye’s Cartoon Club” strips at Comics Kingdom. Those are definitely worth checking out.

Moving on to my future plans for Everett True.

Many readers have said they would love to see all my Everett True strips collected in however many volumes it takes. The format I’m considering is to reprint each strip with new prose material that puts these decades-old strips in context. Somewhere down the line, when I’ve finished my current projects, I will launch some sort of crowd-sourcing campaign to raise the necessary funds to make these books possible.

Within my Vast Accumulation of Stuff, I have all the Comics Buyer’s Guide issues featuring my Everett True cartoons. I’m not sure if I have the Movie Collectors World issues, so I’ll have to track those down. I’m fairly certain I don’t have the issues of Amazing Heroes and Comics Journal that ran Everett True because, when I sold those in my garage sales, I never thought to go through them and pull out those issues. When the time comes, I’ll call on my fans and friends to help me locate those strips.

Readers have suggested I write new Everett True strips and run them online, adding that I shouldn’t confine these new strips to comics and pop culture. I’m intrigued by this idea and am considering it. Interested artists should contact me.

NOTE: Unless I find a sponsor, this would not be a paying gig. Back in the day, I used to get $25 per Everett True cartoon. I then paid Gary Dumm and the other artists $20 per cartoon. If I can come up with ways of monetizing these new strips, the lion’s share of any money would go to the artists.

I have also toyed with the idea of writing an actual Everett True comic book. This would feature full stories of different lengths. I’d probably draw inspiration from comic books like The Adventures of Jerry Lewis, Herbie, the works of Carl Banks and John Stanley, old-school Archie titles, Inferior Five, Angel and the Ape and fun  Marvel titles like Kathy, Millie the Model and Patsy Walker. I’ve not done a lot of thinking about this beyond that it would be cool to tell full stories with Everett and his family.

One more thing for today. While searching for my Everett True file folders, I came across a handwritten pitch for a comic-book series that would have reprinted the cartoons I did with Gary Dumm and the other artists. This pitch was written in February 1991. For reasons unknown, I never went any further with the pitch.

To celebrate Everett’s 115th birthday, here’s that pitch:

Writer: Tony Isabella
Artists: Gary Dumm, Greg Budgett, Ed Wesolowski
Editor: Tony Isabella
Frequency: Bimonthly
Page Count: 36 (including covers)

Everett True is a turn-of-the-century comic strip character created by A.D. Condo and J. W. Raper in 1905. Everett has a big temper, a short fuse and his own methods of dealing with the transgressions inflicted on him by an unthinking mankind. His original strip ran to 1927. The character is in the public domain.

In 1983, writer Tony Isabella, working with an artists including Gary Dumm and Greg Budgett, revived the character in the pages of the weekly Comics Buyer’s Guide. The feature immediately became one of the tabloid’s most popular features and also appeared in Movie Collector’s World from the same publisher.

Everett now concentrated his scorn on hypocrisy and fatuousness in the comic book field with side swipes at the film and television industries. After CBG chose not to run a cartoon critical of the paper’s publisher, Isabella moved Everett to Amazing Heroes and the Comics Journal for a brief time.

This new series would reprint the nearly 200 Everett True cartoons published from 1983 to 1989 in chronological order with additional witty comments on the cartoons and the events which inspired them. It would be a complete history of the period in comics history with enough special features to entice even those fans who faithfully saved each and every cartoon. These features would include: 
New color covers by Gary Dumm.
Brand-new Everett True cartoons.
Reprints of other humorous articles by Tony Isabella with lots of new art by Dumm and others.
The “new” Everett True cartoons from Movie Collectors World, Comics Journal and Amazing Heroes.
Classic Everett True cartoons by Condo and Raper.

Each issue of Everett True would include as much new material as possible as to increase fan interest in the series.

The Creators:

TONY ISABELLA is a popular writer whose credits include everything from Avengers and Dracula Lives to Star Trek, Tarzan, Welcome Back Kotter and Young Love. He is probably best known for creating  Black Lightning, DC Comics’ most iconic black hero. His full resume is included.

GARY DUMM has drawn for such diverse comic books as Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor and Malibu’s Plan Nine from Outer Space. He also brings a wide range of production skills to Everett True.

Looking back at this pitch, I was certainly setting Gary and myself up for a whole lot of work. If I were doing this comic book today, I don’t think I would do everything listed above unless the artists and I got advance or on completion payments from a publisher.

It delights me no end that Everett True is finding new fans in our troubled times. He’s a great character and he’ll certainly have his work cut out for him if other creators continue his proud legacy.

Happy birthday, Everett, and many more years to come!

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, July 21, 2020


I have, in these recent months of pandemic isolation, found myself feeling quite nostalgic about the Marvel Comics comic books of the 1960s and the early 1970s. Part of that is fueled by my love of the characters as they were portrayed back then and part of it is fueled by the very nice e-mails and messages I’ve gotten from readers who tell me my own work from that era holds up very well and, in some cases, much better than the superstar writers of those times. For a guy who had come to think of himself as little more than a dependable utility player, this has been something of a revelation.

When I was growing up, once I discovered the works of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and others, Marvel was clearly more exciting, more fun and more personal. There were great DC Comics characters and titles in the 1960s through today, but, over all, Marvel was just better. This might sound strange coming from a guy best known for creating Black Lightning while a freelancer at DC Comics. It is what it is.

Black Lightning is the comics work of which I’m most proud, but I had a lot of fun working at and writing for Marvel Comics. I think I did some terrific work there and, to this day, I feel tremendous warmth for the people I worked with there. Even those that gave me some grief at times. That’s not to say there aren’t people I worked with at DC for whom I have the same affection. There just weren’t as many of those as at Marvel.

Coming at it from my own perspective, especially in the super-hero genre, Marvel has always (over all) done better comic books than DC. Sadly, this is kind of moot for me in 2020.

For the most part, I’ve little ongoing affection for current titles from either place. While there will always be exceptional titles, many of them strike me as labored. Others as too mired in an ever-changing continuity.

Indeed, I roared with laughter when a friend informed me that some DC characters are now aware that their reality keeps changing. And, I got a little misty when I recalled Kurt Busiek had done that same story brilliantly in just two issues of Astro City. The DC version will doubtless take a few dozen comic books to unfold.

Marvel and, to a lesser extent, DC Comics will always loom large in my lifelong love of comic books. It seems unlike I’ll ever again be asked to write for either, but that doesn’t dim my regard for the good comics and the good people I encountered at both those publishers. You never forget your first loves.

Moving on to this week’s reviews...

Marvel Comics #1000 [$29.99] is a handsome hardcover collection of the title issue and the subsequent #1001 in which I played a small part. Small = a single-page Kid Colt Outlaw adventure drawn by Tom Mandrake. If editors keep asking me to write one-pagers, I may get to work with all the great artists I have not yet had a chance to work with. But I digress.

This was my second time reading these very short stories. I think I enjoyed many of them more on that second reading. My favorite of Marvel Comics #1000 was “Because of Her” featuring Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson by Gerry Conway and artist Greg Land. There were several other memorable ones as well with characters as diverse as America, Junior Miss, Tessie the Typist, Venus, Doctor Strange, Ken Hale the Gorilla Man, Doctor Octopus, Galactus, Conan, and others.

While excessive and obsessive continuity gives me heartburn, I do extend kudos to writer Al Ewing for more or less tying all of these one-page stories together. I appreciate the effort.

Also deserving of mention are the eighteen variant covers that run between Marvel Comics #1000 and #1001. I pity the collector who had to have all of them.

Modesty prevents me from naming my favorite one-pager from Marvel Comics #1001, but there were many wonderful ones to choose from. Miles Morales and Ms. Marvel. Tigra. Sleepwalker. Blonde Phantom. Captain America. Squirrel-Girl.

Casual Marvel Comics readers probably won’t love this collection as much as I do, but I recommend it to them nonetheless. It’s one of the best books of 2019.
ISBN 978-1-302-92137-8


Since current comics news often horrifies me, I don’t pay a lot of attention to it. So all I knew about the Marvels Snapshots series was they were done-in-one specials written by writers whose work I usually enjoyed. It wasn’t until I decided to review the books that I did a Google search and learned this:

Prepare to see the greatest moments of Marvel’s 80-year history told like never before! In MARVEL SNAPSHOTS, industry legend Kurt Busiek will bring together incredible creative teams for eight standalone, double-sized issues showcasing Marvel’s most beloved characters from the Golden Age to today. Like 1994’s critically acclaimed MARVELS series, MARVEL SNAPSHOTS will be tales told through the eyes of ordinary people, offering unique insights on the legendary mythos of the Marvel Universe. MARVELS SNAPSHOTS also reunites Busiek with renowned MARVELS co-creator Alex Ross who will be providing the series with his iconic painted covers.

The first of the books was Sub-Mariner: Marvel Snapshots #1 [$4.99] by writer Alan Brennert with artist Jerry Ordway, colorist Espen Gruenetjean, letterer VC’s Travis Lahham and editor Tom Brevoort. Set shortly after World War II, it’s an emotional tale of the post-war reunion of Namor and Betty Dean that examines the gulf between those star-crossed lovers and the war’s aftereffects on them and others.

Brennert, to me, is the one that got away. He has not written many comics, but they have all been memorable ones. As I read “Reunion,” there were several scenes that put a lump in my throat. There was a universal quality to the suffering that reminded me of events in my life. I was nearly moved to tears on a couple of occasions.

Ordway. There is no sane reason in this industry that Ordway isn’t being courted by every comics publisher in our industry. When this guy draws people, even super-people, they are real. When they walk down the street, you can feel the breeze that swirls around them. When the heroes and villains explode into action, it’s as if we were watching a summer cinema blockbuster. Fantasy and realism combined in glorious union. I wish I could do a comic with him.

Sub-Mariner: Marvel Snapshots #1 is one of the best Namor stories of all time. As you will see, that could be the trademark of this Busiek-inspired series of comic books.


One more for this edition of “Tony’s Tips” and it’s Fantastic Four: Marvel Snapshots #1 [$4.99] by writers Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer, artist Benjamin Dewey, color artist Jordie Bellaire, letterer VC’s Joe Caramagna and editor Darren Shan. This snapshot focuses on the Human Torch returning to his home town for his 10-year high school reunion. It’s an heartwarming tale of human relationships, small-town pride and what even a celebrity will do to preserve the things that matter most.

The issue is filled with nice character bits and surprises. Well-written and well-drawn, it’s one of the best Human Torch stories of all time. This is the kind of comic book I live for.

There will be eight Marvel Snapshots special in all. Sitting on my review pile for next week is the Captain America issue with a story by Mark Russell and art by Ramón Pérez. Other specials will include the Avengers and the X-Men. I plan on reading them all. You should plan on that, too.

I’ll be back tomorrow with an anniversary celebration of a classic character I was associated with for several years. See you then.

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Monday, July 20, 2020


This is the second installment of our extensive look at New Fun #1 [February 1935], the first comic book from the publisher we know as DC Comics. Then the company name was National Allied Publications, Inc. The president of the company was former career soldier Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson and the editor of this 10" by 15" premiere was Lloyd Jacquet, who was also, less than five years later, the editor of Marvel Comics #1, the first Marvel Comics release.

Today’s installment starts with “Wing Brady Solider of Fortune” by Wheeler-Nicholson and artist Henry Kiefer, though the house name on the strip is “deKerosett.”  Wing and his pal Slim are serving with the French Foreign Legion. When they spot a squad of legionnaires under attack by hostile Bedouins, they jump in a plane and try to save the men. The page ends with them being shot down and coming to a landing in the midst of their enemies.

Kiefer was all over the Golden Age of Comics. He drew for several comic art shops and comics publishers, including Fiction House. He is best known for his extensive work on Classics Illustrated, which he drew through 1953. He passed in 1957.

As previously noted, many of the strips in New Fun #1 were not quite full-page. The Grand Comics Database has done the math and they occupy 84% of a page. The other 16% featured Oswald the Rabbit strips that were  done for the comic book. The strips were probably written by New Fun cartoon editor Sheldon Stark and drawn by John Lindermayer.

Next up is “Ivanhoe,” adapted from the novel by Sir Walter Scott. It’s adapted by Wheeler-Nicholson and drawn by Charles Flanders. This writing on this page is tame with perhaps too many characters to introduce. The art is superb. I’m not looking  ahead as I read this issue, but, at this point, this is the best art in the issue.

“Judge Perkins” by Bert aka Bert Salg is a gag strip that frankly baffles me. The title character has been elected to his office for the third time and, talking to himself in the mirror, it appears he plans to use his office for personal gain. However, that’s not very clear. Neither is his accosting a steer of some sort. Fortunately for Salg, he didn’t stay in the comic-book business for long. He’d draw one more episode of this strip before moving on to doing book covers and illustrations.

"Don Drake on the Planet Saro" was written by Ken Fitch and drawn by Clem Gretter. It’s fast-paced, well-drawn and well-written episode. In its dozen panels, we are introduced to Drake and his girlfriend Betty. Their balloon-like vehicle breaks free of the Earth, tumbles around for hours, lands on a planet conducive to human life and are captured by “midget men.” For the cliffhanger, captors and captives alike are attacked by giant lobsters.

Like Kiefer, Fitch and Gretter are all over the Golden Age of Comics with credits at several different publishers apiece. Gretter also worked on newspaper comics features, including a decade-long stint on the popular Ripley’s Believe or Not!

Unlike the earlier strips in New Fun #1, Don Drake runs an entire page. For the remainder of the issue, that will be the norm for the comics features.

This brings up something I’ve been wanting to discuss. Why was the rather dull western strip Jack Woods given the cover spot on this inaugural issue? Don Drake is more exciting and more eye-catching. I suppose this is one of my questions that will never be answered.

“Loco Luke” by Jack Warren is a humorous western strip. The hapless Luke is pursuing a wanted criminal. The criminal gets the drop on him and steals his clothes, gun and horse. In the feature’s final  three panels, we see Luke is being shadowed by an “Indian.” The end caption promises plenty of grief ahead for Luke. I’d rate this one as so-so at best.

Like so many other contributors to this issue, Warren is all over the comic books of the era, as well as pulp magazines and newspaper strips. He worked on the “Pecos Bill” comic strip.

“Vic Riley” is the lead character of the prose story “Spook Ranch” by Wheeler-Nicholson (writing as Roger Furlong). The illustrations are by Charles Flanders. The “western mystery” is the first chapter of a serial and runs 1.67 pages. New Fun customers were certainly getting their money’s worth from this comics magazine. Even on 10" by 15" pages, the text is so small that it was difficult to read. 
“Which One Gets the Job?” The remainder of this two-page feature is filled out by an advertisement for the National Correspondence Schools. Of the three men shown in the ad, the obvious choice for a position is the one who took one of the dozens of technical and industrial or business training courses offered therein.

“Scrub Hardy” by Joe Archibald is a college/sports humor strip. The diminutive Scrub attends a basketball practice hoping to impress a coach and make the team. He gives it the...ahem...old college try and gets knocked around for his effort. He also gets some sympathy from the lovely Letty, so it’s not all bad. For obvious reasons, I took a liking to Scrub from the start.

My one brief moment of basketball glory was on a recreational team in grade school. I was there to fill out the roster, averaging two or three minutes a game tops. Once, I ended up in a jump shot with the tallest kid in the league. It was quite a comical sight, made even more so when the giant kid decided to show off and jumped so high his hand passed over the ball. I hit it to my teammates. It’s hard to believe no scouts tried to sign me.

Archibald was, like many contributors to New Fun #1, very prolific. He did illustrations for pulp magazines and wrote for them as well. In the creator biographies at the back of this reprint edition, it is reported Archibald wrote over 900 stories for over 70 different magazines. He remained in comics for over two decades, including a stint as air director at Standard Comics.

“Jack Andrews All-American Boy” was another sports strip with a bit of gangster drama added to the action. It was written and drawn by Lyman Anderson, the artist who drew the Jack Woods feature for the cover of this issue.

A gangster tries to bribe Andrews to throw the football game. First Jack punches the gangster in the snoot and then he doubles down to  try to win the game against an opposing team who seems likely to win. However, whenever Jack throws or kicks the football, someone shoots it and makes it veer off course. When it comes down to the last play of the game, Jack devises a clever strategy that seizes victory from defeat. As the strip ends, he’s determined to find out how someone was able to hit the football and who that someone was. Let’s be kind and merely note that “Jack Andrews All-American Boy”  was clearly inspired by “Jack Armstrong All-American Boy,” a very popular radio drama.

The next eight pages of New Fun #1 are a bevy if text features with illustrations and advertisements. The first of these pages starts with “Bathysphere - A Martian Dream”, a factual description of Dr. William Beebe's use of the Bathysphere to explore the oceans. Not sure why the unknown author referenced Mars in the short article.

Also on the page - and I literally squealed with delight when I saw it - is the classic Charles Atlas “The Insult That Made a Man out of Mac” advertisement. It just seemed right to me that this first DC Comics comic book had that advertisement. Next to the Atlas ad was a promo ad for the next issue of New Fun.

The second page features a sports column with illustration by Joe Archibald. He writes about hockey in general and the Toronto Maple Jacks in particular. There is another muscle ad/comic strip, this one for the Jowett Institute of Physical Culture and with the odd headline “Jack Puts One Over on His Boy Friend!” The headline would mean something much different today. Also on the page are a pair of small classified ads: “Make Money at Home” and “Become a Successful Detective.”

Pages 16 and 17 contain prose articles “On the Radio” and “In the Movies.” The radio column talks about Buck Rogers, Bobby Benson and Thrills of Tomorrow. The movie column kind of answered my question as to why “Jack Woods” was the issue’s cover feature.

The serial “Rustlers of Red Gap” is said to star Johnny Mack Brown as “Jack Woods.” The serial does exist, but it was titled Rustlers of Red Dog and Brown’s characters is named Jack Wood. Other films mentioned are Sequoia, David Copperfield, Square Shooter and Lives of a Bengal Lancer.

The first advertisement on the spread pitches a “16-tube all-wave radio” for $57.50. Ace pitcher Dizzy Dean endorses “Proback Junior” blades; 25 blades for 59 cents. The U.S. School of Music will teach readers how to “Learn MUSIC this Quick, Easy Way.” Respondents got a free book about these lessons and information on an easy payment plan. Seeing these kinds of classic ads makes me wonder what kind of ad might appear in modern comic books if such advertisers were at all interested in advertising in them.

Pages 18 and 19 showcased aviation with a “Model Aircraft” article (with a diagram of the Voight Corsair drawn by Dick Loederer) and a second text piece on famed American flyer Wiley Post and the new flying clipper  transport planes. There’s even an advertisement for Model Airplane News. Up until recently, many of us took air travel for granted, but, in 1935, it was still a glamorous adventures.

Digression. In recent years, I’ve become less enamored of flying. Most airlines treat customers like crap, charging high prices for cramped seats on their flying germ incubators. If and when, I feel safe to attend conventions again, my plan is to drive to even the most distant of them. It’ll take longer, but the upside will be my getting to see more of our country and maybe even visit with some friends along the way.

In the other advertisement within the spread, someone named George Bailey tells us “I have reduced my waist eight inches with the Weil belt.” It’s basically a corset.

Pages 20 and 21 feature “How to Build a Model of Hendrik Hudson’s Half Moon,” written and drawn by Robert Weinstein. From Wikipedia:

Henry Hudson (c.?1565 – disappeared 23 June 1611) was an English sea explorer and navigator during the early 17th century, best known for his explorations of present-day Canada and parts of the northeastern United States.

In 1607 and 1608, Hudson made two attempts on behalf of English merchants to find a rumored Northeast Passage to Cathay via a route above the Arctic Circle. In 1609, he landed in North America on behalf of the Dutch East India Company and explored the region around the modern New York metropolitan area. Looking for a Northwest Passage to Asia[3] on his ship Halve Maen ("Half Moon"), he sailed up the Hudson River, which was later named after him, and thereby laid the foundation for Dutch colonization of the region.

On his final expedition, while still searching for the Northwest Passage, Hudson became the first European to see Hudson Strait and the immense Hudson Bay. [4] In 1611, after wintering on the shore of James Bay, Hudson wanted to press on to the west, but most of his crew mutinied. The mutineers cast Hudson, his son, and seven others adrift; the Hudsons and their companions were never seen again. 
Page 21 has an advertisement from The Shav-Easy Foundation, whose  president wants to hear from the 10,000,000 new Gem Razor users and from all men who shave with safety blades or old fashioned razors. “Patricia” goes on to say that a free membership in the Foundation provides one with the only method of guaranteed shaving at a cost of less than two cents a week. Allowing for inflation, that would be 38 cents today.

That’s it for this installment of our continuing look at the first DC Comics issue. Look for another installment in the near future. I’ll be back tomorrow with a new “Tony’s Tips!” column.

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Friday, July 17, 2020


The bloggy thing will return on Monday with the second installment of our look at New Fun #1, the first DC Comics comic book. That column is finished and several others are in the works.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020


Funko has produced a wonderful Black Lightning Pop as a Comic-Com exclusive limited to 3000 figures edition. I have no information on how you can get one of these when there’s no physical Comic-Con for this year. I’m fairly confident that 3000 figures won’t be enough for all the Black Lightning fans who want one.

The exceedingly kind folks at Funko sent me samples of the figure, which is based upon the character as portrayed by Cress Williams on the TV series. I have suggested Funko do a general release of this figure because that would make for an awesome holiday gift for the fans who don’t get one of the 3000. In my dreams, it sells so well we get Funko figures for Tobias Whale, Peter Gambi, Thunder, Lightning, Lynn, Painkiller, Inspector Henderson, Dr. Jace, Agent Odell and those federal judges who appeared in the finale of Black Lightning Season Three. This is where I’ll allow you to make rude comments about how the Hon. Judge Isabella already looks like a Funko figure.

Black Lightning merchandise is a matter of concern for me because, traditionally, African-American characters are under-served in this  area. From the many conventions I have attended and the many Black Lightning fans I have met, I know there’s a demand out there that savvy manufacturers could profit from.

I also remember with dismay how the character Static was promoted at a time when the Static Shock animated series was getting amazing  ratings and winning awards. During that whole time, I saw exactly one Static Shock item. It was a small giveaway figure from Subway  and, near as I can figure, it wasn’t even a national promotion. I never did figure out how the figure got to a Medina, Ohio Subway, what with my community being predominantly white.

While it's true I make some money off Black Lightning merchandise, as does original series artist Trevor von Eeden, my main interest here is not financial. It’s because, like I said above, I know the fans want Black Lightning merchandise.

If you are someone who has a Black Lightning license and produces a quality product, email me. I will help promote your merchandise for no fee beyond your sending me several of each of the BL items you’re making. If you need me to do this in person, you will have to pay my hotel and travel expenses. But that’s it. No spokesperson fee.

If you want Black Lightning swag, don’t be shy about contacting DC Comics and Warner Bros and anyone else you think might respond to your requests. Hey, AT&T is the new owner of those companies. Maybe they could use the Black Lightning cast in their commercials. Just imagine the chemistry between Lily and Jennifer.

While you’re doing all this imagining, let’s talk about this week’s review items...


This week’s top pick of the week is Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass by  Mariko Tamaki with art by Steve Pugh [DC Ink; $16.99]. It’s edited by Marie Javins.

DC Ink is one of DC’s newer imprints. It presents DC characters for the young adult market. These graphic novels are not in the current DC Universe continuity, which for me is a huge plus.

Harleen Quinzel is 15 years old in this book. Sent to live with her grandmother, she arrives to find her relative has passed and ends up living with a friend of the family. That friend is Mama, one of Gotham’s top drag queens and the owner of a club that has fallen on hard times.

Harley goes to Gotham High where she meets her new best friend Ivy and, like her progressive pal, runs afoul of the school’s elitist clique. Their neighborhood is threatened by a corporation seeking to flatten and gentrify everything Harley and Ivy and Mama love. Added to the mix is a young anarchist who called himself Joker and lives to create chaos. Harley is drawn into Joker’s plans. Which is all I’m telling you.

The writing and art on this graphic novel are beautiful. I love how Harley comes into her own without being either physically abused or emotionally attracted to Joker. I love how social issues are part of this story without overwhelming it. And I love be able to read comics with great DC characters without having to wide through all the misery and obtuse continuity of the DCU comic books.

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass gets my highest recommendation. Buy a copy for yourself and then buy several more for gifts. You’ll make some young and old comics readers very happy.

ISBN 978-1-4012-8329-2


In any other week, Ghosted in L.A. Volume 1 by Sina Grace, Siobhan Keenan and Cathy Le [Boom! Box;$14.99] would have been my pick of the week. To quote the back cover, it’s a story about finding your way in Hollywood, love and the afterlife.

Daphne Walters follows the guy she thinks is the love of her life to college in Los Angeles...and he breaks up with her immediately. She moves into an abandoned (by the living) apartment complex. She meets ghosts. Some of them accept her. Some of them hate her. Her life gets very complicated and more than a little scary.

The scary is the icing on the top of this delicious graphic novel treat. Engaging and mostly likeable characters. Humor and mystery and romance and revelations and the scary. Some of the last comes when you least expect it.

I enjoyed this first volume so much that I’ve already ordered the second one. I recommend it to teen and older readers.

ISBN 978-1-68415-505-7


The kindest thing I can say about The Joker 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super-Spectacular [DC Comics; $9.99] is that they can’t all be winners. I have to share the blame for my disappointment. I dislike the Joker, especially the way he’s written these days and how he’s possibly the most overused villain in comics. I knew exactly how I felt about the character, but I have a sometimes illogical love for any and all comic books of 100 pages or more. I like big comics and I cannot lie.

There were a few stories I found worthwhile. Scott Synder’s “Scars” (art by Jock) was very well written. “Introducing the Dove Corps” by the late Denny O’Neil (art by Jose-Luis Garcia-Lopez) was quite the change of pace from O’Neil’s usual writing. I found it amusing. Paul Dini’s “The Last Smile” (art by Riley Rossmo) offered insight into Harley Quinn’s relationship with the Joker. Beyond these three stories, my reaction was “meh” at best. Okay, some of the pin-ups were nicely drawn.

If you’re a fan of Batman or the Joker, you probably already bought this special. If you’re only occasionally interested in those two characters, I recommend you give this issue a pass.


I added another new Funko figure to my small-but-growing collection of these fun items. It’s the Black Widow, as she appeared when she got her first super-hero costume. She’s currently in the place of honor by my desk, sharing that space with Black Lightning and Luke Cage. Black Lightning and Black Widow replaced Betty Boop and the Mole Man.

What Funko figures do I look for? Mostly it’s characters that I’ve created or written. But it’s also characters that just plain tickle my fancy. Captain Marvel and Nick Fury from the Captain Marvel movie. Rat Fink from the Big Daddy Roth model kits of my youth. Godzilla...because, of course, I’d have a Godzilla Funko figure.

I can’t afford the pricier Funko figures, but I always look at the displays when I go to Target or Walmart. I might visit the Medina GameSpot store when I’m in that particular shopping area. Back when we had conventions, I would nervously look at the looming displays of Funko figures with a bit of fear.

At the end of the day, Funko makes some cool stuff. It’s cool stuff that makes me and many other people happy. That’s not a bad thing to achieve. More power to them.

I’ll be back next week with another “Tony’s Tips” column and back on Monday with some other stuff. See you then.

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Monday, July 13, 2020


I'm going to be taking a week off from the Internet.
For the most part.
I will still send birthday greetings to my Facebook friends.
I will still post my basic lists of birthdays, historical notes and remembrances on my Facebook page.
If there's anything new by me out there, like a new Last Kiss gag or a reprint of my work, I'll post a notice about that.
I'll continue to post daily "Things That Make Me Happy."
I'll continue to update Kaiju Cathedral.
I'll be pushing back the start of my Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales by another week.
There will be a new TONY'S TIPS posted tomorrow. After that, you won't see a new bloggy thing for several days.
I'll continue to monitor all my Facebook pages to approve new friends/members and to approve any posts that require that.
I'll do the same with comments to my blog.
There are a lot of reasons for this semi-withdrawal from the Internet. Some of them are personal. Some are work-related.
I'll be back next week with what I think will be very cool stuff.
Stay safe, stay sane and be kind to one another.
Tony Isabella