Wednesday, June 7, 2023





“The Punisher Is No More”: Marvel Officially Gets Rid Of Its Most Controversial Character

That’s the sort of click bait headline that set off the right-wing snowflakes in fandom. I haven’t followed the Punisher in years, but apparently he’s been having one WTF moment after another. He became the leader of the Hand. His wife was brought back from the dead. She divorced him and took his money. He was banished from Earth-616 to a parallel universe never to return. Until, of course, he does. Wow. Okay.

Marvel and most sensible comics fans have been concerned about the Punisher’s skull insignia being appropriated by all manner of vile right-wing deplorables including fascist cops. Putting the Punisher off screen while the publishers figure out what to do with him is a smart move. But the weeping wingnuts are blaming “woke” for this assault on their freedoms or some such. One such poster said that Marvel should be more concerned about themselves than “snowflakes,” too dense to realize he was the snowflake.

I responded:

Since Marvel owns the character, they are worrying more about themselves than someone casually throwing around an often-misused insult like "snowflakes." As I see it, they are retiring the brand for now and will surely bring the character back at some point. The Punisher can be more than a skull on his chest. Maybe some writer or artist will come up with a better visual. Like a coiled "don't tread on me" snake.

Once I got past the various insults hurled at me, the conversation was fairly interesting. I added:

Actually, I'm thinking a new Punisher series might be best served by almost making Frank a supporting character in the stories, much as Eisner would do with the Spirit from time to time. We more or less know Castle's mindset. I think it would be more interesting to see people’s reaction to find themselves in his crazed world.

And this:

Well over two decades ago, I pitched a Punisher reboot that would have changed the title's world without invalidating anything that had gone before. I still think it's a great idea, but I'm not sure if it could survive my removing all the Marvel elements out of it. 

And when a poster said he’d like to read that pitch:

I may not be able to locate the actual pitch, but I do plan to write about in a book called THE UNREALIZED ISABELLA. I'm hoping to find a publisher/partner for this and many other books and comics.

After that, I stopped reading and posting in the thread. Because I had already spent more time thinking about the Punisher than I had in decades.

The above has virtually nothing to do with sharing with you all the things that made me happy in April, but I wanted to get it out of my head as quickly as possible. Consider it a bonus blog within my blog as we head to our feature presentation.

Here are the things that brought me joy in April...


April 1: A Man & His Cat by Umi Sakurai. This manga series works on so many levels. It’s cute, funny and even poignant in its telling of a lonely man and his equally lonely feline. I’m enjoying it and plan to read the entire series.

April 2: As I walked to our mailbox to get the Sunday newspaper on this chilly morning, it hit me that, in just a few days, Barb and I would be enjoying a week of soothingly warm weather in Singapore. Courtesy of Cosfest. It’s a dream soon to come true.

April 3: The Daily Show with guest host Roy Wood, Jr. I knew he’d  be a terrific fit for the lead spot on the show and his first night behind the desk confirmed it. A friendly presence who worked well solo and with others. He’s a contender.

April 4: Doctor Strange #1 by Jed MacKay (writer) and Pasqual Ferry (artist). What a great jumping-on issue for a new or lapsed reader. Several mini-tales with back stories seamlessly included. I will be reading this title regularly.

April 5: Singapore Airlines is far and away the finest airline I’ve ever flown on. Clean comfortable seating. Courteous and efficient service on every level. Flight attendants elegant and stunning in
their traditional sarongs.

April 6: Cosfest had a wheelchair waiting for me when we landed at Singapore’s Changi Airport. This sped up our post-flight stuff to a remarkable degree. I’d rather have a more dependable knee, but I truly appreciate such courtesies.

April 7: Singapore. We were picked up at the airport by  Cosfest’s Stephanie and Takahan, taken to our Studio M Hotel and joined for dinner by Melanie. What a delightful trio. They became family to us with their unending kindness.

April 8: Singapore. Our hosts took us to the huge Books Kinokuniya in the even more huge Takashimaya Shopping Centre. Just the space devoted to comics and manga was bigger than most comics shop in the United States. It was stunning to behold.

April 9: Cosfest 2023 was a spectacular event held in the gorgeous Gardens by the Bay. We met so many wonderful fans and got to take a break to enjoy the beautiful foliage and fun displays included in the Gardens. A must-see for Singapore visitors.

April 10: Two days of sightseeing after Cosfest. My favorites: the spectacular mall at Jewel Changi Airport with its indoor waterfall, the awesome/scary Singapore Flyer and the statue of Merlion, the city’s own kaiju protector.



April 11: My friend Melanie gave me a Funko figure of Merlion, the symbol of Singapore. Of course, there’s a Funko figure of the kaiju protector of the country. And, of course, I’d like to do a graphic novel starring him. Thanks, Melanie.  



April 12: Singapore. The artist Takahan created three magnificent artworks for Cosfest. I’ll include all three when I write about the event in Tony Isabella’s Bloggy Thing, but, for now, here’s the one with copy written by me.

April 13: Singapore. Barb and I met so many fine people at Cosfest. Comics creator Kia Asamiya. His sales manager Matt Nakamura. Asia Cosplay superstar Tomia. The stunning Yumi Matsuzawa, writer/singer of the official event theme song.

April 14: Singapore. I need to give a grateful shout-out to Cosfest volunteer Robin, my wheelchair guy at the event. He took Barb and I around Gardens by the Bay and thereabouts without once telling me I needed to eat a salad now and then.


April 15: Going to Singapore and Cosfest: Gardens by the Bay was an unforgettable experience for Barb and I. Our forever thanks to the amazing Stephanie Snowheart for inviting us and for showing us the time of our lives.

April 16: One more shout-out to Singapore Airlines. Because of its efficient handling of my request for handicapped assistance, Barb and I sailed through JFK customs/TSA in record time and were able to get on an earlier flight home.

April 17: Patricia Highsmith's Diaries and Notebooks: The New York Years, 1941-1950. Though I’m fascinated by this writer, who worked in comic books in the late 40s, I’ve never read any of her novels or stories. I hope to change that soon.

April 18: Actress Laura Benanti playing Melanie Trump on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Her timing in delivering the hilarious jokes is as sure as Colbert’s. I always get many giggles whenever she appears.

April 19: Dear Body by Lea Bordier. A informative, moving anthology of body positivity stores taken from many interviews conducted by Bordier and adapted into comics by female and non-binary artists.
Comics can tell all kinds of stories.

April 20: Dinosaur Sanctuary by Itaru Kinoshita. The magnificient beasts survive in parks like Enoshima Dinoland. Rookie dino-keeper Suma Suzume wants to keep the park afloat in this heart-warming and scientifically accurate manga for all ages.



April 21: Gone, gone the form of man, arise the Funko Etrigan! The latest addition to my collection is a character that could use some consistency and updating, but I love this classic Bronze Age look. Wouldn’t mind taking a crack at it someday.

April 22: Saintly Wife Barb and our children Eddie and Kelly were delighted by the classy octopus figures I gave them as late Easter presents. I was thinking outside the box, but I believe every desk needs one of these.

April 23: Rip Kirby is one of my favorite comic strips. In Volume 7, reprinting the 1962-1964 adventures, I was highly entertained by a comedy in which butler Desmond is tricked into believing he has become a lord by murderous con men. It’s hilarious.

April 24: Desi Lydic was hilarious, radiant and smart on her first night hosting The Daily Show. The best line was that she couldn’t believe “a network so opposed to gender-affirming surgery just cut off their own dick.” Brilliant.

April 25: The serious planning for my summer Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales has begun. I take over the garage on May 1 with target dates of June 1-3 for the opening weekend.

[UPDATE: Extensive house repairs have delayed the start of my VAOS sales until June 16-17.]


April 26: Lisa Whelchel’s Collector’s Call returns for its fourth season with Rich Correll, whose collection of horror/sci-fi movie props and costumes dwarfed any other collections that’s appeared on the series. A truly magnificent collection.

April 27: A recent Meijer’s ad showing their first store from 1934 include windows with the names of goods they sold. One such window, which I couldn’t find a photo of, advertised comics. Those were the days.

April 28: After one Wheel of Fortune contestant expressed her love for show announcer Jim Thornton, the guy behind the mike replaced Pat Sajak for the contestant’s bonus round. It was an unexpected and hilarious moment. The woman’s glee was wondrous, even after she lost the round.

April 29: Saintly Wife Barb and I watched the pleasantly silly fun Murder Mystery (2019) on Netflix. Wile there are no award-winning performances from Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston or the other cast members, we enjoyed it. We’ll watch the sequel tonight.

April 30: Murder Mystery 2 (2023) gets a little too carried away, but Barb and I did enjoy it. We were especially pleased to see the returns of John Kani (The Colonel), Dany Boon (Inspector Delacroix) and Adeel Akhtar (The Maharajah).

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

© 2023 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. I always enjoy your "Things That Made Me Happy" columns, and the April column was fun. Did nothing make you happy in May?