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

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