Tuesday, October 12, 2021




My final Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales of 2021 are coming together nicely. Last night, I filled out the dollar comics boxes with a complete set of one of my favorite series of all time. It’s just one of many examples of how serious I am about downsizing the VAOS. You’ll see more at the garage sales.

Here’s the basic information:

The garage sales will take place on Friday and Saturday, October 15 and 16, from 9 am to noon at 840 Damon Drive in Medina, Ohio. You won’t have any trouble figuring out which house it is. Besides the lawn signs, you’ll see a big ass Tony Isabella photo and sign next to the garage door, a souvenir from one of the conventions I have appeared at in recent years.

Moving on...

I currently have nine $10 mystery boxes ready to go and am hoping to add two more a day until the garage sale opens on Friday. I’ve virtually doubled the number of boxes of graphic novels, hardcovers and trade paperbacks. Some of these haven’t even been opened as I now realize I will likely not live long enough to read everything I own that I have not yet read. This doesn’t mean I’m remotely near death’s door. If I did nothing but spend my days reading, I might be able to read everything I own. But that wouldn’t leave me time to do all the other things I enjoy doing.

My boxes of Tony Isabella-written comic books and other older comic books are not as full as I would like. This is just a matter of my running out of time to price additional comics for them. I hope to do much better in these areas for next year’s sales.

My supply of Isabella-written trade paperbacks is also dwindling, thanks to DC Comics deciding they needed to let my Black Lightning work to fall out of print to print a zillion more copies of Batman  books. That manipulative maniac not only has the best toys, but, apparently, also controls the printing presses.

Any Isabella items you buy from me will be signed for free. I will also sign any Isabella items you bring to my garage sales for free. I charge $5 for my signature at conventions, so you can save money by coming to my sales.

I’m phasing out Isabella-related posters for the present. Besides reducing the prices on these, I am also giving a free poster with every purchase. One per customer. Who loves you?
The rack which holds comics and pop culture clothing as well as a bunch of Comic-Con tote bags is full. In fact, some of the items I couldn’t fit on the rack went into mystery boxes.

My magazine box is filled, though, as with the dollar comics boxes, I’ll continue to price and add items up until the first day of the garage sales. I might even add items after the first day’s garage sale. Because I’m determined to make these sales the best since I started doing them.


Spread across the remaining bookshelves and tables will be amazing items. The Little Lulu Library. The Complete Tintin. The Complete Little Nemo in Slumberland. The Complete E.C. Segar Popeye in cool hardcover editions. Some still wrapped in plastic omnibus editions.  Plus many more terrific hardcovers and trade paperbacks. I will be pricing and adding more books to the sale right up to the moment I open the garage door on Friday.

The official hours of the garage sales are 9 am to noon each of the two days. However, if I still have customers shopping, I will keep the sale going as long as necessary. When the garage door closes on
Friday, I’ll restock as much as possible.

Previous garage sales have been cash only. However, I will accept PayPal as long as you can verify the money has reached my account before receiving your items.

Can’t make the garage sales on Friday or Saturday? If you email me with a request for a special appointment later in the week, I will do my best to accommodate you. However, I won’t be restocking after Saturday’s sale.

Thanks for visiting the bloggy thing today. I’ll be back soon with information on my remaining convention appearances of 2021 as well as lots more fun stuff. See you then.

© 2021 Tony Isabella

Sunday, October 10, 2021




My local and quite wonderful Medina Library is part of a consortium of a hundred libraries in northeastern Ohio. Though ClevNet, I can request any book that resides in any of those libraries. I make the request online. They send the book to my library and also send my an e-mail altering me to the book’s arrival. I can also check such things on my online Medina Library account.

Being able to read so many books and graphic novels without buying them is a boon to my finances. In addition, they don’t add to the Vast Accumulation of Stuff that I’m downsizing. The result of that downsizing - the completion of which is a few years down the road - will allow us to make Casa Isabella more comfortable and open. It will also give Saintly Wife Barb and myself the option of moving to a smaller and easier-to-maintain house someplace other than our way too Republican and way too white city of Medina. I’m going to apply for Wakandan citizenship.

In the meantime, here are my comments on some of the recent books I borrowed from the library...

When it comes to She-Hulk, I’m around 30-70. I have truly enjoyed some of what’s been done with the character and truly appalled by the excess with which she’s been treated by various Marvel writers over the years. When it comes to Dan Slott and his impressive runs on a number of major Marvel titles, I’m around 60-40. I generally like his work and, while I’m not current with most Marvel titles, he’s one of the few writers I seek out when his work appears in collected editions. The Marvel Comics Universe became way too complicated and event-driven for me to follow in periodical format.

She-Hulk by Dan Slott: The Complete Collection Volume 1 [Marvel; $34.99] was published in 2014 with a second printing in 2016. I’m not sure why I didn’t read it then or how it got on my radar this time around. Since I like She-Hulk (when presented consistent with her core values) and I like Slott’s work, requesting this 413-page tome was a no-brainer. Here’s the back cover pitch:

Everyone's favorite Jade Giantess, She-Hulk, has returned for tons of fun, both on and off the field of battle! As a superhuman lawyer, She-Hulk has tried some of the strangest cases on Earth...but now, Shulkie is heading into deep space to practice Universal Law! And upon her return, the emerald enchantress matches muscles with Hercules...but it's going to take brains, not brawn, to get the Prince of Power out of some Herculean legal problems. Plus: No one hates She-Hulk more than Titania! What makes her one of the deadliest threats in the universe? And how is Hawkeye's fate tied to She-Hulk's latest case? Join She-Hulk as she deals with the bizarre legal problems of the Marvel Universe!

The book collects She-Hulk #1-12 from the 2004 series and issues #1-5 from the 2005 series. I’m not sure what She-Hulk has been up to since then, but, as she was featured in the Immortal Hulk title, it was probably grotesque. I.e., not core values She-Hulk.

Slott focuses on some of the more interesting aspects of Jennifer Walters’ life as an attorney. She’s hired by the firm of Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg and Holliway. The catch is they don’t want She-Hulk. They want Jen, her civilian identity, to move them forward in the area of superhuman litigation and trial. This makes for a some very interesting examination of her life and a nice combination of humor, human drama, science-fiction and fantasy, superhero action  and good sexy fun.

Among my favorite elements in these stories: seeing Marvel heroes and villains portrayed as more than just heroes and villains; Andy the office assistant who was formerly the Mad Thinker’s awesome android; Jen being tapped to be a Universal Law judge in the cosmic Star Chamber; and her running afoul of the Time Variance Authority recently seen in Marvel’s Loki series on Disney-plus. Great ideas presented in an entertaining manner.

The only real negatives for me was Slott’s valiant attempts to make virtually every past She-Hulk story, indeed, every Marvel Universe story, part of the proceedings. The continuity became stifling at times. Too much back story and it usually slowed down the stories. While the vastness of the Marvel Universe can be a wondrous thing, I prefer a core values approach that concentrates on the story at hand and includes back story only as necessary. Of course, I’m also one of those rebels who think oppressive continuity can be avoided by the simple expedient of not mentioning it.

Overall, I do recommend this book, which is available on Kindle and the secondary markets. I’m planning to catch up on other Dan Slott collections in the future. Any suggestions?

ISBN 978-0785154402


An Empty Grave is the latest Andy Hayes mystery from Andrew Welsh- Huggins [Swallow Press; Ohio University Press; $21.95]. Here’s part of the back cover pitch:

In 1979, a high-profile burglar shot a cop, was apprehended, and then disappeared without ever being prosecuted. Forty years later, after the wounded cop’s suicide, his son, Preston Campbell, is convinced there’s been a cover-up that allowed his father’s attacker to go free. At first, Hayes dismisses Campbell’s outlandish conspiracy theories. But when a mysterious Cold War connection to the burglar emerges, the investigation heats up, and Hayes discovers a series of deaths that seem to be connected, one way or another, to the missing criminal. Nothing seems to add up, though, and Hayes finds himself hurtling headlong down a decades-old path of deadly secrets.

Welsh-Huggins relies heavily on coincidence in this series. By the end of each book, almost every element and plot twist ties neatly, perhaps too neatly, into the conclusion. In the early books, this bothered me. I have since decided that Hayes has the mutant ability to bring connections together when no one else even sees them. Let us face it. We couldn’t write super-hero comics without the use of coincidence. I’m okay with that.

For me, the biggest attraction to the series is Andy “Woody” Hayes. He’s a former star and now disgraced football player. His private detective business is always on the brink of financial doom as he
deals with two ex-wives, two sons (one from each) and a rocky love life. He’s very relatable, especially when he names Milton Caniff as his favorite artist.

The series is set in and around Columbus, Ohio, yet another draw for me. I’m a voracious reader of crime, mystery and police novels set in my home state. It helps that Welsh-Huggins is a reporter for the Associated Press in Columbus. He gets the little things right, which helps me accept the coincidences easier.

An Empty Grave is the seventh book in the Andy Hayes series. When I finish one, I look forward to the next. Are these books classics? No, but they are entertaining. As I’ve taken to reading them in one night, I can attest they’re a pleasant way to pass an evening and recommend you give them a try.

ISBN 978-0-8040-1232-4


Before I get to my review of the latest young adult graphic novel from Zuiker Press founders Michelle and Anthony E. Zuiker, I want to nominate them for the Eisner Awards’ Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award. They produce graphic novels that fearlessly discuss issues vital to young people: divorce, racism, cyberbullying, body image, autism, suicide, transitioning and more. The books deserve a place in every public and school library in the country.

One Shot: A Story of Bullying [$12.99] was released in late June of this year. It’s a graphic novel by Alex Bruorton, who was born with  a disfiguring disease and was bullied by kids and adults, even some of his teachers. In the graphic novel, written by Anthony Zuiker with art, colors and lettering by Fantoons Animation Studios, Alex talks about his life, pain, loneliness and courage in standing up to all those bullies, young and old, and, in doing so, finding joy in his life. He is one very cool kid.

These graphic novels are consistently overlooked by comics awards that should be celebrating them. I request the judges and voters of those awards give these books consideration. I haven’t read one yet that didn't deserve to be nominated.

ISBN 978-1-947378-30-8

That’s all for today’s bloggy thing. I’d appreciate it if readers would leave comments on this and other posts. While all posts have to be approved before they appear, I do try to approve them as soon as possible. I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2021 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, October 5, 2021




September sucked. That’s the most succinct way I can describe one of the worst months I’ve had since I started writing these monthly affirmations that, even in the worst of times, there is a whole lot of happy to be had.

September had me on the ropes from day one. I’m not going to give you a blow-by-blow game summary, save to say I experienced world-class depressions and disappointments. I even lacked the positive energy to post something that made me happy every day, which is the whole point of that exercise. I threw in the towel and that is why, this time around, I will not be listing a full complement of things that made me happy in September.

I’m pleased to report that, while I have certainly faced emotional and physical challenges in October, I’m in a much better place than I was. That said, here is my truncated list of the stuff that brought me joy in September...

September 1: Nice to start a month off with the great fun that is Elvira Meets Vincent Price #1 by writer David Avallone and artist Juan Samu. It’s exciting and hilarious.


September 2: The Tenacious Unicorn Ranch. As seen on the September 1, 2021 episode of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, it’s a queer and transgender community and working ranch in Custer County, Colorado. I want to visit.

September 3: The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home Part 1 by Konami Kanata. I’m in love with this cat-centric manga. It’s adorable and funny. I wish I could read it to my cat Simba during the two hours a day when she’s not napping.

September 4: Super-Hero Day at my mother’s senior assisted living facility. The residents were asked to salute their favorite heroes. My mom had a copy of Black Lightning attached to her walker. She knows how to represent.

September 5: My Facebook friends come through for me. When I asked for Black Lightning music videos, they sent me links to same...and Renee Grant Patrick created three new videos. Now all I need is a Black Lightning “Shut Up and Dance” video.

September 6: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Great story and performances. Incredible action sequences and so much powerful human emotion. Can’t wait to see more of these characters. No one does super-hero movies better than Marvel.


September 7: More Chinese monster movies with English subtitles are showing up on YouTube. I have recently enjoyed Big Octopus, King of Snake and Crazy Tsunami. I think dubbed versions would be a hit on the Syfy channel or various streaming services.

September 8: Cash Jordan. This real estate guy’s YouTube videos on New York City apartments have been fun. The only downside is that, sometimes, they make me think about moving back there. Which would be a truly horrible mistake.

September 9: Only Murders in the Building. One episode in and I’m hooked. Kudos to Steve Martin, Martin Short and the amazing Selena Gomez. Saintly Wife Barb will be binge-watching this.

September 10: The Complete Kirby War & Romance Omnibus. I’m a few hundred pages into this terrific collection. Marvel does books like this right and I look forward to what the company will be bringing us in the months and years to come.

September 11: Trots and Bonnie by Shary Flenniken. I was and remain a big fan of this cartoonist and am enjoying the collection of the title strip. Some of the cartoons make me uncomfortable now - age will do that - but it’s still an amazing volume.


September 12: Q Force on Netflix. Gay superspy. His scrappy LGBTQ squad. Fighting for all of us. I’ve watched one episode and will be watching more. Is this part of the gay agenda?

September 13: Stormwatch Comics of West Berlin, New Jersey, sent me a huge stack of Free Comic Book Day issues. I’ll start reading and writing about them next month.

September 14: Miskatonic by Mark Sable and Giorgio Pontrelli. It’s a honestly chilling graphic novel of an FBI agent and a detective investigating bombings in a world of Lovecraftian horror. With an ending that downright haunts me.

September 15: Captain Carter is the newest addition to my expanding Funko Pop! collection. As I’ve said, I love the character and the look. Give her an ongoing comic-book series with Chris Claremont as its writer.


September 16: Cheer Up! Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier, Val Wise and Oscar O. Jupiter is my feel-good book of the month. It’s a heartwarming story of friendship, love and struggle with a final scene that brought a happy year to my eye.

September 17: Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero by E. Lockhart with Manuel Preitano is a deliciously meaty introduction to a terrific  character and her world. DC’s graphic novels for young adults are more entertaining and thoughtful than its monthly fare.

September 18: My comics industry career is full of ups and too many downs. But, when I order a couple of pizzas and the person taking the call tells me he’s a big fan of mine, I have to admit there are times when it’s cool to be me.

This is where I ran out of energy, though I wrote two more entries that I never posted on Facebook or Twitter.

September 22: With guests Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for 9-21-21 was a brilliant, insightful, darkly hilarious examination of the criminal actions of the former president at the end of his administration.

September 23: Singer/songwriter Jason Isbell was terrific on the 9-23-21 episode of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. He was funny and thoughtful. Great entertainer. Great man.

October is shaping up to be a better and more productive month for me. I’ve been approached to do an on-camera interview for a comics-related documentary. My last Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale
of 2021 will be held on October 15-16, and is already promising to be a great way to close out the season. I’ll be part of the Bard’s Tower author contingent for Fanboy Expo Knoxville on October 28-30. All that and more!

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

© 2021 Tony Isabella