Monday, February 20, 2023



Pensacon 2023 is almost upon us. It’s my favorite convention and I can’t wait to be there again. The event treats guests better than almost any other con. The Pensacon fans, my fellow guests and staff are delightful and friendly and just fine people. Across all of the many years I’ve been attending Pensacon, I have only run into one jerk. Even a guest who I have a bad past with it had the decency to keep his distance from me last year. It’s a magical convention and I recommend it to one and all.

Details? Pensacon takes place February 24-26 and the Pensacola Bay Center. It’s a large building, but not large enough to contain all the fun that comes with this show. That’s why panels and some other programming events are held elsewhere in Pensacola. Not to worry, Pensacon’s free trolley service will get you to any of these events you wish to attend.

The Pensacola Bay Center is three tiers of tremendousness. On the ground floor level, you’ll find a large vendors area, some guests and photo ops. On the next level up is where the media celebrities
are available to sign stuff and take photos with the fans. On the third floor, which is a circle that overlooks the vendors area, you will find the comics guests and a variety of booths selling books,
cool crafts and great artwork. That’s where you’ll find me during show hours.

Pensacola itself really kicks it up several notches for the event. The airport becomes the Pensacola Intergalactic Airport with gates transformed into “stargates.” You’ll see a lot of posters promoting
the fantasy and science fiction stuff we love.

Many of the restaurants adopt themes related to the convention. In years past, I’ve dined at places devoted to Marvel heroes, Suicide Squad, Star Wars, Star Trek, Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles and more. If these establishments offer themes drinks, I usually have one or two of them. I have drunk to Captain America, Katana and the Hulk.Such speciality drinks are my weakness, though I never imbibe more than two per evening.

As always, this year’s Pensacon guest list is amazing. Doctor Who fans will be thrilled at what may be the largest gathering of folks from that series ever. Indeed, there are guests for every fan that comes to the convention. Comics creators and cartoonists. Stars of movies and TV shows. Musicians. Voice actors. Wrestlers. There are too many guests for me to even attempt to name them, but you will be able to see the entire list of celebrities by downloading the Pensacon app. It’s a great guide to the show.

I always enjoy seeing old friends at the convention, especially my fellow comics creators like Larry Hama, Pat Broderick, John Dell, Robert Pope, Barry Gregory, Jenni Gregory, Derec Donovan, Keith DeCandido, Guy Gilchrist, Karl Moline, Kelly Yates, Michael Golden, Renee Witterstaetter, Roland Paris, Rodney Ramos, Steve Butler and Thom Zahler. Not to mention - okay, I’m mentioning him - the amazing and glamorous artist known as Mark Maddox.

There are, of course, some non-comics guests I want to meet at the convention. Topping that list is Eric Roberts, who has appeared in what seems like dozens of the cheesy monster movies I love. In my wildest dreams, I write a cheesy monster movie for him to star in. I may be a guest of Pensacon, but I’m as giddy as any fan when I’m anticipating the good times I’ll have there.

What will be happening at my booth on the third level? Because DC Comics has allowed my work to fall out of print, I won’t have much to sell there. What I will have is a special poster that shows all the Marvel Comics monster characters I wrote in the 1970s. Drawn by “Demonic” Dan Gorman, this neat poster is selling for the insanely low price of ten bucks per poster. If you wish, I will sign these posters free.

If you bring other things for me to sign, I charge ten dollars per item. I have been planning to raise that rate, but I’m holding off for now.

Got questions about my work? I’m happy to answer them. There will be questions I can’t answer because I’ve signed NDAs or because I feel it would be inappropriate to answer them, but I’ll do my best to enlighten and entertain you. You can even ask me about that one jerk I mentioned above.

I will be appearing on some panels at the show. One will be a kind of reflection on my fifty years in the comics industry. The other will be a panel on writing comics.

That’s all I have for you today. I’ll be back soon with more stuff and that will include a multi-chapter convention report on Pensacon 2023. See you then.

© 2023 Tony Isabella

Sunday, February 12, 2023


I have a long list of things I want to write about, but, instead, I’m writing about an online comment that’s been bugging me greatly since I first learned about it. A friend copied me on an anonymous comment that was posted to the Classic Comics Forum a while back. It read:

Okay, my Tony Isabella signature story. There are a dozen or so comics that make up the foundation of my comic book collection and essentially kickstarted my love of specific characters.  Four of them happen to be The Shadow War of Hawkman mini-series. I still have my childhood copies of the series, so when I saw that Tony Isabella was going to be at the New Mexico Comic Expo I was incredibly excited. Whenever I have taken comics to have creators sign, I generally like to have them sign ones that mean something to me (like my first issue of Uncanny X-Men was #245 and that was the one I had Claremont sign when I met him). I suppose that perhaps I had too high of expectations, but I was really hoping for some sort of reaction, and all I got was him complaining about his rental car, hotel and the city of Albuquerque.  I have held that series in such high regard all my life as a keystone of my comics fandom, so I have always held Isabella (perhaps unjustly) in a similar high regard because of my love for it and the emotional connection I feel towards it.

My initial reaction to the above - mild anger came a little later - was that this fan attended an entirely different convention than I remembered. When I responded to my friend, I gave him permission to post my response on that forum. I wrote:

I have no idea what he's talking about. Barb and I loved our time in Albuquerque. It was a wonderful convention. Our rental car was great, though it was a little scary when we drove up this mountain to get a view of the whole area. Our hotel room was great with the desk clerks giving us tips for restaurants and such.

If this guy had asked me specific questions about the issues, I would have happily answered them. I don't generally go into long stories about the comics I sign unless asked. A lot of fans just want a signature, not a routine. Though I do great routines with funny slices of my comics career and comics history in general.

But the bottom line is...I remember the convention very differently than he claims. I'm sorry if he was disappointed, but, without him asking even something as simple "How did you like writing this series?" or "What inspired your take on it?", I don't think I was under any obligation to go into the whole history of my work on the title.

Albuquerque is why I want to drive Route 66 from start to finish. The city made a real impression on me. Heck, a dear friend of mine lives there part of the year and I would love to go back there to spend some time with her.

Near as I can tell, there were no further comments on the original post or any on mine. Which is fine by me. I said my piece and had no desire to continue the conversation.

I do want to emphasize how much I love attending conventions. If I have any regrets in this area, it’s that I can’t afford to do them unless my expenses (and, often, an appearance fee) are paid by the convention. Outside of my social security check, I have no steady income. I do get paid for my Last Kiss gags. I do get some reprint and royalty checks from my past writings, but those amounts are far less than most fans (and some professionals) realize...and one of the major publishers is always behind on paying me. Hint: it’s not the one with the incredibly successful cinematic universe and that invites me to premieres where I get to chat with amazing folks like Michael Douglas and Lawrence Fishburne.  
I’m not in dire financial straits. Barb and I have a fairly modest lifestyle. I make okay money holding my Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales and charging for my signature at the conventions I do attend. I’ve plans to create additional revenue streams this year. But I can’t afford to spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars to go to conventions on my own dime.

My next convention will be the always wonderful Pensacon, February 24-26, in the beautiful city of Pensacola, Florida. I’ll have more on that event in a near-future blog.

I have some other conventions scheduled. I’m currently talking to comic events in Singapore and Spain. I’m very excited to meet fans and pros in other countries.

If you are a convention organizer and would like to invite me to be a guest at your event, just e-mail me with the details and I’ll get back to you with my appearance requirements. I’ll work with you as much as possible.

If you’re a fan of my writing and you see me at a convention, don’t be shy about coming to my booth. I’m happy to answer questions and chat with you and sign (for a fee) your comics. I generally have Isabella items to sell and, if you buy those directly from me, I do sign them for free.

But don’t be like the New Mexico fan who inspired today’s bloggy. Talk to me. Ask those questions. Give me a leg up on doing what I can to give you a good “Tony Isabella Experience.” I can’t always answer every question because I have signed some NDAs along the way and because, sometimes, I feel the need to be discreet, but I think I can entertain and educate you.

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

© 2023 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, February 8, 2023





Comic-book fans got a bit of a giggle seeing the ever-dysfunctional Marjorie Taylor Greene cosplaying as the X-Men’s White Queen at The State of the Union address. Maybe she was hoping to catch the eye of Kevin Feige. That said, I think we should take a closer look at her attire and what it might actually mean.

Like most Republicans, Greene is a bigot and white supremacist. (You can spare me your wounded outcries on account of you keep voting for these candidates.) Anyway, I believe Greene’s costume was meant to put an early claim on the title she craves...the White Queen of the far-right. She wants to be the regent of racism.

She wants to rule over those pesky malcontents who believe in such “woke” concepts as democracy, decency, equality, common sense gun laws, protecting the environment, making the wealthy pay their fair share of funding the government, convicting insurrectionosts (of which she is one), providing health care for all Americans, continuing our tradition of welcoming immigrants (a tradition which built America and keeps it strong), stemming those systemic injustices in law enforcement and our justice system, teaching accurate history, teaching accurate science, protecting free expression, stemming the violence against the LGBTQ+ community (especially trans kids) and more. She wants to be impervious to being held to even the smallest  standards of decent behavior.

She’s bad people. 


On a related note, her White Queen cosplay completely overshadowed Kyrsten Sinema’s portrayal of a giant sunflower. I would feel worse for Sinema if she didn’t sit with the Republicans. Seriously, girl, no amount of sunshine could penetrate the bleak darkness of those lost souls.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.  
© 2023 Tony Isabella

Saturday, February 4, 2023




Welcome to February. Last month was more stressful than I would’ve liked for a number of reasons. I had some difficulty getting going on various projects. I had some minor health issues. I’m working on
knocking off various appointments before I make a pair of trips to DeSantis-crazed Florida. And, as any decent moral person would be, I am horrified by the violent criminal organization calling itself the Republican Party.

One of my favorite speeches in one of my favorite movies comes to mind at times like this. In writer Aaron Sorkin’s and director Rob Reiner’s The American President (1995), President Andrew Shepherd (played by Michael Douglas) drops the mike on a slimy Republican senator played by Richard Dreyfuss:

“Bob's problem isn't that he doesn't get it. Bob's problem is that he can't sell it! We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it.”

That perceptive quote is the Republican party in a nutshell. From Ronald Reagan’s fake “Welfare Queens” through decades of dishonest attacks on other people, the Republicans have targeted some of the most vulnerable people in the United States and the world and made their immoral base hate them.

Republicans aren’t the least bit interested in helping anyone save for their wealthiest and most powerful masters. Why work on solving real problems when they can investigate the scientists who fought COVID, those who want to teach accurate history and science, those who simply want to be kind to and supportive of people who are not like themselves, those investigating dangers to our democracy and, of course, Hunter Biden’s laptop?

What raises my anger to nuclear levels are the current Republican attacks on the LGBTQ+ community and, especially, on trans kids who were already have a tough time navigating a country full of people who would gladly wipe them from existence. Is that the American you want to be? Is that the Christian you want to be? I hope not and I invite you to join me on the right side of history.

Here are the things that made me happy in January:


January 1: Miley's New Year's Eve Party. Barb and I channel-surfed between the specials, but my favorite was this, co-hosted by Dolly Parton (Cyrus’ godmother) and with amazing guests and a wide range of music. Two-and-a-half wonderful hours of celebration.

January 2: Out by Rob Williams, Will Conrad and Marco Lesko. Set near the end of World War II, this chilling tale of monstrous evil in a German POW camp is one of the very best graphic novels of the previous year. Highly recommended.

January 3: Streaming-surfing for a lunch break led me to Who Killed Santa? A Murderville Murder Mystery. I’d been avoiding this NetFlix series because I’m not a Will Arnett fan, but it turned out to be
good silly fun. I’ll likely watch more episodes.

January 4: Today is the 46th anniversary of the release of Black Lightning #1 in 1977. My creation changed my life and will always be my proudest and most cherished comics achievement because of how it has inspired fans and professionals alike.

January 5: Published by Ablaze, Friday Foster The Sunday Strips by Jim Lawrence and Jordi Longaron is an amazing collection of one of the most interesting comic strips of the 1970s. I wish it included the daily strips, but it’s still highly recommended.



January 6: Received my final birthday/Christmas gift of 2022: The Batman Complete Silver Age Daily and Sunday Newspaper Comics 1966-1972 boxed set. I’ve never read all of these strips and can’t wait to dive into them.

January 7: Wild Cards: The Drawing of Cards by Paul Cornell, Mike Hawthorne and Antonio Di Benedetto reminded me how much I enjoyed the Wild Cards anthologies. The four issue Marvel Comics series has inspired me to revisit those works.

January 8: Elected the U.S. Representative for California's 42nd district and a self-described “comic book nerd,” Democrat Robert Garcia will be sworn in on, among other things, a copy of Superman #1. We need more comics fans in Congress.

January 9: Svengoolie has expanded to two-and-a-half hours. He can show longer movies without editing them and include more Sven bits. Saturday’s interview with Rob Paulsen was longer than usual and one of the best he’s done. More Sven? Yes, please.

January 10: Reading Avengers Epic Collection: Kang War, I read the  Tony-written issues #145-146 for the first time in decades. Several fans have said the story is among their favorites and I was pleased
to see how well it holds up today.

January 11: Stephen Colbert interviewing Prince Harry on The Late Show. Colbert was at his best in a talk that was funny, honest and incredibly moving. I like and was impressed by the “Spare” and will be reading his book of that title soon.


January 12: I appeared on New Day Cleveland where I was interviewed by Cleveland broadcast legend David “Mossman” Moss. It was a thrill and, on air, he requested I do the show again. If they ask me, I’ll come because it’s a great show!

January 13: Shin Ultraman. My son Eddie and I saw this on the big screen on Wednesday. It’s a fun movie with relatable characters and decent man-in-suit monsters. It wasn’t a great movie, but it held up well and made us laugh several times.


January 14: Funko Pop’s She-Hulk in Gala Dress with Glitter is the gorgeous new addition to my collection. I’ve never liked any of the She-Hulk super-hero outfits Jen has worn. She looks best when she wears suits, gowns and other normal outfits.

January 15: The late Lou Mougin’s “Ms. Frankenstein” in Vampiress Carmilla #12 was a great “pilot” episode for an ongoing series with a lot of potential. I hope the Warrant Publishing Company continues
it in this magazine or its own.

January 16: Showing lives unlike our own, Malaka Ghario’s It Won’t Always Be Like This is a sometimes sad, sometimes wondrous look at the author’s summer vacations in Egypt with her father and his new family.


January 17: Finding this wonderful photo of me and my son Eddie. He was two. It was Halloween. The Vast Accumulation of Stuff continues to yield treasures. I found a few more photos I’ll be sharing soon.

January 18: Another Vast Accumulation of Stuff discovery. Eddie is four and Kelly is one. In a difficult week like this one has been, finding photos like this give me a lovely break from the troubles I’m dealing with.

January 19: One more photo find from my Vast Accumulation of Stuff.Saintly wife Barb, our son Eddie and me taking a quick break at the International Superman Expo in Cleveland in June of 1988. Eddie was born about a week later.  


January 20: I now own all 27 issues of Stan Lee and Stan Goldberg’s Kathy, albeit as photocopies. The series is a favorite of mine, but issues in good condition are expensive. I’ll be selling the ones I have and writing about Kathy in my blog.

January 21: A remastered print of the classic Ray Harryhausen movie 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH is now available for viewing on YouTube. It looks incredible and, even with ads, it’s well worth watching. Highly recommended.

January 22: Good neighbors. Saintly wife Barb and I had breakfast at Griddles in Medina. When we left, I forgot to grab my legendary Godzilla ball cap. Our neighbors, also at the restaurant, retrieved it and brought it to our house.


January 23: Dreaming Eagles by Garth Ennis and Simon Coleby. It’s an intense graphic novel that looks at the first African-American fighter pilots and how they fought valiantly against the enemy and
American racism.

January 24: What a amazing ride! Batman: The Silver Age Newspaper Comics Volume 1 (1966-1967) encompasses outrageous camp adventures and surprising brutal deaths that Dick Tracy would have applauded. Two more volumes to go and I’m loving it!

January 25: Ever have one of those days when you had to run a bunch of errands and your timing was perfect at every stop and you were able to do them far quickly than expected? I had two days like that in a row. Life’s little victories?

January 26: ABC’s Will Trent. The police procedural drama is based on Karin Slaughter's series of novels. Great characters overcoming their personal demons while solving often-terrifying cases. I love it a lot and think you will too.

January 27: Celebrity Jeopardy. Fan favorite Patton Oswalt scored a come-from-behind win to capture the third spot in the upcoming finals. He will play Ike Barinholtz and Wil Wheaton. My problem? Do I root for Patton or Wil? Sorry, Ike.


January 28: The Pez Outlaw. Currently on Netflix, this occasionally chilling documentary tells of a man who earned the wrath of Pez by bringing thousands of foreign versions of the candy dispensers into the United States. Highly recommended.

January 29: Svengoolie’s showing of Godzilla: King of the Monsters. I first “met” Godzilla when I was but a wee lad seeing him on our family’s black-and-white TV with the lights off. Watching Sven last night, I felt the presence of my younger self.

January 30: A Righteous Thirst for Vengeance by Rick Remender and Andre Lima Araujo. A chilling, suspenseful and violent story of a good man seeking justice against overwhelming odds. Two volumes of edge-of-your-seat comics. I want the movie now!

January 31: I was perfectly normal before I got my Moderna booster shot. Now I’m shaking like bacon, speaking in tongues and much more attractive to women and men alike. Hey, the sun just came out. I’m a big fan of getting boosted. You should, too.

My 2023 convention season begins at Pensacon from February 24-26 in Pensacola, Florida. This is the official end of Tony Isabella’s  50 Years in Comics Tour. Besides the usual terrific guests and big fun of the show, it could mark the end of something else. I’m seriously  considering shaving off my legendary mustache after this Pensacon. Feel free to weigh in on this in the comments.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.  

© 2023 Tony Isabella