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

1 comment:

  1. FYI, that guy has not posted at the Classic Comics Forum at all since I posted your reply.