Wednesday, September 29, 2021


Welcome to the final installment of my 2020's Free Comic Book Day reviews. My pals at Stormwatch Comics in West Berlin, New Jersey send me these FCBD comics so I can read and write about them in the bloggy thing. This is the third time I’ve actually reached my goal of reading and writing about all the FCBD comics from a given year. Yes, it’s true that Free Comic Book Day 2021 happened a month or so ago, but I’m still gonna take this victory lap.

When I read and review FCBD comics, I look at three areas.

QUALITY: Is the material worthwhile?

ACCESSIBILITY: Is the material presented in such a way that someone coming to it for the first time can follow it?

SALESMANSHIP: After reading the FCBD offering, would someone want and be able to buy more of the same?

I score FCBD offerings on a scale of zero to ten. Each category is worth three points with the tenth point coming from my interest in seeing more of what’s ever in the book.

Usagi Yojimbo (currently published by IDW) is one of the greatest comics series of all time. For over 35 years, creator Stan Sakai has written and drawn the adventures of this masterless samurai in Feudal Japan. This FCBD special presents a 19-page excerpt from the upcoming Chibi Usagi: Attack of the Heebie-Chibis by Julie Sakai and Stan Sakai. There’s also a short essay on the creatures known as Tengu and an interview with Stan Sakai.

QUALITY: “Attack of the Teenie Titans” is a terrific story filled with action, chills and humor. It delivers a satisfying ending to that unusual story.

ACCESSIBILITY: Everything a reader needs to know to enjoy this tale is included in a quick series summary on the inside front cover and the story itself.

SALESMANSHIP: There are ads for Usagi Yojimbo and several other IDW publications.

SCORE: Ten points out of a possible ten points. You can never ever go wrong buying a Usagi Yojimbo book, comic book or graphic novel.


We Are Humanoids featuring the Incal [Humanoids) presents an 8-page summery of John DiFool’s adventures and misadventures by Mark Waid and Stephane Roux. Created by Aleandro Jodorowsky and Moebius, some  consider the strip a sci-fi masterpiece.

This FCBD issue also includes previews of Count, Swine and Life Drawn. Count is a new take on The Count of Monte Cristo. Swine is about “darkly comic pigs.” Life Drawn is the brand name for slice-of-life graphic novels; this excerpt tells of a young musician whose life is changed when she first sees Prince on stage. A number of short prose articles offer background material on these graphic novels.

QUALITY: So-so. The Incal summary is just that, a summary with no weight beyond that. Count, Swine and Life Drawn: Mpls Sound got my attention much better.

ACCESSIBILITY: Good. There was enough background in each excerpt to give me a door into the GNs and whether or not I might enjoy them.

SALESMANSHIP: Excellent. Lots of ads for Humanoid products. Lots of information on those products.

SCORE: Seven points out of a possible ten points.


Svetlana Chmakova’s The Weird Books [Yen Press} presents the first thirty pages of the creator’s graphic novels about a strange town populated by supernatural creatures of varying types.

QUALITY: This long excerpt was delightful. The characters are fun. The setting is intriguing. The writing and art are first-rate. The large lettering is a little distracting, but I have a hunch it was sized to fit existing art.

ACCESSIBILITY: This FCBD issue has everything you need to know to get into the series.

SALESMANSHIP: Very good. While the focus of this issue is on this specific title, some additional titles by Chmakova are promoted on the back cover.

SCORE: Ten points out of a possible ten points.



X-Men/Dark Ages [Marvel] features 10 pages of the former by writers Jonathan Hickman and Tini Howard with artist Pepe Larraz...and 10 pages of Dark Ages by writer Tom Taylor with artist Iban Coello. As Free Comic Book Day comics go, it cost too much.

QUALITY: By Odin’s beard, this was a terrible comic book. The X-Men story is a confusing mess of inaccessible material which consists mostly of a character reading/interpreting tarot cards. The Dark Ages pages kick off yet another “let’s show how much we hate these classic characters by doing horrible things to them” event. Which includes Tony Stark telling Pepper Potts to use an elevator during an earthquake just before he gets his foot sliced off. Geez, what kind of Marvel fan enjoys this sadistic crap?

ACCESSIBILITY: Practically zero.

SALESMANSHIP: Good with several ads for various Marvel publications and a notice of a live television auction of memorability from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The auction was scheduled for June 2020. Does anyone know if it actually took place?

SCORE: Three points out of a possible ten points.


Zoo Patrol Squad: Kingdom Caper [Penguin Workshop] is my final 2020 Free Comic Book Day review. The issue features a 15-page preview of the title graphic novel, some related features and a great many ads for other Penguin Workshop publications.

QUALITY: Very Good. The premise - a combination zoo and habitat for sentient animals - is charming and interesting. The writing and art are first-rate. The lead characters - Fennlock Fox, who pretends to be an adventurer and his eager acolyte Penny the Pig - are filled with potential for exciting and humorous stories.

ACCESSIBILITY: Good. The excerpt does an excellent job introducing the premise, setting and characters.

SALESMANSHIP: Excellent. Lots of house ads pitching lots of other graphic novels from this publisher.

SCORE: Nine points out of a possible ten points.

It took me longer than I’d hoped, but this marks the third time I have managed to read and write about all of the Free Comic Book Day releases for a given year. I have a huge stack of 2021 offerings waiting for me to read and review them. Can I make it four times? I guess we’ll see.

Thanks for visiting. I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2021 Tony Isabella

Monday, September 27, 2021



Dear Ms. Bialik,

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of yours, but I loved you as Amy Farrah Fowler in The Big Bang Theory. Like every other character in the show, you were a delightful hot mess. You were downright hug-able.

Then there’s Jeopardy. I was skeptical about your hosting this most favorite game show, but you have acquitted yourself well. With the exit of the odious Mike Richards, you have said you would love to become the permanent host of the show. I’m not entirely against the idea, but...

Hosting Jeopardy is more than just being a good host on the show. I look at Jeopardy as a sacred thing. In a world where bad people spread alternate histories and bold-faced lies, Jeopardy is really all about the truth. With every answer/question posed, it is a show that proclaims facts matter. It is a venue in which facts outweigh opinions.

Facts matter. That’s the message of Jeopardy and that’s something I expect those associated with Jeopardy to follow even when not on camera. Which is why I have a problem with you becoming the permanent host...or even guest hosting the show.

You have not sufficiently recanted your anti-vaccination screeds of the past. You boast of being a scientist, but you turned your back on science. And not just on vaccines.

You’re the spritely saleswoman for a “memory-enhancing” concoction of dubious medical value. That doesn’t quite put you in same bad place as oily-like-a-snake Mehmet Oz, but it’s a very uncomfortable position for you to be in if you want to live up to the high ideals of Jeopardy.

And there’s those incredibly hurtful comments you made about women being victimized by serial sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein. If you’ve forgotten them, go to Google. You’ll find them.

Honestly, any of those three situations should disqualify you from hosting Jeopardy. Still, I have come to enjoy your perky approach to the job. I’ve thought about what you could do for me to withdraw my objections to you as permanent or guest host. Here’s what I’ve come up with.

You need to unequivocally apologize for those comments you made in the matter of Weinstein and other serial sexual predators. Make no excuses. You were wrong. You must own that. Then, you must use your celebrity to educate people about these serious crimes. You must do what you can to help the victims of these predators. You must put in the time and the work.

You must stop shilling for dubious memory-enhancing drugs. That is never going to be acceptable for the host of Jeopardy.

You must stop trying to cloud your anti-vaccine past. You need to admit that past and renounce it. You must work to build confidence in the vaccines that have saved countless lives and remain our best hope for dealing with the current deadly pandemic.

I’m asking a lot of you. It won’t be easy. But, despite my harsh, even unkind, comments, I truly am in your corner. I want you to live up to the example of Alex Trebek. I want you to shine as Jeopardy’s permanent host. I want to spend quality time with you every Monday through Friday.

And, at least once, you should wear a tiara on the show. Don’t make any mention of it. Just wear it. It’s a good look for you.

Your friend,

Tony Isabella

© 2021 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, September 22, 2021


My final VAST ACCUMULATION OF STUFF GARAGE SALES of 2021 have been pushed back to Friday, October 15 and Saturday, October 16. Two reasons...

First, I've had some minor medical issues and am erring on the side of caution.

Second, I want to make these sales as spectacular as possible. I don't just want to fill all the tables with great items. I want to have more items ready to go as space clears in the boxes and on the tables.

More details will follow.


Tuesday, September 14, 2021




It may not look like it from our opening photo, but this weekend’s Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales are shaping up nicely. I’m pricing lots of comic books, magazines, hardcovers, manga volumes,  trade paperbacks and various collectibles that will be added to the displays you see in the photos.

Other things to know:

These are my penultimate garage sales of 2021. They’ll be Friday, and Saturday, September 17-18, at 840 Damon Drive, Medina, OH. Sale hours are 9 am to noon each day. If you can’t attending during the official hours, you can email me to set up appointments for later on those days and on Sunday, September 19.

The mystery boxes and the quarter boxes are back. I’ve put together four mystery boxes so far and will double that number before I open the garage door on Friday. I might even have the first-ever “adults only” mystery box containing cool comics and publications that are suitable for older customers.

The quarter boxes? Thanks to a generous customer who was cleaning out some extras from his collection, we currently have two boxes of Malibu and Valiant comic books with some major comics creators in those issues. No guarantees, but I may be able to add a third box to this mix.

I’ve reduced the prices on some choice books and collectibles for these final garage sales of the year. If something seems a little too expensive for you on your previous visits to my garage sales, take another look at them this time around.

Want a free poster or print? Every customer who buys anything from the garage sale will be entitled to a FREE poster of print of such Isabella-created or written characters as Black Lightning, Hawkman, Misty Knight and Tigra and Luke Cage. One to a customer while the supply lasts.

As always, I will sign any Isabella stuff that you buy from me for free. I’ll also sign any Isabella stuff that you bring to the sales for me. However, since I normally charge $5 per signature, I hope the folks walking in with items for me to sign will do shopping at the sales as well.

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

© 2021 Tony Isabella

Friday, September 10, 2021




August was yet another month that flew by so quickly I scarcely had time to think about it. There is so much insanity in the world of 2021 I feel I’m always in a heightened state of anxiety. However, before we get to the things that made me happy in August, I want to tell you about what happened on August 31.

That morning, I went out to get the morning newspapers just as the morning was beginning to make itself known. As I walked down our driveway to the mailbox, I was startled to see a deer standing in our back lawn not ten feet away from me. Behind her were two young deer, likely her children.

The deer seemed a little skittish with one leg shaky like she was getting ready to bolt. This was far from my first close encounter with this deer family, so I continued to walk towards the mail box while speaking softly to the deer.

When I walked back with the newspaper, I continued to speak to the deer. Her leg was no longer shaking in anticipation of fleeing from the human. She just looked at me. Her kids did the same.

Though my wife doesn’t love having deer in our yard as much as I do on account of them eating the flower buffets she plants for them, this city boy really likes seeing friendly wildlife hanging out on our property. Not all wildlife. Not remotely a fan of the coyote-wolf hybrids that have been reported all over Medina. But deer and squirrels and such? I’m good with them.

I have not mentioned Canadian geese because they are obscene vermin from Hell who block traffic and poop all over the place. They are the Republicans of the animal kingdom.

That evening, Saintly Wife Barb and I went to our favorite Mexican restaurant - Los Cantaritos Mexican Grille - for dinner. We pulled into our driveway and the same mother and two kids were once again in our back yard. Barb was a little freaked out, but I thought it was cool they were back.

This time, the mother didn’t even seem the least bit anxious. It’s as if she decided we were good neighbors and no threat to her and hers. Good humans.

I mention these experiences because they represent rare moments of peace in a world gone mad. Those moments give me a needed breather from the madness of the human world. I cherish them.

Here are the things that made me happy in August...

August 1: Revival by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton. Over the past two months, I read the entire series via the four deluxe editions. It was a ride well worth taking.

August 2: NEO Comicon 2021 was a blast! Great guests and vendors in a very pleasant venue. I reconnected with friends I hadn’t seen in way too long and made new friends. Plus: I 100% rocked my Alligator Loki polo shirt. I’m available for fashion shoots.

August 3: One of my dearest friends called to share some excellent news with me. It’s not my news to post, but I couldn’t be happier for her. Sending much love her way.

August 4: Kathy #11. I didn’t have much time to shop the vendors at NEO Comicon, but one of my pals had this for sale at an incredibly reasonable price. I collect this series by my late friends Stan Lee and Stan Goldberg.

August 5: The “Creative Geniuses” episode of Teen Titans Go! was  was hilarious with guest appearances by Marv Wolfman, George Perez and the voice actors. Marv and George should do cameos in all DC Comics productions.



August 6: Black Widow. The latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of its best movies. Scarlett Johansson and the cast are terrific. The story carries real emotional weight. The action is thrilling. Highly recommended.

August 7: Being the pastor of The First Church of Godzilla, I have faith that all will be as the Great Scaly One has planned. Because of that, I have booked my hotel and bought my membership for G-FEST XXVII, July 15-17, 2022. See you there!

August 8: I viewed Gunpowder Milkshake on Netflix and loved it a lot. Watching strong beautiful women slaughter dozens upon dozens of bad guys is my way of getting in touch with my feminine side.

August 9: The Suicide Squad. Action, comedy, great characters and great performances. One of the best DC movies. I’d love to write a King Shark comic book. Name another comic-book writer who has seen as many shark movies as I have.

August 10: Cheap Old Houses. Elizabeth and Ethan Finklestein have turned their social media into a HGTV series. Historic houses that  can be bought cheaply. Detectives of architecture, they uncover all sorts of cool surprises in their travels.



August 11: Stargirl is back! Every act of the second season’s first episode had surprises, many of them alarming. No one was having a good day, except for maybe the unseen Solomon Grundy. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

August 12: I’ve gotten back into the habit of taping The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to watch in the morning. He really is one of our best commentators. All his show is missing is an appearance by me and a comic-book trivia face-off.

August 13: Captain Carter. The premiere episode of Marvel’s What If turned Peggy Carter into a super-hero. I love the character and the look. This needs to be a comic-book series. I think Chris Claremont would be perfect as its writer.

August 14: Free Comic Book Day 2021 at The Toys Time Forgot, Canal Fulton, Ohio. Nice weather, good sales, lots of happy fans, seeing old friends, meeting new friends. There’s a reason this is such a special comics holiday.

August 15: Comics Ad Men by Steven Brower. Published in late 2019, this fascinating book looks at the relationship between comics and modern American advertising while including hundreds of examples of ads by cartoonists. A wonderful slice of comics history.


August 16: Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s “The Good Ones” juggled conscience and comedy in a biting commentary on police violence and the lack of consequences for the same.

August 17: Jeopardy is showing classic episodes starring the great Alex Trebek and fun guest stars like the Muppets. I hope this is a humbling experience for his replacement hosts. Not that anyone can ever replace him.

August 18: “What If...T'Challa Became a Star-Lord?” is another fine episode of the Marvel Studios animated series. Hearing the voice of Chadwick Boseman made me happy and sad in equal measures. Overall, big fun with action, humor and surprises.

August 19: I’m not a fan of Frontier Airlines, but, on my flights this weekend, there was enough room for my briefcase under the aisle seat in front of me. Why other airlines allot less space to underneath their aisle seats makes no sense to me.



August 20: Fanboy Expo Orlando. I enjoyed my weekend at this event. My thanks to the convention and Alexi Vandenberg’s Bard’s Tower for inviting me and taking great care of me while I was in the land of the evil DeSantis.
August 21: Kudos to the volunteers at Fanboy Expo Orlando. A great bunch of people who kept things running smoothly. My special thanks to Jonathan Anderson, a fine young man who assisted me at my table the entire weekend.

August 22: The fans, guests and vendors at Fanboy Expo Orlando were terrific. I especially appreciated the fans who told me how much my work has meant to them. I wish the comics industry itself held me in such regard.

August 23: Fanboy Expo Orlando was also very creatively productive for me. I wrote several Last Kiss gags and rough-drafts for another several.


August 24: American Cult. Editor Robyn Chapman’s intriguing graphic history anthology of religious cults in America from the Colonies to today is a fascinating guidebook proving our country was crazy long before QAnon.

August 25: In its August 21 edition, The (Medina) Gazette published my letter recommending the reelection of sensational councilperson Jessica Hazeltine.

August 26: In the Medina Gazette’s annual Best of the Best Medina County Reader’s Choice competition, Sweets & Geeks was named “Best Specialty Shop. A great honor for a great store.


August 27: The Marvel August 1961 Omnibus. Whoever came up with the idea of collecting all the publisher’s titles from the month of the Fantastic Four’s debut is a genius. As is whoever included two more issues from September 1961 so we get the full picture of the start of a new era in comics.

August 28: Jurassic Shark 2: Aquapocalypse. A amusingly bad movie which inspires study of how cheaply a movie can be made. But it did have one element I found refreshing.

August 29: Snake Girl. A giant snake. A girl. A scientist who loves the girl. This riveting Chinese monster movie has terrific acting,solid CGI effects and more. I watched it with English subtitles and enjoyed it. Seek it out on YouTube.

August 30: Absolutely Anything. This 2015 movie had me at “starring Simon Pegg.” An ordinary bloke is given godlike powers by aliens as a test to decide Earth’s fate. Absurd comedy and a wonderful cast. You can see it on Amazon Prime.

August 31: Revisiting Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York wherein he photographed the citizens of New York and reminded me of some of the reasons I love the Big Apple. It’s a complicated relationship, but it still warms my heart.

That’s a wrap for today. I’m going to continue trying to get this bloggy thing of mine on a more frequent schedule. See you as soon as possible.

© 2021 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, September 8, 2021


I have changed the dates for my final garage sales of 2021 to Friday and Saturday, September 17 and 18, and Friday and Saturday, October 1 and 2. Hours will be 9 am to noon, longer if I still have customers coming in at noon.

The reason for the change in dates? I have uncovered a landfill of really cool things for these garage sales. I need the extra time to process them. I plan on preparing more items that will fit into the garage sales with the notion of constantly restocking them.

Keep watching this space for more details.