Monday, January 31, 2022




Frequent visitors to the bloggy thing know I read a lot of manga. If I had to estimate, I’d say about a third of the comics I borrow from my local library or buy are manga. One of the big draws for me is the variety to be found in Japanese comics. That said, my manga reading tends more towards crazy comedies and human dramas than the battle and supernatural stuff. But just as manga itself isn’t one size fits all, I’m always going beyond my favorite genres. Here are some of the manga I’ve read recently.

The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home Part 4 by Konami Kanata [Vertical; $24.95] is a heartwarming, honestly suspenseful conclusion to the series. Here’s a summary from Wikipedia:

A grey and white kitten with black stripes wanders away from her mother and siblings one day while enjoying a walk outside with her family. Lost in her surroundings, the kitten struggles to find her family and instead is found by a young boy, Youhei, and his mother. They take the kitten home, but, as pets are not allowed in their housing complex, they try to find her a new home. This proves to be difficult, and the family decides to keep the kitten. While being housebroken, the kitten mistakenly answers to "Chi" (as in shi- from shikko, the Japanese word for "urine") and this becomes her name. Chi then lives with her new family, learning about different things and meeting new people and animals.

Chi’s frolics and explorations in the world are always amusing, but the series takes a somewhat darker turn as two events converge. At the same time Chi’s human family is preparing to move to Paris, they learn Chi’s original owners are still looking for the kitten. Will they return Chi to his mother and siblings? Which family will Chi decide to stay with? Will Youhei’s heart be broken? I believe my heart was in my throat as I got closer to the conclusion.

This is one of the very best manga series I’ve ever read and it’s suitable for all ages. There’s also an anime and I’ll be checking that out as soon as possible.

I recommend borrowing the first part of the series from your local library. If you like it, Amazon is offering a boxed set for $78.30, down from the list price of $109.80.

ISBN 978-1949980387


BL Metamorphosis Vol. 5 [Seven Seas; $13.99] completes this Kaori Tsurutani series about the power of friendship and boys love manga. Yuki Ichinoi is 75 years old, living alone after the death of her husband. She comes across a BL manga in the bookstore and, curious, buys it. 17-year-old clerk Urara Sayama notices this unusual sale. Though painfully shy, Sayama becomes friends with Ichinoi when the woman returns to buy subsequent volumes in the series. The two are 58 years apart, but bond over their love of BL manga.

Though BL Metamorphosis is a quiet series, the friendship between the two women is nicely developed. Ichinoi and Sayama attend some manga conventions together and the older woman encourages her young friend to create and publish her own manga. Both women experience some life changes in this final volume, but the conclusion of the series is satisfying.

I recommend BL Metamorphosis to those manga readers willing to try something different and subdued. It won’t be for every reader, but I’m glad I read it.

ISBN 978-1-64827-304-9


Love Me for Who I Am Vol. 4 by Kata Konayama [Seven Seas; $12.99] is the penultimate volume in this manga series. Here’s a Wikipedia summary:

Love Me for Who I Am follows non-binary high school student Mogumo, who lives away from their family home. At school, fellow student Tetsu Iwaoka invites them to work at Question!, a maid cafĂ©. Mogumo signs on, happy at first because they can present how they want, but soon discovers the reason Tetsu invited them to work there was because he mistook them for a cross-dressing boy. Incensed, Mogumo tells Iwaoka not to assume their gender based on presentation,  causing Iwaoka and the rest of the cafe's staff to re-think what they know about gender.

For me, the strength of this series was how the characters educated themselves about gender. I’m of the opinion that no one size fits all, that no one is entirely one type of person or another. We are vast, we contain multitudes. I enjoyed seeing good people trying to be allies to one another and overcome misconceptions. Eventually, Konayama injects some family drama into the story, which actually contrasts nicely with the easy acceptance from the cafe’s workers. I’m looking forward to seeing how the story ends.

Seven Seas rates this as “Older Teen (15+)” and that’s probably a decent guideline. I didn’t find anything unsuitable for a younger reader in the four volumes, but we live in times when many people would rather eliminate everything that doesn’t fit nearly into how they think people should be. However, if the issues raised in this series are of interest to you and your own kids, I highly recommend Love Me For Who I Am to you.



Gender issues are also the driving theme of Peyo’s Boy Meets Maria (Seven Seas; $13.99). Taiga wants to be an actor. On his first day in high school, he joins the drama club and meets the beautiful,  mysterious Maria. It’s love at first sight for Taiga, but what he doesn’t learn until a little later is that Maria is a boy.

Maria is Arima, a young man with a troubled past who eschews male roles. He’s more comfortable playing female parts in the school’s plays. Though confused, Taiga still loves them. (Maria/Arima does not express preferred pronouns, so I’m going with one that seems to fit as well as any other.) How Taiga navigates his friendship and desire for Maria/Arima drives the story.

This is a single-volume manga. Peyo (aka Kousei Eguchi) passed away at the tragically young age of 23. I don’t know if he had plans to continue this series. The volume does end on a fairly satisfactory note, but I think there was more that could have been done with Taiga, Maria/Arima, their friends and their families.

Seven Seas rates Boy Meets Maria as “Older Teen (17+)”, which is a good call. Recommended.

ISBN 978-1-64827-645-3

That’s all for today. Look for more manga (and general comics and graphic novels) reviews in the weeks to come.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Sunday, January 23, 2022




Welcome to the second part of my 2021'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. On three occasions, I’ve reached my goal of reading and writing about all the FCBD comics from a given year. The quest begins anew.

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.

Free Comic Book Day 2021: Spider-Man/Venom #1 [Marvel] has a trio of excerpts from various titles. “Test-Drive” by Zeb Wells with art by Patrick Gleason is an eight-page segment of Ben Reilly (a Peter Parker clone last I recall) once again becoming Spider-Man with the intriguing twist of an organization backing him up. “Like Father, Like Son” by writers Ram V and Al Ewing with artists Bryan Hitch and Andrew Currie is an eight-page Venom segment that shows Eddie Brock and his son doing symbiote stuff. There’s also four pages of something teasing a new Kingpin storyline by Chip Zdarsky with art by Greg Smallwood and two pages of text that doesn’t really explain what all of the above mean.

QUALITY: Some nice writing and art, but none of the three excerpts pulled me into their respective stories.

ACCESSIBILITY: Virtually non-existent. I have no clue what’s gone before or even what’s happening in the excerpts.

SALESMANSHIP: Several pages of ads for Marvel books and creators. That’s important to Free Comic Book Day issues.

SCORE: Five points out of a possible ten points.


The Last Kids on Earth: Thrilling Tales from the Tree House is by New York Times bestselling author Max Brallier. It’s from Viking, an imprint from Penguin Random House. It features a 22-page story, which I assume is from an existing graphic novel. Art is credited to Douglas Wolgate, Lorena Alvarez Gomez, Xavier Bonet, Jay Cooper, Christopher Mitten and Anoosha Syed.

QUALITY: Serviceable. There are some funny moments in this tale and some gloriously wacky inventions. The storytelling was shaky, but we did get a fairly satisfying ending.

ACCESSIBILITY: What we didn’t get was a proper introduction to the world of The Last Kids on Earth. I have no idea how they ended up as the last kids on Earth, how they survive and what their world is like. I frequently felt lost while reading this story.

SALESMANSHIP: Excellent. Apparently, The Last Kids on Earth are a series of graphic novels and a Netflix original series. There are official toys and a video game. The issue also has three pages of ads for other books from the publisher.

SCORE: Five points out of a possible ten points.


Just Beyond: Monstrosity [kaboom!] presents what I think might be the first issue of a comic book or the first chapter of a graphic novel. It’s written by New York Times bestselling author R.L. Stine with art by Irene Flores. Stine is best-known for his Goosebumps YA fiction, which my son Eddie devoured in elementary school. I will have more to say about that in a bit.

QUALITY: The 20-page story was excellent. Two brothers who are not on the same page have bought a long-closed studio known for making horror movies. The children of the optimistic brother are excited and maybe a little bit nervous. There’s a mysterious caretaker and lots of sinister suspense. I want to read more of this.


SALESMANSHIP: Almost as excellent. There are several pages of house ads for other books aimed at kids. However, there is no house ad directing the reader of this free comic to the rest of the story.

SCORE: Nine points out of a possible ten points.

DIGRESSION: When he was just a tad, Eddie wrote a Goosebumps-like story in which his father (that would be me) turned into some kind of plant monster and had to be destroyed. The tale so terrified one of his classmates that the teacher asked me to talk to the girl and show her that I was not a plant monster and Eddie’s story was just a story. I was a proud parent that day.


Sonic the Hedgehog 30th Anniversary [IDW] has two stories. “Amy’s New Hobby” is by Gale Galligan [story] and Thomas Rothlisberger [art]. The longer “Race to the Empire” is by David Mariotte [story] and various artists.

QUALITY: “Amy’s New Hobby” is a sweet little tale of a young girl whose secret hobby is creating comic book stories starring Sonic.I love the encouragement she gets from her family/friends and from Sonic himself. “Race to the Empire” is nothing more than flashbacks  from previous Sonic adventures. It’s not actually a story. It’s a summary and, as such, not very interesting to me.

ACCESSIBILITY: I was lost from the start. However, since Sonic is such a popular character, I suspect other readers already know who these characters are.

SALESMANSHIP: With several pages of ads for Sonic stuff, this FCBD comic gets full points here.

SCORE: Five points out of a possible ten points.


Vampirella Volume 5 #1 [Dynamite] has the 20-page opening chapter of “Seduction of the Innocent” by writer Christopher Priest and artist/colorist Ergun Gunduz with letterer Willie Schubert. Cover by Alex Ross. Edited by Matt Idelson.

QUALITY: Plane crash. Immortal but decomposing German bad guy. Our heroine on a psychiatrist’s couch. All sorts of supernatural evil lurking. Well-written. Beautifully drawn. I’m intrigued and will be reading the trade when it’s collected.

ACCESSIBILITY: Vampirella has been around for half a century and I have not stayed at all current with her adventures. While I haven’t a clue what she’s been up to in recent decades, I had no problem getting into this story.

SALESMANSHIP: Exceptional. Ten pages of ads for Vampirella books, posters and even a tarot deck.

SCORE: Ten points out of a possible ten points.

That’s a wrap on this second installment of my Free Comic Book Day reviews. Look for part three soon.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Friday, January 21, 2022



George Perez is the best of us.

When I say “us” in the above sentence, I am referring to all of the people who make up “comicdom.” The creators, the fans, the editors and publishers, retailers and their staffs, convention promoters, historians, filmmakers, performers and so on. Our little thing has certainly grown since Superman first leaped some tall building in pursuit of justice. It’s a big tent, but I don’t lightly single out my friend George as the best.

I spent a couple of days convincing myself that today’s opening was justified. That sentence came to me the moment I decided to write about George. I spent those couple of days trying to come up with another comics person who could hold that title and, though there were certainly some worthy candidates, it still came down to just George. The best of us.

George is beloved by his fans and loves them right back. He’s shown that over and over again. His love of comics shows in everything he has ever done, even his earliest works. He has always been the very model of a modern major creator: supremely talented, dependable and generous as all get out. He is a wonderful collaborator who earned the respect of everyone he’s teamed with. He’s contributed to many charities and gifted countless fans with terrific sketches. He’s freely given of his time and expertise to aspiring creators. Now, as he faces what none of us want to think about, the incredible regard with which his fans and fellow professionals hold him is becoming manifest.

I wish I could say I was a close friend of George’s. I didn’t do a lot of socializing within the industry when I lived and worked in New York City. I still don’t do a lot of that when I’m a guest at conventions. I’m kind of awkward and even shy when I’m not playing Tony Isabella. 

I’m told George is a fine actor. I suppose I’m an actor as well, who benefited from watching my boss, friend and mentor Stan Lee in action. I play a confident and hopefully entertaining Tony Isabella at public events. It’s a sham, but I’m coming clean before anyone figures it out for themselves. I’m not faking my love for my fans and comics in general. It’s the presentation that calls upon whatever meager acting skills I have.

George is an aspirational role model. I wish I was more like him.  I’m not sure I have ever seen him without a warming smile on his handsome face. I’m more sure that I’ve never heard or read of him having an unkind word for anyone. That’s a bridge too far for me, but I admire George for it.

One of my claims to fame is that I was there at the start of this great man’s career, although the first time we worked together was a thankless nightmare of a job. For history’s sake...

As editor of Monsters Unleashed, I plotted a Gulliver Jones story to be drawn by Rich Buckler. The plot was not one of my best, but, knowing Rich liked to involve himself in the stories beyond drawing them, I figured he would help me make the story better. Instead, with a deadline looming, he turned the job over to this young man he’d been working with.

George was saddled with a flawed plot and a crazy deadline. He did make the deadline, but the job wasn’t going to be a showpiece for him. I asked Doug Moench to script the story because he could do it so much faster than I could have. Feeling the looming deadline and not having access to stronger inkers, I gave that assignment to Duffy Vohland, a swell guy but not the inker George needed at that stage in his career. I don’t think I’ve looked at the story since I did the proofreading on it prior to publication.

I have a vague memory of someone approaching me at a convention and asking what I thought of George’s work. Exhausted after what was a very long day, I probably mumbled something less than complimentary about the work. The unkind comment got back to George.

I have another vague memory of, a couple years later, George asking me about the comment and asking me why I kept giving him work. My response was a flip “Well, I could tell you weren’t always going to suck.” I have less faith in this memory. Maybe my mind was trying to convince me that I was less of a dick than I probably was.

But I did give George more work, assigning him to “The Sons of The Tiger” feature in The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu. The series was a hot mess. I plotted the first story George drew and hired Bill Mantlo to script it and then continue as the regular writer.

The rest is history. Bill and George did amazing things with this series. They created the White Tiger, who may have been the first Puerto Rican super-hero in comics.

I got to work with George one more time before I fled from New York to move back to Ohio. Not the best career move I could have made, but it may well have saved my life.


Roy Thomas had launched Unknown World of Science Fiction, a black-and-white magazine. He showed me a Michael Kaluta cover of a robot soldier and gave me the title - “War Toy” - and a line - “You don’t pin a medal on a tank!” I went to work.

Inspired by that cover, the line and my love of Robert Kanigher’s war stories over at DC Comics, I wrote my by-then-usual panel by panel, page by page plot. I didn’t not know Roy would give George that plot until I started getting the pencilled pages to script. I was blown away by those pages. I couldn’t script them fast enough. That’s how excited I was by what George had done.


George made a robot created for war so damned human. The military might have programmed courage into FM-1, but George programmed in all the humanity and tragedy I could have hoped for. His artistic
storytelling was right on the money and, of all the stories I did for the black-and-white magazines, “War Toy” remains my favorite.

I have never had the opportunity to work with George again. I wish I had. I have followed his career along with his many fans and have been amazed at all he’s done. His work alone earns him the rank of “comics legend” and the manner in which he has lived his life makes him the best of us all.

I’ve seen George at a few conventions here and there. Talked to him a bit. Not the long conversations I would have enjoyed, but I am glad for them. I was and am in awe of him.

George Perez is the best of us. I wish I could be more like him. I hope to be more like him in the future. Even if it’s just a little. Because even a little more George Perez, reflected in his life and the lives of those he has touched, can only be good for comics and good for the world.    

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Sunday, January 16, 2022


When I first started doing the "Things That Make Me Happy" feature on my Facebook page, I would alternate it with "Things That Piss Me Off." I only did this twice. 

Here are the entries for February, 2016:

February 1: Editorial cartoonists commenting on the shapes/styles of the new Barbie dolls and using transsexuals as the punch lines. Pardon the expression, but you’re being dicks.

February 2: Opening the pre-viewed copy of A History of Violence I bought from Blockbuster a long time ago and finding there’s no disc in the case. I have too many unwatched DVDs. 

February 3: Supporting Kickstarter projects that take too long to get finished and sent to backers. Enough. I’ll buy this material when/if it’s finally published. 

February 4: Bongo Comics is canceling Bart Simpson with issue #100. They should replace it with an ongoing Lisa Simpson title.

February 5: Magazines and organizations that send “final” renewal notices on a weekly basis. I suspect they don’t know what the word “final” means.

February 6: Bernie/Hilary supporters who savage the candidate they don’t support. Either one would make a better President than their Republican opponents. If you think otherwise, you haven’t done your homework.

February 7: People who post “prison rape” comments or jokes on my Facebook page threads. Such posts are NEVER acceptable on my page.

February 8: Cyborg wearing a Black Vulcan shirt in his mini-series. He’s now my least favorite member of the Justice League.

February 9: Plumbing problems. This time, it’s two hot water valves that can’t be completely shut off. So it’s a double whammy. First, we pay the plumber. Then, next month, we pay the much higher than usual water bill..

February 10: The “bully” contingent of the Republican presidential field: Trump, Cruz, Christie. Not an ounce of decency or humanity in any of them.

February 11: Athletes and entertainers blessed with talent, wealth and fame who abuse such gifts via debauchery, drunkenness, drug use and other bad behavior. 

February 12: The disgustingly obscene amount of money squandered on political campaigns. Imagine all the good uses such money could be put to instead. 

February 13: People who believe in “religious freedom” but only for their religion.

February 14: People who claim to be pro-life when they are clearly only pro-fetus.

February 15: Bigots who try to position their bigotry as “religious freedom.” God and Godzilla both find you loathsome.

February 16: Sick days. I consider any illness an affront from the universe because of how it limits what I can accomplish that day.

February 17: Comic strips that run sideways, especially online. It is a major pain to turn my monitor so I can read them.

February 23: Advertising that wraps around a newspaper’s front page and obscures it. I have to remove the sheet before I can read that front page.

February 24: John Kaisch. He’s no moderate. His record on women’s health issues is ghastly and he undermines public education to benefit his charter school donors.

February 25: Getting poked on Facebook. It’s annoying and not even remotely cute. I deeply resent even the second it takes to ignore such nonsense. Poke me at the wrong time and you get un-friended.

February 26: Republicans who think the late Antonin Scalia should vote on pending Supreme Court cases from beyond the grave. I wish I was making this up.

February 29: Concrete floors at conventions. Yeah, I know they come with the venues, but, man, are they hard on my back, feet and legs. 

Hope you enjoy this blast from the past. I'll be back soon with new content.

Friday, January 14, 2022


I've had some medical issues since just after my December 22nd birthday. I'm hoping to get back to blogging soon.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022




This is my round two with The Bloodthirsty Bees, a Chinese monster movie distributed by Youku and which I watched on YouTube a couple days ago. Writing about it is difficult because there’s nothing on the Internet Movie Database about the film. It had English-language sub-titles, but they were terse and not very helpful.  

Youku is a video hosting service in Beijing, China. It distributes a wide range of mostly Chinese movies around the world. These would include comedies, romances, historical action films, fantasies and what you and I would recognize as monster movies not unlike which used to be a regular feature on the Syfy Channel.

The Bloodthirsty Bees made its YouTube debut on December 1. Youku has come to realize there is a decent English-speaking audience for such films and included English-language subtitles. As I said, they weren’t the best subtitles, but they did help me figure out a lot of what was going on in the movie. There will be...



Let’s start off with the best summary I can manage given the terse subtitles. A scientist has develop a way to breed bigger and better bees. Him being a benevolent man of science and all, I’m assuming he wants to feed the world.  But the bees turn out to be literal man-eaters, capable of stripping humans right down to the bones. They like their blood and beef.

The scientist’s boss is cool with the obvious military benefits of this development. Of course, they need to find a cure for the bee strings. Their soldiers will have the cure, but the enemy soldiers won’t. Does the Geneva Convention cover killer insects?

The secret laboratory is in a forest or jungle of some kind. After the bees escape, the scientist is hiding in the woods surrounding a small village. He doesn’t want his boss to get his notes and use them to weaponize the bees.

The hero of the story is a young man who becomes smitten with the scientist’s daughter. But there’s a riff between them because she is half-Japanese and the Japanese are definitely portrayed as very evil in this movie. It feels like the Chinese government may have had something to do with that propaganda, even only to the extent that the movie makers wanted to score brownie points.

The scientist’s daughter and his former student go looking for him with a few dozen soldiers and thugs. The daughter is a good person, the former student is a rotter. The villagers are good people who just want to live in peace, but they will fight to protect the ones they love.

The bees are two or three times the size of normal bees. Scary but mostly because of their numbers. For some unexplained reason, the queen bee is bigger than a large man and, unlike most queen bees, she doesn’t just stay at home and make baby bees.

The first fifteen minutes of the film are action-packed. The bees escape and kill some lab assistants before heading for the village. Many of the villagers are injured, but the body count appears to be low. But those who’ve been bitten by the bees come down with some sort of virus that is killing them. They then argue about getting vaccines for the virus and how that violates their freedoms. I’m just kidding. These are just simple villagers who know the value of medicine and science. They aren’t right-wing morons.

There’s a lot of filler between those opening minutes and the final battle between the bad guys and the villagers. We see the skeletons of some of the mercenaries and scientists, who must be more tasty than villagers.

We get the philosophical discussion of using the bees to produce food or using them for war. In that discussion, the people with the guns win and set out to find the queen bee’s nest. They need their special to make a cure, which they will test on the villagers and then kill them.

A familiar bit in these Chinese monster movies is for the bad guy to kill a couple of characters we don’t get to know well to force the lead good guys to do what the bad guy wants them to do. Which is find the nest for him.

The good guys escape. They find the nest. The bad guys track them to the nest. Fighting breaks out. An explosion takes out the queen bee and some of the bad guys. That surprised me. There was only one giant queen bee and there was still a lot of movie left.

However, more bad guys showed up to battle the villagers and grab the good scientist’s notes. Which include information on how these bees can be restored to normal. The villagers fight valiantly, but they don’t have guns or fancy swords.

The hero and the former student go at it a couple times. The former student tries to shoot the hero, but the scientist saves the hero by taking the bullet and dying. Slowly enough to solve the romantic problem by informing his daughter that she is really 100% Chinese. I admit the anti-Japanese propaganda was disturbing.

Though the queen bee is still dead, a horde of other killer bees descend on the village to dine out on the former student while the villagers make it to safety. It is now obvious disgusting villain meat tastes much better than decent villager meat. I’ll pass that cooking to Gordon Ramsey.

Using the scientist’s notes, the cure heals the villagers from the bee virus. The notes also reveal how to turn these man-eating bees back into friendly vegan bees. We learn this in a title card just before the credits roll.


I’m afraid The Bloodthirsty Bees represents around ninety minutes of my life I’ll never get back. I enjoy this type of a movie, but this one never clicked for me. The special effects were mediocre.  There were too many dull moments. I never felt I really got to know the characters. I can deal with bad special effects and bad pacing, but I need relatable human characters to make these movies work for me. I didn’t get them here.

I’ve got more news, views and reviews on tap as I work to get this blog back to the nigh-daily status it once had. Your comments are part of the process, so please let me know what you think of what I’m doing here.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Saturday, January 1, 2022




These monthly columns usually begin with my bemoaning the terrible stuff in my life and our country. However, it’s a new year and I’m changing that up. Less doom and gloom and more positivity.

I’m determined to hit the ground running in 2022. I’ll be finishing a consulting project, wrapping up some household business, writing Last Kiss cartoons, preparing for the online launch of some sort of Tony Isabella Store and starting work on the Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales that will launch in the spring if the weather permits.

There will be the usual “resolutions” that many people make. I’ll try to exercise and lose weight. My health is good for a man of my age, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. I’ll be downsizing all year long with the notion that, maybe a few years from now, I can move to an area somewhere better suited to my beliefs. I’ll try to be careful with money, assuming I actually make some this year. This includes not buying back issues of Candy, Gorgo, Kathy, Konga, Reptilicus or The Barker until I have figured out which issues of these titles I already have.  

I am in the process of working out an agreement with an agent who will manage my convention appearances and speaking engagements and pretty much any other appearance that involves my going somewhere to thrill both civilians and comics fans. In addition, I definitely want to explore acting as a side gig. Even if Stargirl showrunner Geoff Johns doesn’t cave to the millions of demands (pretty much all from me) that I play Al Pratt, the Justice Society member that the same millions are demanding to appear on that series. Anyway, once that agent/client agreement is fully in place, I’ll give you her contact information.

I’m going to launch a YouTube channel with my son Eddie. We’re not 100% sure what that will be about, but we think we can have fun and share that fun with you.

I’ve set myself the goal of writing three books in the first third of 2022. The first is a kaiju-themed children’s book. The second is the second volume of July 1963: A Pivotal Month in the Comic-Book Life of Tony Isabella. The third is the first in a series of books of my movie reviews with each volume having its own theme. I’ll be rewriting old reviews and writing new ones.

A further goal is to write the 48-page introductory issue for the new super-hero universe I’m creating. It’s unlike any super-hero universe you’ve ever seen. Once the issue is written, I’ll look for artists and publishers. If I win the lottery, I’ll self-publish it. I’ve set myself a July deadline for this.

I’m definitely open to paying comics writing gigs. On my schedule for the first few months of 2022 are several short horror stories. I will only be selling comic-book publication rights to these tales and retaining all other rights. I’ll also be seeking additional compensation should the publisher reprint my stories and, if said publisher should go out of business, the comic-book rights revert to me. That’s only fair.

Also in the first half of 2022, I’ll be writing the bible for this new TV series I’m creating for one of my Black Lightning friends. I’m know the chances of my selling such a series are low, but it’s something I think is worthwhile. I’ll also be following up on the pitch I wrote for a Black Lightning spin-off that’ is that phrase again...unlike any super-hero series you’ve even seen on TV or in the comics. If that pitch doesn’t get the green light, I’ll switch out the proprietary elements and develop it as a comic-book series or graphic novels.

I also be switching out proprietary elements from rejected pitches sent to DC Comics and Marvel Comics. I’ll work these pitches into their own things and see what I can do with them.

I know this sounds like an insane amount of work, but I’m tired of taking a back seat in the comics industry. If nothing else, when I pass, my heirs will have a trunk load of great ideas they sell to companies that like me better dead.

That was mostly positive, right?

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

December 1: The MAD Stocking Stuffer. This 96-page collection was a Giant Eagle impulse buy, but I’m enjoying the holiday heck out of it. Reprints or not, MAD continues to delight me.

December 2: Some Funko Christmas cheer for our mantle. It’s Batman as Ebenezer Scrooge. And now I know what I’d write if DC asked me to write a Batman Christmas story.



December 3: Our other Funko holiday mantle piece is Wonder Woman with a string light lasso. Saintly Wife Barb has incorporated this figure and the Batman as Ebenezer Scrooge figure into our Christmas fireplace mantle display.

December 4: Despite my disturbing lack of funds, I’m further ahead on my holiday shopping than in any recent years within memory. If you don’t get a gift, it’s because you were naughty. If you do get a gift, you were really naughty. Cheers to all.

December 5: Saturday night monster flicks. I watched The Crawling Eye with my pal Svengoolie, followed by The Giant Gila Monster with Leopold and Lenore on The Big Bad B-Movie Show.

December 6: From Amazon, at around 9:45 this morning, I ordered a gift for a family member. It arrived at my front door three hours later. Does Amazon have a replicator and transporter? Is this Star Trek? What color shirt am I wearing?


December 7: From Funko Pop!, we have a new Christmas fairy for our mantle. Tinker Bell has long been one of my favorite Disney ladies. She deserves her own movie or, at least, a comic-book written by yours truly.

December 8: Medina’s The Exchange is part of a retail chain for new & used CDs & vinyl, plus movies, games & related collectibles. It has lots of cool stuff with a friendly and helpful staff. I think I’ll be visiting them more often.

December 9: Just call me Booster Old. I received my Moderna booster shot. My new vaccine nanobots are already making friends with my original vaccine nanobots, making my magnetic personality even more so. Science rules! Ignorance drools!



December 10: Jeffrey Brown’s Batman, Robin and Howard, a delightful DC Kids graphic novel. Brown portrays the two boys in a manner that rings true and Batman as a competent but sometimes befuddled dad. Great fun for all ages.

December 11: My 2022 New Year’s Resolutions are already in place. Three books in three months. I’ve started work on all three, but, having decided their order of completion, will concentrate on one a month starting in January.

December 12: Vanity, vanity, all is vanity. On December 22, I’ll be 70 years old. I never tire of people telling me I don’t look 70. Because most of the time I don’t feel 70. Especially when farts are involved. Then I’m 12.


December 13: Doubling as both host and musical guest, Billie Ellish was terrific on the December 11 Saturday Night Live. There were a number of great sketches on the show. Mark me down as entertained in Medina.

December 14: We’ve reached the semifinals of the two-week Jeopardy! Professors Tournament and the competition has been amazing from the start. I usually do pretty good playing at home, but these brainy contestants are leaving me in the dust.

December 15: Praise for comics artist Ron Garney from Keanu Reeves on the December 13 episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.Garney is drawing the actor’s BRZRKR comic, which is co-written by Matt Kindt.

December 16: Malachi of Medina’s Holiday Hair. I’ve always gotten great haircuts from this fine establishment, but Malachi has kicked it up a notch for me. And given what he’s had to work with, he is remarkable. Thanks, sir.


December 17: The annual Holiday Herd Gathering. It’s always great to lunch with my brothers Bob Ingersoll, Roger Price and Thom “The Young One” Zahler, but especially near Christmas. May we enjoy many more of these.

December 18: For its last show of 2021, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert presented the animated cartoon “A Conspiracy Carol” wherein “Scrooge-Anon” - led by Ted Cruz and Marjorie Taylor Green - tried to “Stop the Sleigh.” It was brilliant and hilarious.


December 19: Spider-Man: No Way Home is a deep dive into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Its story is complicated but compelling with amazing performances and surprising humor that offsets dark drama.Too intense for wee kids, but recommended to all others.

December 20: Saturday Night Live’s 2021 Christmas show. Paul Rudd, a couple cast members and guests, pre-taped sketches, some classic sketches, two musicians, limited crew, no audience. It was still a wonderful celebration of the holidays and SNL itself.

December 21: My transgender friends inspire me. Their courage. Their determination to live as their true selves. Their resilience. Their kindness to and support for one another. Knowing them makes me better.



December 22: The Isabella Family now has the 2021 Disney Holiday Funko Pop! It’s Donald Duck, captured here before he’s discovered the Christmas tree lights are tangled and some of the bulbs aren’t working. Hilarity will ensue.

December 23: On my 70th birthday, which was yesterday, I was again reminded how many terrific friends I’ve made through my comics and online activities, and from all walks of life. It remains the best present I could have received.

December 24: I wasn’t happy to go to the Brecksville MetroHealth ER yesterday with an inflammation of my right knee, but I did receive excellent care from the nurses and techs there. We’ll speak of the physician’s assistant another time.

December 25: Christmas at my brother Ernie’s. My goddaughter/niece Kara got married three weeks ago in Copenhagan and we finally got to meet her husband Nik. She’s terrific. He’s terrific. They make a terrific couple.


December 26: Jeopardy champion Amy Schneider has continued 2021's run of truly incredible contestants. She’s fun, inspirational and relatable. My wife and I are definitely on Team Amy.

December 27: Groo Meets Tarzan by Sergio Aragones, Mark Evanier and Thomas Yeates. Lots of laugh out loud moments in these four issues. Downside. I can’t get invited to Comic-Con even when it’s fictional and in a comic book by friends of mine.


December 28: Stan Lee. The characters he created or co-created. His stories. His amazing dialogue. The conversations we had over the years. The things I learned from him. I believe I owe more to him than any other person in my life. Excelsior!

December 29: Fly Me to the Moon by Kenjiro Hata. In this manga’s fourth book, the romance between married virgins Nasa and Tsukasa is even cuter and sweeter on the road and in the borrowed apartment they must live in when their building burns down.

December 30: Amazon Customer Service Representative Melanie. There was a problem with a gift card I had purchased last month. It took just ten minutes from when I began chatting online with her for her to resolve the problem. Well done.

December 31: CSI Vegas delivered a mostly satisfying ending to its first revival season. I say “mostly” because I wanted the villain to suffer more. Great performances all around and I’m now invested in the new regulars.

Here’s wishing all of my readers a happy and prosperous 2022. May you and yours be safe.

May those trying to destroy democracy meet defeat in all their vile attempts. As Jor-El said, “They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way.”

May we all be that light. I’ll be back soon.

© 2022 Tony Isabella