That's my secret, Captain. I'm always angry.
Bruce Banner said that in The Avengers
. Back then, I felt I could relate to that sentiment. Today, in 2020, I understand that feeling better than ever.
I could give the usual long litany of Trump and the GOP’s criminal behavior, their bigotry and racism, their arrogant flaunting of laws they took an oath to uphold, their lack of compassion toward the citizens they are supposed to represented and their disloyalty to their country and democracy itself. But you’ve read me express all those things many times before. If you don’t feel the same way that I do, odds are you stopped reading this blog a long time ago. If you do, I don’t need to go into detail about all the stuff that makes me angry.
Yet, as always, because I remain optimistic and retain my faith my fellow citizens will eventually do the right thing, I try to find something - a book, a comic, a movie, a neat collectible, a decent person doing kindness to others, a uplifting occurrence in my own life - to overcome, no matter how briefly, the sadness of the world around me.
Here are the things that made me happy in August...
August 1: My son Ed is the new president of the Medina County Young Democrats. Like I needed another reason to be so proud of him that I could burst.
August 2: Ultra Kaiju Humanization Project.
Defeated opponents of Ultraman are sent to another world and transformed into high school girls. Now do you see why I love manga so much?
August 3: My Social Justice League grows weekly. My latest member is Kamala Kahn aka Ms. Marvel. The G. Willow Wilson run on Kamala’s comic was one of the best ongoing super-hero titles of the 2010's!
August 4: Jack Kirby’s Dingbat Love.
True-Life Divorce! Soul Love! Dingbats of Danger Street! Unpublished ‘70s stories I never thought I’d get to read. TwoMorrows Publishing makes comics history!
August 5: Misty Volume 3
. I’m wild about Rebellion’s collections of wonderful material from classic UK “girls” comics weekly. This one has “Wolf Girl,” a child literally raised by wolves. I would love to write a weekly comics serial.
August 6: New York AG Letitia James filed lawsuits to dissolve the NRA for wide-ranging fraud and self-dealing. Our Second Amendment deserves more honorable representation that Wayne LaPierre and his fellow criminals.
August 7: Washington, D.C. AG Karl Racine has also filed a lawsuit against the NRA Foundation, accusing the charity of diverting funds to the gun advocacy group to help pay for improper spending by top NRA executives.
August 8: My home town of Medina has been providing boxes of masks for small businesses in our city. These are for customers who come into the businesses without one.
August 9: I found relatively reasonably priced copies of the first two volumes of The Phantom: The Complete Dailies on eBay. The third volume still eludes me. I’m willing to barter my writing skills for that and other volumes.[NOTE: No one has taken me up on this offer. I’m going to leave it out there and see what happens.]
August 10: My new “Godzilla is My Spirit Animal” shirt. Since I am the pastor of the First Church of Godzilla at Kaiju Cathedral, this was an essential purchase. [NOTE: One of my Facebook friends told me he was told referring to a “spirit animal” was a form of cultural appropriation. Obviously, I have not used the term disrespectfully and don’t consider it to be forbidden. To the best of my recollection, I’ve used the phrase twice. While wearing a shirt showing an angry Donald Duck, I said he was my spirit animal. See the dialogue I ran at the start of today’s blog. The other occasions have all been in reference to Godzilla, who I certainly love and respect.
I’m willing to change positions on word usages. For example, I no longer refer to Black Lightning’s insulting role in Batman and the Outsiders as my creation being reduced to Batman’s “support Negro.” That term is commonly used in movie criticism, but it does offend some readers. So I have dropped it.
I don’t use “spirit animal” often, but, when I think it’s the right phrase, I will use it.]
August 11: Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris to be his running mate. A spectacular choice that shows the high character of both of these fine people.
August 12: Ilhan Omar won her Democratic primary in Minnesota. We need such courageous progressive women in Congress. Here’s wishing she wins the general election in a landslide.
August 13: The amazing Stargirl
season finale. All the right notes. Many terrific unexpected moments. Cool foreshadowing of the second season. A beautiful hour of television.
August 14: Country singer Margo Price covering Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. I laughed so hard I had tears in the corner of my eyes.[NOTE: Margo Price liked this on Twitter. That was cool.]
August 15: Our new Godzilla lawn flag. People will know our house is protected by the Great Scaly One.[NOTE: It’ll be a while before this goes up. I need the thing that it hangs on. Also, there will be several political signs appearing on my lawn soon. I don’t want to overdo it.]
August 16: Having met and sometimes worked with so many incredible comics creators in my five decades in the industry. The downside is feeling their loss more keenly when they leave us. But I’ll always be grateful that I knew them.
August 17: I bought a pair of 64-gallon trash cans to replace the beat-to-heck ones we’ve been using. These are big enough to hold a body. Which is not an admission of guilt or intent.
August 18: DC Goes to War
. The collection has many classic stories. And a few problematic stories that make me think about how far we still have to go as an art form and society. I’ll be writing about this in the future.
August 19: The Marvel Comics Mini-Books Collectible Boxed Set
has arrived. I’m absolutely giddy with anticipation. I remember pumping a great many coins into machines trying to get them all.
August 20: Black Lightning got a nod on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
. Discussing the media using code words for racism, a Black journalist mentioned the phrase “racially changed” and referenced my creation, complete with lightning blast visual effect.
August 21: Joe Biden’s acceptance speech was masterful as it laid out the difference between a nation of light and the dark country Trump has fostered. I’m riding with Biden all the way.
August 22: Constitution Illustrated
by R. Sikoryak. A spiffy way to brush up on the rule of law with delightful pop culture pastiches from all eras of comic art. Trumpers will be disappointed that it includes those parts of the Constitution they don’t believe applies to him.
August 23: The Return of Godzilla (1984). The emotional scene where the Japanese representative talks about his nation’s refusal to use nuclear weapons against Godzilla. You can see the pain on his face and know he is thinking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
August 24: I woke up this morning, checked the news, found horrible stories. I thought about going back to bed until 2021. I didn’t. I stayed up and got to work. Some days, that’s the best you can hope for...
August 25: Jaws
. 45 years after its debut and many viewings since, it’s not merely the greatest shark movie of all time. It’s one of the greatest movies period. Acting, directing, writing, every scene a part of the whole. I love it more every time I watch it.
August 26: Blaha’s Landscaping did a great job taking down a giant tree that threatened our next door neighbor’s house. I recommend them to all my Medina friends.
August 27: A Medina resident made me a Godzilla 1985
DVD. I had the movie, but only on VHS. Now I can write a column discussing it and The Return of Godzilla
, the original Japanese version of the film.
August 28: The NBA, its players, its owners and the players, owners and teams from other sports for showing true leadership against police brutality, systemic racism and voter suppression. Positive celebrity in action.
August 29: The Asylum’s Monster Hunters
. It’s not remotely a great movie, but it’s entertaining and reminds me how much I’ve enjoyed Asylum films over the years. If they make them, I’ll watch them.
August 30: My son Eddie brought me yard signs for Biden/Harris and other Democratic Party candidates. Now I get to negotiate with my Saintly Wife Barb over how many I can put up. My starting point is all of them and then some.
August 31: I’ve had a very productive couple days. Two chapters of my next book and two columns for a total of over 6000 words. Three gags for John Lustig’s Last Kiss.
I feel like I finally have a grip on these pandemic times.
Keep looking for joy, my friends. Stay safe. Stay sane. Be loving to one another. I’ll be back soon with more stuff.
© 2020 Tony Isabella