Friday, February 25, 2022

PENSACON 2022: THE DAY BEFORE

 


Our Pensacon 2022 adventure began on February 17. Saintly Wife Barb and I celebrated her [redacted] birthday by getting up in the wee hours and going to Cleveland Hopkins airport for our 6:15 am flight  to Nashville with a connecting flight to Pensacola. Our son Eddie drove us there.

We flew Southwest Airlines. While it’s not my favorite airline - at this point, I’m not sure I have a favorite airline - but I haven’t had problems with it. There being no direct flights to Pensacola, we flew to Nashville first. It was a quick trip of around an hour. Indeed, if you add up both flights, we were barely in the air for two hours. We liked that a lot.

The Nashville airport is one of the best smelling airports in the country. The gate we landed at was in the middle of many eateries offering barbeque of one kind or another. I kind of wish we’d had a longer layover.

The only downside of the flights to Pensacon is that it was pouring rain in Nashville. When we retrieved our luggage in Pensacola, all three bags were wet. Thankfully, there was no damage to anything in our suitcases.

Sidebar. We didn’t have to pay for our luggage, which represented a savings of around a hundred bucks. Barb booked our flights, so I don’t know if this is the case for all Southwest customers on every flight. If it is, that’s a big point in the airline’s favor. End of sidebar.

It’s always big fun to land at the Pensacola Intergalactic Airport, which changes its name for the Pensacon weekend and decorates with related posters and such. The airport even changes its dozen or so gates to “stargates.” That’s indicative of how much the city loves the convention.

The always efficient and friendly Pensacon transportation team, led by the magnificent Maria Landy, met us on our way to the baggage claim and whisked us off to the Hampton Inn Pensacola Beach, which would be our home for the weekend. It was wonderful staying right on the beach, which we could see from our room. Amenities included a huge TV, microwave, refrigerator and safe. There was also a free breakfast every morning.

We were pretty tired from the early morning flights, so we crashed for a bit, took our time unpacking and then went to the hotel next door to say hello to Maria and grab lunch. As usual, Maria was her transcendent transportation goddess self. I can’t imagine not seeing her at Pensacon. The lunch was not transcendent. It did a number on me that curtailed my beach roaming.

                                                                                


  

Fear not, I did get to do some beach and other walking with Barb. We did some souvenir shopping and walked the beach a little later, checking out beachfront restaurants. We decided on Crabs for dinner and it was a darn good choice.

Crabs is owned and managed by the same people who own the legendary McGuire’s Irish Pub in downtown Pensacola. Our meals and drinks were excellent. We even ordered the giant-size key lime pie, which lasted us until Monday morning.

Sleep did not allude us, even though we were both excited to start Pensacon on Friday. I’ll be back soon with the next chapter of our Pensacon adventures.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

PENSACON 2022

 

 

Excitement is in the air at Casa Isabella because Saintly Wife Barb and I are just a little over a week from experiencing the big fun and sheer joy of Pensacon 2022. My favorite convention takes place Friday, February 18, to Sunday, February 20.

The Pensacola Bay Center is the primary convention venue, a frankly magnificent building. That’s where you’ll find the circular Artists Alley, celebrity autographs and photo ops, the large vendor floor and ticketing. There are also lots of places to get food and drinks on the same level as the Artists Alley. I’ll be located on Artists Alley as well, but we’ll discuss that in a bit.

Pensacon is too big for just one building. Other official venues, used for panels and other presentations include the Rex Theatre, the Pensacola Cultural Center, Voices of Pensacola, UWF Historic Trust Bowden Building and De Luna Event Space.

Most official events and activities take place from 1-8pm Friday, 10am-6pm Saturday and 10am-5pm Sunday. To help you keep track, you can download the official Pensacon app on your smart phone. Trust me, it will come in handy.

Pensacon always has a large and varied guest list. As someone who is writing a book on shark movies, I’m especially looking forward to meeting Richard Dreyfuss and Jeffrey Kramer. The former is one of my favorite actors (with Jaws being but one of his many terrific movies) and the latter was the deputy in Jaws. Other guests include Steven Butler, Thom Zahler, Tara Reid, Wendy and Richard Pini, Jim Shooter, Adam-Troy Castro, Rob Paulsen, David Gerrold, Mike Grell, Donal Logue, Michael Golden, George Takei, Marti Kristen, Giancarlo Esposito, Mark Maddox, Jim Cummings, Kim Rhodes, Joey Fatone, Kelly Yates, John Barrowman, Judge Reinhold, John Rose Bowie and dozens more. If you want to meet all your favorites, make your plans well in advance. There’s so much to do and see at Pensacon.

As I mentioned above, I’ll have a table in Artists Alley. At this point, all I know for sure is I’ll be signing comic books and other things I’ve written or have been involved with. I charge a modest $10 per signature, $15 if you’ve brought someone from one of those grading companies to witness the signature.

Saintly Wife Barb are debating whether it’s cost-effective for me to bring items to sell. With DC Comics having foolishly allowed my Black Lightning trades to go out of print, the only other Isabella comic book I have in good supply is the exclusive limited edition, signed and numbered reprint of the first Misty Knight appearance. This came out a few years back and only 1500 copies were printed. I’ve been selling these for $10 each, but that price won’t remain in effect much longer.

Another possibility: the Funko Pop Black Lightning figures. I have the two complete sets I needed for myself and the Black Lightning archives. But I also have some additional figures I might bring to the convention to sell. I will likely be selling those at $25 each and will sign them for free.

If there’s something in particular you’re looking for, and I have extra copies beyond my file and archives copies, let me know. I’ll bring it to the convention. You can e-mail me with your requests.

Pensacon itself is all the reason one needs to come to Pensacola on that weekend, but the city itself offers more reasons. Especially in the area of dining.

Many of the area restaurants will offer themes that tie in with the Pensacon activities. I’ve dined in some pretty nice eateries that adopted themes like Harry Potter (without the transphobia), Suicide Squad, Star Wars and more.

If you’re flying in to Pensacola, from the moment you arrive at the Pensacola International Airport, you know the city loves Pensacon. For that weekend, it’s the Pensacola Intergalactic Airport and the gates are designated as Star Gates. Posters and signage related to Pensacon are plentiful. Talk about putting out the welcome mat.

A couple of final notes. If you are an editor, publisher, promoter, movie maker and so on who would like to meet with me to discuss my working with you, I’ll be happy to accommodate you. Please e-mail me to set this up.

The same thing applies to podcasters, YouTubers or anyone else who wants to interview me during the convention. If I can fit you into my schedule, I will.

I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones at Pensacon 2022. I hope you’re among them.

That’s all for today. I’ll be back soon with more stuff.
   
© 2022 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2021: Part Three

 

Welcome to part three of my 2021 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 have 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.

Zom 100: Bucket list of the Dead [Viz] is a strange series about an unhappy salary man who gets a new lease of life because of a zombie apocalypse. Written by Haro Aso with art by Kotaro Takata, the 16-page excerpt is fun and fast-moving, two things I never thought I would say about a zombie comic book. Also featured in this issue is a 15-page excerpt from Koyoharu Gotouge’s Demon Slayer.

QUALITY: Zom 100 made me laugh. The hero goes from wondering how he is going to get to work on time because of the zombie apocalypse to realize he never had to go to work again in two pages. Since he’s gonna die eventually, he wants to fulfill his 100-item bucket list before he kicks the bucket. More please.

The Demon Slayer excerpt doesn’t offer a good sample of the series. I reviewed the first volume of the series last year. If this sort of series interests you, you can get more information by checking out that bloggy thing.

ACCESSIBILITY: Zom 100 is completely accessible. The Demon Slayer excerpt not so much.

SALESMANSHIP: Okay. There’s an interior ad for the first volumes of both series while the back cover ad presents another five series.

SCORE: Nine points out of a possible ten points.

                                                                              


The Unfinished Corner [Wonderbound] presents excerpts from a trio of comics. The 18-page excerpt from the title series is written by Dani Colman with art by Rachel “Tuna” Petrovicz. In it, a group of Jewish students take a trip on a magic school bus because an angel needs their help.

“Wrassle Castle” (5 pages) is by Colleen Cover and Paul Tobin with art by Galaad. It seems to be some sort of medieval fantasy wherein a young woman defeats a monstrous wrestlers with her superior moves and a villain recruits criminals for doubtless villainous things.

“Verse” by Sam Beck (also 5 pages) has someone lost in the woods who meets someone else in the woods with no explanation as to why either of them is there.

QUALITY: The writing and art in the first excerpt is pretty good, save for some confusing elements in the early pages. The same can be said for the second excerpt, but it doesn’t offer clarity as to what its setting is. The third isn’t badly written or drawn, but it doesn’t hook the reader.

ACCESSIBILITY: Goes from decent to kinda of okay to non-existent. Most of the time I was lost.

SALESMANSHIP: Poor. No house ads for any of these series. Just the last panels copy saying the stories are continued in the upcoming issues.

SCORE: Five points out of a possible ten points.

                                                                            


I don’t normally consider the covers when I’m reviewing FCBD comic books, but I have to give the 10 Tons of Fun Preview [10 Ton Press] a point for its nostalgia-inspiring cover. I don’t know if the fans at the FCBD event I attended understood, but the cover evoked the covers of the 1960s Marvel Collectors' Item Classics. Those comics, reprinting the earliest stories of the Fantastic Four and others, always got my attention and my money.

Inside the issue, there are excerpts from four series. Red Dawn is a super-hero strip. Pat McCormick’s Charley and Humphrey is a wild funny animal strip. Fight is a rock-and-roll biography of the band. Becoming Frankenstein tells tales of the people whose parts made the Frankenstein Monster.

QUALITY: Red Dawn is the best of these excerpts, solid writing and art with a heroine with a welcome moral code. Charley and Humphrey isn’t as refined, but does provide some laughs. Fight is very wordy with uninteresting art; it’s probably only of interest to fans of bands and musicians like this. Becoming Frankenstein is choppy, but the premise is intriguing.

ACCESSIBILITY: Red Dawn is easy to get into. The other strips are okay in this regard.

SALESMANSHIP: Not good. Outside of final panel nods to the ongoing Red Dawn and Becoming Frankenstein series, there’s no promotion of the included titles.

SCORE: Seven points out of a possible ten points.

                                                                    


Rent-A-(Really Shy!) Girlfriend [Kodansha] has a 25-page excerpt of the manga by Reiji Miyajima. It’s a sequel to his hit series Rent-A-Girlfriend in which a young lady with a personality order sets a goal of going to a shop and enjoying an amazing angel french donut. It’s backed up by just a few pages of A School Frozen in Time from Naoshi Arakawa and Mizuki Tsujimura.

QUALITY: The Miyajima excerpt is well-written and well-drawn, but this seems like a pretty thin character and situation to hang the series on. What little we get of A School Frozen in Time has less-than-adequate storytelling and doesn’t last long enough for me to get a feel for the manga.

ACCESSIBILITY: The main story is easy to follow. The back-up story excerpt is not at all inviting for a new reader.

SALESMANSHIP: Barely adequate. There’s one interior ad for Rent-A-(Really Shy!) Girlfriend while the back cover of the comic promotes A School Frozen in Time.
                                                                            

                                                                      
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: I’m showing the back cover because seeing it made me interested in the manga. It’s intriguing and, if this free  issue had include more of the series, I might have sought out the three volumes currently available. As it is, I’m on the fence as to whether or not I’ll check out A School Frozen in Time.

SCORE: Five points out of a possible ten points.

That’s all for now. Look for more of my Free Comic Book Day reviews in the near future.  

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Sunday, February 6, 2022

THE MONSTERS ARE ON MEDINA'S STREETS


It was Saturday, December 20, around noon, when my son Eddie and I drove down Reagan Parkway. We were on our way to see Spider-Man: No Way Home, an early birthday present from Eddie to me. We knew what we would see at the intersection of North Court Street and Reagan, but that prior knowledge did nothing to minimize the abject disgust of the scene before us.

A dozen masked racists were gathered around an under-construction Taco Bell holding signs telling motorists to honk “if white lives matter” - no rational person has ever suggested they don’t - and “to have more white babies.”

Various Democratic office holders and organizations condemned the protest, saying the white supremacist message of bigotry and hatred is not ever acceptable in our community, especially not during the time of the year - Christmas and such - when the message should be one of bringing together in peace and harmony. They have a more rosy concept of Medina and Medina County that honest examination would give much credence to.

I’ve a vague memory that the Republican mayor of Medina might have  echoed these sentiments that racism and hatefulness is not what we are as a community. His argument might hold water if the city did not overwhelmingly vote for racist and white supremacist Donald J. Trump and other toxic Republicans.

If the Republican mayor did say such a thing, his comments didn’t make it into the very short article the Medina Gazette ran on the incident. Which makes me doubt my memory, what with the Gazette’s coverage of the news almost always slanted toward the Republicans in our area. The Gazette normally bends over and spreads its cheeks wide for Republicans.

Anyone who was in the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, or who was watching the live coverage of that day’s events, knows exactly what happened on that day. A treasonous President Trump, who refused to admit he lost the election and whose massive ego wouldn’t let him honor the will of the voters, incited a violent insurrection with the intent to subvert democracy and remain in office. It was the most disgusting thing I have ever seen a president do in my seven decades living on this planet and in this country.

There were countless people backing this vile assault on the very basics of our democracy. Even the Republicans who could easily have been victims of the Trump-inspired mob continued to subscribe to Trump’s big lie, the absurd claim that, in the most fair election in history, victory was somehow stolen from him.  

Simple logic dictates otherwise. If Democrats could have manipulated the results to deny him victory, why didn’t they do that in other races? Why did they not give themselves a bigger margin of victory in the Senate and the House? No Republican has ever even tried to answer those questions and, of course, the media lacked the courage to insist on the answers to those questions.

January 6, 2022. In Medina, “A Day of Remembrance Vigil” was held on Medina Square in commemoration of the insurrection that happened in 2021. The event organizer said:

“This is a day to remember a day that compromised our democracy and we want to make sure that the event is remembered so that it never happens again. We want to make sure people know we are responsible for our democracy, in that we need to vote, we need to respect our  votes, that we need to be part of the democracy process by also telling our representatives what we need and want.”

Sidebar. What I need and want is for Republican lawmakers to stop worshiping Trump and his big lie. What I need and want is for them to support the investigation of the obvious crimes committed by the former president and to call for the prosecution of him and all of the Republicans who were part of this insurrection, even if those perpetrators are members of Congress. Don’t worry. I’m not holding my breath waiting for Republicans to do the right thing.

The Medina community groups that participated in the vigil included Our Revolution Ohio, Medina County Indivisible, Sustainable Medina Country, Medina County Democratic Party, Brunswick Democratic Club and Medina Democratic Club. You know who didn’t participate? Not a single Republican organization.

That didn’t surprise me. The Cult of Trump now claims those violent insurrections were just average American citizens exercising their rights of free speech. Others have described the insurrection as a “normal tourist visit.”

You fucking treasonous morons! This isn’t Orwell’s 1984. We heard Trump unleash his mob. Live and on television, we watched what the insurrections did. It happened and all your bald-faced lies to the contrary do not change what happened before our eyes.   

Medina residents can pretend the white supremacists are not what we as a city are like. They are lying to themselves. They supported a man they knew was a racist. They support that man’s big lie. They will likely vote for him again.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t claim you’re not a racist if you support a racist. You can’t claim you support democracy if you excuse criminals who attempted to overthrow it. You can’t claim you support the Constitution if you follow a president and a party who ignore and subvert that Constitution. And you definitely aren’t a decent person if you sit back and say nothing as Republicans try to game the system so they will never lose power.

I get flak when I talk about Republicans as if they are monsters. A convention I’d attended for years stopped inviting me because its promoter didn’t like my being “mean to Republicans” online. He was fine with hosting a toxic bigot like Dean Cain. He’d probably shit his pants if he could get Scott Baio.

Naturally, it’s his right not to invite me. Never mind that, unless asked a direct question about something in my work or my views, I didn’t bring up politics. It’s his right.

I enjoyed the several of his conventions I attended and even wrote glowingly of them. Except for the last year I attended the event, I never asked for anything beyond hotel and mileage. In that case, he pretty much insisted I accept an appearance fee. So I took it. But, as I said, it’s his right to stop inviting me to his convention..

Here’s what I believe:

The Republican Party is a criminal treasonous organization. It does not serve the American people. It serves only the insane ego of its leader and, of course, its obscenely rich masters. If a Republican does the right thing, the party considers that to be some sort of crime against nature. It is the party of deceit and ignorance and is threatened by and is the enemy of science and accurate history.

Most Republicans are monsters. You can’t follow the dictates of a monster like Trump and not be a monster. You can lie to yourself, but you can’t change what you are unless you also change your mind and your heart and your soul...and I’m fast losing hope you can do that.

Medina can’t afford to kid itself. There are monsters on Medina’s streets. That is exactly what and who we are as a community.

Goddamn it.
    
© 2022 Tony Isabella

Friday, February 4, 2022

BATMAN: NOEL AND OTHER COMICS


 

My path to Lee Bermejo’s Batman: Noel [DC Comics; $19.99] was not a direct one. For the Isabella Family Christmas mantle, I purchasedthe Funko Pop! Batman as Ebenezer Scrooge figure. This figure was, forgive me, cute as the Dickens.

When I named the figure one of my Things That Made Me Happy, I also said that now I knew what I would do if I were ever asked to write a Batman Christmas story. One of my Facebook friends told me there was already such a story. Not surprisingly, since I tend to skim the DC previews looking for Black Lightning items and little else, this hardcover graphic novel flew under my radar. However, since I’ve liked Bermejo’s art and thought the premise of Batman: Noel was clever, I requested a copy from my local library system.

Batman; Noel is an interesting read. We have an exceedingly grim to the point of insanity Batman, a logical evolution of the toxic hero he often becomes. We have the Joker in all his murderous menace. We have a criminal trying to provide for his handicapped son and he’s stuck in the middle between a heartless hero and the sociopath that hero is trying to bring down.

Bob is that man in the middle. He’s the most sympathetic character in the graphic novel. But he’s also the catalyst for the incredible transformation we’ll see in this story. Or, as the unseen narrator asks of his audience:

‘Cuz for this story to make sense...for it to mean anything...you have to believe something. Something very important. You have to believe people can change.

The Dickens-like storytelling is labored at times. However, much to my delight, this redemption tale delivers a most satisfying ending. I recommend Batman: Noel to, well, to all Batman fans and to those who used to be Batman fans. I think you’ll enjoy it.

ISBN 978-1-77951-325-0


                                                                                  


 

Godzilla: World of Monsters [IDW; $29.99] collects three different Godzilla mini-series. The biggest drawback of my “accumulation” of stuff is that I don’t know what I have. Even when I do know what I have, I don’t know where it is. I know I have all of the Godzilla comic books in this trade paperback and likely any variant covers for those issues. I just don’t know where they are. I’m starting to think it’s time to forego individual comic books, except for some special items, for trades. Of course, Godzilla comics would always be one of those special items.

Gangsters & Goliaths by John Layman and Alberto Ponticelli is the best mini-series in this book. Heck, it’s one of the best Godzilla  comics stories ever. An innocently disgraced detective is obsessed with taking down a Tokyo crime syndicate, even if he has to bring down kaiju wrath on them. However, his “control” of Mothra proves to have dangerously unexpected consequences when Godzilla and other  monsters arrive in the city as well. This one has a great if flawed hero in the detective, perfectly vile villains, great kaiju action and a satisfying ending. I loved it!

Cataclysm by Cullen Bunn and Dave Wachter takes place on an Earth devastated by a monster apocalypse. Mankind is now far from the top of the food chain, devolved into tribes who embrace a semi-religion that mostly prays for the beasts to never return. Existing on what little they can find, their prayers are not answered. It’s a solid story of destruction and rebirth.

Oblivion by Joshua Flalkov and Brian Churilla is the weakest story in this book. It’s a “folly of man” take wherein stupid scientists open a portal to a world where Godzilla and the other monsters are supreme and mankind on its way out. Gee, I guess that will be fine as long as the monsters don’t come through the portal to our world. Spoiler: they do. I can’t say the writing or the art are bad, but I could never connect to any of the human characters or any of the monsters.

All in all, World of Monsters is a whole lot of Godzilla fun for a really good price. Probably even a better price if you do a bit of shopping around. It’s a must-have volume for Godzilla fans.

ISBN 978-168405-830-3


                                                                                 



Funded via Kickstarter, Thom Zahler’s Love and Capes: In the Time of Covid [Maerkle Press; $9.99] features a new 58-page comics story wherein the Crusader (Mark Spencer), along with family and friends, deal with the pandemic all of us have been dealing with since 2019. The justly praised series has always and wonderfully focused more on the personal lives of its cast over super-hero action and angst. It’s a winning concept.

If I may quibble, and no one can stop me from that, I was somewhat disappointed that the cast pretty much ignored the governmental and presidential malfeasance that affected the first two years of this  pandemic and the inexplicable resistance to sound science that is still plaguing us today. I know Zahler wanted to avoid politics in this story, but those subjects would have certainly been on Mark’s mind and the minds of his family and friends. Sometimes you have to pick a side. I choose compassion, decency, logic and science. Which should not come as a surprise to my regular readers.

My quibbles aside, Love and Capes: In the Time of Covid, like all previous Love and Capes comics, gets my highest recommendation. If you didn’t support this Kickstarter, you still might be able to get a copy from Zahler directly.

ISBN 979-8-9852522-0-0


                                                                                



Writer John Holland sent me several of his comics. I hope to get to the others soon, but the one I definitely want to recommend to you is A Girl and Her Dog [Diebold Comics; $5], a moving love letter to the dogs we love and who love us back.

Drawn by Hernan Gonzalez, the girl is Evie and, in time-tossed bits and pieces, we see her life from age 15 to 84. The dog is her Max, who is there for all the important moments of her life, even after his life has ended. This goddamn comic book made my cry because it is happy and life-affirming and sad and speaks of the power of love  even in the face of death.

When that one mainstream publishing house publishes its annual and usually antsy-fartsy bogus collection of the best comics of 2021, I hope it gives the book a shred of legitimacy by including A Girl and Her Dog.

You can order A Girl and Her Dog here

That’s the bloggy thing for today. I’ll be back as soon as possible with more stuff.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

THINGS THAT MADE ME HAPPY IN JANUARY

 

 

December was another crazy month in the United States of America, not to mention the world, and got crazier nearer the end of 2021. Although my family and some friends celebrated my 70th birthday and Christmas in grand-for-these-pandemic-times style, my own personal warranty expired on the day after my birthday.

My right knee became unexpectedly inflamed for no damn reason that I could suss. I was walking down the driveway to get the mail and it just started hurting. Really bad hurting. I slowly made my way back into the house and tried to relax the knee, but, by later that afternoon, it was so painful Saintly Wife Barb had to drive me to the emergency room.

I was quite happy with the care I received from the nurses tending to me. They were compassionate and even gave me something for the pain. I was very unhappy with the physician’s assistant who saw me. He was dismissive of my pain, complaining I wasn’t able to bend my knee enough for his concept of a proper examination. He released me with no prescription for the pain, Ace-type bandages, and a gel to apply to the knee.

I saw my primary doctor a few days later. He prescribed me a couple of better medications. However, they had the side effect of raising my blood sugar levels to a scary degree. I’m a Type 2 diabetic, so that was a real concern. The elevated levels sapped my strength and that, in turn, made me unable to do much writing and that, in turn, made me terribly depressed. This was my unhappy condition for most of last month.

There’s a good ending to this story. Eventually, my knee improved to the point where I could stop taking the medications that caused my elevated blood sugar levels. I still use the gel a couple times a day, but that’s not been a problem.

I’ve been working on getting those blood sugar levels to a normal level for me. It’s slow going, but I’m almost there. My energy has returned and I’m writing again. In fact, the last week of January was my most productive week in years.

One more January note before I move on to the things that made me happy last month. I began setting aside an hour in the morning and a half-hour or so in the afternoon to relax. Just relax. This has had a wonderful calming effect on my state of mind. I’m feeling a lot more optimistic about achieving my goals for 2022.

As we all move forward into this challenging new year, here are the  things that made me happy in January...

January 1: A new year. As the late great Andrew Vachss might say,  it’s another chance to get it right. It’s hope even as we face so many challenges. Don’t stop believing and fighting.

                                                                              


                                                                                       

January 2: Godzilla: Gangsters and Goliaths by John Layman with art by Alberto Ponticelli. From 2011, human drama and monster action as a framed detective tries to use kaiju to bring down the maniacal crime lord who killed his partner. Big love for this five-issue series.  

January 3: Betty White. What a gift to have had her as long as we did. She was one of the best comedic actress of our times and she just got better and funnier as she got older. Off the screen, she was a model of kindness. We love her and we miss her.

January 4: The Cleaning Lady. Seeking gene therapy for her son, a Cambodian doctor in the US with an expired visa becomes a cleaner for a crime gang. Engaging, human and suspenseful with brilliant acting by lead √Člodie Yung.

                                                                           



January 5: RetroFan #17. Another spiffy issue from editor Michael Eury and TwoMorrows. I especially loved the pieces on the jobs of TV fathers, Mad Monster Party and theme song lyrics.

January 6: Watching old favorites with Saintly Wife Barb. Lately, we’ve been watching Bones and Castle.

January 7: Comic Book Workers United, the union of Image Comics workers, is the first union in comics. Image did not voluntarily recognize the union and shame on them for that. I hope CBWU is the first of many comics unions.

January 8: Justice. Two of the murderers of Ahmaud Arbery have been sentenced to life in prison without parole. The third was sentenced to life in prison.

                                                                                    



January 9: John Ross Bowie appears to have ascended into recurring character status on The United States of Al. He’s delightful as the struggling to stay out of HR trouble Professor Brett Williams who has just started dating Lizzie. More please.

January 10: I activated a new phone because my old one goes kaput in March. I have no clue how to work the new phone. I’m trying to convince myself I love a challenge. Am I happy or delusional? You decide!

January 11: Vermont Country Store pajamas. While the cotton-knit,  elastic-cuff pants are pricey (up to $40 plus shipping), they are incredibly comfortable. Since my usual work attire is a t-shirt and pajamas, they’re well worth the cost to me.

                                                                                 


                                              

January 12: I enjoyed the premiere of Naomi on the CW. I was over the moon pleased that comics creators Brian Michael Bendis, Jamal Campbell and David F. Walker were listed in the opening credits. That should be standard for the comics industry.

January 13: Props for Black Lightning in Justice League vs. Legion of Super-Heroes #1 by Brian Michael Bendis. Leave it to a Cleveland creator to understand the importance of my creation.

January 14: Four years and a day ago, my son Ed and I attended the world premiere of Black Lightning in Washington, D.C. Still one of the best days of my lives.

January 15: Peacemaker. I’ll just quote Bob Ingersoll, “Oh my god, Peacemaker is at least 17 kinds of inappropriate. And a complete hoot.”

                                                                         



January 16: Robert Patrick. I have long been a fan of this actor’s extensive work, but his performance as Peacemaker’s dad (and white supremacist) is an amazing combination of dark humor and downright scary malice.

January 17: Back Issue #131 [October 2021} was “The Kirby Legacy at DC” issue, covering Jack’s post-New Gods work before he returned to Marvel. Passionate terrific articles on the Demon, Kamandi, Omac, Sandman and more. Great reading.

January 18: My neighborhood. Barb came home from work and started snow blowing a neighbor’s driveway. She was joined by his next-door neighbor, who then did our sidewalk and others.

                                                                           



January 19: Cupid’s Arrows by Thom Zahler. The first stories of the WEBTOON series about cupids working to bring love into the modern world despite the seeming disappearance of Cupid himself. Charming, intriguing warm-hearted comedy.

January 20: In the January 17 episode of Bob Hearts Abishola, Olu (Shola Adewusi) and Tunde (Barry Shabaka Henley) championing a gay niece against their church and putting family above the too-common bigotry of religion.  

January 21: The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home by Konami Kanata. I was on the edge of my seat while finishing the fourth and final volume. Wonderful kitten humor with an emotional core that gave me feels.
I highly recommend this series.

January 22: Leverage Redemption. Resuming watching with “The Bucket Job,” a Christmas episode guest-starring LeVar Burton. There were heartwarming and revealing character moments with the regulars and some dire foreshadowing. I love this series.  

                                                                                



January 23: Bootsie’s War Years, which collects Ollie Harrington’s work from Black newspapers of the 1940s. These cartoons are funny, informative and often depict the systemic racism Republicans deny exists. From About Comics and highly recommended.

January 24: A Leverage Redemption cookie. Reference to a “Steranko” safe a character cracked. I assume this was a nod to the comics creator and escape artist. Have there been others? Is this a good excuse for me to rewatch all the previous episodes?

January 25: A good day. No more knee pain, so I could stop taking the meds elevating my blood sugar levels. I wrote a bunch of Last Kiss gags. I had a terrific dinner with Barb and Eddie. I have hope for another good day tomorrow.

                                                                                    



January 26: Cleveland Magazine’s 2022 Most Interesting People. Even before I made the list in 2017, I loved this annual issue. The new inductees include a Gold Medal Olympics athlete, a new mayor, a gay fantasy novelist and Jeopardy champ Matt Amodio.

January 27: Alter Ego #173. I have to share my love for my friend Barry Pearl’s “Black Heroes - Silver Pages.” It’s a great overview of Black characters from the late 1950s through the 1970s. I think it should be expanded into a book.

January 28: Yesterday’s Late Night with Stephen Colbert monologue included the host lambasting the vile Senator Ron Johnson for his anti-child care stance by making it a Johnson campaign song. It was brilliant and brutal and I loved it!

January 29: Two in a row for Late Night with Stephen Colbert. Last night’s interview with actress Marlee Matlin was fun, informative and sheer wonderfulness.

                                                                                      



January 30: Yesterday was National Puzzle Day. Barb, Ed, Kelly and myself assembled the White Mountain 1000-piece Pop Culture puzzle. Comic-book stuff included issues of Star Trek, Mad and Archie’s Mad House. Great fun was had by all.

January 31: Saturday Night Live’s January 30 episode was terrific! Willem DaFoe, Katy Perry and the unexpected comedic excellence of Peyton Manning. He was truly amazing, proving not all retired NFL quarterbacks are dicks.

I hope this month is filled with joy for all of my bloggy readers. I’ll be back soon with more stuff.
 
© 2022 Tony Isabella