Sunday, December 6, 2020


Welcome to more of the craziness and misery that has marked 2020 as a year like no other. Joe Biden won the presidential election with over 80 million votes and with an Electoral College victory that a certain Orange Stain called a landslide four years ago. Of course, four years ago, Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote by three million votes, called the Electoral College victor to concede her defeat, and outgoing president Barack Obama, did what he could to prepare the Electoral College victor for the most important job in American government. What a difference four years makes!

Biden will be president come Inauguration Day. I’m not sure he’ll be our next president because, if the Orange Stain thinks he needs to resign so he can get a pardon from President Mike Pence, I think Pence could end up being our next president for however short his time in office. If that happens, a hundred years from now, knowing Pence was the 46th president will be a Trivial Pursuit answer. I’m as confident Trivial Pursuit will still be around in 2120 as I am the United States will still exist in 2120. Uh-oh...

Monstrous Republicans doing monstrous things in the final weeks of this administration. COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths on the rise because “freedom-loving” Americans don’t give a damn about others. Climate change kicking our collective asses. That’s what we saw in November.

On a personal note, 2020 will likely be the worst year of my comics career. The loss of income from conventions and my poorly-attended garage sales hit hard. Especially combined with a decided lack of paying gigs. I’m one of many in my industry who had a lousy 2020. And that’s just on the financial level.

We have lost dear friends this year. We have lost people we looked up to in comics and in the larger world. Many of us have lost our beloved animal companions, which I think is due, in part at least, to their picking up on the anxieties of their human companions in these troubled times.

So, yeah, 2020 isn’t going to be anybody’s favorite year. But there is still hope for the future. There is still determination to make that future better. In addition, for me, there is always something every day that brings me joy. Here are things that made me happy in November...

November 1: Today’s Crankshaft by Tom Batiuk and Dan Davis. Cranky destroying mailboxes is an ancient bit, but I thought this take on it was fresh, funny and topical.

November 2: The “mute” button on my TV remote control. I’ve become lightning fast on the draw when it comes to bullshit Trump and GOP ads. So fast I no longer have the impulse to throw the remote at my TV set. Since the Trump/GOP ads ceased, I've been using the mute button to silence all the phony baloney health insurance ads.

November 3: Ms. Tree: Skeleton in the Closet, the second Hard Case collection of classic comics by Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty, is just plain damn good stories. Highly recommended.

November 4: Becoming Superman. J. Michael Straczynski’s terrifying yet inspirational autobiography was just the book I needed to pull myself from dark despair. Highly recommended.

November 5: The Los Angeles Fire Department has started using a robot firefighter vehicle that can blast 2,500 gallons of water or foam. With enough force to knock down a wall. I welcome the first of our new cool robot overlords.
November 6: Kent State by Derf Backderf is an amazingly-researched account of state-sanctioned murder. I was chilled to the bone as I learned things I hadn’t realized. Kudos to a cartoonist who always
goes above and beyond my expectations.

November 7: Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts. My son Ed recommended this anime series to me. I watched the first episode and it plain tickled me. I’ll keep watching.

November 8: Our President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris. Though we still have two months of the most criminal administration in our history to get through and so many problems beyond that, there is once again hope in my country and my heart for the first time in a very long time.

November 9: Finding out my Black Lightning saved someone’s life and that, because of that, they were around to save the lives of other people.

November 10: My Wonder Woman breast cancer awareness Funko Pop has arrived. It joins Batman, Harley Quinn and Superman in this noble cause.

November 11: Let Justice Descend by Lisa Black. This is part of her Gardiner and Renner series. Gardiner’s a Cleveland forensic expert. Renner is a detective and vigilante. Murder, politics, corruption and a satisfying ending I didn’t see coming.

November 12: Actress Tamara Podemski. Most of the leads in Coroner are hot messes, but Podemski’s Alison is downright inspirational. The character has her own past sorrows, but she holds it together and lifts the people around her.

November 13: Painkiller is getting a back door pilot this season of Black Lightning. I’m excited about this spin-off for many reasons, not the least of which is the character is played by the incredibly talented Jordan Calloway. Painkiller was created by Eddy Newell and yours truly in our 1990s Black Lightning series.

November 14: Chantal Thuy, who plays Grace Choi on Black Lightning, has been promoted to a series regular in season four. I’m thrilled we’ll be seeing more of this wonderful actress and hope I actually get to meet her later this year.

November 15: The Complete Steve Canyon Volume 9: 1963-1964. Milton Caniff’s amazing art and storytelling are first-rate in a collection that includes globetrotting intrigue and collegiate drama.

November 16: Gail Simone’s recent Facebook post in which she wrote of how much she enjoyed my work. I have many fans who love my work, but it’s always an extra buzz when someone whose work I enjoy is one of them.

November 17: Juli├ín Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love. This delightful children’s picture book embraces individuality, being who you are and being loved and accepted for who you are.

November 18: I got a shout-out from Oscar-winning screenwriter (12 Years a Slave) John Ridley on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. He said my work on Black Lightning inspired him. Knowing my work impacts so many in such positive ways keeps me going.

November 19: Invisible Differences: A Story of Asperger’s, Adulting and Living a Life in Full Color by Mademoiselle Caroline and Julie Dachez. Entertaining and informative, this autobiography is a definite contender for next year’s awards.

November 20: My medical stuff has been going very well. My AiC was described as spectacular. As a result, my daily Metformin dose has been cut in half. Once the gamma ray treatments kick in, I will be better than ever.

November 21: I turned my depression over the news Black Lightning is ending into creative action, creating a terrific new TV series in under two hours. Because, yeah, I am just that good.

November 22: Seph Lawless’ Abandoned: Hauntingly Beautiful Deserted Theme Parks. Lawless captures the ghosts of summers past in photos that fill you with awe and sadness. Recommended for all, including and especially artists and writers looking for inspiration.

November 23: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Confession. I hated this movie when I first saw it as a kid. Maybe I was too much of a monster purist. But every time I’ve seen it as a adult, I’ve loved it and always find new things to appreciate in it.

November 24: Land Shark Attack. I watched this 2020 Chinese giant movie with Hindi subtitles on YouTube. The plot is typical of the old SyFy creature features, so I could follow it okay. Original, it’s not. But it’s fun with decent acting and CGI.

November 25: We’re far from out of the woods, but knowing we will have a new and decent President on January 20, 2021, has reduced my anxiety noticeably. I can even watch MSNBC and CNN again.

November 26: Thanksgiving dinner with Barb, Eddie and Kelly. It was the nicest Thanksgiving within recent memory. No drama, no dumbass right-wing politics. Just the three people I love most in the whole world. Well worth the food coma.

November 27: G-Fan #129. This magazine is always filled with great Godzilla-related stuff, but this issue also has Lyle Huckins’ piece on Chinese giant monster movies Big Snake and Big Snake 2. I have found a kindred spirit.

November 28: Primer by Jennifer Muro and Thomas Krajewski with art by Gretel Lusky. DC Kids scores with the origin story of a terrific new young hero. A simply wonderful graphic novel suitable for all ages. Can’t wait for more.

November 29: The Water Monster. Even with no English subtitles, I enjoyed this action-packed horror movie with pretty cool wire work and a genuinely scary creature. You can find it on YouTube. Check it out.

November 30: Holly Jolly: Celebrating Christmas Past in Pop Culture by Mark Voger. Just in time for the holidays, TwoMorrows publishes an amazingly fun and informative holiday book. Just the thing for Night Before Christmas enjoyment.

I wish all my wonderful bloggy thing readers a happy, safe and sane holiday season. I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2020 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. One of the things that makes ME happy is stopping by to visit this blog. As a kid reading comics long ago I always had you pegged as a good writer but knew nothing about you personally (not even that you were a Buckeye from one state over).

    It's been great to discover as an adult that you're also a good person, one that cares about the people with whom he shares the planet.

    So anyway, thanks for always using your powers for good. May the blessings of the holiday season be upon you and yours.