Friday, September 23, 2022




I had a wonderful time at the Eastern Rim Funny Books and Vintage Con in Baytown, Texas a few weekends back. Since I have never been much of an after-hours convention party monster and since my son Ed was hanging with an Ohio State friend for two of the three nights of our stay, I was able to do quite a bit of reading during my stay in the Lone Star State. So why not share the things I read with you bloggy thing afficionados?

Most of what I read was on my Kindle, but I packed a physical copy of The Complete Chester Gould's Dick Tracy Volume 28 [The Library of American Comics; $44.99]. This beautifully-crafted hardcover collection reprinted Tracy from July 7, 1974 to March 14, 1976, a very odd and interesting time for the comic strip and for creator Chester Gould.

I’ve described this volume as “a psychedelic trip” and Gould as “a great cartoonist gone right-wing ape-shit and still telling wildly entertaining stories.” Some of the sequences are just plain weird, especially when Gould (through Tracy) rants about weak judges who coddle criminals and release murderers from jail after just a year or two in prison. This is typical of the Republican rhetoric which ridiculously exaggerates the situation and ignores that even such criminals have rights. To Gould/Tracy, judges who try to apply the law justly are as big a menace as the murderers. The detective and his team are downright bloodthirsty, celebrating the bloody deaths of those they pursue and cheering that the deceased never got their day in court.

Gould’s insane political commentary would have destroyed any comic strip by a lesser talent, but this book shows him struggling with other creative issues as well. For one thing, with comic strips now being published at a smaller size than previously, the lettering on the strip becomes enormous at the expense of the art. For another, Gould is no longer able to show violence as graphically as he once did. Virtually every important death takes place off-screen.

Even with all those concerns, I highly recommend this penultimate volume and all the other volumes in the series. Gould was a pivotal comics creator. Today’s creators can learn much from him. Today’s readers will find some great entertainment.

ISBN 978-1684056903


Read via my Kindle Fire, Bikini Atoll by Christophe Bec and Bernard Khattou [Clover Press; $24.99] is a scary horror movie waiting to be made. Vacationing divers and tourists take what they think will be a relaxing weekend trip to Bikini Atoll, the scarred island where the U.S. tested nuclear bombs for four decades. But there’s something awful in the waters surrounding the island and something even worse on the island itself. Things go bad quickly.

The graphic novel is terrific. Interesting characters. An overall sense of menace. Shocking moments. I recommend it to any who likes a good horror/monster story. As for a possible movie - I would be astonished if the film rights haven’t been snapped up already - its success would depend on the actors cast as those very interesting characters. This could be a blockbuster.

ISBN 978-1951038434


Also on Kindle, I read Red Sonja: The Super Powers by Dan Abnett and  Jonathan Lau [Dynamite; $19.99]. Here’s the Amazon pitch:

The She-Devil With A Sword has battled barbarians, scuffled with sorcerers, and mangled magical creatures of all sizes. But when a collective of superheroes from the Project enter her world, will Sonja know how to adjust to their foreign ways, before they all kill each other?

This one was a wee bit difficult to get a handle on. The heroes of the Project come from different realities and have banded together to protect their version of the Multiverse. The heroes are all very familiar. Some are public domain super-heroes from the 1940s comic books. Some are pastiches of other existing super-heroes. They meet Sonja. They fight Sonja. They join forces against the real villain. They recruit Sonja to join them.

I tried but I could never believe/accept this take on Red Sonja. She came off as a cross between a party girl with a sword (or some more futuristic weaponry) and Sergio Aragones’ Groo. The collection of the mini-series is not without entertainment value, but I found it acceptable at best.

ISBN 978-1524120290


Much better on every level was Vampirella: The Dark Powers by Dan Abnett and Paul Davidson [Dynamite; $19.99]. The Amazon pitch for this one:

Welcome to the Project, interdimensional collective of superheroes, tasked with recruiting members from across infinite worlds. And their newest recruit is...VAMPIRELLA!?  

The grand adventures of Vampirella as an interdimensional superhero and member of Project Superpowers! Will she be able to fit in, or will she take a darker path?

Vampirella is a much better fit for a super-hero universe than Red Sonja. While she believes her powers are science-based - after all, she is an alien from outer space - many of her new teammates think of her as supernatural and, worse, a supernatural demon. That makes for good and intriguing conflict.

Vampirella is more naturally violent than the super-heroes. She is dismissive of their code against killing, though she does attempt to adhere to it.

This series happens more or less simultaneously with the Red Sonja series. Even with my above-stated misgivings about Super Sonja, I’d be up for more books in this reality.

ISBN 978-1524120320

As I become more comfortable with reading comics on my Kindle, I’ll be downloading more comics to it. It’s a far lighter option for my convention traveling.

I’m working towards increasing the frequency of these bloggy things of mine. I have several topics waiting for me to write about them. Hopefully, I’ll get to them soon.

Have a great day. See you soon.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Friday, September 16, 2022




Sunday, August 28, was the second and final day of the Eastern Rim Funny Book and Vintage Con at Goose Creek Memorial High School in Baytown, Texas. My day started with a most unsatisfactory breakfast at the Staybridge Suites. The “eggs” offered were minuscule cheese omelets of the sort you can find in the frozen food section of most grocery stores. Just a few years ago, you could get a decent-size and tasty buffet at hotels. That’s rarely the case now.

My disappointment was short-lived. I knew I had another day of the Eastern Rim event. I was definitely looking forward to that event. Last time out, I talked about the convention venue, the vendors and the wonderful fans who attended. This time out, I’m going to talk about the guests, a great bunch of creators to be sire.

British superstar comics artist and painter Glenn Fabry was set up next to me, so we got to chat quite a bit during the weekend. He’s as affable as he is talented. I’d love to work with him on one of my bucket list projects.

Anthony Tollin was next to me and, next to him, was another friend of many decades. Val Mayerik and I worked on “The Living Mummy” for Marvel Comics in the 1970s, though he’s is somewhat better known as the co-creator of Howard the Duck. He’s a former Ohio resident who now lives in Texas. It was great catching up with Val and I hope to see him again soon. Which isn’t impossible since a couple promoters asked for my contact information with the hope of bringing me to a convention of theirs.


He didn’t have a table at the show, but I was nonetheless thrilled to finally meet comics art collector supreme Alex Johnson. We’ve been online friends for a decade or two. I always love seeing his new acquisitions, especially his long-running series of commissions featuring Sheldon Mayer’s Sugar and Spike. What Alex does with that is get amazing artists to draw Sugar and Spike faux-covers. I’ve shared some of them on my Facebook page.

One of the most entertaining guests was Michael "Boogaloo Shrimp" Chambers, the American dancer/actor known for his role as "Turbo" in the 1984 film Breakin' and its sequel Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. We met, chatted and bonded to the extent that whenever I walked past his table, he would break into dance moves and sing a song using the words “Black Lightning.” I don’t dance - don’t ask me - but I think Michael should take some of those made-up-on-the-spot songs and make YouTube videos of them. He was great fun to be around. I also had enjoyable conversations with several other guests during the show:

Artist Mark A. Nelson, whose stunning work has appeared in comics, role-playing games and more, gifted me with a copy of From Pencils to Inks: The Art of Mark A. Nelson and what a stunning collection of illustrations it is. I can look at some of the pieces and find myself thinking about writing a story around them.

It’s always great to see Pop Mhan at a convention. His distinctive style has graced many a fine comic book and yes, like every artist I’m writing about there, I’d love to work with him.


Keith Kez Wilson is one of my favorite cartoonists, comics artists, illustrator and animator. His pastiche prints, which include covers for Doc Savage paperbacks that never were, are wonderful. I bought four of them and - I swear to Godzilla - I will find a way to get all of them on my walls.

Comic-book artist Vo Nguyen and I have been Facebook friends for a long time, but we had never met before this convention. Hopefully, we’ll see each other again and another Texas convention next year. I like Texas, its citizens and its restaurants a lot. I think it speaks highly of my tolerant nature that I have only made one Ted Cruz joke in this multi-part convention report.

I can’t praise the Eastern Rim event and all those who were part of it enough. I can’t think of a single unpleasant moment during the time my son Eddie I were there. Aside from the one unfortunate meal from Sonic. I’m thinking the burger and fries were cooked in actual hedgehog grease.

After the con ended, Eddie and I went to the famous Cavender’s Boot City. My son bought an expensive cowboy hat and a pair of slightly less expensive boots. They look good on him. As for me, no cowboy hat or boots are going to make look authentically western. I just bought hilarious t-shirts for my wife, my daughter and my gay best friend.

That Sunday night, Eddie and I had Ricky’s Burgers. It’s not a big restaurant, but the burgers were some of the best I’ve ever had and were not expensive.

Monday morning, on our way to return our rental car and check in at the airport, we stopped at Buc-Ee’s. As least as big if not bigger than a Costco, the place had all manner of hot sandwiches and other food-to-go plus pretty much anything else you could need. It also had the biggest restrooms I’ve ever seen anywhere. When you hit 70, my current age, you’ll understand the importance of this.

After we checked into our flight and passed through the TSA stuff, my cane was even more useful than on our previous flight. We got a ride to our gate from a friendly cart driver. This happened after we landed in Cleveland as well. And, as previously, the cane got me early boarding.

The only less-than-wonderful thing about our return flight was it left almost an hour later than scheduled. Still, since we were on a direct flight, that wasn’t nearly as anxiety-provoking as if we’d had to make a connecting flight.

Eddie and I enjoyed our visit to Texas. As I’ve said, the people, the food and especially the convention were first-rate. I’m hoping to return to the state next year.

Next up: what I read in Texas. See you then.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Monday, September 12, 2022




As I work at getting this bloggy thing of mine back to the level of frequent posting and superlative quality, something I most want to address is my appearance and convention reports. My goal is to post  reports within days of my returning home from them.

I definitely don’t want to let too many days go by without praising the excellent Eastern Rim Funny Book & Vintage Con that was held on Saturday, August 27 and Sunday, August 28, at Goose Creek Memorial High School in Baytown, Texas. Which is around a half-hour distance from Houston. Admission was free, the convention guests and vendors were many, the promoter and staff were incredible and the fans were among the nicest I’ve met. My thanks to Jerry Shafer for inviting me to the convention and to Jared Jerard of Free Form Frames for sponsoring my appearance.

My son Eddie and I flew to Houston on United Airlines. Much to my delight, it was a direct flight that only took about three hours. I was using my cane for the first time in public. That was a wise decision. Trying to navigate the lengthy distance between the TSA checkpoint and our departure gate would have been a nightmare sans the cane and it wasn’t fun even with the cane. Fortunately, on the way back, I was able to get rides to and from the gate.

I felt bad accepting I needed extra time to board and then boarding  early, but I can’t ignore my hopefully temporary mobility issues. The United personnel were unfailingly helpful. Yes, it’s true air travel always sucks these days, but United did as good or better a job at it than other airlines.

When we landed in Houston, Eddie rented a car for us. The Eastern Rim folks were more than ready and willing to pick us up and drive us wherever we needed or wanted to go - they had even assigned me a driver - but Eddie planned to visit one of his Ohio State friends who lived in Houston and wanted a car for that.


We were staying at the Staybridge Suites, a pleasant extended stay hotel with a full kitchen and plenty of room to stretch out. Food options were limited, but that is the way of such accommodations.They did offer a free breakfast and a guest could purchase frozen dinners and other items from the hotel pantry. We did not go that route because there were many fine restaurants with a short drive from the hotel.

Eddie was meeting his friend Friday night. In my first and only bad decision of the weekend, I had him drive me through a Sonic for my evening meal. Pardon my French, but it was merde. I ate maybe half my meal before I decided I wanted to live. The next morning, when I looked at the brown bag of leftovers, the bottom half of the bag was soaked through with grease. It was as if someone had turned Ted Cruz into a hamburger.

Saturday’s free hotel breakfast was decent enough. Scrambled eggs. McDonald’s-style hash browns. Sausage links. Various juices and other beverages. An assortment of breads. Yogurt. And, if one were so inclined, one could make a waffle. Nothing fancy, but certainly a good start to the day.


Goose Creek Memorial High School was an impressive venue. If you’ve seen Friday Night Lights, you know high schools are a really huge deal in Texas. The long first floor hallway was filled with guests and vendors. I’ll talk about them in a bit.


The convention had assigned me two guest tables, which was one more than I needed. I travel light when I fly to a convention. But this made room for Anthony Tollin, my dear friend of over a decade, to take my second table and fill it with pulp magazines and reprints of pulp magazines, original art from the pulps and elsewhere, cool prints of various art and an assortment of color guides from some of the countless comics he colored while working at DC Comics back in the day.

Besides being one of the nicest and most honorable men in comics, Tollin is an expert in many other areas of pop culture. He had been heavily involved in old-time radio - he did a stint writing copy for Walter Cronkite - and pulp magazines. I’m sure many of you have bought his great Sanctum Books reprints of The Shadow, Doc Savage and other pulp heroes. These books were so amazing that more than one pulp magazine collectors have put their original pulp magazines on the market in favor of the Tollin volumes. You can’t spend any time with my friend without learning something new.

Another Tollin area of expertise is...dachshunds. He’s owned these animals for decades and several of his dogs have been champions. His tales of these wonderful companions is one of the main reasons I keep asking Saintly Wife Barb to let me get a dog. If you should see Barb at any conventions, tell her that dogs make people better. Maybe she’ll believe it if she hears it from someone other than me.
Hope spring eternal.

Getting to spend so much quality time with my friend was easily the highpoint of the convention for me. Even if there had not been so many other great guests and so many amazing fans, just his presence would have made the convention for me. However, there were many other great guests and I got to chat with most during this splendid  two-day event. I’ll cover the other guests in the next installment of this bloggy thing, but I wanted to talk about the fans and the vendors today.


The fans were among the nicest I’ve encounters at any convention. I was truly moved by how many of them reached out to tell me that I was the reason they came to the convention. They were excited to talk about comics I had written and my journey through the comics industry and the Black Lightning TV series and comics in general. I especially enjoyed speaking with Meredith, a young lady who was an avid fan of Black Lightning. I don’t want to speak for him, but I think my son Eddie gets a kick out of seeing his dad treated with such love and respect from the fans. He knows that’s not often the case from the professional side of the industry.

The vendors? There was a wide variety of items being offered to the fans. An abundance of comic books but also things from the worlds of anime, cosplay, gaming, prose novels, toys and more. It pleased me to hear from several dealers that they sold Black Lightning #1 and other Isabella-written comics. As I’ve said before, if I am a guest at a convention, the retailers should bring as many Isabella items as they have in their stock.

Eddie had plans to go to a Houston Astro game with his Ohio State friend, so Tony Tollin and I were on my our own for dinner. Being a wise man, my pal asked one of the police officers doing security for the event for restaurant suggestions. The officer recommended a number of restaurants.


We decided to go to Baytown’s 888 Chinese Restaurant at 4567 Garth Road, #400. It’s a medium-size restaurant that serves authentic and delicious cuisine. I ordered the chicken with broccoli, served with white rice. A great meal at a very reasonable price. Our server was great with the only downside being that, when I opened my fortune cookie, there was no fortune. For a moment, I took this as a sign I had no destiny. But our server brought me a second cookie with a message indicating...well, I’m not sure what the message was trying to convey because it was confusing. I decided it meant my destiny was mine to decide.

Tollin drove me and my plentiful leftovers back to my hotel where I read some comics collections on my Kindle and surfed the many TV channels available to me. I got a great night’s sleep and woke up ready for the second and final day of the convention.

More to come.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Thursday, September 8, 2022


September is turning into a month of knocking a great many odds and ends off my too-long to do list. New bloggy things will be rare until October.

Friday, September 2, 2022


While I’m still terrified of the menaces that are criminal former president Donald Trump, his insanely rabid followers and the more vile than ever Republican Party, my August was, otherwise, pretty darn good. My garage sales did very well. My Facebook auctions also did very well. I capped off the month with the absolutely wonderful Eastern Rim Funny Book & Vintage Con. I will be writing about that convention in a near-future bloggy thing.

While you’re waiting for that, here are some of the terrific things that made me happy last month...

August 1: Barb and I have been enjoying the second season of Only Murders in the Building. The main cast is as wonderful as ever, as are the crazy twists and turns. Plus fun new supporting characters and the returns of old favorites.

August 2: Ron Fortier and Gary Kato’s Mr. Jigsaw Christmas Special. Published in 2019, it’s 55 pages of full-color, suitable-for-all-ages super-hero fun. Jiggy is one of my favorite comics characters. You can order this special at Amazon.  

August 3: Disney’s Jungle Cruise. This adventure/comedy made for an enjoyable two hours.  Fun performances from Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Jack Whitehall, Paul Giamatti and, especially, Johnson’s pet jaguar Proxima. I have thing for cats of all sizes.

August 4: The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide 52nd Edition, 2022-2023. It’s always great to get the new Price Guide, chocked full of comics history and commerce. I got the Butch Guice cover of Winter Soldier. What a terrific artist!

August 5: The Netflix premiere episode of The Sandman erased all my doubts as to whether they could do justice to Neil Gaiman’s classic nay legendary comics epic. It was chilling, evocative and intense.
I’m looking forward to the remaining nine episodes.


August 6: Rokurou Ogaki’s Crazy Food Truck. In a dystopian world, a mysterious man drives a food truck, picks up a one-woman army and defends his few customers from an armed militia. Don’t ask. Just enjoy this insanely entertaining manga.

August 7: Our Little Secret by Emily Carrington is a graphic memoir of being abused as a child and dealing with that. It is a difficult book to read. Though Carrington finds peace at her struggle’s end, it never feels like it’s enough.

August 8: On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver took a shot at Warner Bros. Discovery, his new “business daddy,” for its dumping of the Batgirl movie for tax purposes. I laughed out loud, but it was a sad laugh.

August 9: The Sandman. Specifically, Patton Oswalt as Matthew the Raven. I’ve said this before, but every movie and TV series should have a role for Oswalt. If I ever write for either, I’ll do my best to hire him.


August 10: I got a cool new t-shirt. There are several variations of this concept, but this is the one I like the best. Comfortable and formal enough for any event.

August 11: Given the insanity of these times, I felt the need to hire additional legal representation. If it please the court, Ms. Elle Woods with Bruiser.

August 12: Another cool new t-shirt. This is Superman as I like him best. Not yet the boy scout. Dismissive of authority. Dealing with crooked businessmen and politicians like the trash they are. A true champion of the oppressed.

August 13: My beloved Tina Fe is back where she belongs. After too many delays and indignities, my Hyundai Santa Fe SUV is back in my driveway and running well. I’m looking forward to many more con and road trips with my girl.

August 14: I took Barb to lunch at Medina’s Foundry Social. It’s a cool bar/restaurant, brewing company and game place. Good food in big “take some home for another meal” quantities. We want to return when we have time to play the various games.

August 15: I keep discovering great stuff in my Vast Accumulation of Stuff. This weekend’s garage sales will have complete runs of Disney’s the dollar comics boxes! So many bargains to be found at my sales.

August 16: Another heirloom found in my Vast Accumulation of Stuff. A big roll of stickers for Isabella’s Italian Bread from the family bakery. I’ll use them to seal greeting cards and letters.


August 17: New to me is Man-Eaters by writer Chelsea Cain & artist Kate Niemczyk. I read the first volume last night with my reactions being discomfort and intrigued. Which are fine reasons to continue reading this series.

August 18: Last night’s movie with Barb was The Lost City, starring Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Brad Pitt and the wonderful Da'Vine Joy Randolph. This comedy-adventure was perfect for our “busy day” relaxation.

August 19: She-Hulk: Attorney-At-Law. The debut was glorious with everything I wanted from the series. Tatiana Maslany is an absolute dream in the title role. Even Saintly Wife Barb enjoyed it and will likely join Eddie and I in watching it.

August 20: This weekend’s Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales were an amazing success with my achieving 144% of my two-day goal. I also got to spend time with some fantastic customers and friends. What an incredible weekend!


August 21: Taking the night off to read Linda Castillo’s Fallen, a recent addition to her Kate Burkholder series. Kate is police chief in a city including the Amish community she left as a teen. Great characters, suspenseful storytelling. Recommended.

August 22: Bonus episodes of The Sandman on Netflix. Both “Dream of a Thousand Cats” and “Calliope” were riveting television, but the former deserves multiple awards while the latter hit home in a most personal way.

August 23: I chatted on ZOOM with a pal of fifty years for a book he’s writing. It was a nice reminder that, despite the bad times in my career, I made a lot of terrific friends who I cherish to this day. I should tell them that often.

August 24: Bad Luck Chuck by Lela Gwenn and Matthew Dow Smith. The title heroine uses her superhuman bad luck for insurance fraud. A bit rough around the edges but it’s a fun comic book. That’s good enough for me.

August 25: Day Shift. Los Angeles vampire hunter needs a big score to keep his family together. Nice performances by Jaime Foxx, Dave Franco and Snoop Dogg. A fun movie with a hilariously high vampire count. I’d be up for a sequel

August 26: Getting to board airplanes early because I’m now using a cane. It’s not something I wanted to be doing, but anything that makes flying even a little easier is a cause for celebration. I’ll still be glad for when I don’t need the cane.


August 27: The Eastern Rim Funny Book & Vintage Con was a glorious event. The venue had plenty of comfortable room for the wonderful guests, vendors and especially the terrific fans. My son and I had a great time. Thanks for inviting me.

August 28: Getting to spend time with Anthony Tollin at the Eastern Rim Funny Book & Vintage Con. An incredibly accomplished man, Tony has been one of my dearest friends for over fifty years. I hope to do many more conventions with him.  

August 29: Fitting for a book reprinting the strips from 1974-1976, The Complete Chester Gould's Dick Tracy Volume 28 was a psychedelic trip. A great cartoonist gone right-wing ape-shit and still telling wildly entertaining stories.

August 30: Bikini Atoll by writer Christophe Bec and artist Bernard Khattou is a grim and gory graphic novel wherein tourists to that atomic-bombed island are pursued by monstrous mutants. It’s scary and suspenseful and not for the faint of heart.

August 31: Stargirl is the only CW show I watch these days and its third season premiere showed why. So many great characters, led by the optimistic title hero. The chance of redemption for her former foes. And, of course, a murder mystery.

That’s all for now as I resume work on this weekend’s garage sales. But I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, August 31, 2022




I barely took a breath after last weekend’s outstanding Eastern Rim Funny Book and Vintage Toy Convention in Baytown, Texas when I got to work on this weekend’s Vast Accumulation of Stuff Garage Sale. It’ll be Friday and Saturday, September 2-3, from 9 am to noon each day at 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio. After this weekend, there are only two more garage sales.

If you’ve come to my garage sales in the past, you know there will be a nice selection of dollar comics, magazines, trade paperbacks, hardcovers, Isabella-written stuff, older comic books are a whole lot more. Currently, I have two tables full of Godzilla figures and other kaiju collectibles. I have a full rack of comics-related t-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets. I have a way cool Sailor Moon wall hanging. I even have seven of our highly sought after $10 chocked-full-of-stuff mystery boxes.

Because I pretty much never stop working on these sales - devoting at least an hour a day to them, I’m in great shape for the weekend ones. I’ll make a few more mystery boxes, fill out the various comic book boxes, try to squeeze in a couple more trade paperbacks and hardcovers boxes, but that’s all I have to do.


Some basic stuff...

My garage sales have always been cash only. However, I can now take PayPal as well.

My prices are low. There are countless bargains to be had. That is why I don’t haggle.

Parking for my sales is usually on the Bradley Court “U” (where my driveway is located) and on the actual Damon Drive across from my house. I like to keep the driveway clear so people can see the sale from a distance, but will make an exception for any customer with a handicapped sticker.

This week, there’s some cable working being done on my street. You should be conscious of this because it may mean you’ll have to park a bit from my house.


At the conventions I attend, I charge $10 per item my signature. At my garage sales, I’ll sign almost any Isabella item for free. But, if you bring a lot of stuff for me to sign, you might have to wait for me to get to the items if I’m waiting on customers.

If you have questions, you can e-mail me. However, don’t expect me to answer questions about whether or not I have specific items or to schedule “private showings” for you. I’m crazy busy clearing the decks for my upcoming writing projects.

I hope to see you at my garage sales. I’ll be back soon with more bloggy things, including my report on the Eastern Rim Funny Book and Vintage Toy Convention.    

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Sunday, August 21, 2022





My last 2022 out-of-state convention appearance will be The Eastern Rim Funny Book & Vintage Con at Goose Creek Memorial High School, 6001 E. Wallisville, Baytown, Texas. Admission is free and the show hours are: Saturday, August 27 (10 am - 6 pm) and Sunday, August 28 (11 am -4 pm). I wanted to give you the most important information about the show before I start waxing poetic about how excited I am to be attending this event.

Eastern Rim gives off a real community feel. I don’t recall that I have ever done a convention in a high school before. My high school memories aren’t always the best, but I’m relatively sure I won’t be shoved into a locker by any jocks. Seriously, though, when I see the terrific sponsors of the event, I see a community that supports the comics art form.

Eastern Rim promises artists, authors, cosplayers, special comic book guests, inexpensive food and fun. There will be panels and a cosplay contest.

The guest list is impressive. Besides me: legendary artist Glenn Fabry; dancer and actor Michael "Boogaloo Shrimp" Chambers; my dear friend, the great DC Comics colorist and expert in some many areas of popular culture Anthony Tollin; artists Pop Mhan, Val Mayerik, Mark A. Nelson, Steve Erwin, Nick Pitarra, Vo Nguyen, Keith “Kez” Wilson, Hector Rodrigues, Tone Rodrigues, Joe Eisma, the Professor and Mary Ann and more. Just kidding about the last two, but let it me know that I’m willing to screen test for the role of either for the inevitable remake.

From the convention website, the cosplay guests look amazing. I’m hoping they get a chance to stop by my table for photos. Remember, though, cosplay is not consent. Before you take a picture or video of either a special cosplay guest or a fan having fun doing cosplay at the event, ask their permission.

I’m hearing great things about the vendors who will be setting up at The Eastern Rim Funny Book & Vintage Con. I’m hoping I keep so busy at my own table that I can avoid spending too much money with them. But you know I’m going to be spending some money.



Regarding my own table, I generally travel light when flying to a convention. For this trip, I’m bringing some posters of characters I created or did notable work on and the special exclusive-to-me reprint of Misty Knight’s first appearance in Marvel Comics. Here is the quick explanation of that gem.

When Misty Knight was set to debut on the Luke Cage TV series, my friends at the House of Ideas decided a special “Marvel’s Greatest Creators” reprint of her first appearance in Marvel Premiere #21. Then they called me up and asked if I wanted to order an exclusive variant of that reprint, one that would have an exclusive cover and only be available from me. The numbers worked for me and a limited print run of 1500 copies was made and delivered to me.

I’ve been signing and numbering the comics ever since. I’m selling them at a bargain price of just $10 each. Considering I charge $10 just for my signature, and you’re also getting an exclusive signed and numbered limited edition comic, that’s a deal.

Speaking of my signature policy...

If you buy an Isabella-related poster directly from me, I will sign it for free. If you bring an Isabella item that you’ve purchased elsewhere, I charge $10 per signature. I don’t charge extra if you have someone witness my sighing your item. As with everything else at my table, these are CASH ONLY transactions.

I don’t charge for photos you take of me or with me. Just ask me first.  I take no responsibility for damage to the devices you use for this purpose. Especially if you manage to capture my demented soul in your photos or videos.

I’m thrilled to be an invited guests of The Eastern Rim Funny Book & Vintage Con. My son Eddie and I will be flying in on Friday and departing on Monday. I expect we’ll be coming back with incredible memories of old friend and new.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Monday, August 15, 2022

VAOS GARAGE SALE (August 19-20)



My next Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales will be happening at 840 Damon Drive in Medina, Ohio, on Friday and Saturday, August 19-20, from 9 am to noon. If you see a lawn with a bunch of signs advertising a comics and pop culture garage sale and a back porch with a large “Tony Isabella” banner from a convention, you are in the right place. Parking is on the Bradley Court circle as well on Damon Drive across from my house. Parking in my driveway will only be available for those with handicapped stickers.

The above photo may make it appear my garage is a state of chaos. That’s misleading. Things are moving along quite nicely. I’ll have between 4-6 boxes of dollar comics. I’ll have 2-3 magazine boxes, which will include over three dozen issues of G-Fan. I’ll have  boxes of Isabella-written books and comic books, 3-4 boxes of older comics (including Silver Age issues) and 5-6 boxes of hardcovers and softcovers.

My clothing rack is more full than it’s ever been t-shirts priced at $2 each, shirts at $4 each, sweatshirts at $6, jackets at $10 each and even a Sailor Moon wall hanging for just $10. There will also be a couple of much higher priced but incredibly rare jackets.

I’m extremely excited about the Godzilla figures and other Godzilla items I’ll be offering for sale. I may have enough of them to fill one full table.

I expect to fill the remaining table space and my bookcases with manga, paperbacks, collectible glasses, Funko Pop figures, maybe even some binders of non-sport cards and a few odd telephones. It depends on what I find over today and the next two days before the sales.

I also have an empty magazine rack and an empty spinner rack. They won’t be empty when my garage door opens Friday morning.

Everybody loves my $10 mystery boxes, each of them packed with way more than $10 worth of cool things. For the first time this garage sale season, I have a dozen boxes already packed. However, because the demand for these always far outweighs the supply, I’m limiting sales of them to one per customer on Friday and, if any are left on Saturday, two per customer.

A couple more notes:

I am buying comic books, though not in great bulk. I’ll pay $15 for a short box of good condition comics and $30 for a long box of good condition comics. Generally speaking, a short box holds a little over 150 issues and a long box around 300. The only restrictions: I don’t want too many copies of the same issues. I don’t want adults only comic books. I won’t be able to buy dozens of boxes at one time. I’d advise you to contact me before you bring the comics to my sales, both to make sure I can buy the number of boxes you’re bringing me and to make sure I have the funds to pay them.

When I’m at a convention, I sign Isabella items purchased from me for free and charge $10 per signature on stuff you didn’t buy from me at the convention. However, at my garage sales, I don’t charge for my signature. You’re welcome to bring your already-owned Tony Isabella comics and such to the garage sales and get them signed. However, if you’re bringing a lot of comics for me to sign, you’ll need to be patient while I wait on customers. Alas, my garage sales are a one-man operation.

At my sales, you’re also welcome to ask me questions about my fifty years working in the comic-book industry. There are questions that I can’t answer, either because I’ve signed NDAs or because I don’t remember the answers, but I’ll do my best to entertain and inform you. It’s what Stan and Jack would want.

Finally, I am unable to offer any special showings in addition to the listed hours of the garage sales. However, if I have customers in the garage at noon, I’ll stay open a little longer so they can finish their shopping.

Thanks for listening. I hope many of you can find your way to the garage sales. I know you’ll find great bargains and have more fun than at the average garage sale.

© 2022 Tony Isabella


Historical note. On this date in 2011, TONY ISABELLA'S BLOGGY THING was launched.

You can send birthday cash to me via PayPal [tonyisa at ohio dot net].

You can mail birthday cards, checks or presents to me at: Tony Isabella, 840 Damon Drive, Medina, OH 44256.

If anyone actually sends me anything, I'll note their generosity or lack thereof in a hilarious bloggy thing sometime in September.

Saturday, August 13, 2022




Last month’s bloggy reviewing “queer comics” was well-received, so it’s time for a sequel. The Republican Party has been working hard to demonize the LGBTQ+ community because it seeks the votes of the bigoted and the insanely religious. Their game plan is to diminish the equal rights protections of the community and deny them their just place in our American commerce and society. It has become more important than ever for all of us to support the community against such cynical hatred.    

Any comics, graphic novels or manga that feature LGBTQ+ characters or themes are eligible for me to cover in this recurring series of reviews. There are a lot of them. Some are heartbreakingly serious, some are humorous, some are autobiographical/biographical. We will start today with one of the most fascinating comics writers in the history of comics.

Flung Out of Space: Inspired by the Indecent Adventures of Patricia Highsmith by Grace Ellis and Hannah Templer [Abrams Comics Arts; $24.99] is a graphic novel “imagining” of a portion of Highsmith’s life and career. Though I have never read Highsmith’s novels, which I hope to correct, this author of Strangers on a Train and other mystery/suspense captured my interest when I read The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith by Joan Schenkar.

Highsmith was an unpleasant person, which Ellis and Templer never shy away from. She wrote comics for ACG and also, recruited by Stan Lee, for Timely Comics. She was a lesbian, but, at least for some long time, uncomfortable about that. She did therapy and struggled financially until she earned some success with her novels. I don’t know if we would have gotten along - I’ve been befriended by quite a few unlikely people - but I would’ve liked to have met her. She would have horribly bored by my questions about her comics work, of course, but that’s an area of comics history which deserves to be examined.  

Ellis and Templer have created an award-deserving graphic novel in this work. As noted, they don’t sugar-coat Highsmith’s unpleasant nature, but they also make it clear that she was often tormented by her sexual preference and initial lack of success in writing non-comics novels. I recommend Flung Out of Space to queer and straight comics devotees, as well as high school and public libraries.

One more thing. This graphic novel needs to be adapted into a movie or series. It’s engaging and powerful.

ISBN 978-1-4197-4433-4



Next up is Flamer by Mike Curato [Henry Holt and Co.; $25.99]. This hefty graphic novel about a young boy whose summer camp experience is one of discovery and acceptance. Aiden Navarro is a thoughtful kid navigating friendships, cruel bullies and a growing attraction to another boy. Is he conflicted? You bet.

“I know I’m not gay. Gay boys like other boys. I hate boys. They’re mean, and scary, and they’re always destroying something or saying something dumb or both. I hate that word. Gay. It makes me feel...unsafe.”

Aiden’s introspections and trials are sometimes amusing, but more often intensely self-destructive. He gets perilously close to the point of no return. Yet, at the end, he is rescued by good people around him. It’s a happy ending, which is perhaps more happy than it logically should have been.

I wish all gay kids found the acceptance and compassion which Aiden finds. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in. Gay kids in America have been targeted by so-called Christians and the vilest members of the already vile beyond belief Republican Party. These children are under siege by those who would utterly erase them from our society. I’m a big believer in hope and the ultimate victory of good, but belief must be balanced by reality. Though he has found supportive friends, Aiden is absolutely right to feel unsafe. He is unsafe and it’s up to us to keep him and others like him safe as he
navigate the hard voyage to the right side of history.

ISBN 978-1-62779-641-5

SIDEBAR. A reader has asked me why I include ISBNs with my reviews of books. It’s because a librarian ask me to do, telling me that’s what they use to order books. I’m more than happy to help them get these books for their patrons.


Okura’s I Think Our Son is Gay 3 [Square Enix Manga; $12.99] is the latest book in the series about Hiroko and his mom Tomoko. Despite the implied uncertainty of the series title, it’s clear to those of us getting all sides of the picture that, yes, Hiroko, is gay and crushing big time on a male friend. Tomoko and her younger son Yuri don’t seem to have any doubts. Hiroko’s father, who isn’t around as much, is hoping that’s not the case, as is a young girl who appears to be crushing on the young man. Whew!

Despite the above, this isn’t a soap opera. It’s a comedy drawing its humor from the nigh-universal awkwardness radiating off almost every character, save for Hiroko’s crush. The chapters are short, but pleasant. My only problem is the humor is wearing thin. There is no emotional growth and so it’s pretty much the same jokes over and over again. Time to move things forward and find some laughs in new situations.

ISBN 976-1-64609-126-3


I’ve read the first three volumes of the manga series Even Though We're Adults by Takako Shimura [Seven Seas Entertainment; $12.99per volume] and I’m on the fence, leaning toward getting off the fence. Here’s the first volume blurb:

From the critically acclaimed creator of Wandering Son and Sweet Blue Flowers, a heart-tugging manga about two busy women who think they've figured out the whole adulting thing...until they fall in love with each other. Ayano, an elementary school teacher in her thirties, stops by a bar one day and meets another woman named Akari. Sparks fly as the two chat, and before the night is over, Ayano even goes in for a kiss. Akari is intrigued but confused, especially when she discovers that Ayano has a husband! Both Ayano and Akari are about to find out that love doesn’t get any easier, even as you grow older.  

Akari is a sympathetic character. To avoid interfering in Ayano’s marriage, she goes back to her old job as a hairdresser and moves to a new neighborhood. Unfortunately, she finds herself living near Ayano and her husband Wataru. Hubby is not thrilled to learn Ayano is attracted to another woman, but tries hard to be understanding. He’s a good guy.

Ayano is the problematic character in this manga. Maybe I’m reading her wrong, but I think she wants what she wants and isn’t all that concerned if that hurts Akira or Wataru. Even though Akira is gay, I kind of hope her and Wataru end up together.

I’ll give this unsatisfying manga one more book. However, barring an intriguing/unexpected development, I think that will be the last for me.

Volume 1: ISBN 978-1-64505-975-8

Volume 2: ISBN 978-1-84827-228-8

Volume 3: ISBN 978-1-64827-344-5

That’s all for this batch of queer comics reviews. I’ll be back as soon as possible with more stuff.

© 2022 Tony Isabella


Here's my updated appearance schedule for the rest of this year and into next year. I'm potentially  available for conventions, college and other school talks,  library and other public talks and store appearances.

Friday, August 19: GARAGE SALE (Medina, Ohio)
Saturday, August 20: GARAGE SALE (Medina, Ohio)
Saturday, August 27: Eastern Rim Funny Book & Vintage Con (Baytown, Texas)
Sunday, August 28: Eastern Rim Funny Book & Vintage Con (Baytown, Texas)
Friday, September 2: GARAGE SALE (Medina, Ohio)
Saturday, September 3: GARAGE SALE (Medina, Ohio)
Friday, September 16: GARAGE SALE (Medina, Ohio)
Saturday, September 17: Troublemaker, Malcontent, Desperado: A Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Harlan Ellison (Cleveland Public Library; 1-2 pm)
Saturday, September 24: Super Kids Save The City (Avon, Ohio)
Thursday, September 29: GARAGE SALE (Medina, Ohio)
Friday, September 30: GARAGE SALE (Medina, Ohio)
Saturday, October 1: GARAGE SALE (Medina, Ohio)
Saturday, November 5: Akron Comicon (Akron, Ohio)
Sunday, November 6: Akron Comicon (Akron, Ohio)
February 24: Pensacon (Pensacola, Florida)
February 25: Pensacon (Pensacola, Florida)
February 26: Pensacon (Pensacola, Florida)
I'm hoping to add a few more appearances before the end of the year and for next year. E-mail me if you want to schedule an appearance.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 10, 2022


IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT! Due to an issue with my knee, I am moving my August 12-13 garage sales to August 19-20. There will be no garage sales on August 12-13. My apologies for the short notice.

Monday, August 8, 2022




It’s early Monday morning as I write this bloggy. Work now begins in earnest on my next Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales at my home in Medina, Ohio. While I do some work on these garage sales every day, straightening up the garage and adding new items to the sales, it’s the Monday before those sales when I really kick that into high gear.

The sales will be at 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio, on Friday and Saturday, August 12-13, from 9 am to noon. The sales are cash only, though I have been known to accept PayPal when you can show me on your phone that I’ve received the money.

You’ll see signs for the garage sale on my front lawn and, hanging from my back patio, a large garish Tony Isabella sign given to me by a convention. Parking is on the side of Damon Drive across from my house and also on Bradley Court, the “U” on which my driveway is located. Except for those with handicapped stickers on their cars, there is no parking in my driveway. Please obey the various parking signs on the streets. I’d feel terrible if any of my customers got ticketed.

My garage sales are a mix of comic books, trade paperbacks, manga, magazines, hardcover books, “coffee table” books, stuff written by me, comics-related clothing, posters, action figures, and sometimes other items. I’ve sold collectible Monopoly games, phones, puzzles  and more at these sales.

When people ask what I have at my sales, my honest answer is that I don’t know. The nature of my “vast accumulation” is that I don’t know what I have until I pull a box from storage and look inside. A while back, I unearthed a box containing Batman #101-242. There’s likely a box filled with contemporary issues of Detective Comics somewhere, but I don’t know where it is. When I find it, I’ll put those issues on sale.

Most of what I have on sale is priced at around 30% of its original price or current value. I’m pricing this stuff to sell. Among the more popular areas in the garage are my “dollar comics” boxes with comics priced at a dollar each.


I also do $10 mystery boxes filled with all sorts of cool things. Because these are hard to keep in stock, I don’t always have a lot of them and they sell incredible fast. It’s why I now limit them to one box per customer per day. My goal is always to start the sales with a dozen mystery boxes. Sometimes I actually do that.

I am buying comic books, though not in great bulk. I’ll pay $15 for a short box of good condition comics and $30 for a long box of good condition comics. Generally speaking, a short box holds a little over 150 issues and a long box around 300. The only restrictions: I don’t want too many copies of the same issues. I don’t want adults only comic books. I won’t be able to buy dozens of boxes at one time. I’d advise you to contact me before you bring the comics to my sales, both to make sure I can buy the number of boxes you’re bringing me and to make sure I have the funds to pay them.

When I’m at a convention, I sign Isabella items purchased from me for free and charge $10 per signature on stuff you didn’t buy from me at the convention. However, at my garage sales, I don’t charge for my signature. You’re welcome to bring your already-owned Tony Isabella comics and such to the garage sales and get them signed. However, if you’re bringing a lot of comics for me to sign, you’ll need to be patient while I wait on customers. Alas, my garage sales are a one-man operation.

At my sales, you’re also welcome to ask me questions about my fifty years working in the comic-book industry. There are questions that I can’t answer, either because I’ve signed NDAs or because I don’t remember the answers, but I’ll do my best to entertain and inform you. It’s what Stan and Jack would want.

My garage sales are fun. You will find lots of cool stuff at them. You will help finance my future work and keep my kids from calling me a hoarder. I look forward to seeing you.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2022 Tony Isabella




You know there are many things that make me and other decent people not happy. However, as an acknowledged bringer of joy to the world, I’ve gotten extremely weary with beginning every one of my monthly “happy” blogs with doom and gloom. So I’m going to go directly to more cheerful things.

I’m knocking odds and ends off my “to do” lists and drawing closer to being able to write all sorts of cool stuff. Well, at least, I’m convinced it’s cool stuff.  Eventually, the marketplace will be the judge of my belief in my work.

July brought lots of positive energy into my life. Finding amazing items in my Vast Accumulation of Stuff. Successful auctions on my Facebook page. The return of G-Fest in Chicago. Being honored for my fifty years working in comics by the fans and my fellow guests at North Olmsted’s NEO Comics. Not a bad month at all.  I’m up for a repeat in August.

In the meantime, here are some of the things that made me happy in last month...

July 1: Have you ever been hugged by an eagle? My Funko army grows with the additions of Peacemaker and Eagly.

July 2: John Trumball’s terrific interview with James Robinson and Tony Harris in Back Issue #133. Starman was clearly the best super-hero series of the 1990s. Their discussion is a master class in the series and how to conduct interviews.

July 3: Better late than never? I watched and enjoyed the premiere episode of The Umbrella Academy. It’s got a Doom Patrol vibe to it. I’ll be watching the series over the next several weeks.

July 4: The Princess (Hulu). Joey King and Dominic Cooper shine in this non-stop action film. She’s a strong-willed woman refusing a forced marriage with his cruel sociopath. Too bloody for kids, but great fun for older viewers.


July 5: Emptied out my desk drawers. I tended to toss all kinds of things in them. Now I have two short boxes of stuff to go through, but I’ve already found some pretty cool items. Like these DC Super Friends mini-cars.


July 6: Isabella Brothers Bakery bags. I unearthed a couple dozen of these bags in the Vast Accumulation of Stuff. I’m not sure what to do with them except maybe frame them. I wish my dad was around to autograph them.

July 7: Jurassic Domination. I got a kick out of seeing this latest Asylum mock-buster on the big screen. It’s the studio’s typical B-movie fare, but I love those things. I’ll be blogging about it very soon.

July 8: The Boys second series finale was an exciting, horrifying episode. Such chilling moments, but none scarier than the idolatry of Janine’s stepfather’s for Homelander. Because it reminded me of those who insanely worship Trump in the real world.

July 9: The Umbrella Academy is dangerously binge-worthy. I watched the first episode of the first season less than a week ago and will start the third season today. Surprising twists. Great characters. Memorable performances. Amazing soundtrack.


July 10: Thor: Love and Thunder. I enjoyed this latest entry to the MCU. It was a balanced blend of action, drama, humor and romance. I’m up for more Thor, both in the next Avengers movie and his next solo feature. Thor and the Young Asgardians, anyone?

July 11: My Facebook auctions have been successful. In fact, they were so successful they are paying for my son Eddie and I going to G-Fest. Look for them to return the week of July 25.

July 12: On special occasions, the Australian Phantom comic books will include trading cards showing the title’s covers. I unearthed hundreds of them from my office this week. I’m slowly but happily putting them into albums.


July 13: There are many bad things in the world. But there are also Japanese dinosaur love hotels. So that’s something.

July 14: The first season finale of Ms. Marvel was near perfect: the hilarious living room scene, the action sequences, citizens and police opposing excessive authority, a satisfying conclusion and a great cliffhanger. More please.

July 15: Seeing Godzilla vs. Hedorah, one of my favorite Godzilla movies, on the big screen at the magnificent Pickwick Theater and then learning more about at a G-Fest panel the following morning.


July 16: Martin Arlt’s G-Fest tribute to Akira Takarada was one of the best such presentations I’ve seen at any convention. So moving and so packed with information. My friend truly honored the great actor and even greater man.

July 17: G-Fest had a fan tribute to Akira Takarada as well. This panel highlighted the kindness of the man to fans. He was one of the most genuine celebrities and it was wonderful hearing the fans share their encounters with him.

July 18: G-Fest XXVII was not the G-Fest I was looking for, but it was, nonetheless, a glorious event. I’ll share my thoughts on the convention in my blog very soon.


July 19: Flung Out of Space: Inspired by the Indecent Adventures of Patricia Highsmith by Grace Ellis and Hannah Templer is a must-read  graphic novel that, among other things, includes Highsmith’s time writing comic books in the 1940s.

July 20: John LeMay’s entertaining and informative Jaws Unmade: The Lost Sequels, Prequels, Remakes, and Rip-Offs. Easily my favorite writer about these movies I love, LeMay delivers many “wow” moments as he covers his often-weird subjects.


July 21: I have a new t-shirt. It’s funny because it’s true.

July 22: Blue Diamond Almond Nut-Thins. Guess you found a new and fairly healthy snack. No added wheat or gluten, no cholesterol, no saturated fat, and low sodium! Yummy!

July 23: The Gray Man. Glorious carnage as Chris Evans (playing a psychopathic private contract killer) does battle with Ryan Gosling (a convict recruited by the CIA). Lots of great supporting players as well.

July 24: Valentina Rossi’s tweet: ...if you love comics as I do, you should totally follow @thetonyisabella! He’s the creator of Black Lightning and really progressive stories since the 70s, plus he’s a really nice and positive voice on Twitter.

July 25: Thank you, John Oliver. I will never get tired of you and others mocking the ridiculous Jim Cramer. Your additional dunk on the despicable Ezra Miller was icing on the comedy cake.


July 26: This coming Sunday’s NEO Comicon is commemorating my five decades in the comics industry with a special poster. Proceeds from sales of this poster and an auction of the individual pieces of art making up the poster will go to charity.

July 27: Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971) is one of my favorite G-films. I couldn’t find an affordable Hedorah figure at G-Fest, but I found this small four-monster set on eBay. Maybe I can upgrade the Smog Monster in the future.

July 28: Medina’s Enterprise Rent-A-Car has been a rock star for us as we deal with even more problems with our Hyundai Santa Fe SUV. Great service and vehicles. I’ll be driving a Chevrolet Blazer to NEO Comicon this coming Sunday.

July 29: Olivia Twist: Honor Among Thieves by writers Darin Strauss and Adam Dalva with art by Emma Vieceli is an engaging future take on the classic Dickens male character. It’s got great color art by Lee Loughridge and a very satisfying conclusion.

July 30: Harley Quinn season three. The first episode was mediocre, but the series was back to its bad old self after that. Love that we’re seeing more of the Batman Family and Kite Man/Golden Glider.
Definitely not for kids.

July 31: NEO Comicon 2022 was everything I could have hoped for. I had a ball talking with old and new friends...and selling a whole lot of comics and books. As long as the event invites me, I’ll be there.

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

© 2022 Tony Isabella