Friday, August 28, 2020


TONY ISABELLA'S BLOGGY THING will resume new columns on September 1. I'm taking some time for myself and to move forward on some other household and writing projects.

I will not be scheduling private garage sale appointments until September 7. 

My next open-to-the-public garage sales will be September 11 and 12.

You can still see me on Facebook, my various Facebook groups and Twitter, but I won't be posting my usual lots of content there for the next several days.

Be safe, be sane, and be terrific to one another.


Wednesday, August 26, 2020


Sgt. Fury had been circling the cancellation drain for years. When it was still published monthly, every other issue was a reprint. Artist Dick Ayers used to complain he was losing work to his past self. When the title switched to all new stories, it was cut back to a bimonthly title. Dick couldn’t catch a break.

I was part of a quartet of Marvel editors and writers who plotted Sgt. Fury #117 [January 1974]. Writer Gerry Conway was swamped with work and Dick needed something to work on. I can’t speak for every one in the room that afternoon, but I always want to make sure my friend had work. In my mind, Dick was one of my personal Big Four of Marvel artists with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Don Heck. Those were the creators who, with Stan Lee and Larry Lieber, launched the then present day Marvel Universe.

The room was my editorial office, which I shared with my assistant Chris Claremont and Michelle Wolfman because we had space for three desks. I’m not 100% sure what Michelle’s job was at that time, but she had been working somewhere away from the rest of the Bullpen. Moving into my office brought her closer to the action.

Neither Chris nor Michelle were in the office that afternoon which might have been an early evening. Besides Gerry and me, the gang of plotters included Marv Wolfman and Don McGregor. We plotted a 19-page story in an hour or two tops. I came across that plot during one of my explorations into my old file folders. You’ll get to read it starting in another paragraph or two.

My memory is shaky at the exact details of who did what, but I am fairly certain of three things. The “Taps for a Drummer” title was mine, as was the idea of paring down the cast to just Nick Fury and Gabe Jones for the main action. I did most of the typing because it was my office and I was a fast typist.

Because Gerry was the regular writer of the title, I’m guessing he came up with the part of the plot dealing with Nick’s dealing with the trauma he had suffered while a prisoner of Baron Strucker. The “deadly plague” thing sounds like something I’d have come up with, but I'm not 100% on that. The use of an old friend of Gabe’s was inherent in my title. That character’s ultimate fate doesn’t sound like something I would have suggested, but, as I said, my memory is shaky as to some of the exact details.

Here’s the plot as it was created sometime in the fall of 1973 or thereabouts...

Splash page shows the Howlers jumping and ducking into mud, etc., as Fury firing a machine gun over their heads. He’s not giving them much space for breathing. They should be really puffing to meet his expectations.

They start crawling, ducking, Dum-Dum goes off a small cliff into a lake, gets angry, picks himself and hat out of the water, puts hat on head, water and fish come out.

Back in barracks, they are muttering to themselves how Fury is being awful hard on them since he’s returned. They’re wondering if he’s as fully cured as they thought he was.

Dum-Dum is saying yes he’s cured. Fury comes in angry. Barracks is a mess. Why hasn’t somebody been keeping this place in order? Clothes and stuff all around. Fury messes up more by throwing stuff to the floor and everything. Kicking things around. Get this damn place cleaned up or you’ll be doing KP.

Dum-Dum hand on shoulder. Take it easy. Fury knocks it off. They start facing off as messenger from Sam comes. Says Gabe and Nick are to report to him yesterday. Walking towards Sam’s office. Enter. Sam at desk. Insults them. Starts story.

Cut to (flashback): One week ago, Nazi camp.

Black POW in Nazi camp. Going to be test case for new chemical warfare discover. Is thrown into lab. He gets up. Attacks guards. They knock him down to the floor again. Beat him with guns. He can’t get up. But he keeps cursing them.

Some doctor...thin SS-type person, elite, is explaining the reason this POW was chosen. You are Black, less than human, totally expendable, giving your life is the greatest thing you can do. Tells POW to look to the right.

At right, a test cage full of dead and half-dead test animals, all dying rom home horrible plague. They should look horrible, too.

“Now we want to do our first human test of the plague and you are the one we have chosen.”

He is thrown into metal partition. Starts pounding on metal as gas is pumped in. Clouds of icky-looking gas.

Outside and above. Air raid. The Nazis start running for shelter. The doctor says wait. “The experiment!” Looking at vials on the desk. An officer says no time. They must flee.

The bombs start bursting about the lab, one destroying the door to the small metal room. The POW coughs, staggers out, saying he better get going. He sees the vial and runs. Grabs it. He can give this to the U.S.

Nazis outside see him escaping, shoot at him. He ducks, leaps from cliff into river and swims off amidst fireworks and bombs.

Cut to Sam Sawyer’s head. Ending the flashback. Saying that the Nazis actually got in touch with the Americans - knowing the POW probably did - and telling them there is no cure for the virus at all. They were merely experimenting with it. They must all find him before the time limit of 24 hours comes and he becomes contagious.

[NOTE: Most of the above was eliminated in the actual writing. Sam got the information from intelligence sources. The Nazis continued to be 100% evil. Good call on Gerry’s part.]

Fury asks why he and Gabe were called. Sam says the guy was Drummer Bellman. Gabe reacts. Drummer taught him everything he knows about jazz. He worked with him back at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Sam says that’s why Gabe was called in. He might know how Drummer would react to things.

The thing must be kept secret. They have to find Drummer cause he hasn’t given himself in for one reason or another. He must be caught before the time limit. He is someplace in London.

The Nazis are after him. They want the vial he stole from them. The good guys want him to stop him from contaminating everything.

They can’t even reveal anything because there would be instant panic. So Fury and Gabe must find him. There are other small crews. The rest of the Howlers must not know. It could be dangerous.

Back to barracks. Fury is packing. Dum Dum asks where he and Gabe are going. Fury says bug off and the two of them leave. Dum Dum is angry, sweating if Fury doesn’t change soon, he wants to leave the Howlers for good.

Cut to Drummer. He’s in a back alley, clutching vial, saying he can’t go to the Americans because he doesn’t want either side to have this destructive power. He has to somehow escape, go where neither side can find him. Switzerland.

Fury and Gabe hanging around bars. Questioning people. Make this a montage-shot. They go to the bar where Fury met his girlfriend of last issue. She makes small talk, tells about a fantastic drummer who say in on the quartet one night and then disappeared. But he’s been seen hanging around some bombed-out buildings on the bad side of London.

Cut to Nazis in civilian clothing. Make them mean-looking. They see Drummer by a bar drinking something. They begin firing. He ducks. Fury and Gave hear noise. They are in the area. They investigate, see Drummer disappearing and the Nazis shooting. Big fight. Fury and Gabe are creaming Nazis. Catch one in pulled-down fire escape. Smash another with a gun. Last Nazi says there are many agents all over London trying to find Drummer...and they will.

Montage shot of Drummer running. He’s scared, keeps looking over his soldier.

Finally, Drummer comes to a stop in some bombed-out (not completely bombed-out) old building. Some kids are playing near by. He thinks he’s alone when Gabe finds him. Always knew you like the back of my hand, Drummer.

He tells Drummer that he has to die. He could contaminate all of London. Drummer explains that he can’t let either side get vial. It looks like the two old friends are going to have a confrontation when Fury enters the scene. Followed by Nazi agents shooting at him. The kids scurry for cover. Fight breaks out.

When it looks like the Nazis are going to beat Fury, Gabe and Drummer, a bomb raid starts. Bombs are falling all over the place. Drummer tries to get the kids to cover. Pushes them out of the way and runs as the bombs put a small barricade between him and the others. He won’t let himself be killed. He can’t.

Back to Fury. He is killing a few more Nazis. It is very important to reach Drummer. Gabe and Fury race off. Gabe says Drummer was never a quitter.
Flashback to Gabe. Very young. In nightclub. Drummer, also young, teaching him how to play the horn. Gabe looks down and out while Drummer is helping him.

Back to present. Gabe says he owes a lot to Drummer. The man means something to him. Fury says he knows what it’s like to lose someone close. He’s done it. He also knows that perhaps his own problems are a little bit lighter than someone who KNOWS he’s going to die.

Switch to Drummer. He takes out the vial. He says this is the cause of the problems. But, no matter what happens to him, he won’t let it fall into anyone’s hands...and he drinks it. He knows what this will do to him, but he doesn’t care. He’s going to die anyway.

Drummer is running past stores, etc. He must get out of there. Get away. London Bridge is before him. He’s racing towards it when, suddenly, a shot hits him in the leg and he falls to the street.

A Nazi officer and several others in civilian garb are running up on the Bridge. They place a gun to his head and demand the vial. He says it no longer exists. He drank it. The Nazi is angry.

A car comes up and it’s the Nazi doctor from before. He heard they found him. Where’s the vial? He’s told it was swallowed. The doctor says to take Drummer back.

Meanwhile, Fury and Gave are there and there is a grand fight that lasts a few pages. Several Nazis thrown off London Bridge. One or two by Gabe and Fury. One Nazi throws Gabe over, but Gabe catches onto the side and flips himself back. The Doctor takes out a gun and is about to shoot Fury in the back, but he dies as a gunshot hits him. Drummer killed him with a gun from one of the Nazis. Fury finishes off the Nazis.

Drummer calls Gabe to come down to him. Speaks. Gabe asks why Drummer did it. Drummer says he had responsibility, not only to the Americans but to the world. He couldn’t let one side get the power at all. He has two favors to ask of Gabe. Whispers them. The first is to kill him. The next is to play his favorite song over his ashes.

Gabe says he can’t kill him. Drummer says it’s the only way. He’s dying anyway.

Fury asks what Drummer said. Gabe doesn’t answer. He merely rises, looks quietly at Drummer, takes out his gun, clenches his eyes tight and fires, a tear coming down his cheek. We DO NOT see the actual firing. Just Gabe’s face reacting to what he’s done and one silent panel of Fury’s shocked reaction.

The last panel - a 1/3 strip across the bottom of the page - with Gabe at the graveside. Playing the trumpet. The Howlers standing silently behind.


Some final notes. I didn’t do all the typing. I know this because, in retyping this, I had to change “Nazi’s” to “Nazis” a number of times. That’s not a mistake I would have made.

This was a longer plot that most Marvel artists were given. While I usually wrote panel-by-panel plots - while telling artists that the pacing was not carved in stone - most Marvel writers did much looser plots. I just felt I had more command of the story when I worked out the pacing for myself.

Dick Ayers was a masterful storyteller and not a bad writer. When he drew this story, he made it more visually workable. His pencils gave Gerry Conway a lot to work with. All these any years later, I still think Gerry did a fine job.

It hadn’t occurred to me until I re-read this issue and the gang-conceived plot for it that I was again fulfilling the promise that I had made to myself as a teenager. That, if I were lucky enough to work in comics, I would try to create and work with characters of color. I’d forgotten about Drummer until now. Maybe someday I will get a chance to write him again.

That’s it for now. I’ll return as soon as possible with more bloggy stuff to thrill you anew. Until then, stay safe, stay sane, and be good to one another.

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Sunday, August 23, 2020


I’ve been feeling mentally out of sorts for a few days now. Lots of reasons. The daily horrors of Trump and the Republicans with the attendant realization that legitimate journalists lack the capacity  or will to report all of them. The continued Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic that shows no sign of being over any time soon and, again, the attendant dismissal of doing the things science knows can ease the devastation of the plague. The desperate challenges of the comics industry, the struggles of so many talented comics creators and my own seeming lack of a place in the industry.

My Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales have been disappointing. I have created a safe environment for the sales, including one-on-one appointments for shoppers. I have stocked the sales with great items at unbelievably low prices. But the pandemic is a formidable foe. People don’t want to travel; there’s very little traffic on my street. People don’t have the disposable income to shop for comic books and more at my sales.

I have thought long and hard about my garage sales for the rest of the summer. Here’s where I am at right now:

I will not be taking appointments or holding any open-to-the-public garage sales this week. I will start taking appointments again on Tuesday, September 1. Except when I have other appointments, such as household stuff or medical visits, I can schedule appointments from 9 am to 7 pm Tuesday through Thursday.

I will hold open-to-the-public garage sales on Friday, September 4, and Saturday, September 5, from 9 am to noon each day. I’m open to scheduling appointments later in the day on both days. Though I’ve not had much luck with advertising in the local newspaper, I might take out an ad for these sales. I want to give them every chance to succeed. If they don’t...

I’ll continue the “by appointment” sales through September. But I won’t have any more open-to-the-public garage sales until the last weekend of September.

In the meantime...

I’m going to continue doing some restocking every day. This usually means adding 50-100 items to the sales every day. I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to fit all this stuff into my sales, but I will figure something out.

I’ll be pressing forward on several writing projects. I hope to be able to announce something by the end of September.

If you’d like to make an appointment to shop my garage sales, send me an e-mail and I’ll get you on the schedule.

If you’d like to hire me to write something, send me an e-mail. I will get back to you as swiftly as possible.

That’s all for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with something I hope will be far more entertaining.

Stay safe, stay sane, be good to one another and cast your vote to release our country from the darkness that is Trump.

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Saturday, August 22, 2020

SGT. FURY (The Unrealized Isabella)

The Unrealized Isabella is a series of columns discussing concepts and stories I pitched unsuccessfully. Eventually, I’ll also include columns on where I would have gone with some of the actual comics titles I’ve written. Black Lightning. Champions. Ghost Rider. Grim Ghost. Hawkman. Satan’s Six. And others.

In the early 1970s, before I went to work for Marvel Comics, I had become a friend of sorts and occasional irritant to Roy Thomas, the legendary Marvel editor and writer. Roy encouraged me to pursue my dream of working in comics. On my end, I took absurd advantage of our relationship to pitch countless ideas to him. Every so often, as I go through seemingly endless boxes of old file folders, I come across one of those pitches.

Today, accompanied by a fine illustration by Simon Miller, I share a pitch I wrote for a revamp of Marvel’s then-currently published Sgt. Fury series. The title was running reprints every other issue. I likely figured this could be an opportunity for a talented young writer - that would be me - to dazzle Stan Lee and Roy Thomas with a new direction for the series.

Here’s what I pitched:


A new direction for this series begins with a multi-part story. The war has been going badly for Germany. THE HOWLERS go into the heart of Berlin to rescue ERIC KOENIG. Complicating matters is a deadline that can not be altered. The bombing of Berlin is about to begin and the stronghold where Eric is kept prisoner is high on the list of Allied targets.

The war with Germany is nearly over when the Howlers get back to England. Several of them are wounded. While the team recovers, the irrepressible NICK FURY stumbles across a spy ring and battles for his life during the last moments of the war.

Before the Howlers are discharged, though, they return to Germany to battle THE BLITZKRIEG SQUAD. The Squad have become criminals who prey on the Allied forces and the German people alike with the same precision tactics they used during the war.

The Howlers are discharged and go their separate ways, but Nick is restless. He goes from job to job until a truck driving job leads him to a clash with hijackers and the police department. To Nick’s surprise, two of his fellow patrolmen are his old “pals” BULL McGIVENEY and RICKETTS JOHNSON. When Johnson is killed, Nick leaves the force to become a private detective.

Besides typical private eye cases, Nick could encounter some Marvel villains at the beginnings of their careers and the occasional foe from World War II. Possibilities include: THE KINGPIN, before his rise to the head of the gangs; DOCTOR DOOM, who has yet to conquer Latveria; and MAGNETO, whose powers have just started developing, but who uses his “magnetic personality” for crimes like blackmail and extortion. Magneto’s got a touch of super-mental powers, as seen in X-Men #6.

BARON STRUCKER and HYDRA could appear. They would be handled in a manner wherein Nick never actually learns Strucker is alive or that  there is such an organization as Hydra.

Some more down-to-earth situations for Nick could include looking into the death of a trapeze artist working in the circus of DUM-DUM DUGAN; tracking JAY LITTLE BEAR, a wrestler suspected of narcotics trafficking; and searching for DINO MANELLI’s missing daughters and their kidnappers.

That’s where the pitch ended. As you can see, I had not mastered the big finish at this early stage of comics aspirations.

I hope you enjoyed this blast from my past. Coming up next will be the original plot to an issue of Sgt. Fury that I gang-plotted with some of my Marvel Bullpen buddies.

Until then, stay safe, stay sane and be wonderful to one another. Only our combined light can dispel the darkness.

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Friday, August 21, 2020


I forever stand by my position that Batman: A Death in the Family is a vile thing that should never have seen the light of a printing press. The coarse slaughter of a young hero to generate sales was not remotely worthy of the Batman legacy at that time. Though now, with the Batman having been callously twisted into one of the most toxic characters in comic books, it would fit right in and probably seem like a ray of freaking sunlight.

Even more disgusting was the way in which DC Comics promoted this blot on the DC Universe, launching a 900 line so readers could call in at the cost of fifty cents per call, to determine if Robin would live or die. Seventy-two sick minds proved to be the death of the young hero.

A Death in the Family begat the just as vile The Killing Joke and The Killing Joke begat a flood of vile comic books from DC Comics and other publishers. It also begat a series of stories wherein the Joker commits unspeakable atrocities and lives to commit even more atrocities. All while Batman refuses to do what needs to be done. As much as I admire and like Jim Starlin and Alan Moore, these two works tarnish their legacies.

Just after the telephone Romans had given their thumbs down so that Robin would be fed to the lions, I received information from a DC Comics source who had always provided me with accurate information on what was going on there.

This source told me that, when the phone calls were leaning toward Robin surviving, DC staffers would jump on their office phones to steer the vote towards slaughter. Because DC would only get major coverage in the mass media if Robin died. It’s not a story if the kid survives. Even if the kid in question isn’t Dick Grayson, the original Robin. Because that wasn’t a distinction that would make its way into a headline or even the first several paragraphs of a news story, print or otherwise.

I didn’t doubt my source. They had always proved reliable before. If you had my up and mostly down relationship with DC Comics, you would not doubt the company was capable of this.

I have believed this story for decades. I have repeated this story for decades. I wasn’t the original person to spread this story, but that makes my mistake no less weighty.

I was wrong.

Several people who were DC staffers at the time, people I know to be good and honest people have challenged this story. None of them are working for DC Comics currently. They have no reason to cover for DC Comics today.

They are all clear in stating the story is inaccurate. Though it’s certainly possible that a small group of staffers tried to fix the outcome of the phone vote, there is no evidence of that happening. A few staffers claim they called to spare Robin, but there’s no evidence there was widespread fraud in this sad promotional event. One way or the other. I was wrong.

I’ll not be repeating the story going forward. If I’m asked about it, I’ll correct my previous comments on the story. I apologize for misleading my readers all these years.

DC Comics murdered Robin fair and square.

I take no comfort in that.

Nor should they.

Nor should you.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Thursday, August 20, 2020


Earth Destruction Directive: Godzilla vs. Gigan, the movie we now know was Godzilla Vs. Gigan or possibly, if we saw it on TV, as Godzilla on Monster Island, was released in Japan on March 12, 1972. The TV title is misleading; only two or three brief scenes take place on Monster Island. Most of the action and exposition are set in Japan.

The movie took a long time to get to the United States. Somehow, it had a debut in Honolulu, Hawaii on March 19, 1975. It didn’t make it to the rest of the United States until August, 1977. I have not been able to find an exact date for its general release, but choose to go with the date from the G-Fan calendar.

Godzilla vs. Gigan had a short theatrical release before showing up on home video and television. I’ve started re-watching Godzilla films on or near their original release dates. For this viewing, I went with the Blu-ray from Kraken Releasing.

Godzilla vs. Gigan is one of my least favorite Godzilla movies. My disdain for the film is only surpassed by my sheer loathing for the tedious anime trilogy of recent years.

Here’s the IMDb intro summary:

A man begins to suspect something is wrong about his employers; meanwhile, Godzilla and Anguirus are alerted to something strange going on. 
Points for not giving anything away and for not even trying to make this cheap-ass movie sound exciting. Because this movie is bad on every level. From annoying human characters to crumbling creature costumes to an alien plot that makes little sense to the use of so much stock footage from other films that it’s embarrassing. If you watch the film closely, you’ll see quick shots of Mothra, Rodan and one of the Gargantuas, even though none of those monsters are part of this movie.

The first character we meet is wannabe manga artist Gengo Kotaka. He pitches a story about the monster of homework to an editor who rejects it soundly. I thought it was a ridiculous idea when I first saw the movie in the 1970s. I would later learn that manga is a lot weirder than I imagined back then. Indeed, I’m currently reading a manga featuring defeated Ultraman villains who are transported to another world and turned into high-school girls. And another about a girl who turns into a kaiju whenever she gets romantic about the boy she likes. I am not making this up.
Gengo then meets with the demanding Tomoko Tomoe, who has already arranged another interview with him. It’s never clear what she is to him. He bases another dumb monster - the monster of too strict mothers - on her, but she seems too young to be his mom. I always had the feeling they were brother and sister, but, on reflection, she might be his agent or his dominant lover. I mean, Gengo ain’t getting rich off his manga, so maybe he’s a kept man. Or maybe I’m just looking for anything to make this movie more interesting.

There are going to be SPOILERS AHEAD. I would consider them to be WARNINGS, but I’m not sure a guy who has seen this movie multiple times has any right to warn viewers away from it.

Gengo lands a job with World Children’s Land, an amusement complex dedicated to achieving perfect peace and which includes a Godzilla Tower museum of all monsters, old and new. They want to add Gengo’s silly monsters to the museum. Which only makes sense once you learn they are evil cockroaches from a dying planet posing as humans to conquer and transform our planet to better suit them. Their master plan doesn’t need Gengo’s monsters. They’re just messing with him because they are, you know, evil on every level.

If you think I’m taking a long time to get to the actual monsters, it’s because the movie doesn’t get to them until about an hour into its 89-minute running time. We get some glimpses of them prior to the creature clash, which includes Godzilla and Anguirus speaking to each other in English. Again, I’m not making this up. It made my head spin. The Japanese version is just as dumb in a different way. The monsters don’t speak, but word balloons appear over their heads as they communicate.

Let me try to speed this up. Gengo bumps into a girl fleeing from the city headquarters of World Children’s Land. She drops a tape. He grabs the tape. She escapes. Later, her and a friend who looks like a beatnik from a 1960s Teen Titans comic kidnap Gengo. They explain what’s going on.

The girl’s brother is a scientist who works for the cockroaches and has been out of touch for days. She fears the worse. The trio play the tape which alerts Godzilla to “something strange going on.” He sends Anguirus to investigate.

There are two tapes necessary to the plan of the cockroaches. And, for all their scientific prowess, the concept of back-ups has never occurred to them. When Gengo’s clumsy detective work arouses their suspicions, they trail him to where he and the others are plotting to rescue the imprisoned scientist.

Tomoko shows up to kick cockroaches asses with cool 1970s karate movies. The humans continue to make their plans. They get captured. The aliens get the tape and the monsters finally start getting down to monster business.

The aliens summon two space monsters. The first is Ghidorah, who’s looking pretty spiffy courtesy of a new suit. The other is Gigan, who has one red eye that doesn’t shoot out energy rays, a buzzsaw in his torso, and single claws for his hands and feet. It’s a dumb design, the platypus of kaiju evolution.

Godzilla and Anguirus don’t look so good. You can see pieces fall off their suits. Godzilla gets cut by Gigan and the spurting blood is off-putting. Anguirus gets a hole in his head, though that may not have been intentional given the condition of his suit.

The monsters proceed to bite and fight, bite and fight. Fight fight fight. Bite bite bite. Godzilla doesn’t use his heat ray for most of the fight. Special effects cost money.

The heroes escape. The cockroaches die in flames when their tower is destroyed with them in it. They perish bemoaning why everything they planned went wrong. Apparently, the well-known folly of man extends to alien cockroaches.

I’m getting dizzy writing about this movie. Bad acting. Incoherent master plans. Aliens so dumb they fire at a life-sized drawing of the humans and detonate boxes of TNT behind the drawing. And stock footage from earlier films that results in Godzilla, Anguirus and Ghidorah changing their appearances from scene to scene. The movie is a mess.

I see very little value in Godzilla Vs. Gigan. It’s so bad all on its own that making fun of it ala MST3K is too easy. I thought it might be useful for a drinking game, but that would likely result in alcohol poisoning.

I’d recommend not watching Godzilla Vs. Gigan, but it is the curse of Godzilla devotees that we have to watch all the Godzilla movies. Even this one. I ask only that you view it with friends in case any of you need medical attention.

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

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, August 19, 2020


“Please don’t retire from the comics industry.”
“Please keep writing comic books.”

Hardly a day passes without some reader of impeccable taste sending an e-mail, a Facebook private message or a Twitter private message essentially stating the above. These communications both encourage me and depress me because, to a large extent, I don’t have a whole lot of control over that stuff.

Although the thought of retirement has crossed my mind from time to time, I’ll keep working in the industry on one level of another as long as I can find an audience and make a few bucks in the process. I have a modest lifestyle, so I can stretch a few bucks a long way.

Writing comic books is more of an issue because I’m not an artist or a publisher. Yes, I can write scripts. But, shy of winning the lottery, I can’t afford to hire an artist or publish my own comics. Yes, I know about Kickstarter and other funding options, but it’s become clear to me that I don’t have the energy to both create new comics and run a business. Writing is what I do.

Despite having shown I still have what it takes to write some great comics - I direct you to Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands - comics publishers and editors have shown little to no interest in hiring me to write for them. You think a small or mid-size company would find some benefit to being able to slap “From the Creator of Black Lightning” on a comic-book cover.

Key change. My ability to write comic books and my desire to write same is not what today’s bloggy thing title refers to. I’ll swing back around to that in a few paragraphs, but I want to get to the main point of this conversation.

I’m looking to acquire complete sets of The Phantom: The Complete Newspaper Dailies and The Phantom: The Complete Sundays. These were and are published by Hermes Press. I regularly kick myself for not buying them when they were first published. Now many of them have gone out of print and, when you can find them, command high prices on the secondary market. A bit more than my current modest income and lifestyle will allow me to spend.

I do have The Phantom: The Complete Newspaper Dailies volumes 1, 2, 4 and 17. I also have The Phantom: The Complete Sundays volumes 1 and 3. I’m willing to barter my writing skills for the volumes I’m missing. Obviously, we’ll have to talk about the details, but the gist of this is:


I can write comic-book scripts and newspaper strips. I can also do articles about comics and the cheesy horror/monster movies I love. I can write plots for movies and television shows. As I said, we’ll have to work out the details, but here’s your chance to get me on projects in exchange for the books I want.

If you want to hire me via the more traditional routes, I’m open to that as well. I am not without projects of my own. At the moment, besides writing gags for John Lustig’s Last Kiss and writing blog entries like this, I’m developing a comic book for a dear friend of mine. I’m creating what I hope will be a TV series for another dear friend of mine. I hope I don’t get the two of them mixed up because that would be very weird casting.

I’m putting together the first of a series of books collecting my cheesy horror/monster movie reviews. I’m working on the script for the first issue of a new heroic universe unlike anything you have ever seen. I have a bucket list of over 300 items I want to write before I kick the bucket.

But, with the exception of my Last Kiss work, none of the above are going to generate earnings any time soon. They are all “long game” projects. If you’re an editor or publisher offering gigs that will pay off on completion or within a reasonable time after completion, we can talk. I’ll fit you into my schedule.

We would have to discuss details. Having paid many times over for my foolishness in believing DC Comics would honor agreements with me re: Black Lightning, I’m not looking to create brand-new comics titles unless I maintain editorial control and ownership. I’m not at all adverse to sharing profits with a publisher who would back such comics, even if they go to movies or television, but I have to maintain the integrity of my creations.

I’m not willing to ghost newspaper strips without receiving credit for my work. I know cartoonists don’t get to determine whose names appear on the published strips. But, having labored in secret for too many years on too many strips, I want to be able to tell people when I’m working on a strip or feature.

If I don’t think I can write something for you and have it meet my own high standards, I’ll tell you that. If I don’t think I can do the work within the deadlines you have, I’ll tell you that as well. I don’t blow smoke up anyone’s ass and I would appreciate the same consideration for my own tush.
If you’re an editor, publisher, movie or TV producer who would like to work with me, e-mail me to get things started. If you’re anyone else who would like to work with me or make a deal on the Phantom books I want, you can also e-mail me.

That covers what I wanted to say today. Come back tomorrow for what I’m thinking will be another Godzilla anniversary review.

Stay safe in these pandemic times. Stay sane in the chaos that has become our world. Be kind to one another.

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, August 18, 2020


Today is the anniversary of the U.S. release of Godzilla 2000, so I figured I’d celebrate by re-watching the movie and writing about it. Let’s start with a bit of history.

The movie’s Japanese title is Godzilla 2000: Millennium. In Japan, it was released on December 11, 1999. That original version ran 109 minutes. The American version is several minutes shorter. The cuts were mostly minor trims. Many critics opine the American version is a better paced and more entertaining film. From what I’ve read of what was cut, I agree with them.

I can’t imagine I didn’t see Godzilla 2000 in the theaters, but it may not have hung around long enough for that. The American version is dubbed, but the voice actors are Asian-Americans. That adds some authenticity to the film, though the occasional “American-isms” can be jarring. When an editor shouts “Great Caesar’s Ghost,” to name one such instance, it takes me right out of the movie.

At some point, I likely watched the original Japanese version via a VHS bootleg. However, as I have no idea where my VHS player is and because this is the anniversary of the US release, I watched the Tri-Star DVD of the film.

Here’s the Internet Movie Database cursory summary:

Godzilla saves Tokyo from a flying saucer that transforms into the beast Orga.

Like too many casual Godzilla fans, the summary only considers the monsters and neglects the interesting human stories that are often an enjoyable part of these movies. Godzilla films at their best are always more than the Kaiju fights.

Let’s focus on those human characters and their stories.

Yuji Shinoda [played by Takehiro Murata] is the founder of an cash-strapped volunteer organization that tracks and studies Godzilla. He’s a single father, trying to raise his daughter while quietly mourning his presumably late wife; the movie doesn’t explicitly say she’s dead. He knows that Godzilla is destructive and must be contained, but he also believes mankind can learn a great deal from the monster.

Daughter Io [Mayu Suzuki] is one of those lovable and spunky kids who takes care of her dad as much as he takes care of her. She is also the business brains of her dad’s organization, driving a hard bargain when a pretty photographer wants to accompany them on their  Godzilla missions.

Yuki Ichinose [Naomi Nishida] follows in the honored tradition of female photographers in Japanese Kaiju films. She doesn’t get a lot of respect at her newspaper, but she keeps chasing the big stories. Let’s face it. Stories don’t come bigger than Godzilla. Yuki spars with the Shinoda family, but she also bonds with them. In my head, I’m shipping a Yuki/Yuji love connection.

Mitsuo Katagiri [Hiroshi Abe] is the human villain of the piece. At university, he worked with Shinoda and Shiro Miyasaka [Shiro Sano], another scientist. But Katagiri’s ambition led him to what Shinoda felt was unethical behavior. Shinoda went off on his own; Miyasaka keeps working with Katagiri.

Katagiri is now the director of Crisis Control Intelligence, which makes him one of the most powerful men in Japan. He commands both armies and next-level weaponry. He cares about two things: finding new energy sources and killing Godzilla. Warm and cuddly, he’s not.

Tsutomu Kitagawa is the Godzilla suit actor, though we also see a CGI Godzilla a few times. Makoto Ito is the suit actor for Orga, a creature created by an alien spaceship to mimic Godzilla’s form and power, however imperfectly.

The movie opens with Godzilla making a dramatic entrance at a lighthouse. He has a boat in his mouth. When the lighthouse keeper flees, the boat breaks in half. When the boat halves miss the man, he scarcely has time to be relieved, when an electric tower falls on him.

[SPOILER WARNING: The lucky man is not crushed by the tower. It’s a nice nod to Buster Keaton and a quietly amusing moment. The film has other such moments, but they never get in the way of the tense action.]

While Godzilla is reintroducing himself to Japan, the CCI has found a rock-like object of considerable size that appears to radiate some form of energy. When they bring it to the surface, sunlight activates it. Revealed as a spaceship, it takes off on its own. It’s going after Godzilla.

Godzilla is still doing his rampaging thing. Miyasaka believes Godzilla is trying to destroy all human energy sources. I could use more convincing on that score.

The battles come fast and furious. Godzilla versus the army. That spaceship versus Godzilla. Shinoda versus Kitagawa, though they end up working together when Shinoda and Miyasaka make an astonishing discovery. The spaceship versus the CCI with considerable damage to the city. Godzilla versus the spaceship again and then the creature (Orga) created by the spaceship. Lots of perilous moments for the starring cast, citizens and soldiers caught in the middle of all this monster mayhem.

I like Godzilla 2000 a lot. It never drags, even when the science guys are talking pseudo-science. Team Shinoda are very likeable. Kitagawa is a compelling villain. The movie delivers a satisfying and quite thoughtful ending. If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s definitely worth watching. If you haven’t watched it in a while, it’s worth watching again.

This is the kind of Godzilla movie I like best. Great human drama combined with great monster action. If I ever write Godzilla comic books, that combination is what I would strive for.

That’s all for now, Godzilla devotees. I’ll be back soon with more stuff. Stay safe, stay sane, and be good to one another. 

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Monday, August 17, 2020


This (expletive deleted) year.

I was still processing (and am still processing) the death of Carl Gafford, my friend of over half a century, when a friend called to let me know Susan Ellison, widow of Harlan Ellison, had died in her sleep. I don’t have the words to express all that’s going through my heart/mind/soul at these losses or any of the many other losses of this pandemic year.

Every day, when I look at my Facebook feed, I’m being informed of friends losing loved ones. Parents. Siblings. Friends. Neighbors. Mentors. Pets. Though these deaths are not all from the Covid-19 coronavirus - some of them are - I can’t help but wonder if the misery of our times isn’t a contributing factor.

We have a totalitarian president whose only concern is for himself and his re-election. I don’t have the time or the energy to write about all the ways he misuses his power to benefit himself and to hurt his political enemies. Which is particularly alarming given he considers anyone who opposes or even questions him to be an enemy.

I am horrified on a daily basis by Trump zombies who believe every damned thing he claims. A neighbor told me Trump has to destroy the Postal Service to prevent voter fraud, which, as sane people know is so small as to be statistically meaningless. Then, the same guy told me that, if Biden and Warren win, I’ll lose my house. Which is  not just a falsehood, but a bat-shit-crazy falsehood.

I’m overwhelmingly sad by so many folks in the comics industry (and elsewhere) losing their jobs. I miss going to conventions. I miss seeing my friends and readers at those conventions.

I’m pissed at myself for not accomplishing more during this time of mostly sheltering at home. The wonderful Taylor Swift recorded an entire album during quarantine and had time to school Trump on social media besides. What did I do? I made “things to do” lists. Scratch one thing off those lists.

Some days it was a struggle to find even that one thing that made me happy on a given day in July. But there were things that made me happy and I’m delighted to share them with you...

July 1: Receiving a residual check for my appearance in the season finale of Black Lightning. Maybe the $23.99 won’t pay for more than a nice lunch, but getting a check through SAG-AFTRA is still pretty cool. I’m available for more acting gigs.

[ADDENDUM: I’ve since received a second residual check, bringing my additional earnings up to around $80.]

July 2: My first one-on-one garage sale appointment has been put on the schedule. This was always going to be a tough sell, but I hope more of my regular customers will take advantage of it. Check out my recent blog for details.

[ADDENDUM: I had to delay the start of the garage sales by a week or so. Mostly because I wanted to put even more cool stuff into the sales. Fortunately, I’m now adding items to the sales almost every day. Shoppers will not be disappointed.]
July 3: This tweet by Adam Robinson: “Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands...not being hailed as a modern masterpiece is proof writing a black character as the main character in comics will never get the praise they deserved. And will always play second fiddle in any team book.”

July 4: Tales Through the Marvel Universe. Anthologies of done-in-one, short story super-hero adventures are rare. This celebration of Marvel’s 80th anniversary presents a bunch of terrific ones. I’d love to see more anthologies like this one.

July 5: Our first family dinner (Barb, Eddie, Kelly and me) at my daughter’s beautiful new house. I hid it, but I got a little teary at what a great person she is.

July 6: The Misery Index. Contestants compete by determining which real-life events are more miserable than the other. Barb and I watched an episode On Demand and got a kick out of it. Perhaps the perfect show for our maddening times.

July 7: The Complete Shamnibus from Source Point Press collects the first six issues of this title in which classic and not-so-classic comics stories are hilariously maligned. I liked these rowdy spoofs even more the second time around.

July 8: I’m enjoying Gender Rebels: 50 Influential Cross-Dressers, Impersonators, Name-Changers, and Game-Changers by Anneka Harry on my Kindle. Fascinating people. If I wrote historical fiction, they might well appear in my work.

July 9: Three members of Medina’s City Council are seeking to make masks-wearing mandatory in my at-risk city. Kudos to Ward 3's Eric Heffinger, Ward 1's Jessica Hazeltine and At-Large Councilman Bill Lamb.

[ADDENDUM: Heffinger backed out. However, the issue became moot at the State of Ohio declared masks mandatory.]

July 10: Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki with art by Steve Pugh. A terrific story that’s not remotely in the current DC Comics continuity. Increasingly, that’s a really big plus for me.

July 11: My new friends. Funko sent me two samples of their limited edition Black Lightning figure. I want to thank them and ask them to consider doing a general release Black Lightning figure. I know the fans will love them as much as I do.

July 12: Ghosted in L.A. Volume One by Sina Grace, Siobhan Keenan and Cathy Le. Combining humor, mystery, relationship drama and some genuinely scary moments, this modern ghost story is great comics. I eagerly await the next volume.

July 13: The Old Guard. A simply terrific and thoughtful super-hero movie. Since I hadn’t read the comic book by Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez, it was new to me. I liked it so much that I’ve ordered the trades.

July 14: Gerry Conway and Greg Land’s “Because of Her” one-pager in Marvel Comics #1000. Mary Jane Watson’s reminiscences of Gwen Stacy were emotionally rich and satisfying. Well done.

July 15: I began writing the first issue of my new comics universe. It’s different, exciting, fun. I don’t know how long it will take for me to finish the script, how I’m going to get it drawn, how I’m going to get it published. First things first.

[ADDENDUM: Work on this has slowed because I’m uncertain of how an important relationship is being portrayed. I’ll figure it out and get back to writing soon.]  

July 16: Killadelphia by Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander. The City of Brotherly Love is being taken over by vampires and the former president who leads them. A dead detective and his son stand against them. Make this a movie!

July 17: Savage Sagas #1 with “The Mighty Crom” and “Cave Girl.” My pal Chris Mills is having a ball presenting new stories of public doman heroes with terrific artists like Rick Burchett and Neil D. Vokes. The fun is infectious!

July 18: Fantastic Four Marvels Snapshots by Even Dorkin and Sarah Dyer with artist Benjamin Dewey, color artist Jodie Bellarie and letterer VC’s Joe Caramagna. One of the best Human Torch stories of all time.

July 19: My Social Justice League now has a medical adviser. Here he is with Black Lightning, Black Widow and Luke Cage:
July 20: Reading the Black Widow Epic Collection: The Black Widow and fondly remembering how the character was developed in the 1960s and early 1970s.

July 21: The Lost Heroes. This 2014 documentary on Canadian comic-book heroes of the 1940s through modern times is one of those cool “how did I not know this” experiences. It’s currently available on Amazon Prime.

July 22: Jeopardy is currently running shows from 1984. Alex Trebek with dark hair and stache on his first episode. “Who is Superman” as an answer on his second, in which all three contestants ended with zero money. Fascinating stuff.

July 23: No Comic-Con in 2020, but only in the sense that it makes me realize how special that event is for me and so many other fans and pros. I’m not sure I can afford to attend in 2021, but I know I want to be there.
July 24: The Complete SIP Kids by Terry Moore. It features the cast of Strangers in Paradise as eight-year olds. Hilarious, twisted and unexpected. I want to see Moore follow this up with Rachel Rising Kids.

July 25: Opening Day for Cleveland Major League Baseball 2020. My daughter Kelly hosted a terrific (but safely small) party and our home team won.

July 26: The outstanding 2020 Eisner Awards Hall of Fame inductees: Nell Brinkley, E. Simms Campbell, Alison Bechdel, Howard Cruse, Stan Sakai, Louise Simonson, Don & Maggie Thompson, Bill Watterson. All most worthy!

July 27: I love it when my Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales start coming together. I have a lot of work to do before tomorrow’s appointment shoppers arrive and before the general sales on Friday and Saturday, but it’s looking great!

July 28: My first day of garage sale appointments was excellent. It was good seeing old customers again and meeting a couple new ones. I even made some money. Woo to the hoo!

July 29: My Social Justice League is growing every week. The newest team member is Gay Pride Batman. Looks like I’m going to need a new display case.

July 30: Idina Menzel singing a personalized theme song on a Geico commercial. If only I can convince Saintly Wife Barb that I really do need my own theme song.

July 31: Punch Bowl Social in Cleveland. I had dinner with friends  when it was mostly empty. Staff was top-notch in cleanliness and service. Food was good and not expensive. It has bowling, miniature golf, karaoke and more. I plan to return and do those things when there’s a vaccine.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with more stuff. Please stay safe and sane in these scary times. Please be excellent to others. Please hope for and vote for the change we so desperately need in our country. Thanks for stopping by.

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Sunday, August 16, 2020


...and nobody came.

That happened on Friday, August 14. Not a single customer came to my Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale that morning. The sale was fully restocked. I was hoping for a good morning. Instead, I spent the three hours between 9 am and noon reading magazines and looking to see if there were any signs of life on Damon Drive in Medina, Ohio. Honestly, I don’t think I saw more than a dozen cars or trucks on the street.

Saturday, August 15, was much better. However, between Saturday and the appointment shoppers earlier in the week, I only managed to do 37% of my usual modest goal. I can put in place all the virus precautions I want, but there are clearly a great many fans who won’t come to a garage sale in these pandemic times.

I’m trying something a little different this coming week. I'll be scheduling one-on-one appointments from Tuesday, August 18, to Friday, August 21. I’m only planning to schedule two appointments a day, but I will be flexible if fans are coming from outside the area to shop the sales. I’m willing to schedule appointments from 8 am to 7 pm. If you’d like to schedule an appointment, e-mail me. I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

I will have two open-to-the-public garage sales on Saturday, August 22. I’m splitting this up into two sessions. The morning session is 9-11 am and the afternoon session is 3-5 pm. All the previous rules for the public sales apply: masks, social distancing, only two shoppers at a time. But I probably won’t have signs spelling them out because one of my kids say they were intimidating.

If you want to see “intimidating,” you could watch me lose my shit when a moron tells me Trump has to destroy the United States Postal Service to prevent voter fraud and that, if Biden win, I will lose my house. That actually happened this weekend. The stupidity, it burns.

My preparation for this week’s sales will follow the usual pattern. Every day, in between writing and errands, I go through my numerous boxes of stuff in search of new and exciting items for the sales. I’ll make more mystery boxes. I’ll probably rethink some of my displays with an eye towards being able to put even more great stuff into the sales.

Beyond the garage sales, my main goal for the week is to get back to nigh-daily blogging and to post the birthdays, historical notes and remembrances I have been neglecting this month. I should also get around to scheduling all the medical and other appointments I have put off too long. No big concerns there, just things I need to check off my “to do” list.

That’s all for today. Much more interesting stuff tomorrow.

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, August 12, 2020


My Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales have two purposes. I’m trying to reduce the VAOS to the point where I can again call it a collection and, for the first time in nearly three decades, be able to catalog, manage and enjoy it. That’s job one.

Job two is to make some money through this extensive reduction of stuff. I’m pricing books, comics and other items around 70% below their cover and market prices.

One of the most consistently popular areas of my garage sales has been my quarter boxes. Besides giving customers the opportunity to come away from these sales with large stacks of comic books for a relatively few bucks, the quarter boxes are where I get the basic foundation for my equally popular ten-dollar mystery boxes. Every one of those boxes starts with a base of at least 20 comics from my quarter boxes. So, right off the bat, you know each box will have $5 worth of stuff even before I add other comics, magazines, trade paperbacks and other goodies.

At the end of last year’s sales, I used all of my stock of quarter comics to make over two dozen mystery boxes. At the start of this year, I took last year’s unsold dollar comics and put them in new quarter boxes. That stock of quarter boxes has not lasted as long as I had believed it would. Hence...

I’m buying short boxes and long boxes of comic books. I’m paying $15 for a short box and $30 for a long box. 

The only conditions I put on these purchases are these:

The comic books have to be in decent shape. They do not need to be bagged and boarded.

You have to bring the boxes to me. That way, there’s a chance you will end up spending whatever I pay you and more shopping my garage sales. Insert evil laugh here.

The boxes can not contain sexually explicit comic books like, for example, Naked People Having Naked Sex Adventures. Yes, I totally made that title up. No, surprisingly, it’s not on my bucket list of over three hundred things I want to write before I kick the bucket.  If I write sexually explicit comics or prose, they will be ever so much more classy and filled with keen insight on why people enjoy rubbing against each other while, you know, naked.

If you want to sell boxes of comics to me, e-mail me so that we can arrange a date and a time for you do that. I will have to limit how many comic books I buy. A friend of mine once bought 13,000 comic books and they were delivered to his house on a pallet. I have had nightmares about that ever since he shared the story with me. Not to mention it would be hard to hide a pallet of comic books from my Saintly Wife Barb.

Am I afraid she’ll read this blog and find out I’m buying comics? Hey, she’s been listening to me through our 36 years of marriage and the ten years we dated before that. Do you think she reads these bloggy things? “Saintly” only goes so far.

There we have it. I’m buying comic books.

God help me.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, August 11, 2020


Most of my recent blogs have been related to my world famous Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales. I apologize for that. I have a couple more days of taking care of business and then I’ll get back to far more entertaining fare.

There are two different ways to shop at my “comics and pop culture garage sales.” The first is to come to my home at 840 Damon Drive  in Medina, Ohio on Friday and Saturday, August 14 and 15, between the hours of 9 am and noon. Those are my open to the public garage sales. If you come, you’ll find Isabella-written books and comics, dollar comics, other comics priced at more than a dollar but with many amazing deals, trade paperbacks and more. There are bookcases of DVDs, Blu-rays, CDs, video games and VHS tapes, all selling for a buck each. You’ll find a table filled with manga, also at a buck each. While the supply lasts - they go fast every week - there will be amazing $10 “mystery boxes” stuffed with, well, that would be telling now, wouldn’t it?

I’ll sign any Isabella books, comics and posters you purchase from me for free. I’ll also sign Isabella items that you didn’t purchase from me as long as you are cool about it. I define “cool” in this case as you have spent some money at my garage sale. If you’re only coming to get comics signed for free, you’re being kind of a dick.

Common safety sense means I will only allow two shoppers into the sale at any given time. I’ll have socially distanced chairs set up in my driveway so you can wait until the current shoppers are done and you can enter the garage. Don’t worry about getting in. I will keep the sales going each day until every customer who arrived by noon has had a chance to shop.

The other way to shop at my garage sale is to make an appointment. You can schedule appointments by e-mailing me with your requested date and time. Appointments are available Monday through Wednesday from 9 am to 7 pm and Friday and Saturday from 2 pm to 7 pm. I’ll schedule you for an hour.

One thing I can’t/won’t do is answer questions about any specific items. I’m adding around 100 new items to the garage every day as space permits. Answering specific questions would slow that down. All I can tell you is that most everything in the sales is priced to sell. I think it’ll be worth the trip.

There are some important rules for my customers:

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. No Confederate paraphernalia, no white supremacist paraphernalia, no Trump or MAGA related stuff. 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.

That’s all for now. I have two more blogs of business coming your way. Then I’ll be back with the aforementioned more entertaining stuff. Be safe, be sane, be wonderful to one another.

© 2020 Tony Isabella

Monday, August 3, 2020


Last week, I had my first week of “by appointment” and “open to the public” Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales. As I usually do, I set myself a fairly modest goal I didn’t actually expect to make. You might have heard about the pandemic that’s going around. Much to my surprise, I reached 84% of that goal.

However, I’m not taking any appointments for this week, nor will I have any “open to the public” hours. I want to rethink some of what I do in these garage sales with an eye towards achieving the goals I set for them.

I am making appointments for the week of August 10-15. You can make an appointment by e-mailing me or by sending a private message via Facebook. I’ll respond as quickly as possible. If you make one of these appointments, you are allowed to bring a second guest.

My next open to the public garage sales will be Friday, August 14, and Saturday, August 15, from 9 am to noon each day. Because I am only allowing two customers in the garage, I will keep the garage sales open as long as there are customers waiting to get in.

This week, in between catching up on some odds and ends and writing projects, I’m doing a major restock of my garage sale stock. I’ve moved the DVDs, Blu-rays, VHS tapes, video games and CDs to a more compact display in my bookcases. This frees up room for the return of my $1 manga volumes. 
I’ll have numerous Isabella books, comics and posters. I will sign any of these items that you purchase from me for free. I will also sign Isabella items that you didn’t purchase from me as long as you are cool about it. I define “cool” in this case as you have spent some money at my garage sale. If you’re only coming to get comics signed for free, you’re being kind of a dick.

I’m hoping to add many more dollar comics, magazines, hardcovers, trade paperbacks and older comics to the sales. I would love to add more quarter comics, but my supply of those has run perilously low. Unless I come across some new boxes - which, given I don’t really know everything I have in my storage unit and my Tardis-like house is a fair possibility - I could be out of them before next week’s appointments and sales.

It astonishes me to write this, but I am interested in buying boxes of comics. I’ve crunched my numbers a bit more since the last time I mentioned this and am now willing to pay $15 for a short box and $30 for a long box full of comic books in decent conditions. I’ll take pretty much any more or less suitable for all ages comics. If you’re interested, email me to set up a date and time when you can
bring them to me. Please note that these comics are for my quarter boxes and mystery boxes. I won’t go higher on the prices I’ve set for such purchases.

Speaking of mystery boxes, I’m going to do my best to put together a whole bunch of them. Knowing how popular they are, I’ve limited their sale to one per customer. I’m working to hard to be able to raise that to two per customer.

Another possible change is that I’m considering taking out a small classified ad in the local newspaper. Though these have not brought many customers to my sales in the past, I’m planning to do a bare bones notice in the hopes of reaching potential customers who don’t catch my Craig’s List announcement or read my social media.

There are important rules for my customers:

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. No Confederate paraphernalia, no white supremacist paraphernalia, no Trump or MAGA related stuff. 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.

I think that covers everything. If you have any questions, I’ll try to respond to them as swiftly as I can manage. However, I will not respond to any questions asking me exactly what I have for sale and wanting me to photograph it for you. Honestly, I have a life and it doesn’t involve jumping through hoops for anyone.

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


This is my week to catch up on this and that. I'll be posting new blogs, possibly as early as later today. The first couple will discuss my garage sales and related matters. After that, you'll get more varied content. There are so many topics I need and want to cover.