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
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