New bloggy things will return in June.I'm shooting for June 7.
Saturday, May 29, 2021
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Hello, my bloggy friends. I won't be writing new blogs until sometime after I get back from Pensacon, Just wanted to let you know.
I also want to let you know that I won't be approving comments until I get back from Pensacon. So don't get impatient and post your comments multiple times. I will get to them as soon as possible.
Have a great weekend and I'll see you soon.
Ever sooner if you come to Pensacon.
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Pensacon 2021 will be held Friday through Sunday, May 21-23, at the Pensacola Bay Center and several other venues in that cool Florida city. It’s my favorite convention, an inclusive convention, both in the areas of fandom it celebrates and its welcoming of attendees representing the diversity of mankind at its best. At Pensacon, you will find guests and presentations from the worlds of movies, TV, comic books, anime, science fiction, horror and more. The event’s guest list gets more astonishing with each new year and 2021 is no exception.
Pensacon 2020 was the last convention I attended before the Covid-19 pandemic forced such events to go on hiatus. Pensacon 2021 will be my first convention since getting fully vaccinated and feeling comfortable with traveling once again. Except for seeing Godzilla vs. Kong in a theater, I haven’t attended public gatherings of any kind in these past fifteen months.
Speaking of Godzilla vs. Kong, one of Pensacon 2021's guests is the remarkable Kaylee Hottle. She played Jia, the young girl who has bonded with Kong. The young actress is deaf and comes from an all-deaf family and gives one of the movie’s best performances in her first movie role. She’s one of the guests I’m most looking forward to meeting this year.
I’m also looking forward to again seeing the amazing James Remar from Black Lightning and many other fine movies and TV shows. His portrayal of Peter Gambi expanded my understanding of a character I created back in 1976 and will definitely figure into any future Black Lightning stories I write. I had some nice conversations with him when I was on the set for the third season finale.
Other guests include Ed Asner, Denise Crosby, Tom Cook, Matt Frank, Arthur Suydam, Antonio Fargas, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Peter David, Patrick Warburton, George Wendt, Mark Maddox, Bill Morrison, Fred “The Hammer” Williamson, Corin Nemac, Ashley Eckstein, Thom Zahler, Anthony Michael Hall, Dirk Benedict, Michael Golden, Claudia Wells and so many others to name here.
Let’s talk about Pensacola itself. The city embraces Pensacon more than almost any other city I can name. When you land at the local airport, you’ll find the gates are now “stargates.” Because the Pensacola Bay Center, huge as it is, can’t hold all the wonder that is Pensacon, the convention spreads out to a number of other venues in the city.
The Pensacola night life is vibrant. Several restaurants will adopt themes related to Pensacon. In past years, I’ve eaten at terrific places that looked like scenes out of Harry Potter, Star Wars and Suicide Squad. I’m eager to see what gastronomical adventures I’ll have this year. Though I’m not much of a drinker, I will be trying fandom-theme drinks wherever I dine.
What will Pensacon 2021 look like in new and not quite post Covid-19 era? Masks are required, though they can be removed by those fully vaccinated in panels and other socially distanced events once you are seated. Masks may be momentarily removed for photos with celebrity guests at the sole discretion of the guest. Some guests may require your mask stay on while interacting with them. In cases where the guest allows removal of the mask, it must be immediately put back on after the photo is taken.
Social distancing will be required. The convention is spreading out its guest and vendor areas. There will be more activities outside the Pensacola Bay Center.
Hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout the Pensacon venues. Surface cleaning will take place throughout the convention.There will be limited seating at panels and presentations. Because of the ongoing risk to the public, there will be no gaming events at this year’s convention.
My personal guidelines? If you are fully vaccinated, you can remove your mask for photos with me. Likewise, knowing how damn huggable I am, I will let the fully vaccinated hug me. But keep it short unless you’re prepared to take me out for a romantic dinner.
Traveling by air always requires me to limit what I can bring to a convention. My current plan is to bring copies of the exclusive-to-me edition of Misty Knight’s first appearance. These were limited to 1500 copies, and are signed and numbered. I’ll have #301-340 for sale at Pensacon.
I’m also bringing some posters and prints. These will be limited in supply as I am phasing out selling them at conventions and garage sales. When the supply is exhausted, that’s it.
I do charge for my signature, though I will sign anything you buy directly from me for free. Otherwise, it’s five bucks per signature and fifteen bucks if you’re having the signature witnessed by one of the comics grading companies. At this time, I can only take cash for signatures and purchases.
I will be appearing on various panels during Pensacon. Download and check the convention app for the latest information on those panels and presentation. Here’s the information I have.
STAR TREK: WRITING THE FUTURE (Friday, May 21, 1:00-1:45 pm)
Description: Star Trek is *the* gold standard for science fiction television that has set the stage for everything that has come after! Join Melinda Snodgrass, Keith Peter David, Keith DeCandido, and Tony Isabella in presenting their take on the bright promise of Roddenberry's future!
Location: I don’t have that information at this time.
STUPID SUPERVILLAINS THAT WE LOVE (Friday, May 21 6:00–6:45 pm, at the Bowden Building Conference Room 1)
Description: Not every super villain is an instant classic. For every Joker there are 5 Stilt Mans or Arcades, but why do some of these guys stick around so long, and how do some even get a second chance? This panel will discuss some of our favorites, then open it up to the audience to talk about some of theirs and to try and find out what makes these guys stick around and stick out in our minds. Fellow panelists: Thomas Strange, Tom Boucher.
HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE STEREOTYPES IN COMIC BOOKS (Saturday, May 22, 10:00–10:45 am, Bowden Building Conference Room 1)
Description: Many of us have come across offensive stereotypes in all forms of entertainment, but what happens in comic books might be more important than mainstream media because of the age of the target audience. Examining some stereotypes that have occurred in the past and present gives us a way at countering the re-occurrence of these tropes in the future. From racial and ethnic stereotypes to gender bias, hetero normative narratives, and body prejudice will all be touched upon with an eye towards how to prevent these from reoccurring and how to explain past examples to younger readers. Fellow panelists: Thomas Strange, Tom Boucher.
SUPER HEROICS (Sunday, May 23, 2-2:45 pm)
Description: Superheroes are here to stay and we are seeing them everywhere! Join some of the amazing creators of new properties in super heroics out there and discuss where the genre will go from here. Fellow panelists: unknown to me
Location: I don’t have that information at this time.
In addition to these panels, I was once again one of the judges for the PENSACON SHORT FILM FESTIVAL. My fellow judges are Corin Nemec and Mark Maddox. There were some excellent entries this year, which will be shown during the convention. I don’t have a time or place for that presentation, but I can tell you it’s well worth your time to check out treasures like End of the Rope, Sundown Trail and It’s Okay. The festival winner will be announced at Pensacon.
I’m looking forward to chatting with my readers, seeing old friends and making new friends at this year’s Pensacon. It’s an experience best described as inclusive and joyful. It makes me feel good about my nearly fifty years in comics and the state of fandom. If you can possible attend this year’s event, you should do so. You will love being part of this convention. For more information on Pensacon, go to the event’s website.
That’s all for now, my bloggy pals. I’ll be back with more stuff as soon as possible.
© 2021 Tony Isabella
Friday, May 14, 2021
Hey, kids! I've got several bloggy things in various stages of completion. They will appear as soon as they're ready to go. The first up will be my Pensacon 2021 preview.
In the meantime, I'd love to see more comments from the readers. Yes, your comments have to be approved before they appear, but I do try to get to them as soon as possible. Why do they have to be approved? Anyone who's been online for five minutes knows the answer to that one.
Have a great day, my friends. Be safe, be sane and be good to one another.
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
We’re talking about creator credits for the second bloggy thing in a row. Because, when it comes to creator credits, one size doesn’t fit all. There are many cases when crediting the first writer and the first artist to handle a character is an accurate reflection of a character’s creation...and just as many times when it isn’t. I can’t and won’t speak to characters I didn’t create or co-create. What I can and will do is look at my creations and tell you what I think are the accurate creator credits.
My general position is that the person or persons who first came up with the original idea for a character is/are the creator of that character. They should be referred to as the creator/creators. All others should be referred to as co-creators and, most of the time, given equal billing.
This is the second in a series of bloggy things discussing heroes and villains created or co-created by me. If I don’t get to those you most want me to write about, use the comments section to nudge me and I’ll move your request up on my list.
It! The Living Colossus!
I don’t think of myself as the creator of this series. What I did was come up with the concept of making a creature that appeared in pre-Fantastic Four issues of Tales of Suspense into the hero of an ongoing series and have him battle other monsters from those pre-FF anthology titles. The human half of the man/statue hero appeared in the second of those Tales of Suspense appearances, but I gave him the last name of O’Bryan as a tribute to legendary special effects master Willis H. O'Brien. If I ever wrote a revival of this series, the credit line would read “Series conceived and written by Tony Isabella.”
There’s a text page in Astonishing Tales #22, written by me, which claims “Roy Thomas, Marv Wolfman and Don McGregor all helped put this story together.” For the life of me, I can’t recall what Marv or Don contributed beyond being nice to and supportive of me. Back in my early days, I tended to be overly generous in sharing credit with people. I think this is one of those cases.
On the other hand, as my editor, Roy Thomas helped shape the “It!” series. In my initial pitch, Bob O’Bryan and Diane Cummings were married with two middle-school aged kids. Thinking of TV shows like Jonny Quest and Lost in Space, I figured any member of the family could inhabit and control the Colossus. I was definitely planning to write the book for a young audience along the lines of what Gold Key comics was doing in its titles. No reflection on Marvel there. I was simply looking to add some variety to our titles.
Roy nixed that pitch and reminded me how many Marvel super-heroes overcame physical or emotional problems to become heroes. Spider-Man had his guilt over Uncle Ben’s death. Iron Man has shrapnel in his chest. Daredevil was blind. I can’t be sure, but I think I was the one who came up with Bob losing the use of his legs. Roy and I both liked the idea that this seemingly helpless man could control one of the most powerful creatures on the planet.
Helmut Zemo has been in the comics news lately because of his star turn in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. As the Phoenix, he came into being because the regular Captain America writer at that time was late getting a plot to Sal Buscema. If I’m recalling correctly, editor Roy Thomas came up with what he thought would be a one-off story and gave the plot to Sal over the phone. Though Roy intended to script this story himself, he only scripted a few pages before his other obligations necessitated him asking me to script the rest of the issue. Captain America? Sal Buscema? I couldn’t say yes fast enough.
There was no written plot, but Sal had written brief border notes which gave me the bare bones of what was happening in the story. I don’t think I added anything to the basic plot beyond fleshing out some details, especially in describing Helmut’s unhappy childhood. My contribution was considered significant enough that I received special thanks in the Falcon/Winter Soldier end credits.
If I wrote a Helmut Zemo comic today, my preferred creator credit line would be “Helmut Zemo created by Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema with Tony Isabella.” I believe Roy and Sal deserve the lion’s share of the credit.
Some will correctly point out that Helmut was further developed by J.M. Dematteis, Kurt Busiek, Matt Rosenberg and other later writers of the character. But development, no matter how brilliantly done, isn’t the same as creation.
This “creator credits” series is going to go on much longer than I anticipated when I started it. I don’t know when the next chapter will appear, but it will definitely include Tigra.
I’ll be back soon with more stuff.
© 2021 Tony Isabella
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
After I posted my convention appearance requirements, I realized I might catch some flak because of my insistence I be billed as the creator of Black Lightning. Not co-creator. Creator. Since I have been wanting to write a column on creator credits, this seems like an apt opportunity to do just that.
The creator credits you see in the comic books and elsewhere are not always accurate. The comics industry, the fans and especially so-called comics journalists have adopted a writer/artist policy in listing credits. The first writer to handle the character and the first artist to draw the character inside the comic books. That’s an unfair simplification of the process. Even when the character’s publisher uses an accurate variant of this standard credit - such as “Black Lightning created by Tony Isabella with Trevor von Eeden" - there are those who refuse to use that credit.
Why would anyone use an incorrect credit when the correct credits are being used by the publisher of a character and on a television series featuring a character? Because some people are lazy and some are just dicks. For example, almost all the writers at Comic Book Resources fall into those two categories.
The simple writer/artist creator credit often leaves out folks who have created mightily to a character. I know from experience that Marvel editor-in-chief Roy Thomas and art director John Romita had considerable input into new characters during my time working as a Marvel staffer. I’m certain the same is true of many other editors.
I won’t be addressing characters created by others today. Because I wasn’t in the room when those characters were created. But I will be discussing some characters I created or co-created. Not all of the characters I created or co-created just the better-known ones and ones who fall outside the usual writer/artist credits.
You knew I was going to start here. The Black Lightning credit has evolved over time and that includes my own perception of what that credit should be.
There is only one creator without whom Black Lightning could not have come into existence and that person is me. When I pitched teacher Jefferson Pierce to DC Comics, everything important about him was already in place. It was all me without any editorial input. They entered into an agreement to published my creation based on what I pitched. That the company viewed the agreement far differently than I did - as in not honoring it - does not change how the creation of Black Lightning was credited.
For the first two years or so of Black Lightning’s existence, the credit line read “Created by Tony Isabella” and no one disputed the accuracy of that credit line. Then there came a day when I inquired about buying my creation back from DC Comics. Pieced together from first-hand conversations with people, here’s what happened directly after that day.
Fearing I might sue to get my creation back, or maybe just to fuck with me, DC decided to name original artist Trevor von Eeden as a co-creator of the character. Trevor has told me of being stopped in the hall and told he was now Black Lightning’s co-creator. He did not question this. Why should he have?
One DC Comics wrote a credit line that read “Based on a character created by Tony Isabella and Trevor von Eeden,” which I’ve always assumed was yet another corporate ploy to diminish any lawsuit to regain my creation. I objected so loudly to this that DC Comics backed off that usage. That was the closest I’ve ever come to suing them.
When I signed my most recent agreement with DC Comics - they have honored the letter of that agreement - I quite possibly could have gotten my solo credit back. But I wanted to honor Trevor’s artistic contribution to my creation and I also wanted to insure he continue to benefit financially from that. I wrote and DC agreed to what is now the official Black Lightning credit:
Created by Tony Isabella with Trevor Von Eeden
Black Lightning showrunner/writer/director Salim Akil put it better than anyone. When Trevor and I made a cameo appearance in the third season finale, Salim introduced us to the cast and crew. He said, and I’m going from my memory on what was an exciting and wonderful day here, Tony created these characters and Trevor showed us what they looked like. I’ve adopted that description.
Yes, the original Black Lightning costume was a team effort between Trevor, Bob Rozakis, Joe Orlando and myself, but Trevor pulled it all together. He designed the other characters from my descriptions in my scripts, descriptions which even included a crude drawing of the whale-shaped ring worn by Tobias Whale. We got a terrific look at that ring in the May 10 episode of the Black Lightning TV show. The “with” part of the official credit line recognizes Trevor’s work without denying I was the creator of Black Lightning.
I am the creator of Black Lightning. Not the co-creator. Trevor is the legitimate co-creator. Creator. Co-creator. I think those are our proper titles when it comes to Black Lightning. It’d be nice if everyone accepted that.
I went on longer than I anticipate with the above. We’ll pick this up in the next bloggy thing where I discuss Tigra, Misty Knight and some other Isabella creations. See you then.
© 2021 Tony Isabella
Monday, May 10, 2021
I have missed attending conventions during this time of pandemic. I attended Pensacon 2020 in February of that year before such fun events were shut down. Things are opening up to varying extents and it seems appropriate that my first convention this year is going to be Pensacon 2021. It’s one of my favorite conventions, which makes attending it even sweeter. I’ll have more to write about Pensacon later this week. I’m just waiting for some additional information on my panel schedule.
Fully vaccinated, I hope to do several other conventions in 2021. I'd agreed to do two conventions in 2020 that were rescheduled for 2021, but I’m waiting for the promoter to confirm they are still happening and that our agreement for my appearances are still in place. I hope to learn the answers to those questions soon on account of I have an invitation in hand from another event on the same weekend as one of theirs.
I’m open to invites from other conventions and from comics shops, schools and TV shows. The sooner I’m contacted, the sooner we can work out the details of such appearances. The best way to contact me is through my e-mail.
Before anyone contacts me, they should look at my requirements for appearances. These requirements aren’t carved in stone. Knowing promoters had a rough go of it in 2020 and are still having a rough time this year, I am willing to work with folks to get me to their events. However, the bottom line is that I can’t afford to do the events on my own dime...and that won’t change until I start getting
good-paying work on a more frequent and regular basis. That said, here’s the standard requirements e-mail I send when I’m invited to conventions and other events...
Appearance/convention materials must refer to me as the creator of Black Lightning. Never co-creator. Creator.
If I fly to an event, I require airfare for myself and a traveling companion. I need an aisle seat for myself. I have a Known Traveler Number.
If I'm driving to an event, you'll have to cover mileage. I charge fifty cents a mile each way.
Hotel (two beds).
A decent size guest booth or table for signing and selling.
Complete access to the green room for my companion and myself.
Assistance from your staff or volunteers at times.
I do charge a per day appearance fee. This fee is to be paid before the end of the event. If you’re doing a three-day show that starts on a Friday, I’ll waive the fee for Friday.
Except for items purchased directly from me at the event, I charge for signing. It’s a modest $5 per item...$15 per item if the person getting the item signed has this witnessed by a representative of a grading company.
Besides appearing at your event, I'm willing to do two panels a day as long as they aren't back to back. I can do a solo presentation. I can host a panel. I can appear on panels. I can do a performance of one of my stories, using audience members to “play” some of the characters. In the case of the last, I will need someone to prepare the story for projection on a large screen. The panels I appear on must be approved by me in advance of their announcement.
I will promote my appearance on my social media: Facebook (where I have three different pages), Twitter and my blog (Tony Isabella's Bloggy Thing).
I will do pre-event publicity with your local radio or television stations...or with your local print media.
I realize I'm not an inexpensive guest and have no problem if your budget can't handle that.
Thanks for the invitation. I hope we can work together.
So there you have it. This is what needs to happen to get me to a convention or other event. If my fans want to see me at their local convention, they should let the promoters know how much they’d like to see me at that event. Once again, the best way to contact me is via my e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you.
I’ll be back soon with more stuff.
© 2021 Tony Isabella
Sunday, May 9, 2021
What does Tony think of the Jeopardy! guest hosts to date?
When last I wrote about Jeopardy! here, I said I thought either Ken Jennings or executive producer Mike Richards would make great permanent hosts for the popular game show. Given Richards is also executive producer of Wheel of Fortune, Ken Jennings would be the most likely choice of the two. I expressed dismay that lying sack of shit Dr. Mehmet Oz was given a guest hosting stint. I also opined journalist Katie Couric was pleasant enough, but lacked the chops of Jennings or Richards.
Since then, there have been three additional guest hosts: Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and, from 60 Minutes, correspondent Bill Whitaker. Rodgers was personable and did a commendable job. Right now, I’d rank him below Jennings and Richards and above the other guest hosts to date.
Cooper is someone I like, but he was really out of his depth as the guest host. He was slow in delivering answers and never quite got the hang of the gig.
Whittaker is a distinguished journalist, but he was also way out of his depth. His delivery, while excellent for a newscaster, was too measured for this hosting gig. I’ve only seen his first week, but I doubt he’ll improve in the second.
I don’t know when Jeopardy! will name a permanent host, but we have several more guest hosts coming up:
May 17-28: Buzzy Cohen, former Jeopardy! champion
May 31-June 11: Mayim Bialik, actress and neuroscientist
June 14-25: Savannah Guthrie, NBC News’ Today co-anchor
June 28-July 9: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN chief medical correspondent
July 12-16: George Stephanopoulos, ABC’s Good Morning America co- anchor
July 19-23: Robin Roberts, ABC’s Good Morning America co-anchor
July 26-30: LeVar Burton, actor and former host of Reading Rainbow
Aug. 2-6: David Faber, co-host of CNBC’s Squawk on the Street
Aug. 9-13: Joe Buck, Fox sportscaster
The last five names on that list will only host for a week. I’m not familiar with Cohen, but former Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennies did such a terrific job that I’m looking forward to seeing what Cohen does in his two weeks. I’m also not familiar with Faber or Buck.
The others all strike me as excellent choices. I’m a bit concerned about Bialik because her recent sitcom was such a train wreck, but I’m also sure she’ll do fine.
Burton is the guest host I’ve been most looking forward to seeing. He’s extremely personable with a combination of dignity and humor that would make him a good replacement for the late and legendary Alex Trebek.
More Jeopardy! guest host reviews to come.
Resident Alien is a terrific comic book by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse. Cribbing from Wikipedia: it’s about an alien who crash lands on Earth, posing as a doctor while he awaits a rescue. He is pursued by a government agency and passes his time solving murders and other mysteries.
Resident Alien is a terrific TV series that differs from the comic book in many ways. Most importantly, the title protagonist wants to destroy our planet. However, despite the whole end of the world as we know it plan, “Harry” is actually kind of likeable. He’s sort of like a murderous Sheldon Cooper, committing faux pas after faux pas because...he’s an alien.
Alan Tudyk is wonderful as the alien pretending to be a man. He’s got an amazing supporting cast of interesting characters played by fine actors. Because the TV series does not follow the comic book, there are surprises in almost every episode. I love it a lot and it will be returning for a second season.
I still have four episodes to watch of the first season. As soon as I’ve watched them, I’ll give you an update on my feelings about the show. I don’t expect them to change much.
Most weeks, I don’t know why I watch Saturday Night Live. The best part of the show is the Weekend Update segment and I could/should fast forward to that. Some weeks, the show has a good guest host. On other weeks, it’ll be a host who overacts, mugs for the camera, always tries to steal the spotlight and doesn’t lose themselves in the characters they play. One recent host came close to getting me to swear off SNL for good. Except for Weekend Update.
What keeps me watching? A host like Daniel Kaluuya was perfect for the show. Most episodes have at least one good sketch. Some weeks, the musical guest is terrific.
SNL has been an American institution for nearly half a century. It has shown its age before and bounced back with new cast members and writers. I have stopped watching the show before, but I never stop wanting it to be brilliant.
I adore Queen Latifah. She’s one of my favorite performers. When I heard she was starring in a reboot of The Equalizer, I know I would be watching it. I’ve watched the first six episodes to date. While I do have a few minor problems with the series, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen.
Latifah plays former government agent Robyn McCall. Retired because the government did her wrong, she’s now raising a teenage daughter and, on the side, helping people who have no one else to turn to. The big plus for me is that McCall is a planner. It’s not that she rarely gets caught off-guard. Even Doc Savage got played on some occasions. But she reminds me of Doc in that she’s almost always a step or two ahead of her opponents. That and she’s got a great team working with her.
The minor problem I have with the series is that McCall is always lying to and disappointing her daughter and the aunt who lives with them. She’s setting a bad example for her kid and, while the show doesn’t shy away from that, I think it’s time for the former agent to come clean with her family. To be sure, it will cause problems. But I’m tried of smart characters making bad choices. Good choices can make for drama every bit as compelling.
That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with more stuff.
© 2021 Tony Isabella
Monday, May 3, 2021
I believe my bloggy thing readers and online friends are generally well-informed, so I won’t get into all the news stories - fake and otherwise - that are making 2021 only moderately better than that year we don’t want to mention. It’s still very hard for me to be as productive as I would like. However...
One bright spot is that, now that I’m fully vaccinated, I’m ready to hit the convention trail again. First up is Pensacon 2021, which will be held May 21-23 in Pensacola, Florida. Mike Ensley and his crew put on what has become my favorite convention. I’m excited to be attending for what I think is my sixth year in a row. I’ll have more to say about the event in a day or two, but, if you check out the show’s wonderful guest list, you’ll be just as excited as I am. You’ll find that list on the Pensacon website.
As for April, well, brilliant ray of sunshine that I am, I managed to find something to make happy every day of the month...
April 1: Entertainment Earth has become one of my favorite places to shop for Funko and Godzilla items. My latest arrival from them is Wanda Maximoff in her WandaVision Halloween costume.
April 2: April fools! The first public Herd Gathering in a year as Roger Price, Bob Ingersoll and I had lunch at On Tap in Medina. It was great seeing these guys again!
April 3: Godzilla vs. Kong. My son Eddie saw it on the big screen on Thursday night. I’ll be writing about it in a near-future blog.
April 4: The Last Blockbuster. Streaming on Netflix, this terrific documentary takes you to Bend, Oregon, the home of the one and only remaining Blockbuster Video. It brought back so many memories of my nigh-daily Blockbuster visits back in the day.
April 5: Funko’s Golden Age Wonder Woman Pop figure. My answer to the valid question asking if I buy too many Funko figures for a 69-year-old man is...no, I do not. But I do need suggestions for the best display cases for them.
April 6: The Foods That Built America on The History Channel. This documentary series tells the stories of our nation’s iconic foods and those who created them. Meet my next obsession.
April 7: Godzilla vs Kong Sometimes Friends Fight (But They Always Make Up) is a counting book for children six years old and younger. It’s never too early to introduce little ones to the wonders of the greatest kaiju of them all.
April 8: Pensacon. My first convention appearance since February, 2020, will be Pensacon in Pensacola, Florida, on May 21-23, 2021. I’m excited to return to my favorite convention. Check out the con website for their fantastic guest list.
[NOTE: Yeah, I know this was discussed at the top of today’s blog, but some things are so cool, they demand repeat mentions.]
April 9: Marvel Comics The Variant Covers by John Rhett Thomas. I just got this big beautiful coffee table book yesterday. I flipped through it and WOW! It looks amazing. I plan to savor this treasure a few pages every day.
April 10: Fun facts about comics history. I just learned recently that Marvel editor and writer Ralph Macchio is related to legendary comics artist Wayne Boring.
April 11: Spending an evening with Barb and Eddie putting together White Mountain’s 1000-piece Candy Wrappers jigsaw puzzle. Despite a missing piece, it was still big fun.
April 12: Black Lightning’s back-door pilot for Painkiller. I liked it a lot and was mightily impressed by the performances of Jordan Calloway, Nafessa Williams, Chantal Thuy, Sibongile Mlambo and the other cast members. More please.
April 13: Truth. I’m a Godzilla dad. Just like a normal dad but way cooler. Because I own this t-shirt.
April 14: Working on my first YouTube video. I’m writing the script today and tomorrow, recording it Friday and posting it on Saturday. If it goes well, I might starting making these on a regular basis. Watch for details.
[NOTE: This project got sidelined for a few weeks, but it should be hitting YouTube before the end of May.]
April 15: Remember the 1000-piece Candy Wrappers jigsaw puzzle that was shy one piece? Saintly Wife Barb found that missing piece under a chair. She completes us.
April 16: My kids Eddie and Kelly got their second vaccine shots. Once their new powers manifest, I will start coming up with their super-hero names.
April 17: Last year, U.K. comics digest Commando began to publish new stories of characters like Lord Peter Flint (from Warlord) and Braddock (from Victor). Though I wasn’t familiar with either, I’m loving these revivals.
[NOTE: Sadly, Commando didn’t publish many of these special issues, even though they were well-received by the readers.]
April 18: President Joe Biden has joined my Social Justice League of the world via this action figure. On one side of the box is the phrase “Truth Over Lies.” A worthy objective that.
April 19: I came up with a brilliant name for a comics series I’ve wanted to write starring a group of giant monsters. Now all I need is the right artist, a publisher to foot the bills and the time to write it.
April 20: Satoko and Nada by Yupechika. The beautiful story of two young women from distant lands (Japan and Saudi Arabia) who come to the U.S. for college concludes with its heartwarming, hilarious and satisfying fourth volume. It’s a treasure!
April 21: Thunder Force: Octavia Spencer’s hero name is Bingo. It has nothing to do with her invisibility power. I love this so much I should create a whole team of heroes named after popular public domain games.
April 22: Using my new mastery (i.e. basic competence) of Zoom, I was interviewed by Christopher Brown, the host of the Cross Border Interview Podcast. It went well and I remembered to wear pants. I call that a win-win.
April 23: Via Zoom, I spoke to John S. Hollemon III’s students at Hampden-Sydney College. I like sharing accurate comics history with others. I am also available for live talks, convention appearances and really dull parties.
April 24: The finale of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier delivered the satisfying conclusion I was hoping for. No spoilers here, but look for my bloggy thing overview in the near future.
April 25: Captain America 4 is in development with Malcolm Spellman (head writer of The Falcon and the Whiter Soldier) at the helm. With the expected return of Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, my suggested title is Captain America 4: Justice.
April 26: Daredevil #9/620 [September 2019] by writer Chip Zdarsky with artists Lalit Kumar Sharma and Jay Leisten. Matt Murdock has dinner and a morality debate with a Hell’s Kitchen crime family. An engaging and thoughtful issue.
April 27: Watching teacher Laura Trammel become the first person to win a house in the Wheel of Fortune bonus round. The Margaritaville home is worth $375,000. What a thrilling and wonderful moment for Trammel and the viewers!
April 28: Jamon Allen Brown. My friend’s script for chapter four of Black Lightning’s “The Book of Ruin” was painful to watch. But it was also brilliant and gave the great cast so much to work with. I can’t wait to see what Jamon does next.
April 29: Discussing a character I’d never thought about writing, I quickly came up with a fresh take and a direction consistent with them. I’m beginning to think I can write any comics character. Even if I’m the only one who thinks this, it’s a nice feeling.
April 30: Across the Universe. What a beautiful movie! The romance of a well-off American girl and a poor Liverpool artist is framed in Beatles music and the turbulent 1960s. Thanks to Anthony Tollin for recommending it to me.
That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with more stuff.
© 2021 Tony Isabella