Friday, April 29, 2022




There’s a lot for me to look forward in May. Saintly Wife Barb has recovered from her recent surgery and is good to go back to work as of Monday, May 2. While it’s been nice to have her home with me, she needs to finish up the process of retiring from her full-time job. That should be by the end of May, though she’ll likely work part-time for her current employer after that.

Tuesday, May 3, is the last day of voting in the primary elections here in Ohio. The Republicans have put forth particularly horrible candidates this time around, almost all of them seeing just how far they can crawl up Trump’s butt. The GOPholes are going for big lies and racism and attacks on the LGBTQ+ community while also tearing each other apart. Like a pack of hungry sharks.

Speaking of sharks, my “favorite” Republican candidate for office is Mike Gibbons, a businessman who ended a lot of jobs in Ohio and sent more of them overseas. I can’t decide if he looks more like a mayor who won’t close the beaches or the evil industrialist whose been dumping waste into the lakes, rivers and swamps and creating giant mutant alligators and snakes and woodpeckers. If I ever make any movies like that, I’ll likely tell the casting director to look for a “Mike Gibbons” type.

The best thing about the primary elections being over is that I’ll no longer have to watch TV with my finger on the mute button. Never thought I’d miss ads for boner pills and insurance.

Come the first weekend of May, my family and I will be leaving for the Virgin Islands for a short vacation. We will be staying on St. John and welcome your suggestions for attractions, restaurants and
sights to see.

Note to self: go shopping. You’re running out of time to find that special swim wear that won’t scare women and small children.

One last amusing item before I delve into the files for unpublished items to fill out today’s bloggy thing...

For the longest time, I had problems with the delivery of the three newspapers I get. The Akron Beacon-Journal. The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer. The (Medina) Gazette. The same carrier delivers all three of them. If we didn’t get one of the papers, the chances are that we wouldn’t get away of them. Of late, that situation has changed for the better. It’s been months since we’ve had any problem with newspaper delivery whatsoever. Despite this change for the better, I now get a daily e-mail from the Plain Dealer:

Delivery of [today’s] edition of your newspaper will be delayed due to a delivery delay in your area today. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience.

Except...that hasn’t been a delay in the afore-mentioned months. I never got these e-mails when they were problems. I starting getting them about a month or two ago. This makes me chuckle.


Near as I can tell, I wrote the following book reviews sometime in early 2021 and never posted them:

Seph Lawless’s Abandoned: Hauntingly Beautiful Deserted Theme Parks [Skyhouse Publishing; $30] is one of several photo journals by the “artivist” who, for well over a decade, has been documenting those places we have left behind. I’m a huge fan of his work. His books and quietly evocative photos fill me with melancholy. These images inspire me, fragments of history and of stories to be told.

In Abandoned, Lawless journeys into the amusement parks that once loomed so large in our lives. As a kid traveling with my family, I visited the Geauga Lake Amusement Park in Aurora, Ohio. Indeed, it was where Sts. Phillip and James students were bused to celebrate the end of school years. I went to the Chippewa Lake Amusement in that Ohio city, the Enchanted Forest Playland in Toledo, Ohio, and the Prehistoric Forest in Onstead, Michigan. Even though the ruins, I can recognize some of those sites.

A chapter on Disney World’s Discovery Island and River Country was a revelation of the past hidden from plain sight even in that most vibrant of entertainment parks. I was also awed by the chapters on the Li’l Abner-inspired Dogpatch, USA (Marble Falls, Arkansas) and the Land of Oz (Beech Mountain, North Carolina).

When I think about similar theme parks that made be left behind in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, I hope Lawless or other sturdy explorers will memorialize them while they are still with us and as they make their way into history.

Abandoned would make a terrific gift for fans of amusement parks, artists, photographers and writers. You can spend hours looking at these images and likely return to them regularly.

ISBN 978-1-5107-2335-1



Killer Kung Pao [St. Martin's Paperbacks; $7.99] is Vivien Chien’s most recent Noddle Shop mystery. Heroine Lana Lee is the manager of her family’s restaurant, a leader in Cleveland’s Asia Village and an amateur detective. Detective Adam Trudeau is her boyfriend, who has pretty much given up on trying to stop Lana from investigating the alarmingly frequent murders in that community. Both characters are well-crafted and relatable. In this book, Lana and Adam relax by binge-watching Supernatural. That put a smile on my face, even though I’m unlikely to ever find the time to follow suit.

This time out, the case is the death by electrocution in a beauty shop by a most unpopular Asia Village woman. It’s pretty clear it was murder, but who done it? There are no shortage of suspects, a list that includes some of the noodle shop’s most loyal customers.There are lots of twists in this book, making it one of the best of the series to date. Six books and counting.

Fatal Fried Rice, the seventh in the series, is due out in March. I’m looking forward to reading it.

ISBN 978-1-250-22830-7


I often write my review columns in piecemeal fashion. Which is why, though it has been a couple months for me, it was just a few lines ago that I told you I was looking forward to reading Vivien Chien’s Fatal Fried Rice [St. Martin's Paperbacks; $7.99]. Having read it, here are my thoughts on the novel.

In the previous Noodle Shop mysteries, each new case has had some connection to Cleveland’s Asia Village. The ever-curious Lana Lee, who manages her family’s Chinese restaurant, gets involved because of her proximity to the event or because her amateur investigative skills have been requested by someone from the Village. That’s not her doorway into this book’s murder mystery.

Lana takes a cooking class at Cuyahoga Community College in nearby Parma. Because she’s embarrassed she doesn’t know how to cook the food served at the family restaurant, she keeps this a secret from her family and friends. The first class goes well. Up to a point. That point being when Lana forgets something, returns to the class and finds instructor Margo Chan stabbed to death.

Things get worse when a Detective Bishop decides Lana and a janitor with a criminal record are the killers. Naturally, he can’t prove it, but that doesn’t stop him from pursuing them to the exclusion of other suspects. He even figures that because Lana’s boyfriend is a Cleveland detective that she has knowledge of how to cover up her involvement in the murder.

Asia Village and some of its familiar characters figure in Lana’s search for the actual killer, but the novel still has a different  vibe from the earlier book. Chien’s been growing as a writer with each new entry in the series and this slight change of pace speaks to that. I liked this novel a lot.

Alas, while every prior book in the series, had a sample chapter of the next novel, this one does not. I hope this doesn’t mean Chien is done with Lana, who has become a favorite of mine.

SIDEBAR: Calling all television show runners. Given the outpouring of support for Asian-Americans in these times of Republican-driven violence against them, now would be an excellent time to give Lana Lee and her adventures a close look. You can thank me by giving me a role in the sure-to-be-a-hit Noodle Shop series.]

ISBN 978-1-250-78259-5

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

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Sunday, April 24, 2022


We’re trying something kind of new today. In an effort to bring you bloggy things on a more frequent basis, I will be putting together random comments with no connection to each other beyond my writing them. Some of these will be new. Some will be things I found in my files that I never turned into full-scale bloggy things.

We’ll start with Adora and the Distance by Marc Bernardin, artist Ariela Kristantina, colorist Bryan Valenze, letterer Bernado Bruce and editor Will Dennis [Dark Horse; $14.99]. It’s a great graphic novel about a courageous young princess on a mission, but I won’t be reviewing it for fear of revealing anything about its beautiful and moving ending. Just take my word about this and either buy it or request it from your local library.

In his afterword, Bernardin has this to say about his editor: “Will Dennis did the thing great editors do: help coax the best version of the story out of a stubborn writer.”

That should be standard policy for editors, but, in comics, that’s not always the case. I had that kind of respectful relationship on Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands. Jim Chadwick and Harvey Richards never tried to get me to tell their story. They worked tirelessly to help me tell my story in the best manner possible. I would work with either of them again in a heartbeat.

Kudos to Will Dennis for getting it right.

ISBN 987-1-50672-450-8


I’m generally happy with Marvel re: its treatment of me, but I must admit I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get special thanks at the end of Spider-Man: No Way Home and maybe a check for same.
The method by which MJ was rescued from certain death near the end of the movie was taken pretty directly from my 1980 “What If Gwen Stacy Had Lived?” from What If! #24 [December 1980]. Only a couple of articles on the movie have recognized that, though, obviously, I recognized it as soon as I saw it.

No one should take this as my being more than mildly disappointed at Marvel. The company generally treats me with respect and pays me on time. I’ve been invited to premieres and even received “thank you” checks when I least expected them. Things could certainly be better. That’s true of almost anything. But, especially compared to the other big comics publisher, Marvel is doing right by me. I am proud to be part of the Marvel legacy.

So, just asking here, when will Kevin Feige green-light the long-awaited It! The Living Colossal movie?


That's my secret, Captain: I'm always angry.

Marvel’s The Avengers (2012) had amazing actors speaking terrific dialogue. However, the line that resonated most strongly with me is the above quote from Bruce Banner aka Mark Ruffalo. I know how the character feels. Because, over the past few years, I’ve felt that way. I’m almost always angry. It’s not good for me. It’s not good for the people around me. It’s not good for my writing. Well, okay, it can be good for my writing. But that’s not the point.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, a deadly situation made more so by the utter lack of competence and concern from the Trump administration, I would regularly feel rage wash over me as if that emotion were a tsunami of polluted water. It started with the sheer horror of Trump’s presidential victory in 2016 and the realization that close to half of my fellow Americans were racists or, at the very least, okay with racism. They were also okay with other forms of bigotry.

They were okay with a President who clearly admired and even wanted to emulate some of the most murderous dictators of our time. They were okay with him showing deference to those dictators. They were okay with a President who used his office to enrich himself and his family and friends. They were okay with a President who called for violence against his enemies. They were okay with a President who was likely a rapist. They were the acolytes of a con man with fake  hair, fake tan, fake everything. They sacrificed reason and decency to worship at his feet.

But I can’t blame all my rage on Trump and his vile followers. I’ve got to give props to the comics industry and how poorly it treats creators. I’ve got to give props to the online trolls, especially
the bigots and crooks and misogynists of ComicsGate. I’ve also got to give props to way too many other factors that held forth in the nightmare worlds of 2016 and beyond.

[I wrote this blog fragment in February 2021. From what I recall, I planned to write about my attempts to control my anger. I didn’t finish it because I suddenly got big and green, crashed through my office window and went looking for puny Republicans to smash. So, I was overcome by anger but still a hero.]


[This was posted to a message board in July, 2011, but I never used it in a bloggy thing. I still think it’s amusing so I’m reprinting it here.]

I was shopping at Walmart this morning.  There I was, buying some little cans of olives for salads, minding my own business...when I was struck from behind!

I fell forward hitting my head on the shelves, but not too hard.  My shopping cart was in front of me and, grabbing it, it broke my fall...though it, too, hit the shelves.

I turned around to see my "assailant" was a really old guy in a motorized shopping cart that he'd lost control of it.  He was with a group of other seniors, but he was freaking out.  I thought he might have a heart attack.

A Walmart manager who had seen this comes running me.

Ignoring the old guy who's clearly in distress.

The manager keeps asking me if I'm okay and telling me I need to come to the office to fill out a report.  I tell him (twice) that I'm fine and that he needs to make sure the old guy is okay.

He continues to ignore the old guy and insist I come with him.  A little old lady - shorter than me by a foot, with white cloud-like hair and more than a few wrinkles - is trying to calm the old guy down.

I finally tell the manager..."I'm not signing anything or talking any more to you until I've spoken to my attorney."  The manager turns white and I move on, figuring that NOW he has to pay some attention to the customer who actually is in distress.

I finished with my shopping and checked out...with the manager hovering around me, though not close enough for me to grab him and stick him face first into a register.  

I put my groceries into my car and return the cart to the parking lot cart holder.  When I turn around, there's the little old lady.

"Can I help you, m'am?"

"You're not really going to sue the store, are you?"

"Of course not.  I just wanted them to pay attention to your friend."

She smiles widely.

"I knew it.  I told my friends you were just fucking with that guy!"

Yeah, the little old lady dropped the F-bomb in the parking lot.  I nearly fell over at the sheer nuttiness of the situation.

I asked about the old guy and she said he was fine.  That they had calmed him down. was wacky, but it was all good.

Except for the manager, of course, but I don't have any sympathy for a guy whose priorities were completely messed up.

I'm Tony Isabella and I am a magnet for the wacky!

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Saturday, April 23, 2022




Welcome to part four 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.. I'll have disappointing news for you in a bit.

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.

Enter the House of Slaughter [Boom! Studios] featured 18 pages of what appears to be a spin-off of Something is Killing the Children. It’s written by the prolific James Tynion IV with art by Werther Dell’edera, color art by Miquel Muerto and lettering by Andworld Design.

QUALITY: When I sampled Something is Killing the Children a while back, it didn’t do much for me. Given that I like this story much better, I’m going to give Killing another chance. Enter the House is intriguing with some interesting storytelling techniques. I want to see where it goes from this opening chapter.

ACCESSIBILITY: It’s not as accessible as I would like and a little more back story and clarity would have been helpful, but there is enough here to get me into the story.

SALESMANSHIP: Excellent. There are several pages of ads for other Boom titles and, on the inside back cover, a list of comics shops in several states. It makes sense to promote the shops, since they are still the backbone of the comics industry.

SCORE: Nine points out of a possible ten points.


Kyle’s Little Sister by BonHyung Jeong [JY/Yen Press] presents a 30-page excerpt from a series about a little sister who doesn’t get along with her older brother. She’s jealous of his popularity and is something of a flake.

QUALITY: This comic has a decent premise, but the presentation is lacking. Neither the writing nor the art appealed to me.

ACCESSIBILITY: Barely okay. The inadequate storytelling and writing often made it difficult for me to distinguish characters from one another.

SALESMANSHIP: Poor. There’s a back cover ad featuring six series and that’s it.

SCORE: Two points out of a possible ten points.


InvestiGators: Ants in Our P.A.N.T.S. by John Patrick Green [01: First Second] presents the first three chapters of a graphic novel aimed at kids 7-10. I reviewed an earlier FCBD InvestiGators issue in March of last year. Like that comic book, this story is filled with puns and corny jokes, but also includes a lot of back story to previous books. The title characters work for S.U.I.T. (Special Undercover Investigations Teams), wear vests that are Very Exciting Spy Technology, are prone to mistakes and have comical foes like former teammate turned villain Waffledile, who is part crocodile and part waffle. Because why not?

QUALITY: Decent. The opening chapters include a dream sequence, a meeting of the various agents that serves as a what has gone before summary, an interesting look at a teammate and the start of their current mission. The writing and art convey the silly fun that is this series.

ACCESSIBILITY: Between the inside front cover test and the writing, no one should have any difficulty getting into this series.

SALESMANSHIP: Good. While there aren’t a lot of ads for this title and other First Second books, the ones that appear will be useful for readers who enjoy the issue and want more of the same.

SCORE: Eight points out of a possible ten points.


Stray Dogs [Image Comics] presents the first 34 pages of the truly amazing series by Tony Fleecs with artist Trish Forstner, colorist Brad Simpson and layout artist Tone Rodriguez. The question posed in this issue is whether or not the mysterious unseen man who seems to be rescuing dogs is actually the serial killer of their owners. As soon as I finish writing this review, I’ll be ordering the trade paperback collection of the first five issues.

QUALITY: First-rate. This is one of the best Free Comic Book Day issues I’ve ever read. Every part of the material works together flawlessly.

ACCESSIBILITY: This is the start of the series and brings readers into the story easily.

SALESMANSHIP: Excellent. Four pages of house ads for Stray Dogs and two other Image titles.

SCORE: Ten points out of a possible ten points.

I’m admitting defeat, my bloggy friends. With Free Comic Book Day 2022 just weeks away, and with my full schedule of various things I must do before I leave for a family vacation on FCBD 2022, I will not be able to finish my reviews of the comic books given away on FCBD 2021. I’m throwing in the towel.

However, like your favorite super-heroes, you can’t keep me down. When I return from the afore-mentioned vacation, I will dive into the Free Comic Book Day 2022 comics and do my darnest to read and review them before the Halloween Horror-Fest giveaways lurch into your friendly neighborhood comic shops.

In the meantime, I’ll be posting new bloggy things as fast as I can write them. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you soon.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, April 19, 2022




SPOILER ALERT. You are about to read a 70-year-old man’s rant about changes to his cable service and, to a lesser extent, the economy and the greed that drives it. Rest assured, he’ll write something more entertaining next time out.

Our highest monthly utility bill here at Casa Isabella comes from Armstrong Utilities. It covers our cable, Internet and land lines. We use the cable extensively. Same with the Internet, though I get my e-mail through a different provider. I do have e-mail through Armstrong, but their e-mail set-up sucks. Land lines? We unplugged them a few years back when the political calls and the sales calls and the scams became unbearable. We still keep that phone number. We just don’t use it.

We’ve been paying Armstrong just over $240 a month. However, as a result of being bounced around five different Armstrong employees in the span of a hour, my lodging several complains and my pointing out their lack of a senior citizen discount, it’s been reduced to just over $210 per month for the next twelve months. Which gives me plenty of time to consider other options.

My complaints last week concerned Armstrong arbitrarily deciding to stop supporting the cable box they had provided many years prior. That meant we could no longer access “On Demand” or record things on our DVR in a convenient manner. They replaced the cable box with a tiny square device that doesn’t work well. They also replaced our remote with a tiny remote that fits in the palm of my hand and, you guessed it, doesn’t work well.

Within a few days of the new cable box being installed, it wasn’t working properly. They had to send a second technician. I have no complaints about either technician - they were both terrific - but the cable box still ain’t right. I haven’t called Armstrong to send a third technician because a) I found a work-around and b) I don’t have time for this crap.

Like almost every company that makes changes to “improve” service, Armstrong actually made these changes to improve its profits. I’ll say the new and smaller cable box and the new remote are probably better for the environment if only because they use less materials in their manufacture. I’d be fine with that if the damn things just worked better. Oh, yeah, in the course of researching this bloggy thing, I discovered that some of these new cable boxes (and I would assume remotes) have been previously used and may not be recharged before they are installed anew.

Greed drives so much of our economy. Joe Biden or even Russia are not responsible for higher gas and other prices. In the case of the gas prices, the oil companies are raising the prices because that makes them more money. These companies are sitting on oil leases  they aren’t developing because development costs more than raising their prices. This is why myself and other godless liberals would prefer our nation wean itself off fossil fuels in favor of cleaner, less expensive energy sources. If you believe God is our landlord, then you must admit we are lousy tenants.

If you’re on Facebook, you know that “improvements” to the service are rarely that. I used to think the geniuses there would decide a change was cool without considering the ramifications for those who use the service. When Facebook changed its “Memories” feature, it was bad and remains so today. These days, being older and wiser, I believe such changes are probably of financial benefit to Facebook.
Even if I can’t figure out how.

My new Armstrong cable box and remote don’t work as well as the old ones. Since I’m getting my rant on, I’ll try to list as many of the failures as I can.



The above is my Sony TV remote. We use it to turn on the TV, raise or lower the volume and access our streaming services. All of these functions can be performed theoretically by our new Armstrong tiny remote, but the Sony remote does them easier and more efficiently. We’re using this remote for our streaming channels because I chose not to go through Armstrong to access them.  Even if we can’t get to our cable TV offerings, we can at least watch stuff on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and so on.

This is our old and larger Armstrong remote:


And this is our new and tiny Armstrong remote:

The “Guide” and “Info” buttons on the old remote work better than on the new one. The new remote’s “Guide” function isn’t terrible, but I liked the old one better. I’m using it to set up recordings and one passes.

What the new remote doesn’t have is the convenient “Day” feature of the old remote. With that feature, I could easily set up recordings days in advance, which is especially handy when I’m at conventions and the like. On the new remote, once I get into the Guide, if it’s Tuesday and I want to record something on Thursday, I have to move the guide hour by hour until I reach Thursday.

Being fair, the “Volume” and “Channel” buttons work as well on the new remote as they did on the old. Ditto the “Mute” button, which is a necessity as long as there are Republicans running for office and running free. Those folks are awful.

There are no “Last” or “On Demand” or “List” or “Live” buttons on the new remote. To use those features, you have to maneuver around the interior settings.

I really miss the “List” function on the old remote. It made it simple to see what I recorded and to access the recorded programs. However, the new remote does make it marginally easier to create  “passes” for certain shows. On the flip side, the new remote makes it confusing to figure out which episodes you’ve recorded.

The rant is almost over. The old remote had exterior buttons that made it easy to rewind, play, fast forward, stop, pause and record. To use the first five of those features with the new remote, I have to be in the interior settings. To use them efficiently, I’d have to have smaller fingers and faster reflexes. Those features simply do not work well with the new remote.

As for the “record” function, used when we were watching a program live and couldn’t finish it, if there is any interior “button” for that, I haven’t found it yet.

You know what would have been extremely helpful with this new box and remote? An instruction manual. Which, of course, Armstrong did not provide. Sigh.

Earlier I mentioned I found a work-around to the new cable box and remote not working properly. Often, when I’d hit the power button on the new remote, I’d get a “no input” notice that instructed me to go to “input” settings. Which would not give me the option of choosing the setting that would connect me to the Armstrong cable platform. Which would annoy me greatly. This happened after the new stuff was installed. It also happened after the second technician came to house to fix that problem.

This doesn’t happen every time I turn on the TV. When it does, what I do is unplug the cable wire from the cable box and then plug it back in. Then the TV cycles through a few symbols, the cute little swirling things that turn into the word “android,” a blue circle of death and, finally, the main screen. It’s frustrating, but not as frustrating as having to talk to Armstrong on the phone and plan my day around the arrival of yet another technician.

Let me stress once more that I had no problems with the two service technicians who came to Casa Isabella. They were good guys who were efficient and friendly. I wish I could ask for them by name when I again (inevitably) have to invite Armstrong Utilities to visit my house. Thus ends the rant.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Saturday, April 16, 2022




It’s been delayed for five long years, but I’m now working on the second volume of July 1963: A Pivotal Month in the Comic Book Life of Tony Isabella. The first volume is available on Amazon. Here’s the sales pitch on that debut book:

Lo, There Shall Be a Beginning

For Tony Isabella, that beginning was July 1963, and a brand-new copy of Fantastic Four Annual #1. Over fifty years later, and after a decades-long career in comics during which he created such iconic characters as Black Lightning, he returns to where it all started.

Over 130 comic books were released in July 1963, including Marvel's Avengers and Fantastic Four, DC's Green Lantern and Justice League of America, and a slew of others, from those featuring well-known characters like Archie, Richie Rich, the Jetsons, and Donald Duck, to such obscure titles as Girls' Romances, Konga, Stoney Burke, and Space War.

Tony is reading (or in many cases, re-reading) them all. In this first volume, he's starting with Action Comics #304 and coming up for air with Batman #158. In between there's lots of Archie, Mighty Mouse, Spider-Man, Alley Oop, and even Jerry Lewis. Tony analyzes each issue in-depth: the stories, the ads, the creators, and the context, with plenty of anecdotes and production details to satisfy comics fans and historians alike.

Mark it on your calendar: July 1963! It's coming up next.

Here are the planned contents for the second volume. Following each chapter will be a sidebar featuring one or more of the creators of these comic books.

Battlefield Action #49
Blackhawk #188
Blondie and Dagwood Family #1
Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery #5
Bozo the Clown #4
Brain Boy #6
Car 54 Where Are You #7
Detective Comics #319
Dr. Kildare #7
Drag-Strip Hotrodders #1
Famous Monsters of Filmland 1964 Yearbook #1
Fantastic Four #19
Fantastic Four Annual #1
Fightin’ Air Force #40
Fightin’ Army #54
Flash #139
Flintstones #13
Forbidden Worlds #114
Friendly Ghost Casper #62
Gallant Men #1

The observant among you might have noticed that two of these comics are listed in bold. That’s because I don’t have either of them at this time. In a hopefully short time, I will be launching the first of a series of Kickstarter campaigns to fund my purchase of those two comics and the comics needed for me to write the third volume of July 1963. The sooner I get the comic books I need, the sooner I can write and publish these volumes.

As many of you know, I almost always charge an appearance fee when I’m a guest of a convention or a comics shop signing, or when asked to speak at a college or other venue. That fee (not including the usual hotel, meal and travel expenses) is $500 per day.

However, I’m more than happy to indulge in the barter system if a convention or comics shop can get me decent condition copies of the comics I will need for future volumes. Just putting that out there for any interested parties.

I’ll be providing updates on the second volume from time to time.There might be some cases where I have the stories from some of the comics I’m writing about, but not the advertising and other stuff from the issues. Don’t be surprised if I call on my bloggy readers for scans of that material.

I’m going to try to post more bloggy things going forward, though some of them will be pitches like this one. I’ll also be offering some choice items from my Vast Accumulation of Stuff. Basically, I will be doing everything legal I can come up with of to raise money to finance my future projects. Keep watching the bloggy.

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

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Thursday, April 7, 2022


Last time out, I told you what was going on with my frustrating and rage-filled life. This time out, let’s talk about my plans for the next several weeks.

For starters, my Saintly Wife Barb will be retiring by mid-May or so. Before then, she’s recuperating at home after a bit of surgery. She’ll be home for four weeks, go back to work for just a few days and then go on a family vacation with me and our kids. After that May vacation, she’ll go back to work for her last couple of weeks. When she’s finished with her old job, she’s been offered a position as my executive assistant. And, yes, of course she could do much better.

I take over our garage in a few days in preparation for my summer Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales. Staring near the end of April, weather permitting, I want to have these every other week. As always, I’m determined to make big progress in reducing the VAOS before the fall end of these sales.

I’ve started work on JULY, 1963: A PIVOTAL MONTH IN THE COMIC-BOOK LIFE OF TONY ISABELLA VOLUME TWO. I hope to launch a Kickstarter by the end of the month to pay for the comics I need to complete this and subsequent volumes. My aim is to have this new volume available for the 2022 holiday season. I also hope to write another book, the start of a new series, in time for that season.

Conventions? I’ve got a few scheduled for the rest of the year and hope to add more. Interested parties can email me and see what we can work out.

Now, without further adieu, here are the things that bought me joy in the month of March...

March 1: If one is looking for heroes, one need look no further than Ukraine. The people of that nation are fighting back. From the average citizen to the president of the country, they are fighting to remain free. They are heroes..

March 2: Chowing down on pizza, chicken, french fries and Paczkis with Barb, Eddie and Kelly. It was our celebration of Fat Tuesday, or, as I call it, Tuesday.


March 3: The Amazing Race. After an exciting finale, Kim and Penn Holderness finished first, winning a million dollars. They are the oldest contestants ever to win the contest. Barb and I were rooting for them from the start.

March 4: Tom Taylor’s Nightwing is the Batman I have wanted for so many years. I recommend Nightwing: Leaping into the Night and look forward to the next volume.

March 5: I started working on my Vast Accumulation of Stuff sales and hit a goldmine with the first box: Batman #243-354 and Hawkman #1-27.

[NOTE: Hawkman #1-15 and a key issue of Batman are in the hands of Comic Book Certification Services. These comics will be auctioned off in the future. Hawkman #16-27 will be at my first garage sale and are priced to sell.]

March 6: My character creation workshop at the Lake Erie Ink 10th Annual Kids' Comic Con went well. My biggest joy was encouraging a young man who came up with a clever and fresh idea for a series. I hope he pursues it further. I think it could be a winner.

March 7: Though plagued by the bad decisions attendant to most DC Comics movies, The Batman was a lot better than I anticipated. Zoe Kravitz was wonderful as Selina Kyle. I’ll have more to say about this film in the future.

March 8: Mark Arnold interviewed me Monday night for his Fun Ideas podcast. We covered a whole lot of ground in a great chat running  over an hour. If you thought you couldn’t get enough of me, this might convince you otherwise.


March 9: Three stories in and I’m loving The Devil and Leo Persky by my pal Paul Kupperberg. The titular Weekly World News reporter is a great character and, like him, I know the stories in that late lamented tabloid were true. All of them.

March 10: Fantasticon is this weekend in Toledo and I’m feeling my pre-convention buzz. I’m getting ready for the event and very much looking forward to seeing old friends, making new ones and selling a bunch of comics. Hope to see you there.

March 11: An easy two-hour drive to Toledo for Fantasticon, topped off by dinner at Applebee’s with my beloved friends Mike and Mary Grell. If our conversation had been streamed, it would have broken the Internet.

March 12: Fantasticon Toledo was...fantastic. My sales were good. Seeing old friends was great. I’m uncharacteristically optimistic about the contacts I made. I bought some cool old comics. I’ll have more to say in upcoming bloggy things.

March 13: When I got home from Fantasticon, I took the Saintly One to Medina’s new Culver’s. We ate inside because the drive-in line was very long. We greatly enjoyed our Butterburgers and fries and plan to return to try their other menu items.


March 14: Ben Vereen, who deserves an armful of awards for his work in B Positive. His character Peter is a retired professor dealing with the early signs of dementia. In the season finale, he brought me to tears and made me laugh. Genius.

March 15: Monday’s new Jeopardy champion Amy Bekkerman, an academic copy editor from Durham, New Hampshire, who used to referee roller derby matches as “Marian the Barbarian.” I love the diversity to be found on Jeopardy.

March 16: Friday Book One: The First Day of Christmas by writer Ed Brubaker with Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente. What happens when meddling kids grow up and face dangers greater than bitter old men in masks? I’m on the edge of my seat here.

March 17: From Wednesday’s The Late Show, Stephen Colbert singing a sea shanty with Michael BublĂ©. It was something I didn’t know I needed until I saw and heard it.

March 18: The Poorcraft series of comic-book guides to practical and frugal living continues with The Poorcraft Cookbook. It starts with smart shopping tips and moves on to literally dozens of cool recipes. I get hungry just writing about it.

March 19: “You Won't Believe What This Episode is About - Act Three Will Shock You!” (The Simpsons episode for March 13) was all kinds of hilarious wonderfulness. It’s season 33 and the show can still hit it out of the park.


March 20: I’m celebrating the 40th anniversary of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark with her newest Funko figure. I also ordered the first of the Elvira Classic Years Omnibus series. Because she is and has always been one of my favorite ladies.

March 21: Feeling very good about decisions I’m making, even though not everyone will be happy with them.


March 22: A&E’s Deep Fried Dynasty. I love this show about vendors at the 24-day Texas State Fair. I would probably die if I ate the food they serve, but I’m rooting for them to make their financial goals for the fair.

March 23: Metamorphosis. Scientists trapped in a research facility where their insane boss has created a mutant tyrannosaurus and some humongous snakes. This amusing Chinese monster movie is available for free on YouTube with English subtitles.

March 24: Some of Saintly Wife Barb’s co-workers threw her a very cool surprise retirement party. We may not know exactly when her last day is, but we know she will be missed.


March 25: Patton Oswalt’s amazing guest appearances as Mars Mission astronaut Lancaster on Space Force. They were funny, heart-breaking and yet still life-affirming. Should they even be allowed to make movies or TV shows without this immensely talented actor?

March 26: I liked Disney/Marvel’s Hawkeye series so much that I’ve ordered three Funko figures from it. The first of them has arrived and, like my other Funko figures, delights me.

March 27: Yelena, the second of the Hawkeye figures I ordered, has arrived. When Kate Bishop gets here, I’m going to write and act out witty conversations for them.

March 28: Making good choices. Not watching the Academy Awards was definitely one of them.

March 29: John Oliver (on last Sunday’s Last Week Tonight) devoted his main segment to drugs, harm reduction and overdose prevention centers. It was revealing and brilliant with Oliver offering good common sense ideas to all of the above.

March 30: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. For more reasons than I can fit in this space, but especially for his cogent and thoughtful comments on the “Oscar slap.”


March 31: Clear the beaches! The first of my Funko Jaws figures has arrived. I wonder if I can sneak it into my wife’s Easter display.

That’s it for today. I will be back as soon as possible with more bloggy fun.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Saturday, April 2, 2022




Frustration and rage have marked the first quarter of 2022 for me. I’ve been frustrated by my lack of production while dealing with a host of annoying odds and ends. I’m enraged on a daily basis by the
bigotry and insanity of the criminal treasonous Republican Party. Hope has been a rare commodity of late.

For today’s bloggy thing, I’m not going to dwell on the negatives of the year to date. I’ve had some good times this year. I went to Pensacon with Saintly Wife Barb and celebrated her birthday there.I went to a magnificent Alex Ross exhibit at the Canton Museum of Art with pals Terry Fairbanks and Bob Ingersoll. I did a creating characters workshop for the Lake Erie Ink 10th Annual Kids' Comic Con. I also attended Fantasticon in Toledo where I got to hang out with old friends while having a very profitable convention. Not too bad considering my general air of malaise.

My search for happiness is, of course, neverending. Here are those things that brought me joy in February...

February 1: More of Thom Zahler’s Love and Capes is always a good thing. Love and Capes: In the Time of Covid is especially choice since this is something we’re all still living through. It’s rare to be able to relate to super-heroes this closely.


February 2: The Art of Sushi by Franckie Alarcon. I’ve eaten sushi maybe six times in my life, but this informative and frankly mouth-watering graphic album has me wanting to dive deep into a full-on sushi dinner experience. Pass the saki please.

February 3: Son Ed came over to snow blow our driveway and sidewalk and, more importantly, show me how to use the snowblower for when I have to use it tomorrow. Then we watched Peacemaker.  

February 4: The Complete Peacemaker. I’m having great fun reading these Joe Gill/Pat Boyette public domain adventures of Christopher Smith, collected by Classic Comics Library. The book also reprints some Fightin’ 5 stories.


February 5: John LeMay’s Classic Monsters Unmade: The Lost Films of Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, and Other Monsters (Volume 1: 1899-1955). When you see LeMay’s name on a book, you know it’ll be good informative reading. I’ve already ordered Volume 2.

February 6: The Haunted Strangler. Thanks to Svengoolie, I saw this 1958 movie for the first time. A genuine chiller with a fantastic performance by Boris Karloff.

February 7: Snake 3: Dinosaur vs. Python. An above-average Chinese creature feature. Decent CGI, compelling characters (including the title python), satisfying ending. The English-subtitled version is available on YouTube. Entertaining and recommended.


February 8: Ohio’s “Beat the Stigma” campaign, which challenges incorrect information about addiction, may be the funniest public service announcement of all time. Saintly Wife Barb and I have seen it dozens of times and it still makes us laugh.

February 9: PopnBeards in Akron’s Summit Mall got me a complete set of the new Black Lightning figures from Funko. This is a fantastic store filled with hundreds of collectible plus items for the care and feeding of beards. I recommend it highly.

February 10: Celebrating Terry Fairbanks, my oldest friend, on his 70th birthday. Barb and I joined Terry, his wife, his kids and his grandkids at the great Santosuossos Italian restaurant in Medina. It was a wonderful evening.

February 11: Reading the Alias Omnibus by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos. Revisiting this series for the first time in years, it’s as enjoyable and intriguing as the first time. Wish we could get more seasons of the TV series.

February 12: The February 5th episode of Svengoolie had a surprise appearance of George Perez. It was wonderful to see. Plus, believe it or not, this was the first time I saw It! The Terror from Beyond Space. Great comics creator and a terrific movie!



February 13: Cap(tain America) Snowman. Saintly Wife Barb and I are planning for our 2022 Christmas mantle, starting with this adorable  Funko Pop!

February 14: Space Force. Just finished watching the first season on Netflix. It’s an impressive mix of comedy, drama and satire with fine performances by Steve Carell, John Malkovich and others. The second season drops on Friday.

February 15: The Isabella Family Christmas 2022 mantle is going to be super with the addition of the Man of Steel in a festive holiday sweater. Oh, Funko, you’ve done it again!                                                                                                                                   
February 16: My Falcon and the Winter Solider team is complete with the arrival of new MCU Captain America. Steve Rogers chose wisely with his pick of Sam Wilson.


February 17: Celebrating Saintly Wife Barb’s [redacted] birthday in Pensacola the night before Pensacon. We had a great dinner at Crabs on the Beach, right next door to our hotel. The delicious key lime pie lasted until Monday morning.

February 18: Pensacon Day One. Seeing old pals Nancy Collins, John Dell, Julio Diaz, Maria Landry, Mark Maddox, Roland Paris and so many others. Meeting Adam-Troy Castro in person for the first time. Making new friends like David Gerrold and Sam Irvin.

February 19: Pensacon Day Two. An attendance record was achieved, sales were terrific, the fans more so. We dined at O’Reilly’s Bar where the servers cosplayed Captain Marvel, Black Widow and Spider-
Gwen. My drink of choice was a Heart of Wakanda.

February 20: Pensacon Day Three. Great conversation with John Ross Bowie of The United States of Al. Sold out of the comics we brought to the show. Wonderful dinner at McGuire’s Irish Pub with promoter Mike Ensley and two dozen terrific people.

February 21: Our flights home from Pensacon were both pleasant and swift. Kelly picked us up when we landed and we met Eddie for lunch at The Rail in Strongsville. Another weekend of amazing memories we will cherish.

February 22: Pensacon aftermath. Despite the great meals in great Pensacola restaurants, and the amazing green room spread at the con itself, I gained only two pounds and remain under 200. Shooting for 190 by Toledo’s Fantasticon on March 12-13.

[NOTE: Sadly, I didn’t make it down to 190 pounds by Fantasticon, but I’m determined to hit that number or a lower one before we go on a family vacation in May.]


February 23: Happy Kanako’s Killer Life by Toshiya Wakabayashi. An  unhappy office worker somehow gets hired as a contract killer. She loves her new job and is good at it. Dark humor has never looked so cute.

February 24: Marvelocity! The Art of Alex Ross. The Canton Museum of Art had a terrific exhibit, which I visited with Terry Fairbanks and Bob Ingersoll. My favorites: the artist’s childhood work, an intense Doctor Doom bust and an Invisible Woman painting.

February 25: The Jeopardy National College Championship tournament was smart and riveting television. I didn’t really hold my own with those young whippersnappers, but didn’t embarrass myself either. Of course, playing at home is always easier.

February 26: Saturday Night Live skipped its usual comedic opening to present the Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York. It was moving and a nice show of solidarity with the Ukraine people.

February 27: Sex work and sex workers was too complicated a subject for John Oliver to cover fully in his most recent episode of Last Week Tonight, but he made a darned good start addressing them and the hypocrisy of our nation’s response to them.

February 28: Kent State University is darn proud of distinguished alumni Jefferson Pierce, as seen in this article by my friend Phil Soencksen in Kent State Today.

If all goes to plan, you’ll be seeing my bloggy thing summation of the things that made me happy in March in a day or so. That bloggy will also update you on some other happenings in the comic-book and real-world lives of Tony Isabella. See you soon.

© 2022 Tony Isabella