Tuesday, December 26, 2023




It’s 1956 or thereabouts. Born in December 1951, the young Tony is an avid watcher of The Adventures of Superman and that love brings him to the neighborhood bookie-adjacent newsstand on Detroit Avenue in Cleveland. The newsstand sells more racing forms than Tony had ever seen, not that Tony knows what those are. The actual bookie is next door.

The newsstand also has more magazine and newspapers than Tony has ever seen before. Most glorious, it also has more comic books than he’s ever seen before. Tony learned to read from comic books when he was four years old, but he was only now becoming the avid fan we know today.

Superman and Action Comics were his favorites, but he was getting interested in this Batman guy as well. Soon, Batman would eclipse Superman to become Tony’s favorite super-hero. Because Batman, with no super-powers per se, seemed an attainable role model for a young would-be hero. He could train himself just as Bruce Wayne had. If Dick Grayson could do it, so could young Tony. Alas, he lacked the essential element of dead rich parents. Still, Batman remained his favorite until Spider-Man swung around.

We’re continuing our reading of Batman: The Silver Age Omnibus. The book collects Batman #101-116 and Detective Comics #233-257. Let’s get back into it...  

Detective Comics #237 [November 1956] presented “Search for a New Robin” by a currently unknown writer and with art by Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris. This rather lightweight ten-pager consists mostly of a disguised Bruce Wayne imaging what his life would be if his new Robin was one of the two rather unpleasant youngsters he meets in his temporary new identity.

The weak premise is that, while appearing with Batman at a bridge dedication ceremony, a dummy of Bruce Wayne is shot by a gangster. The dummy tumbles into the river and everyone thinks Bruce is dead. Taking on a new identity, he knows Batman must work solo for fear of exposing Robin’s identity. It’s faulty logic, but, after Bruce’s daydream of a new Robin or two, the police find the bullet-riddled
dummy. A half-ass explanation of why Wayne had taken on a different identity mercifully brings this story to an end.


Batman #104 [December 1956) has one of my favorite covers of this era. Drawn by Sheldon Moldoff, it evokes the giant dinosaur movies that were captivating me. Beyond that, the issue has three terrific stories, starting with “The Man Who Knew Batman’s Secret” by writer Edmond Hamilton with art by Dick Sprang and Charles Paris. In just eight pages, we see a Gotham City imperiled by master criminal John Varden. Complicating Batman and Robin’s hunt for Varden, quirky amateur detective Thaddeus Crane accidentally discovers Batman’s secret identity. Varden is determined to kidnap Crane and get him to reveal Batman’s identity. Even as a kid, I saw the ending coming a mile away but was still excited to learn Crane was actually loyal butler Alfred, the key element of Batman’s plan to capture Varden and his men. I was around five years old and my detective skills were pretty darn sharp.

Bill Finger’s clever “Robin’s 50 Batman Partners” was also a hit. Again drawn by Sprang and Paris, the tale has Batman injured with Robin having to do solo hosting duties at a gala honoring some of Batman’s greatest cases with appropriately gigantic displays. The bad guys figure they can easily take down Robin, but the Boy Wonder uses the exhibits to take them down instead.

“The Creature from 20,000 Fathoms” is by Finger, Moldoff and Paris. No hoax here. The fire-breathing monster is the real deal. Batman and Robin must battle the dinosaur as a member of their exhibition tries to kill them to protect a treasure he discovered. This would have been a standout story in most Batman issues of the time, but it came in a close third to the other two.


Detective Comics #238 [December 1956] featured writer Dave Wood’s highly entertaining “The Doors That Hid Disaster!” The cover is by Sheldon Moldoff with the interior art by Moldoff and inker Charles Paris.

Super-criminal Checkmate thinks he has escaped Batman and Robin but has instead doomed himself by hiding in a chamber holding deadly radioactive material. He plans his ultimate revenge against the duo by having his gang carry out his plans after his death. They lure Batman and Robin into a building filled with deadly traps that the crime fighters have faced before. But repeating those escapes would kill them. It’s a great “battle of wits” adventure.

What makes the story even more fun are the mentions of Batman foes that never appeared previously and are not seen, even in flashback, in this tale. It’s only a matter of time before some modern Batman writer introduces us to such evil luminaries as the Bowler, Harbor Pirate and Wheelo.


Detective Comics #239 [January 1957] has a wash cover by Sheldon Moldoff and Jack Adler. The writer of “Batman’s Robot Twin” has not yet been identified, but the art is by Moldoff and Charles Paris. The brilliant but naive Professor Carden happily shows his latest invention to the clearly shady Dr. Dall. It’s a robot that can be programmed with the knowledge and personality of anyone. Dall tells the professor the robot is too dangerous to be given the thoughts and personality of anyone other than Batman. Realizing the robot won’t be used for evil with this thoughts and could even be a boon to crime-fighting, Batman agrees.

Dall cuts the brakes on a crane, forcing Batman to leave the robot before he can give it any commands. Dall then clobbers Carden and takes control of the robot. He takes control of the robot, but is stymied because the robot won’t reveal Batman’s secret identity. That’s Batman’s personality coming through.

Dall sends the robot to capture Batman. On his own, the robot goes to the Batcave. A high voltage shock will erase the robot’s memory, but the robot knows that’s what Batman will attempt and foils him. Batman escapes. Dall uses the robot’s knowledge to help him break into a diamond-cutting factory. Another clash of Batman vs. Robot Batman commences.


This time, Batman tricks the robot into high-voltage wires using a tactic our hero just thought of and which the robot could not know about. Batman disguises himself as the robot, tricking Dall and his gang into a locked truck.

Even with its memory erased, Batman and Carden agree the invention is to dangerous to be used. It ends up yet another souvenir in the Batcave.

I’ll have more from Batman’s Silver Age adventures in the hopefully near future. Thanks for stopping by.

© 2023 Tony Isabella

Sunday, December 24, 2023



Today’s bloggy is a fun exercise in building a team, specifically, the Avengers team I’d like to write. The notion first hit me when, after watching the second season of Loki, I said Sylvie would make a good addition to the Avengers.

My next idea was to create a team of Avengers that kind of sort of copied the original team with different characters. That idea came and went and came back.

I asked my Facebook and Twitter friends how many members should my new incarnation have. The responses ranged from three to infinity. The most frequent number was seven. I thought that was a perfectly workable number of members. Then I started putting together a team I’d love to write and seven didn’t seem as definitive as I thought.

No Avengers team would be complete without CAPTAIN AMERICA. Steve Rogers was my first choice for that role. However, it also struck me that a position as important as Avengers leader needed back-ups. So, on my Avengers team, Steve’s role would occasionally be taken over by Captain America Sam Wilson or Captain Carter.

My next choices were GIANT-MAN and THE WASP. The former would be a back-from-the-dead Bill Foster because killing him off in Civil War was as monumentally stupid as Civil War itself. The latter would be Janet van Dyne because I always liked her and think she’d be great fun to write. Super-capable, feisty, smart, fashionable. What’s not to love there?

SYLVIE. She’s Loki, but not as self-assured as the original god of mischief. Her coming into her considerable power could bring some interesting situations into the series.

SHE-HULK. Okay, yes, she’s an obvious choice, but she’s a favorite character of mine I’ve never gotten to write. Look at that. I just re-created the original Avengers line-up. That’s five.

The next two members are MISTY KNIGHT and TIGRA. Because I created them and have long wanted to write them again. That’s seven.

But I’m not done yet.

JESUS RIDER or maybe just THE RIDER. Long-suffering Johnny Blaze has his soul redeemed by accepting Jesus as his lord and savior. He no longer has his Hell-spawned powers. What he has are supernatural powers given him by Jesus. He accepts there are many other god-like beings in the Marvel Universe. He doesn’t disrespect them at all. He has chosen to follow Jesus, who, of course, preached loving all people. Including gay people. Like Johnny himself.

People do come out late in life. Having his authentic self seen and accepted and loved by the One who rescued him from Hell’s agonies means everything to Johnny. If you object to my having a gay hero on this team, there are dozens of Avengers teams who don’t have any members of the LGBTQ+ community on them. That’s eight.

The final member of my Avengers team is HALLOWS EVE. I really like Janine Godby. Her masks are a super-power we don’t see too often. The only changes I would make: only she can use the masks and they always return to her. That’s nine.

If you like this Avengers line-up, feel free to tell Marvel you’d like to see me write such a title. Just expect to be disappointed. I doubt many of the current Marvel Comics editors know who I am or anything about my work. If they do know who I am, they likely think of me as an old guy who couldn’t possibly still write great comics.Such is life.

One more thing. If you count Captain Carter and Sam Wilson, my team actually has eleven members. Which is way too many.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2023 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, December 6, 2023


November was another wild ride in The Adventures of Tony Isabella. It started with the wonderful Akron Comicon. It continued with all manner of household projects, including emptying the final storage unit of the Fortress of Storage. At one point, we had three units. Now we have none. This will save us just under a hundred bucks per month. Three cheers and a tiger for us.

November ended with the American release of Godzilla Minus One, now my second favorite Godzilla movie of them all. The Japanese Gojira is still first, but that’s a combination of recognizing the movie that started it all and my sentimental love for it.

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

November 1: My mom is 97 years old as of Halloween. She enjoys life at Emerald Village in North Olmsted, hanging with her many friends and roaming the halls with her walker. She is often given mail to deliver to other residents. Happy birthday, Mom!

November 2: Go Find Daddy. The latest Ed Runyon mystery by Steve Goble finds the investigator trying to find a cop-hater believed to be a cop-killer to tell him his daughter is dying. Very emotional and intense, it’s the best in the series to date.


November 3: Quiz Lady. Streaming on Hulu and starring Sandra Oh and Awkwafina, this woman-driven comedy is hilarious and heartwarming. Terrific supporting performances from Will Farrell, Holland Taylor and Tony Hale. It’s a good time and recommended.

November 4: Akron Comicon 2023. It was another great weekend with terrific fans, guests and vendors. The highlight was dinner with my dear friends Laurie Jacobson and Jon Provost, who I haven’t seen in way too many years. Love you guys!

November 5: Akron Comicon 2023. I wore my “Trans Rights are Human Rights” shirt Saturday, receiving literally dozens of compliments and thanks. It’s important to stand up for and with a community so cruelly and unfairly targeted by the GOP.

November 6: Akron Comicon. From Scream, actresses Nancy Anne Kidder and Leonora Scelfo were my delightful next-door neighbors. The fans loved them and so did I. I’d like to see their mean girl characters return in Scream 7!


November 7: Funko’s 80th anniversary Spider-Man Pop! I love getting figures of the original looks of my favorite comic-book characters. Though I plan to reduce my Funko collection, I’m still buying such figures when I see them.

November 8: Trans lives matter. The shirts for my next convention appearance have arrived. I urge my fellow comics professionals to stand with and support people so cruelly and unfairly targeted by the GOP. Do not say nothing.

November 9: My “No Hunting” sign is ready to go when Medina’s law allowing bow hunters to come into neighborhoods and slaughter deer takes effect. I wonder how many holiday reindeer displays they will skewer in their zeal.

November 10: All-American Comics #16. I love facsimile editions of old comics. They’re a window to our past. But I’d gladly pay $9.99 if they were the same dimensions as the originals. Much better for  a true feel for the material.


November 11: Loki Season Two was terrific throughout and ended in a most satisfying manner. But now I want a third season showcasing Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) coming into her own as a Loki. I can see a place for her in The Avengers.

November 12: Punchline and the Vaude-Villains. Ted Sikora and the rest of the Apama-Verse are clearly having a blast focusing on the wondrous foes our hero and the city of Cleveland are facing. As a reader, I’m having a great time reading these comics.



November 13: Funny Things: A Comic Strip Biography of Charles M. Schulz by Luca Debus and Francesco Matteuzzi. We are living in an age of great cartoonist biographies, as witness this one, told in comic strips with a Schulz-ian vibe.

November 14: Wheel of Fortune. On the November 14 episode, the 92-year-old Liz amazed Pat Sajak and everyone else with her incredible puzzle-solving abilities. Her and her son won over $65,000. It was an inspiring competition.

November 15: Saintly Wife Barb, our neighbor Sue and our jack-of-all-trades handyman Brad got all of my boxes out of the garage and into our basement. Part one of our massive basement/garage/living room project. More to come.

November 16: Tony’s Vast Accumulation of Stuff Basement Project is pretty much finished. With help from my friend Rob, all the boxes are out of the garage and living room. Watch for a VAOS update in the near future.

November 17: Public-domain heroes. Dozens of comics creators have been putting their own spin on Golden Age characters. Their results are decided mixed, but fun. I might want to do something like this in the future if I knew the artist would be paid.

November 18: Hoverboy the Republican Super-Hero by Ty Templeton and Steve Molnar. This odd comic from 2008 has a funny premise and an amusing faux-history. It’s not great, but it does have its moments. Perfect for fans who like weird comics.



November 19: The Marvels. I loved this movie. A trio of incredible women in the leads. Unexpected humor. Sincere feelings. Nick Fury being Nick Fury. All tied up with one of the best credits scenes. I’m still on board. Make mine Marvel!

November 20: Zatanna and the Ripper Volume One by Sarah Dealy and Syre. From Webtoon, we get this intriguing story of a time-tossed Zatanna, just turned 21, trying to catch the infamous murderer and find her way back home. Recommended.

November 21: Published in 2017, Classic Monsters as Sharks by Todd Loren and others is incredibly silly and all the more fun for that.Sharkula, the Frankenshark Monster, Sharkzilla and more! Look for this insane masterpiece at Indy Planet.


November 22: Strong Girl Nam-soon. I’ve watched the first episode of this Korean series about a supernaturally strong young woman on Netflix and loved it. It’s a great mix of comedy, crime-fighting, drama and super-heroics. Recommended.

November 23: The Daily Show. John Leguizamo’s brilliant takedown of Univision for airing a shameful softball interview with Donald J. Trump aka Public Enemy Number One. The actor also wrote a terrific op-ed piece on this for the Los Angeles Times.

November 24: Dolly Parton (and not for the first time). She is an amazing force for good in the world and one of our greatest singers and songwriters. At 77, she was breathtaking in her Dallas Cowboys cheerleader uniform. Good golly, Miss Dolly!


November 25: Ghosts UK. I binge-watched the first four episodes and enjoyed them. I think the US version is better, but there were some brilliant things in the original. Especially the caveman. But some of the ghosts are really nasty.

November 26: Spy Superb by Matt Kindt and Sharlene Kindt. The world’s greatest spy is actually just a useful idiot. This graphic novel has action, espionage, humor and a high body count. It needs to be a movie. Highly recommended.

November 27: Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. I watched the first two episodes of the Apple TV+ series and was mightily impressed. It has an intriguing story, excellent acting and movie-quality production values. This will be a keeper on home video.

November 28: Marvel Super Stories. Fifteen short stories by an all-star line of cartoonists, the anthology is edited by John Jennings, who also contributes a Daredevil story. Aimed at younger readers, the book is suitable for all ages. More please.

November 29: Floor Peijnenburg. Absolutely rocking her real estate business and more, the Netherlands-based beauty is my favorite of the HGTV real estate agents. She’s fun and sassy, often addressing the audience directly.

November 30: Godzilla Minus One is my second favorite Godzilla film of all time. It has the best human stories of any Godzilla movie, the Cold War political content makes it that much more real and the Godzilla scenes are amazing and intense.

December looks to be as busy as November. Maybe more so. I had the best time at GalaxyCon Columbus on December 1-3. I have some cool tasks on my “to do” list, among them getting the bloggy back up to speed. I can’t promise daily columns, but I think I can do better than I’ve done in recent months.

Here’s wishing the happiest of holidays to all my bloggy friends.Thanks for visiting and thanks for your patience as I worked my way through various situations.  

© 2023 Tony Isabella

Friday, November 24, 2023



My last convention appearance of the year will be the impressive GalaxyCon Columbus at the Greater Columbus Convention Center from December 1 through 3. Event hours: Friday 2 pm to 2 am, Saturday 10 am to 2 am and Sunday 10 am to 8 pm. Exhibition hall hours: Friday 2 pm to 8 pm, Saturday 10 am to 8 pm and Sunday 10 am to 6 pm. Wow, there’s a lot going on that weekend.

There are hundreds of guests: celebrities, voice actors, featured comics creators, literary & industry guests, entertainment guests, pro wrestlers, cosplay guests and fan groups. I’ll mention a dozen or so of them and then let you seek out others on the convention’s website.

Here we go: Grant Gustin, Charlie Cox, Vincent D’Onofrio, William Shatner, Paula Abdul, Ron Perlman, Giancarlo Esposito, Sean Gunn, Jonathan Frakes, Denise Crosby, Brent Spiner, Barry Bostwick, Pete Rose, Tara Strong, Steve Englehart, Ron Marz, Ann Nocenti, Steve Orlando, Bob McLeod, Bob Hall, John Jackson Miller, Dan Jurgens, Mike DeCarlo, Kami Garcia, Joe Wos, Hazel Honeysuckle, Mick Foley, Sgt, Slaughter, Rubber City Cosplay and many more. This isn’t even my complete list of guests I hope to at least say hello to during this amazing event.

I’m going to be doing something different at this convention. I am not going to be behind my guest table all of the time. I will post the times I will be there. My goal here is to be able to visit with some of the other guests and shop some of the many fine vendors at the convention.

When I am at my table, I will be signing Isabella items for a mere ten bucks per signature. That price will almost certainly go up in 2024. I need to buy a ton of comics and magazines bags and boards for my Vast Accumulation of Stuff.

I will be bringing three exclusive items to sell. I will have that limited edition reprint of the first Misty Knight appearance, only available from me or on the secondary market. I will some copies of July 1963: A Pivotal Month in the Comic-Book Life of Tony Isabella Volume One. Finally, I’ll have my special Marvel Monsters poster. Drawn by Dan Gorman, it features all of the main Marvel monsters I worked on in the 1970s. Cash only.

I’ll be appearing on three panels during GalaxyCon. On Friday, at 7:15 pm, I’ll be on a Retrospective on the Mid-Ohio-Con panel. On Saturday at 7 pm, I’ll be on the Horror in Comics panel. Finally, on Sunday at 3:45 pm, I’ll be on a panel titled The Penance Stare: Ghost Rider in the Comics.

During the convention, I can make myself available for interviews, podcasts and other media. I am also interested in talking to folks who might want to hire or partner with me on various endeavors from comic books to magazines to movies and more. Honestly, I feel the strong desire and need to become an official member of SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild.

I’d also be interested in invitations to appear at comics and other conventions, or to speak at libraries and schools. Those bags and boards aren’t going to buy themselves.

If you want to set up a specific time to meet with me, e-mail me. I’ll do my best to accommodate you.

COSPLAYERS: If you are cosplaying characters I’ve created or have written, I’d love to get photos of you and with you.

For those of you with more flexible budgets than me, GalaxyCon is hosting a variety of after dark events. Although a “comics legend” like me needs his beauty sleep, I’ll try to make an appearance at the Hyatt’s terrific bar and at any parties to which I am invited. I’ll go where the fun is.

I think the above covers as much as I can cover about a convention as enormous as GalaxyCon. I hope I get to see you there.  
© 2023 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, November 14, 2023




October was far more stressful than I anticipated. There were things going on in my life and various health issues that resulted in my being far less productive than I needed to be. We won’t even talk about the absolute vileness of the Republican Party. At least not in this bloggy thing.

I did manage to attend Monster Bash, which was a wonderful event I hope to return to, and also to give a talk on Superman’s core values as part of Superman’s Cleveland. The talk was held at the Rising Star Coffee Roastery, an intimate and very cool venue.

My biggest regret of September and October was not attending of the other 26 events put on by Superman’s Cleveland. A series of talks, book discussions, presentations, signings and more with incredible creators and historians. The organization did Superman proud in his 85th anniversary year.

Regret isn’t productive, so I’ll not dwell on it as I push forward to November and beyond. But I will take a moment to share with you the things that made me happy in October...

October 1: New calendars are always sort of exciting for me. It’s the promise of a new and better year. The 2024 Elvira Mistress of the Dark Wall Calendar will hang in my office and hopefully inspire me to write some creepy sexy stories.


October 2: Hedorah. Godzilla has always been “woke” but never more so than when he fought the Smog Monster. Super 7 is selling a swell action figure of one of my favorite kaiju and it has made its way to a place of honor in my office.

October 3: Celebrity Wheel of Fortune. Brendan Hunt was a monster on the new season’s opening episode. He won $328,200 for the Steps of Faith charity which helps uninsured & under-insured amputees get prosthetic limbs.

October 4: Batman vs. Robin by Mark Waid, Mahmud Asrar and Scott Goldewski. I’m not much interested in DC Comics super-heroes these days, but Waid does such a great job with them I’ll read anything he writes.  

October 5: Just received from Super 7, Toho’s 1000-piece Godzilla King of the Monsters puzzle. Civilization might be crumbling from the Big G’s fury, but my family and I will put it back together on our next puzzle night.

October 6: The Godzilla 16-Month Wall Calendar. This will hang in my bedroom because Saintly Wife Barb would rather look at the Great Scaly One than Elvira.


October 7: Comics for Ukraine brings together dozens of incredible comics creators for one of the most moving graphic anthologies of all time. There are tales that will lift your spirits and make you weep. A magnificent gathering.

October 8: Misfortune Cookie. In Vivien Chien’s latest Noodle Shop Mystery, restaurant manager Lana Lee is well out of her element in California, investigating a murder with her judgmental sister Anna and their aunt. Another highly entertaining novel.  

October 9: I got my Moderna booster shot. Same day appointment. No fuss whatsoever. This makes me smarter than that slug Rand Paul and all the other anti-vaccine imbeciles. Science is real, you morons.

October 10: My “Vote Yes on Issue 1" sign on my front lawn confirms my support for reproductive rights in Ohio. The vile Republicans in our government don’t speak for the people and no church is a branch of the government. Vote yes on issue 1.

[Issue 1 passed by a large margin and, naturally, Republicans are already trying to figure out how to ignore the will of the people in this matter.]


October 11: In the Form of a Question: The Joys and Rewards of a Curious Life by Amy Schneider. The Jeopardy champion writes about her life and other things. This is a breezy, entertaining and very informative book. Recommended.

October 12: Having been dis-invited from at least one convention for being mean to Republicans, I’ve decided to let my progressive liberal voice be heard at events when appropriate. So, if you’re a Trump-ian snowflake, be warned.

October 13: I did the Bash. I did the Monster Bash. I was a guest of honor at the October convention. Everything a monster kid could ask for plus I got to hang out with Carl Craig (Gamera vs. Viras) and Linda Miller (King Kong Escapes).

October 14: Monster Bash. My Saturday afternoon Q&A went amazingly well. Very popular. I was given a box of locally-made chocolates. Delicious. While leaving, I fell down on the stage. Full contact. I guess two out of three ain’t bad.

October 15: Monster Bash. I was a last-minute draft choice for the Monster Match Game. Playing with the wondrous Linda Miller and two convention volunteers. I cracked jokes and had fun..


October 16: Mom Breaks the Internet #1 by Jay Sandlin and Patrick Mulholland. Bought the first issue on a whim because of the title. Found a cool tale of tech-tyranny and tech-rebellion. I’m on board for the rest of the run.

October 17: Pete Davidson’s Saturday Night Live cold opening on the Israel-Hamas War. Obviously, there’s no humor in this conflict, but Davidson addressed it brilliantly with a common man’s compassion. He showed a depth I hope he explores further.  

October 18: Michael Kosta showed he has the chops to be permanent host of The Daily Show. He added gravitas to his comedy, discussing the Israel-Hamas War sensitively and also offering smart thoughts on protecting the environment. He’s got my vote.

October 19: Bronze Star by Mike Baron and Pat Broderick is a weird western thriller with a compelling story that mixes the grimness of the era with simply stunning artwork. There is humanity mixed with the horror. Highly recommended.


October 20: The Irrational. Jesse L. Martin is his usual brilliant as Professor Alec Baker, a behavioral scientist and psychologist who uses his insights to assist in difficult cases. Great writing and superb supporting characters.

October 21: SurrealEstate. The Roman Agency sells properties with supernatural concerns. In the third season of this SyFy show, owner Luke struggles with the loss of his ability to connect with spirits while alienating his team. It’s a great series.

October 22: Marvel’s 2023 Crypt of Shadows anthology. I love this series. This year’s issue has a cool new take on the Living Mummy, Scarlet Witch versus new villain The Bricklayer and a serious evil upgrade for Doctor Strange’s brother.

October 23: Avengers Inc. by Al Ewing and Leonard Kirk. Two issues in, I’m loving this series with Janet Van Dyne, a favorite of mine, acting as an “agent” of NYC Mayor Luke Cage. There’s a lot of back story to unpack, but I’m on board.


October 24: My eerie Vincent Price blood sugar box. Purchased from the very talented Casey Knoll at Monster Bash, it holds everything I require to monitor my glucose level. The inside lid has Price’s dialogue from “Thriller.”   

October 25: Look Out for the Little Guy! by Scott Lang (really Rob Kutner) is surprisingly charming, funny and even helpful with its advice about getting along in life. I requested it from my library on a whim, but now I’m recommending it to you.

October 26: Stephen Colbert emotionally and forcefully called out Speaker of the House Mike Johnson for “walking away from the mass shooting problem” and told him to “face [his] responsibilities.” An entertainer brilliantly speaking truth to power.

October 27: Sharktopus 2023. Available on YouTube and sans English subtitles, this Chinese “remake” bears very little resemblance to the original. The monster is cool and there are decent characters, even if I don’t know exactly who they are.

October 28: As part of Superman’s Cleveland, my talk and discussion of Superman’s core values at the Rising Star Coffee Roastery went very well. Amazing venue. Engaged group. Free coffee. Look for my talk in an upcoming bloggy thing.

October 29: Batman/Superman World’s Finest Vol. 2 by Mark Waid, Dan Mora and Tamra Bonvillain. Pardon the reference to the Flintstones, but this B/S is the modern silver age super-hero series. Authentic characterizations and exciting stories.

October 30: Scream. I’d never watched the original or its sequels. As a Halloween treat for myself, I binged all six movies over three days. I found them fun and just inventive enough to fool me a few times. I’m ready for Scream 7.

October 31: Halloween 2023 at Casa Isabella saw a noticeable rise in trick-or-treaters for the first time in recent years. As well as an even bigger rise in amazing Halloween decorations. We’re going to have to up our game in 2024.

I’m struggling with too many household and other projects that need to be finished before Thanksgiving. These are seriously impacted by my stupid knee negatively affecting my comic-box-lifting abilities. However, I will endure and I will also do my best to bring you more bloggy things and Last Kiss gags in what’s left of November. Stay vigilant and stay well, my friends.

© 2023 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, November 1, 2023


Come see me and other amazing guests, cosplayers and vendors this weekend at Akron Comicon, one of the best conventions around and a personal favorite of mine: https://www.akroncomicon.com/


Today's LAST KISS with a gag by me.

Friday, October 27, 2023


Superman’s Cleveland: Lineage and Legacy is a city-wide celebration of the heritage of Superman, the world’s first comic book superhero invented in 1938 in Glenville by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, two Jewish high school students. In this month-long series of programs, scholars and comic book lovers will join interested Clevelanders in book discussions, comics-making workshops, live interviews with creators, and a rich lineup of programs exploring the lineage and legacy of Superman, Cleveland, and the comics medium.

Hosted by the Rust Belt Humanities Lab at Ursuline College in partnership with the Ohio Center for the Book at the Cleveland Public Library, Superman’s Cleveland gathers institutional partners from across Northeast Ohio.

This Saturday, October 28, I'll be giving a talk and workshop on the core values of Superman. It’ll be a discussion of who Superman has been and is. It's from 10:00am to noon at Rising Star Coffee Roastery, 3617 Walton Avenue in Cleveland.

I hope to engage with my students on how Superman has become more inclusive, starting way back in late 1940s with the launch of the Superboy series. We’ll discuss Supergirl, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, the Legion of Super-Heroes and even his bisexual son.

If you’re in the Cleveland area, please join us.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Friday, October 6, 2023




September saw the end of my 2023 Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales. They were very successful and I’m already making plans for next year’s garage sales to start earlier and be even better than this year’s.

Part of the reason for that is my family and I started clearing out our last storage unit. At one time, we had three storage units in what I called the Fortress of Storage. Now we are down to just one unit and it is now half-empty.

We brought somewhere in the neighbor of 75 boxes of comics, books and other VAOS items to our basement and garage. To make room for the ones in the garage, I’m in the process of making more space for them in our basement. It’s a time-consuming job, but it has needed to be done for years.

I can tell you there are some incredible things in the boxes to be  processed for next year’s garage sales. A enormous run of Amazing Heroes. An equally impressive run of Uncle Scrooge and other Disney comics. Hundreds of Mack Bolan paperbacks. Many boxes of hardcovers and trade paperbacks, including what appears to be a complete run of Captain Easy hardcovers.

On a personal note, I found my file copies of Comics Buyer’s Guide. I won’t be selling those, but having them together means I can put together annotated collections of the Everett True cartoons I did with Gary Dumm and others. I likewise found my file copies of Movie Collectors World, which also featured Everett True cartoons. I did some Everett True cartoons for Amazing Heroes and Comics Journal, but I figure I have time to find those.

Some time later this year, after I’m done with conventions for the year, I want to hire somewhere local to run an online story for me. Probably on eBay. I’m exploring ways to keep this separate from my normal business. I’d love for my VAOS to generate income all year long and for several years to come.

But, hey, let’s get down to the reason you probably started reading today’s blog. Here’s the list of all the things that make me happy in the month of September...

September 1: Saintly Wife Barb and a neighborhood made a visit to the Fortress of Storage. They took a bunch of stuff and donated it to charities and brought me six cool collectible phones which I am adding to tomorrow’s garage sale.

[Sadly, none of the phones were sold, though I’m pretty confident they will sell next year. The R2D2 one is sweet.]

September 2: DC Power: A Celebration 2023. Specifically, the Black Lightning story by Lamont Magee and Crisscross. Though ignored by DC’s solicitations for the special, it’s a terrific and authentic tale of DC’s most iconic Black hero.


September 3: I’m excited my Marvel Bicentennial Calendar from 1976 will be reprinted as part of a collection later this year. I wrote and semi-designed the calendar and it got a favorable albeit brief review in Penthouse.

September 4: Black Demon Tales is a intriguing three-issue series. The tales are based on Mexican fishermen lore and Aztec mythology. More than scary shark stuff, the stories deal with family, class, and the environment. Worth checking out.

September 5: Apama by Ted Sikora, Milo Miller and Benito Gallego. I’ve been reading/rereading all the Apamaverse comics from start to finish. It’s a great ride with one of the most original and still nostalgic super-hero titles of modern times.


September 6: Three Rocks: The Story of Ernie Bushmiller, The Man Who Created Nancy by Bill Griffith is much more than a biography. It’s a mind-blowing examination of comic art and history that will astonish you frequently. You must read this book.

September 7: Pixies of the Sixties: You Really Got Me Now presents a world in which fairies live side-by-side with humans who hate and fear them. It’s an anthology series which deals with contemporary issues and it’s brilliant.

September 8: 5 Forgotten TV Shows. It’s a series of YouTube videos from GoodBadFlicks showcasing short-run series. Some of them I had never heard of, some I knew about, some I wish I could see. These videos make for a quick fun break.  

September 9: Star Trek Strange New Worlds. The first episode of the series was so-so. “Children of the Comet,” the second episode won me over. It felt like the original series with needed renovations. I’ll keep watching.

September 10: The Madness by J. Michael Straczynski and artist ACO. A super-thief goes for one last job with disastrous results. This kicks off a tale of vengeance, political powers and super-powers. Highly recommended, but not for the squeamish.

September 11: Minor Threats by Patton Oswalt, Jordan Blum and Scott Hepburn. A sidekick is murdered, breaking all the rules for heroes and villains alike. I’m a huge fan of compact super-hero universes. Great comics without ponderous continuity.  


September 12: Jurassic Shark 3: Seavenge is a typically awful but kinda fun film from Mark Polonia. What earns it a place on my happy list is its ridiculously unexpected plot twist near the end of the movie. I literally laughed out loud.

September 13: The Bodyguard Unit: Edith Garrud, Women's Suffrage, and Jujitsu by Clément Xavier and Lisa Lugrin is a stunning reveal  of history not taught. The parallels to modern right-wing brutality will leave you gasping with rage.

September 14: Gamera Rebirth. The first episode of the new animated series was entertaining. Spunky Japanese nerd heroes. Lots of cool action scenes with our giant turtle pal fighting Gyaos. Excellent animation. I’m in for the long haul.

September 15: Harley Quinn: “Killer’s Block”. Fun doesn’t get much bigger than the over-the-moon chaos and catastrophe of the season four finale. This series never fails to delight me and I can’t wait for season five.


September 16: Flaming River Con 2023. Bouncing back from pandemic absence, the LGBTQ+ gathering of comics, fantasy and sci-fi was big fun. Panels, vendors, non=profits, fans, a burlesque show after party. It was a blast! Count me in for 2024.

September 17: Flaming River Con 2023. The love and respect shown to me at this event damn near had me in tears. I was even introduced at the after party burlesque show as a “dignitary among us.” I love and respect this convention right back.

September 18: The Good Asian Deluxe Edition by Pornsak Pichetshote and Alexandre Tefenkgi. Set in 1936, this Eisner-winning mystery includes great historical information about the era and its bigotry towards Chinese immigrants. Recommended.

September 19: The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Ominous Omnibus Vol. 1: Scary Tales & Scarier Tentacles features just over 400 pages of freakishly fearsome fun. I can’t think of a better present for the Simpsons lover in your life.



September 20: Mr. Sardonicus. I saw this 1961 horror movie for the first time on Svengoolie. It’s an amazingly creepy and entertaining film, enhanced by the silly shenanigans of director and producer William Castle. Thanks, Sven!

September 21: Barbie. Margot Robie is perfect as the title heroine. This enjoyable and thought-proving film is more edgy and satiric than I expected. No wonder the broke right-wing assholes hate it. Highly recommended.

September 22: Bylines in Blood by Erica Schultz, Van Jensen, Aneka and Cardinal Rae. Gripping future noir as Satya, journalist turned private detective, investigates the murder of a friend in a city ruled by corrupt politicians. More please.   

September 23: Iron Man is going to be part of Casa Isabella’s 2023 Christmas celebration. I picked up this Funko figure on sale at my local Target. Given how rich Tony Stark is, I’m hoping his holiday bag is filled with Omnibus editions.

September 24: Jennifer Walters will also be joining my family this Christmas, thanks to this very cute Funko figure. When she’s done right, she’s one of my three favorite Marvel heroines. I’m guessing you know who the other two are.


September 25: Having neighbors who go all out for Halloween, one of our most beloved and sacred holidays. Their decked-out lawn reminds me I have yet to come up with my costume. I’m leaning towards Drag Queen Batman from the classic story of the same name.

September 26: Why I Adopted my Husband by Yuta Yagi. Because Japan doesn’t have same-sex marriage, Kyota adopts Yuta to legalize their relationship. It’s an informative heartwarming look at their lives in a culture still evolving.

September 27: Omnibus editions. I like how packed with classic and nostalgic stories they are. I like the heft and the look of them. Especially the Golden and Silver Age ones. I’m willing to take them in barter for my convention appearance fees


September 28: Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again by Shigeru Kayama. The original “novels” for two of my all-time favorite movies have been collected by The University of Minnesota Press. That’s what I call higher education.

September 29: Meth Gator by Ethan Richards. It’s not an adaptation of the upcoming Asylum movie, but, come on, can we really ever have too many pharmaceutical-charged monsters? With the strike over, I’m already working on Viagra Velociraptors.

September 30: King of Spies by Mark Millar and Matteo Scalera. As a John Wick-style fantasy of a dying agent trying to make good for his past crimes, it’s entertaining. But a dynamite final act makes it much more than that.

[One of my local fans is a huge Millar fan and has convinced me to make reading and rereading Millar’s work a project for the coming year. If my library system has them, I’ll read them.]

My next convention appearance will be MONSTER BASH, October 13-15 at the Mariotte Pittsburgh North. Click on the link for everything you’ll need to about this wonderfully weird weekend.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff!

© 2023 Tony Isabella

Thursday, September 7, 2023




August seems like it was an insane blur of garage sales and getting ready for garage sales and watching a lot of landscaping happening courtesy of Saintly Wife Barb and the terrific handyman we hired a while back. We think so highly of him that we also had him working on our son Eddie and our daughter Kelly’s houses. Amidst the chaos, I also found time to do some serious thinking about what projects I’ll be commencing after my final garage sales on Friday, September 8, and Saturday, September 9. I’m feeling energized.

In case the title of today’s bloggy thing has you wondering, here are the things that brought me joy in August...

August 1: Hero Tomorrow was offering a great deal on all Apama and Apama-related comics to date. I have them all, scattered through my Vast Accumulation of Stuff, but now I can read them in their proper chronological order. Score!

August 2: We love our new landscaping. The front of our house and other parts of the lawn and yard look amazing. It’s a cleaner look that has been complimented by our neighbors, our mailman and even Amazon delivery drivers. Saintly Wife Barb is thrilled.


August 3: Cocaine Crabs from Outer Space. Just because.

August 4: The Uncanny Contrast. Recommend by a friend, this Korean series is a supernatural super-hero soap opera crime drama. The heroes have been given power to banish demons, but not for personal advantage. The lines get a little shaky.

August 5: Batman Superman World’s Finest Vol. 1 by Mark Waid, Dan Mora and Tamra Bonvillain. I neither know nor care what current DC continuity is, but I love what Waid laid down here, especially his treatment of the Doom Patrol.

August 6: The Shadow of the Cat. I watched this British thriller on Svengoolie. Solid writing and good acting as a cat seeks vengeance on those who murdered her beloved human. That the cat looked like my late Simba was oddly comforting.

August 7: I Am Wonder Woman by Brad Meltzer and Chris Eliopoulos. A particularly delightful entry to their “Stories Change the World” series. My only quibble is a timeline omitting the Kanigher, Andru and Esposito comics from the 1950s and 1960s.

August 8: InStock Trades. My go to dealer for graphic novels and my beloved omnibus editions. Their discounts are the best online and their packaging, which they recently upgraded even more, is second to none. Check them out. Tell them Tony sent you.

August 9: Bloom by Ted Sikora and Butch Mapa. I like origin stories concise, but reading the four-issue origin of this villainess was like watching a emotional, visually scary movie. I got chills. I want to see that movie.


August 10: Us by Sara Soler. This is a warm and welcoming graphic memoir love story of cartoonist Sara and her partner Diana with an emphasis on Diana’s gender transition. It’s an amazing book which I recommend without reservation to all.

August 11: Black Lightning appears in My First Book of Superpowers from 2021. Thanks to Mike Maloy for alerting me to this children’s book so I could get a copy for my archives.

August 12: My pal Svengoolie sent me an autographed copy of his new hilarious Svengoolie: Lost in Time comic book. I have an invite to visit him in the dungeon when next I get to Chicago. Which ain’t as scary as driving the Dan Ryan Expressway.

August 13: Sins of the Black Flamingo kicks off with a flamboyant thief pulling a caper and morphs into a mystic thriller. Kudos to Andrew Wheeler, Travis Moore, Tamra Bonvillain and Aditya Bidikar for a fine story with great characters. More please.

August 14: In the new season of Harley Quinn, Harley and Ivy strive to find a life-work balance. This is made all the more hilariously with Harley having joined the Bat-Family and Ivy running the Legion of Doom. Not for kids.     

August 15: Saintly Wife Barb and I went to Medina’s Regal Cinemas to see the 10th anniversary edition of Sharknado. This new edition is all spruced up and the bonus content is terrific. A fun night at the movies with a classic goofy thriller.    


August 16: The Best of Simon & Kirby’s Mainline Comics. Published by TwoMorrows, this amazing volume collects the entire run of the western hero title and choice stories from Foxhole, Police Trap and In Love. A must-have for any Simon/Kirby fan.

August 17: My Adventures with Superman is too multi-versal for my tastes because I love smaller stories, but it won me over with its portrayal of Monsieur Mallah and the Brain. I would love to write comics with this version of those characters.  

August 18: Apple Crush by Lucy Knisley. The second in the creator’s Peapod Farm series has Jen navigating moving on to middle school. Suitable for all ages, it’s further proof Knisley’s work belongs in all libraries. She’s a literary treasure.

August 19: I made a trip to the Fortress of Storage with son Eddie. We excavated two dozen books of amazing items, including memorable Superman merchandise. The challenge will be pricing all this stuff and getting into the rest of 2023's garage sales.

August 20: Blue Beetle. What a wonderful departure from the usual DCU doom and gloom. It’s the Reyes family that makes this movie so down-to-earth special. I would love to write a Nana limited series. I love a feisty grandmother with guns!


August 21: In Uncaped by Mike Spring and Dennis Tirona, super-hero Lady Olympus sees a vision of her life with comics store worker and musician Lucas, who she’d never previously met. It delivers on the romance and the comedy. I enjoyed it.

August 22: My neighbor put up a beautiful shed in his back yard. It took one day. I’d look out my window every now and then and it’d be further along. At one point, I asked if he were Amish. Got a laugh. I love this kind of stuff.
August 23: Frank Frazetta’s Mothman #1 by Tim Hetrick and various artists. Intrigued by the notion of new comics stories inspired by Frazetta’s paintings, I gave this a try and enjoyed it. I’ll keep reading and try some other Opus titles.

August 24: Funko’s new Mary Jane Watson figure. I don’t know what the heck Marvel has done with this icon in their comic books, but MJ’s Romita-drawn surprise revelation back in the 1960s is one of the great moments in comic books.

August 25: Wow! In the first day of this weekend’s garage sales, I made 112% of my two-day goal and met some Facebook friends who came from Michigan and Texas and stopped by to chat while scoring cool stuff and free signatures. A very fun day.

August 26: Super Suspenstories #1 by William Satterwhite. A recent order brought me the origin of Columbia, the spirit of America. It is not the most polished comic book, but it’s got heart and purpose and I hope to see more of this character. 8-26-23.


August 27: The Talk by Darrin Bell. This brilliant autobiographical work is intense and fraught with lessons necessary for the survival of young Black men and for the education of others who still just don’t get it. Required reading.

August 28: The unsung hero of my VAOS garage sales. One of my best customers has been helping me with pricing. He puts boards in bags. He lifts heavy boxes when my knee hurts. He organizes stuff. The sales wouldn’t be so great without him.

August 29: Sandman Mystery Theatre Compendium One by Matt Wagner, Steve T. Seagle and Guy Davis. If you haven’t read these unsettling stories, you should. If you haven’t reread them in a while, they’re just as engaging the second time around.

August 30: My Vast Accumulation of Stuff excavations are resulting in my finding a great many random issues of terrific 1960s/1970s Marvel, DC and Dell comics. You’ll see them in my garage sale this weekend.

August 31: Punisher War Journal by Torunn Grønbekk and a trio of artists was interesting. Frank’s commanding the Hand in two tales. The third is a poignant look at his return home from overseas wars. Not a Punisher fan, but I enjoyed this volume.

With my garage sales coming to a close for the summer, I’m hoping to post more bloggy things. Thanks for stopping by today. I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2023 Tony Isabella