Monday, August 25, 2014


This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast, the current Fantastic Four series and, from Archie Comics, Diary of a Girl Next Door, Betty.


PulpFest 2014 was celebrated on August 7-10 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Although pulp magazines are a very minor interest of mine, the yearly event is one of my favorites because I get to spend time with so many good friends I don’t see often enough.

PulpFest isn’t a “work” convention for me, not that any convention I attend is all work. I have never been a guest of the convention, nor should I be. My “pulp” credentials consist of having written a couple issues of Doc Savage for Marvel, adapting a few prose stories that originally ran in pulp magazines to comics stories, co-writing the very pulp-like Captain America: Liberty’s Torch novel with Bob Ingersoll and writing an essay or two for my friend Anthony Tollin’s outstanding line of Sanctum Books reprints. Pretty thin.

However, this year, I didn’t have to buy a ticket to the event. My friend Peyton Holden won a free pass to the convention in an online contest. Since he couldn’t make the trip from Los Angeles, he asked the convention to give me that free pass. I would be starting this year’s event with some extra spending cash. Thanks, Peyton!

The Hyatt Regency is one of my favorite hotels. The rooms and the service are always first-rate. The hotel restaurant is excellent. Next to the lobby level of the hotel are gift shops and a wonderful food court. The Columbus Convention Center is attached to the hotel on the other side. If you were so inclined, you’d never have to go outside during your stay.  However, staying inside means you would miss the great Columbus “Arena District,” which is also filled with great entertainments and restaurants.

I’ll get back to PulpFest before you start thinking I’m working for the Columbus Convention Bureau...

Early registration for the convention was Thursday, August 7, from 5-9 pm. Early-bird shopping in the large dealers room was available from 6-10 pm. This was one of the only disappointments of the con. When I went to the hall after a quick dinner, only a couple dealers were in the hall and even partially set up. When I went back around 8 pm, only a few more were up and running. Since I was experiencing what would prove to be a gout attack that made walking clumsy and painful, I called it a night.

Since my main interest in PulpFest is seeing my friends, the early-bird shopping isn’t a draw for me. However, for others, like that very happy guy I ran into on my way to the elevators, it’s a huge deal. He was grinning from ear to ear because he had just bought a Jim Steranko-drawn poster of Norgul signed by the artist and Walter B. Gibson, the creator of the magician detective. Besides writing most of The Shadow pulp novels and creating much of the character’s background, the prolific Gibson wrote several books on magic and enough comic-book and other stories to fill the careers of a dozen writers. But I digress.

PulpFest members receive The Pulpster, an annual magazine featuring articles related to the convention. There was lots to celebrate in 2014. Seventy-five years ago, in 1939, the very first World Science Fiction Convention was held and a dozen fantastic fiction pulps  made their debuts. Eighty years ago, the “shudder pulps” began to appear on newsstands.

Those were but two of the key anniversaries celebrated this year. Edd Cartier, Hannes Bok and Virgil Finley, legendary illustrators,  were all born 100 years ago. It was The Avenger’s 75th anniversary  and the 50th anniversary of when Bantam Books being reprinting the adventures of Doc Savage in paperback format. Between the PulpFest programming schedule and articles in The Pulpster, these landmark events were given their due. For late-night entertainment, spread out over Thursday through Saturday night, the convention showed all 12 chapters of the Buck Rogers serial.

On Friday morning, before the convention, I went to the food court for my usual breakfast from Chicken ‘N’ Egg. The place offers great fresh food at a very reasonable price and I eat there almost every morning when I’m staying at the Hyatt. By good fortune, I ended up sitting down with long-time friends Anthony Tollin, Rob Davis, Ron Fortier and new friend Rick Lai.

Tollin is on his third successful career. He worked in comics for nearly two decades. Then he became a renown writer of radio history booklets and worked with many of the legends of that medium.  Now, via his Sanctum Books, he published wonderful books reprinting the pulp novels of The Shadow, Doc Savage and others. We’ve been good friends for over four decades.

Rob and Ron are the dual brains and talents behind the “new pulp” juggernaut that is Airship 27 Productions. “New pulp” denotes new novels and stories in the pulp tradition, a neat mix of the classic and the modern. They’ve published over ninety books since they got started and could release their one-hundredth book before the end of the year. I’ll talk more about this in a bit.

It’s the dear friends who bring me to PulpFest every year. Besides the gentlemen mentioned above, I spent some fun time with Michelle Nolan, the noted comics historian; Mike Carbonaro, legendary comics dealer and the founder of the Big Apple Comics Conventions; and Sam Maronie, a freelance writer who made his first sale to the Marvel Planet of the Apes black-and-white magazine during my editorship of the title. Outside the convention, I met my friend Scott Galloway for lunch on Friday and, later that afternoon, hung out for a spell with Ken Eppstein of Nix Comics.

Located in the Hyatt’s nearly 16,000-square-foot Regency Ballroom, the PulpFest dealers room is the heart of the event. This year, it had over fifty dealers selling pulp magazines, facsimiles of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, modern-day pulp fiction, old radio shows, first editions and more.  There were more comic books there  than in previous years, offering great issues from the 1940s thru
the 1960s. If my Vast Accumulation of Stuff was not too large - at present - I could have easily gone crazy in this room. So much cool stuff on display.

Something I saw several times: dealers directing customers who were looking for a specific pulp magazine issue or old paperback to some other dealer they thought might have what the fan sought. There’s a real sense that the dealers love this stuff just as much as their customers.

Digression. Tollin told me Street and Smith’s Love Story Magazine was the best selling of the company’s pulps, even outselling The Shadow. He also told me, much to my surprise, that no one has  published any facsimile editions of any romance pulps. Makes me want to read one of them all the more. End digression.

PulpFest had 21 panels and readings over the weekend in addition to the Buck Rogers serial and the Saturday night auction. I make sure to attend at least one panel every year and, this time around, it was “The Fun of Writing Pulp Fiction,” moderated by Ron Fortier and featuring a half-dozen writers of “new pulp” fiction. I found this description online:

New Pulp is a movement of writers, artists and other imaginative souls to create new Pulp Fiction for the modern age. It is fast-paced, plot-oriented storytelling of a linear nature with clearly defined, larger than life protagonists and antagonists, creative descriptions, clever use of turns of phrase and other aspects of writing that add to the intensity and pacing of the story.  

There are around two-dozen publishers of new pulp fiction, a group that includes comic-book publishers such as Dark Horse, Dynamite and IDW. Many of the prose novels are self-published and print-on-demand works. The authors and publishers of the novels don’t make a lot of money from the books. The books and anthologies are labors of love in every sense of the term.

I came away from the convention with a six-inch stack of new pulp fiction. My new friends Dick and Norma Enos gave me a copy of The Yesterday Men, the latest in Dick’s Rick Steele Adventures series. I also bought books by Mike Baron, Ron Fortier, Jim Beard, Charles Saunders, Wayne Reinagel and others. I’ve got some great reading in my near future.

Unfortunately, my second and final PulpFest disappointment showed up early Saturday evening. A gout flare-up in my left foot got so bad that it seemed prudent to curtail my weekend and head home on Saturday night. Two hours later, I was back in my Medina home and shuffling around like Quasimodo.

The gout passed in a couple days. Weirdly enough, the treatment for such reoccurrences is to stop taking my anti-gout medication until the attack passes. You can add that to the long list of the great many things I do not understand.  

The gout attack didn’t dim my enthusiasm for PulpFest in the least. I’m already planning to attend next year’s event. I hope to see you there as well.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2014 Tony Isabella

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Spider-Man: The Complete Alien Costume Saga Book 1 [Marvel; $44.99] collects Amazing Spider-Man #252-258, Marvel Team-Up #141-145 and Annual #7, Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #90-95 and some special features. That adds up to a hefty 488 pages of web-slinging wonderment.

The writers and artists include Tom DeFalco, David Michelinie, Cary Burkett, Tony Isabella, Louise Simonson, Al Milgrom, Ron Frenz, Rick Leonardi, Greg Larocque and Paul Neary. Guest super-heroes and super-villains include Daredevil, the Black Widow, the Black Cat, the Rose, the Blob, the Hobgoblin, the Answer, Captain Marvel, the Red Ghost and his super-apes, Starfox, Alpha Flight, Moon Knight,Cloak and Dagger, Iron Man, Blacklash and more.

That Isabella guy wrote the Spider-Man/Iron Man story from Marvel Team-Up #145 [September 1984]. “Hometown Boy” wasn’t really a tale about super-heroes. Set in my native Cleveland, it focused on Mark Scarlotti aka Blacklash. I think you’ll like it.

Keep watching the bloggy thing for news on reprints of my stories and whatever new work I can tell you about. Look for the return of new full-size bloggy things this coming week.

© 2014 Tony Isabella

Thursday, August 21, 2014


My recovery from various minor ailments is coming along much slower than I had anticipated. I'm writing and working much more slowly than usual. I'm on the mend, but I think I'll get there much more quickly if I skip next weekend's garage sale.

September's garage sales are still on.  However, since no artists or creators have come forward and requested driveway table space for those garage sales, the September sales will "just" be the usual cool stuff at low prices. 

Besides offering a couple Saturday night hours those weekends, I'm considering offering a few late afternoon/early evening hours on each of the two Fridays.  With the Medina schools back in session, this would address the concerns of some of my customers who find it difficult to come to the garage sales during my regular hours of operation. I'll make my decision on this next week.

My final garage sale will still be in October and will still be Halloween-themed. I'll have some more details on that soon.

Here's the revised schedule:

Friday, September 12: 9 am to noon
Friday, September 12: 4-6 pm (TENTATIVE)
Saturday, September 13: 9 to noon
Saturday, September 13: 5 pm to 7 pm

Friday, September 26: 9 am to noon
Friday, September 26: 4-6 pm (TENTATIVE)
Saturday, September 27: 9 to noon
Saturday, September 28: 5 pm to 7 pm

Friday, October 10: 9 am to noon
Friday, October 10: 4-6 pm (TENTATIVE)
Saturday, October 11: 9 to noon
Saturday, October 11: 5 pm to 7 pm

That's all I have for you at the moment. I'm several hundred words into my PulpFest 2014 report and will post that as soon as I complete it.


Monday, August 18, 2014


Robin Williams left this world a little over a week ago. The pain of his passing is still raw, the sadness palatable. I didn’t know Williams, but he was a dear friend of dear friends of mine. Neither they nor Williams have been out of my thoughts.

The death by suicide of Williams brought with it the now-familiar chorus of people who also suffer from depression or who know people who suffer from depression or who, most tragically, know people who took their own lives as a result of depression. The number of folks in the first of those groups is heartening to me because it means the onus of depression is lifting. It’s a real thing. It has very real consequences. It needs to be recognized early and it needs to be addressed early.

The first time I tried to kill myself and failed, I experienced a profound sense of shame. To this day, I can’t tell you if my shame came from attempting to kill myself or the failure thereof. If that sounds seriously fucked up, welcome to my world and the world of so many others who battle depression on a daily basis.

I tried to kill myself on two other occasions. Thankfully, I never got good at killing myself. Both times found me sitting in a closed garage with the engine of my car running. The first time, I gave up because it was taking too long to die. The second time, I realized my children needed me. It was after that second visit to my garage that I sought medical help.

Today, I have a wonderful life. Depression rears its ugly head on a weekly and, sometimes, a daily basis. I’ve learned a lot about my depression and am confident it will never again have a daily claim on me. But I always keep an eye on it.

Here’s what I’ve learned about my depression...

It’s my depression, unique unto myself. Just as your depression, if you suffer from depression, is unique unto you. We aren’t cookie-cutter human beings. While illness may affect us in similar ways, it won’t be an exact match.

When you realize you suffer from depression - and you know before you’re willing to admit it to yourself - you must immediately seek  medical treatment. This isn’t a time for pride. It’s time for the holding action that could save your life.

Because your depression is your depression, you need to be always front-and-center when it comes to making decisions about treatment for the illness. The drug that works for nine out of ten sufferers may not work for me. The therapist you’re seeing may not be right for you. Extended treatment might become an addiction and fail to keep your depression at bay.

I got lucky with my treatment. I got a therapist whose goal was to help me figure things out for myself. When she prescribed an anti-depressant that didn’t work for me, she didn’t insist I remain on that or any other medication.  When she believed I figured out what I needed to figure out, she sent me on my way with a handshake and my promise I would call her the instant I thought I might again be at risk.

About the medication...this is one of those areas where you must be in control of your own treatment. The anti-depressants didn’t help me. They gave me headaches and nausea. They left me lethargic and unable to write...and not being able to write was making me more depressed than ever.

Medication didn’t work for me. It works for a great many others who suffer from depression. Never assume you are like any other person suffering from depression. Make your own informed choices on your medication, but don’t make those choices lightly.

A dear friend of mine told me I was brave for staying in this world of ours. I have never felt brave about beating back my depression. I have felt fortunate.

There is no “cure” for depression. The closed thing to a "cure" I  found was to hold on tight to what gives me joy. Hold on tight and never let go. My wife. My children. My friends. My writing, even in something as ultimately inconsequential as this blog. The terrific comics and manga and graphic novels and other things I read. The cheesy movies I love. The silly things my cat does. The many other blessings of my life.

I will never tell anyone they have no reason to be depressed. You might think fame and fortune would be enough reason for someone to stay in their life, but their depression is not your depression or my depression. The best you can do is be there for them when they will allow you to be there and, if they do, listen to their stories without making judgments on the “validity” of their depression. You are not them.

This is a wonderful world, but it is also a terrible world. In all honesty, I think everyone on the planet has reason to be mightily depressed. So much hate and violence. So much greed and desperate poverty. much love and potential for good. So much acceptance and generosity. So many reasons to hope.

Moving on...

Whenever I write about my struggle with depression - and it’s not something I enjoy writing about - I get familiar responses. I get the “you’re so brave for writing about this” response. I get one or two “keep trying to kill yourself” notes from the usual anonymous trolls. I get one or two notes from people who are helped by what I’ve written.

Those last one or two notes are why I write about my depression now and then. I don’t enjoy revisiting the darker corners of my past. I don’t feel brave, just lucky. I certainly don’t get plunged into depression by the trolls because they have long since proven themselves to be among the most pathetic of creatures. But I do feel a certain sense of “maybe it was worth it” when my story was helpful to another who is in pain.  It’s why I tell my story. It’s why I appreciate when others tell their stories.

I don’t have a religion.  I haven’t had one in years. It’s because religions are based on human writings passed off as wisdom from God or gods. It’s because religious institutions almost never live up to their high-minded ideals. These days, especially in my country, most major religions have allied themselves with the rich and the powerful. There is almost as much truth and wisdom in my facetious First Church of Godzilla.

But I do have a belief. When I read the recent comics adaptation of George Lucas’ original treatment for The Star Wars, I really liked the sound of the frequently-repeated line “May the Force of Others be with you.”

That line is pretty decent shorthand for my belief that we are all in this together. If there is an unseen force guiding our lives, I think it is everyone that has come before us, everyone who exists with us and every one who will follow us. There is good and evil in us, but we are all in this together.

My belief is that we are all in this together. My hope is that we are more good than evil. My prayer is that we do our best to love one another in spite of our differences and that we always do what we can to ease the lot of others.

Help when you can. Seek help when you need it.  And, always, always love one another.

I’ll be back soon with stuff that can’t possibly be as weighty as today’s bloggy thing.

© 2014 Tony Isabella


This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...More of the Phantom at Charlton, Batman '66 and MAD magazine. Please leave comments at Tales of Wonder.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


The comics art world went wild when I posted a sea monster sketch in yesterday's bloggy thing. In order to meet the almost completely imaginary demand for more of my art, I grabbed a pencil and a scrap of paper to create another mini-masterpiece. I spent hours laboring over this piece. Okay, not hours, but a good minute-and-a-half including the copy. This pencil sketch will soon be put up for auction on eBay and, by "soon," I mean, "never."

One of my online friends made the clever - and, by "clever," I mean "silly" - suggestion I commission actual artists to reinterpret the drawing I posted yesterday. Which would cost me money. Which is why I'm not going to do it. 

However, in the tradition of Tom Sawyer, if any of my artist pals or even any of my artist total strangers want to reinterpret yesterday or today's drawings, they should have at it. If they send me scans of the drawings, I'll post them in the bloggy thing along with their contact information. That way, fans who aren't as cheap as I am, can commission drawings from them. Everybody wins.

I'll be back soon with more stuff.

Friday, August 15, 2014


A presumably young comics fan sent me a stamped postcard in an envelope. The fan said he loves art and asked me to do a little drawing on the postcard for him.

My bemused response was..."Why not?"

Fingers crossed, bloggy things of all sizes will be coming your way with increasing frequency in the days to come. There's just so much to write about.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


The Rawhide Kid is my favorite western comics character and one of my favorite comics characters period.  Something about the short of stature (but big on courage and fighting skills) Johnny Clay spoke to the short of stature (but big on comics-reading skills) teenage Tony Isabella.  After rereading the Kid’s earliest adventures when Marvel Comics reprinted them in a pair of Marvel Masterworks and an Essential Rawhide Kid volume, I wanted to reacquire every Rawhide Kid comic, reread them and write about them in this bloggy thing of mine. This is the 60th installment of that series.

Larry Lieber penciled and inked the dramatic cover of The Rawhide Kid #75 [April 1970]. He also wrote and penciled the equally dramatic “The Man Who Killed the Kid!” (20 pages), another never-reprinted adventure from this era. John Tartaglione inked the story and Jean Izzo lettered it.

This tale of a gang that takes over a town starts with Pete, scout for the outlaws, riding into town. He figures the gang can take the town easily. Feeling cocky. Pete makes a crude come-on to a pretty blonde woman walking with her unarmed fiancé. The woman is never named. Her fiance’s name is Frank.

Frank tells Pete to push on. The outlaw draws on Frank, winging him in the shoulder. Fortunately for Frank and the woman, the Rawhide Kid is with the town blacksmith. The Kid’s horse needs a new shoe.

Rawhide intervenes in the street altercation. First, he shoots the gun out of Pete’s hand and then he beats him with his fists for a little over a page. Pete vows to settle this score.

Joe Slade is the leader of the outlaws. Since there’s no law in the town and “no local talent to stop us,” he figures the only person they have to worry about is the Rawhide Kid. The gang ambushes the Kid when he rides out of town and leaves him for dead. Slade takes his guns for use in his town-conquering plans.

Slade plays his bogus “I outgunned the Rawhide Kid” routine for all it’s worth. His gang evicts the owners of the best house in town. He collects all the guns in town. He steals horses at will as his gang wrecks stores and businesses.

Slade’s fortunes are about to take a turn for the worse:

But Joe Slade would laugh less, if he could witness the startling scene unfolding miles away, where a fallen gun hawk is being gently nuzzled back to consciousness by a faithful friend!

Revived by his horse’s magic nuzzle but still needed treatment for his wound, Rawhide rides to the office of Doc Sam Boone. The doc is surprised to see the Kid alive and smart enough to know that needs to be kept secret.

Slade’s men are no dummies either. They recognize Rawhide’s horse  and figure the Kid must have gone to the doctor’s office. With the help of his daughter - the pretty blonde woman from the opening of the story - the doctor hides the Kid in a secret storeroom.  They finish concealing the room just in time.

Slade figures Doc Boone knows where the Kid is hiding. He gives the doc one hour to turn Rawhide over to him or his outlaws will start leveling every building in town.

Rawhide and his allies come up with a plan. Fiancé Frank chucks a stick of dynamite at the house Slade and his men seized some pages back. The door gets blown apart. The outlaws chase after the very swift Frank. This allows the Kid to reclaim his guns. I think you know what happens next...

I’ve giving you charmers another chance to get my colts! Only this time you’ll have to do it the hard way. You’ll have to take me from the front!

The Kid fires three times and disarms four outlaws, leaving Slade to face the young gun hawk alone. Rawhide fires a fourth time and shoots the gun out of Slade’s hand.

Slade begs for his life. The Kid spares him:

But if I did finish you off, I’d be no better than you! And that I couldn’t live with!

The town is grateful. They ask how they can thank him and he says they just did...

And now, if you’ll excuse me I’m gonna sack out for a maybe a month! Then I’ll be pushing the next horizon...hoping to lose the past...and to find a future!

There aren’t layers to “The Man Who Killed the Kid!” It’s “just” an exciting and fast-paced story enlivened by the courage of the doc, his daughter and her fiancé. 

The previous month’s “The Mighty Marvel Checklist” takes up half a page. This is during the time when Marvel’s stories were almost all done-in-one tales. But there are some impressive characters among the listings: The Mad Thinker, Electro, the Black Panther, the Sons of the Serpent, Ulik, the Ringmaster, the Circus of Crime and more.

The rest of the page pitches the new Marvelmania International fan club. Two bucks (including postage and handling) would get a reader the club membership kit containing a poster, a 16-page color catalog and a decal sheet.

In addition to the usual smattering of classified ads from 1970s comics dealers, this issue had an ad for “Nobody Loves the Hulk!” This “great new rock song” is on a 45rpm stereo record which also includes a second song, “Better Things.” It’s said to be available only through this ad. The cost is one dollar to Queen City Records in New Rochelle, New York. There’s no mention of who performs this song, but the ad assures us “It’s Hulkerific!”

Some online research tracked the song to a garage band called the Traits and you can listen to it here.

This issue’s full-size Marvel Bullpen Bulletins page is filled with “Awesome Announcements Calculated to Rouse You into a Seething Sea of Lethargy!” I don’t know what that means.

Among the breaking news items:

Stan Lee and DC Comics publisher Carmine Infantino have lunch. Marie Severin drew a Joe Namath cover for Esquire Magazine. John Buscema is drawing Avengers again. Jack (King) Kirby has written and drawn a story for Chamber of Darkness. Roy Thomas saw “his life-long idol Elvis Presley” during a West Coast vacation; Roy and then-wife Jean visited Gary Friedrich and Las Vegas.

The news items conclude with:

And now, a final message to Genial Gene Colan. We know we’ve been keeping you so busy you haven’t had time to come of the Bullpen in weeks. But, honest to Aunt Petunia, pal, you don’t haveta keep introducing yourself every time you phone. We still remember you, Charlie!

In “Stan’s Soapbox,” Lee discusses the moralizing that appears in Marvel’s comics. His position is that a story without a message, however subliminal, is like a man without a soul. None of Marvel’s creators live in a vacuum and none of them are untouched by what’s happening in the world around them. I’ll second that position and the “Excelsior!” with which Stan concluded his monthly sermon from 625 Madison Avenue.

“The Mighty Marvel Checklist” notes a number of debut appearances: The Monster from the Lost Lagoon, the Schemer, Crypto-Man, Suprema, the Night-Crawler and the Minotaur. Test your Marvel trivia skills by figuring out which books these characters appeared in and when (if ever) they made a second appearance.

The Bullpen Bulletins page is followed by a full-page house ad for Kid Colt Outlaw #144 and Ringo Kid #2. The covers of these comics are by the great Joe Maneely. The Kid Colt issue reprints the cover and interior stories from #77 (March 1958) of Colt’s long-running title while the Ringo Kid comic reprints the cover and stories of The Ringo Kid Western #9 (December 1955).

The “Ridin’ the Trail with Rawhide” letters column in less than a page in length because the Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation also appears on the page.

Reader Danny Tucker of Cincinnati, Ohio wants to see Rawhide team up with Kid Colt and the Two-Gun Kid. He also wants to see 20-page stories in Kid Colt Outlaw.

Steve Bates of Springfield, Pennsylvania wants to see shorter tales in Rawhide Kid so that each issue has two or more stories. Marvel responds that there are shorter stories in Kid Colt Outlaw and The Ringo Kid.

Carl Johansen of Comox, British Columbia, Canada wants to see the return of the Scorpion. The Rawhide Kid villain. Not the Spider-Man villain. Though that would have been awesome.

Bob Franzen of France doesn’t like word balloons on covers. But I like to think of them as Freedom  Balloons and don’t hold with no socialist European guy telling me what we can and can’t have on our comic-book covers. What’s that? Most comic-book covers today don’t have word balloons? Darn it. I blame Obama.

The Rawhide Kid is averaging sales of 204,896 copies per issue in 1970. Good times.

I’ll be back with both Rawhide Kid Wednesdays and more cool stuff than anyone one blogger can handle. I can do this because I’m more than a little crazy. See you soon.

© 2014 Tony Isabella

Monday, August 11, 2014


This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder: The Star Wars, Batman Akrham Unhinged and Moon Knight.



Welcome to my latest online VAST ACCUMULATION OF STUFF sale. These sales will generally post on Mondays. Here’s how the online sales work...

First come, first serve. In other words, the quicker you e-mail me, the better your chances of getting the item or items.  Only e-mail orders will be accepted and you should not send payment until you get a confirmation e-mail from me.  All listed items are in good or better condition unless otherwise noted. 

Let me stress that “e-mail only” rule.  Most of the few mistakes I have made in assembling/shipping orders have happened with orders I accepted via phone or Facebook message.  So I’m not gonna break my own rule anymore.

You should always include your mailing address with your orders. That speeds up the packaging and the shipping.

Items will be shipped via United States Postal Service.  There is a $5 shipping/handling charge for all orders of any size unless I specify otherwise in the item description. If your final order is over $100, shipping is free.

Payments are by check, money order or PayPal.  My PayPal address is the same as my email address.  Purchases will generally be shipped within a week of checks clearing,  money orders received or PayPal payments received.

Because this is a one-man operation done between family, household  and work responsibilities, these items are only available to buyers within the United States and to APO buyers.

When you receive your order, please check it and let me know of any omissions as soon as possible.  I’ll be double-checking the orders on my end, but, if there’s a problem, I want to make it right in a timely fashion.

Items will only be offered online once or twice before going into my garage sales. When you see an asterisk (*) in front of an item, it’s your last chance to purchase the item online.

As always, your orders are greatly appreciated.

This sale runs from today through Saturday, August 16, 2014.

Here are this week’s items...

1000 COMIC BOOKS YOU MUST READ by Tony Isabella. A fun ride through the history of the American comic book that showcases the variety of the field. Hardcover. Signed on request. Free shipping. $25

*AMERICAN WIDOW by Alissa Torres and Sungyoon Choi [Villard; 2008]. Eddie Torres started work at Cantor Fitzgerald in the World Trade Center on September 10, 2001. The next day, Alissa became one of the terrorist widows of 9/11. American Widow chronicles Alissa's first year without Eddie—including the birth of their child, two months after his death. Hardcover graphic novel. $8

*ATTU: BOOK 1 & 2: THE FORBIDDEN CAVE and DURENELLA by Sam Glanzman [4Winds Publishing; 1989-1990]. Adventures on a primordial earth. Black-and-white. Softcover. 52 pages each. Sold only as a set. $5

*BATMAN: CHILD OF DREAMS by Kia Asamiya with Max Allan Collins [DC; 2003]. If you could be anyone, who would you be? Hardcover graphic novel. 352 pages. Unopened. $15

BRAVE AND BOLD #51: Aquaman and Hawkman. $120

BRAVE AND BOLD #59: Batman and Green Lantern. $30

BRAVE AND BOLD #64: Batman versus Eclipso. $20

BRAVE AND BOLD #67: Batman and the Flash. $20

BRAVE AND BOLD #68: Batman and Metamorpho. $50

BRAVE AND BOLD #69: Batman and Green Lantern. $35

BRAVE AND BOLD #70: Batman and Hawkman. $35

BRAVE AND BOLD #71: Batman and Green Arrow. $35

BRAVE AND BOLD #74: Batman and Metal Men. $35

BRAVE AND BOLD #75: Batman and the Spectre. $35

BRAVE AND BOLD #76: Batman and Plastic Man. $35

BRAVE AND BOLD #77: Batman and the Atom. $35

BRAVE AND BOLD #78: Batman and Wonder Woman and Batgirl. $35

BRAVE AND BOLD #79: Batman and Deadman. $60

BRAVE AND BOLD #80: Batman and the Creeper. $50

BRAVE AND BOLD #82: Batman and Aquaman. $50

BRAVE AND BOLD #83: Batman and Teen Titans. $50

BRAVE AND BOLD #84: Batman and Sgt. Rock. $50

BRAVE AND BOLD #85: Batman and Green Arrow. $60

BRAVE AND BOLD #86: Batman and Deadman. $50

BRAVE AND BOLD #87: Batman and Wonder Woman. $25

BRAVE AND BOLD #88: Batman and Wildcat. $25

BRAVE AND BOLD #89: Batman and the Phantom Stranger. $25

BRAVE AND BOLD #90: Batman and Adam Strange. $25

BRAVE AND BOLD #91: Batman and Black Canary. $25

BRAVE AND BOLD #92: Batman and the Bat-Squad. $25

BRAVE AND BOLD #93: Batman and House of Mystery. $40

BRAVE AND BOLD #94: Batman and Teen Titans. $20

BRAVE AND BOLD #95: Batman and ?. $20

BRAVE AND BOLD #96: Batman and Sgt. Rock. $20

BRAVE AND BOLD #97: Batman and Wildcat. $20

BRAVE AND BOLD #98: Batman and the Phantom Stranger. $10

BRAVE AND BOLD #99: Batman and the Flash. $20

BRAVE AND BOLD #100: Batman and 4 Famous Co-Stars. $35

BRAVE AND BOLD #101: Batman and Metamorpho. $20

BRAVE AND BOLD #102: Batman and Teen Titans. $30

BRAVE AND BOLD #103: Batman and Metal Men. $10

BRAVE AND BOLD #104: Batman and Deadman. $10

BRAVE AND BOLD #105: Batman and Wonder Woman. $20

BRAVE AND BOLD #106: Batman and Green Arrow plus ? $10
BRAVE AND BOLD #107: Batman and Black Canary. $10

BRAVE AND BOLD #108: Batman and Sgt. Rock. $15

BRAVE AND BOLD #109: Batman and the Demon. $10
BRAVE AND BOLD #110: Batman and Wildcat. $10

BRAVE AND BOLD #111: Batman and the Joker. $10

BRAVE AND BOLD #112: Batman and Mister Miracle. $20

BRAVE AND BOLD #113: Batman and Metal Men. $25

BRAVE AND BOLD #114: Batman and Metal Men. $25

BRAVE AND BOLD #115: Batman and the Atom. $25

B&V FRIENDS COMICS DIGEST #239 [Archie Comics, 2014]. $1

*DEMEKING THE SEA MONSTER (DVD; 2009]. An anonymous letter predicts the apocalyptic arrival of a cosmic monster. Japanese with English subtitles. $4

DEN 1: NEVERWHERE by Richard Corben (Fantagor; 1991). Softcover GN. Sealed. $30

DIARY OF A GIRL NEXT DOOR, BETTY by Tania del Rip and Bill Galvan [2014]. Hardcover prose with illustrations. $5

*DINOSAUR EXPERIMENT, THE (DVD; 2013]. A cattle ranch is discovered to be a breeding ground for vicious prehistoric velociraptors. When the bloodthirsty dinosaurs escape, the townspeople must fight to survive the deadly raptors. $4

*EDEN FORMULA, THE [DVD; 2006]. Unofficially known as Carnosaur 5. In the industrial district of downtown Los Angeles, Dr. Harrison Parker (Jeff Fahey) has developed the Eden Formula. This new, revolutionary, cutting-edge technology can synthetically reproduce virtually any organism. And it does! $4

FANTASTIC ART OF LUIS ROYO [NBM; 2004]. Best-selling fantasy artist Luis Royo compiles and presents 240 pages of his best work in this handsome thick hardcover book. Includes a fold-out poster. $22


*KRAZY & IGNATZ: THE KAT WHO WALKED IN BEAUTY: THE PANORAMIC DAILIES OF 1920 by George Herriman [Fantagraphics; 2007]. Hardcover volume measuring  11.5 x 15.5 x 1 inches. $15

LIBERTY MEADOWS: EDEN BOOK ONE by Frank Cho [Image; 2004]. Second printing. Landscape edition (11.8 x 8.9 x 0.6 inches). Softcover. $10

*MASTERS OF ANIMATION by John Grant (Watson-Guptill; 2001]. Profiles of nearly 40 animators from the U.S., Europe and Japan. Full-color images. Classic and contemporary animated characters. Synopses of films. Softcover. 208 pages. $5

*POSEIDON REX [DVD; 2013]. A small, secluded island off the coast of Belize suddenly finds itself terrorized by a deadly predator from the planet's distant past when deep sea divers accidentally awaken an ancient evil. $4

*RAPTOR [DVD; 2001]. Unofficial sequel to Carnosaur 3 with all its monster scenes coming from the first three movies. Starring Corben Bernstein and Eric Roberts. $4

RAWHIDE KID #107 [January 1973]. $6

SPECTRUM 13: THE BEST IN CONTEMPORARY FANTASTIC ART by Cathy and Arnie Fenner [Underwood; 2006]. Softcover. Sealed. $10

*SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-Man VOL. 1: GETTING THE BAND BACK TOGETHER by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber [Marvel; 2014]. Collecting issues #1-6 of “a new sleeper hit saga starring some of Spidey’s deadliest baddies!” Softcover. $5

*UNO FANTA: THE ART OF ASHLEY WOOD [IDW; 2002]. Filled with never- before-seen art, this full color, hardcover book features work from Wood's Pop-Bot and examples of his striking illustrations of women. Introduction by Bill Sienkiewicz. 96 pages. $10

WOLFF & BYRD, COUNSELORS OF THE MACABRE: FRIGHT COURT by Batton Lash [Exhibit A Press; 1995]. Collection of stories from the long-running weekly comic strip. Landscape format. $5

Thanks for your patronage.

Tony Isabella

Sunday, August 10, 2014


If you’ve been reading my Facebook page, you know I’ve been having some difficulty walking this past week and weekend. This could be a reoccurrence of the gout which laid me low last year or it could be something else. If it’s the former, it will likely pass in a few more days. If it’s the latter, I’ll need to have my foot x-rayed to determine what that something else is. I’m sort of rooting for the devil I know.

Here’s the rest of the bad news. Because of my foot problem, which slows down my more physical labors, I’m canceling my August 15-16 garage sale. The only good part of this cancellation is I’ll have more time to restock and the opportunity to add something special to the next three garage sales.

Here’s the revised schedule:

Friday, August 29: 9 am to noon
Saturday, August 30: 9 to noon
Saturday, August 30: 5 pm to 7 pm

Friday, September 12: 9 am to noon
Saturday, September 13: 9 to noon
Saturday, September 13: 5 pm to 7 pm

Friday, September 26: 9 am to noon
Saturday, September 27: 9 to noon
Saturday, September 28: 5 pm to 7 pm

Friday, October 10: 9 am to noon
Saturday, October 11: 9 to noon
Saturday, October 11: 5 pm to 7 pm

Here comes the something special...

Are you a caricature artist? Are you a comics artist or writer? Are you any other kind of artist, writer or creator of wonderful stuff? If so, you could be a featured guest at one of my next three garage sales.

I’m willing to make tables available to two such creative persons at the daytime hours of my next three garage sales. I will provide them with tables and chairs for the selling of the works they have created or will be creating on the spot. They can price their wares at whatever they think the market will bear and they will not have to pay me for the tables or pay me a percentage of what they sell.

The tables will be set up in my driveway. Obviously, I will not be able to guarantee that the weather will be amenable to the outdoor setting.

I have no idea if setting up at my sales will be profitable for the creators selected to get the free space. This is new territory for me.  However, whatever you make at the sale, it’s all yours.

I also have no idea if anyone will want to take me up on my offer. However, if anyone does apply for the free space and is accepted, I will promote them in all my online advertising.

If you would like to bring your talents to Medina, e-mail me with a resume, what you plan on selling and examples of your work. For the last, you can attach jpgs to your e-mail or give me a link to  where I can see your work online.

Important! Keep in mind that Medina is very conservative and that my own neighborhood strives to be as kid-friendly as possible. If your stock in trade is X-rated material, you wouldn’t be a good fit for my garage sales.

You don’t have to set up for both days of a garage sale. You can, but it’s not a requirement.

I'd like to fill these “guest creator” spots as soon as I can, the better to promote your appearances. If you’d like to be part of this, don’t wait too long.

The October garage sale may or may not have any guest creators, but it will have some sort of Halloween theme for the October one. Keep watching the bloggy thing for updates on the garage sales and more.

My next online Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale will post on the morrow. As the week progresses, I’ll be writing about PulpFest and many other things.  

Thanks for reading.

© 2014 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Saturday’s garage sale was split into two sessions. The first was from the usual 9 am to noon. The second was from 5pm to 7 pm.  At 11 am, there was an honest-to-Godzilla convention-style panel with Mike W. Barr (writer of Batman, Batman and the Outsiders, Camelot 3000, Maze Agency and Star Trek), Tom Batiuk (Crankshaft and Funky Winkerbean) and me.

We set up a long table and three chairs. Over a dozen fans brought chairs from my patio or from their homes. It was a fun discussion  and I got so into it that I failed to take notes while it was going on. I’m going to get someone to videotape whatever panel I do for next year’s Driveway Con.

Going my memory, I asked Mike and Tom to name their favorite comic books and strips. I asked them which comic books and comic strips they would like to write if they had the opportunity. We also took questions from the audience.

Mike and Tom both mentioned The Flash as among the favorite comic books of their youth. I mentioned Cosmo the Merry Martian and the Presto Kid stories from Red Mask.

My memory has failed me when it comes to the favorite comic strips of Mike and Tom, but I named Calvin and Hobbes.

My memory also fails me when I try to remember what comic books my friends said they would like to write, but I think they mentioned the Flash in their answers.

What comic books would I like to write? I said I love assignments that are challenging and fun. When I was at Marvel in the 1970s, I had a hankering to write Thor mostly because I wanted to see if I could master that title’s pseudo-Shakespearean dialogue. Later, in the 1980s, I expressed my interest in following Alan Moore on Swamp Thing. Talk about a challenge.

But if I had to name more realistic - barely more realistic - comic books of comic-book characters I would like to write, my very short list would include the Blonde Phantom, the Rawhide Kid and Howard the Duck. Fun and challenging...and I may have figured out how to do all three of them without writing the actual characters.

On the question of what comic strips we’d like to write, Tom said he always wanted to do a Mary Worth story in which she was forced out of her current comfortable circumstances and had to go back to living small as she did during the Depression when her comic strip was called “Apple Mary.”  Mike mentioned he had been in the running for Mary Worth before the current writer of the comic strip came on  board. I can’t remember what strip Mike said he wanted to write on account of my head was being stupid that morning.

Digression. I will ask Mike and Tom how they answered my questions when next I see them. I will take notes and I will do a follow-up to today’s bloggy thing. End of digression.

The question of what comic strips I would like to write was harder for me because I already ghost-write for several strips and didn’t feel I should mention any of them. I settled on naming two strips that I have never written for.

I’d like to write Doonesbury because I can’t imagine any strip that would be more of a challenge. The thought of having that political pulpit is very attractive to me.

I’d also like to write Beetle Bailey and bring it out of the stone age. I’d probably have Sarge up on charges for his brutalization of Beetle. I’d definitely move the characters out of Camp Swampy and into actual military roles. And I think I could write funny stuff for the strip.

There were questions from the audience about diversity in comics, especially the lesbian relationship in Barr’s Camelot 3000 and the barriers publishers faced when they launched comic books starring characters of color. Good questions. Good answers. I wish I had a transcript of the panel to share with you.

My son Eddie came home for Driveway Con. As the panel was winding down, he ordered pizzas for us. Mike, Tom and some of our friendshad a nice lunch. Probably a better and more relaxing lunch than we would have time for at Comic-Con.


Ever since I began advertising my garage sales on Craig’s List and elsewhere, I can count on receiving anywhere from two to two dozen  messages from people who can’t possibly make it to my garage sales at the scheduled hours and would like to come to my house on, say, the day or night before the garage sales.

These messages piss me off. What these people really want is first crack at whatever I’m selling. They all seem to think I’m too dumb to figure that out. I’m not that dumb and they’re jerks.

However, I do know family and work responsibilities can prevent a customer from attending my morning garage sales. So, because this was Driveway Com 2014, I decided to offer a couple of evening hours on Saturday night. Just to see what would happen.

What happened is that, while I didn’t make a boatload of money in those evening hours, I made enough to make it worth the two hours of my time and I made some customers happy.

I’m going to continue offering Saturday evening hours at my sales.This will only change if those evening hours stop being productive for me and my customers. I don’t think that will happen.


Driveway Con 2014 was a success. I not only reached my goal for the weekend, I doubled it. A lot of comics fans got a lot of terrific items at ridiculously low prices. We had fans in costumes. We did trivia questions. We had a panel.  I don’t know if I can top this next year, but I’m sure gonna give it my best shot.

There will be five more garage sales between not and the last one of the year in October. Here’s the schedule:

Friday, August 15: 9 am to noon
Saturday, August 16: 9 to noon
Saturday, August 16: 5 pm to 7 pm

Friday, August 29: 9 am to noon
Saturday, August 30: 9 to noon
Saturday, August 30: 5 pm to 7 pm

Friday, September 12: 9 am to noon
Saturday, September 13: 9 to noon
Saturday, September 13: 5 pm to 7 pm

Friday, September 26: 9 am to noon
Saturday, September 27: 9 to noon
Saturday, September 28: 5 pm to 7 pm

Friday, October 10: 9 am to noon
Saturday, October 11: 9 to noon
Saturday, October 11: 5 pm to 7 pm

I’m going to try to come up with some special stuff for the sales in September and will probably do some sort of Halloween theme for the October one. Keep watching the bloggy thing for updates on the garage sales and more.

Since I’ll be attending PulpFest in Columbus Thursday night through Sunday morning, this is probably my last bloggy thing of the week. I’ll be back next week to thrill you anew.

Thanks for reading.

© 2014 Tony Isabella


We continue the Driveway Con 2014 report with the answers to the trivia questions I asked at the garage sale and posted yesterday:

Complete this Black Lightning poem fragment:
“Justice, like lightning, should ever appear
“To some men hope and to other men ....!”

B) fear

What was the first comic-book story Tony Isabella wrote for Marvel Comics?

A) Haunt and Run!

ADDENDUM: It appeared in Chamber of Chills #5 [July 1973].

What was the name of the first British weekly edited by Tony for Marvel Comics?

C) The Mighty World of Marvel

Tony used Hydra in two different Marvel Comics titles? From these three choices, name the one he didn’t use Hydra in.

A) Avengers

What was the title of Tony’s last Black Lightning story?

C) Twas the Night Before Kwanza

ADDENDUM: It appeared in DCU Holiday Bash II [1998].

What super-villain did Tony name after a comic-strip character?

B) Kite-Man

ADDENDUM: If you somehow missed the classic Hawkman #4 [November, 1986], I gave a civilian identity to the formerly unnamed Kite-Man. Bill Finger created this rather feeble villain in the 1960s. Kite-Man appeared once more in the 1970s before I used him in my Hawkman series. His civilian identity? Charles Brown. I mean, how could it not be Charles Brown?

Who was the first author whose work was adapted into a comic-book story by Tony?

B) August Derleth

ADDENDUM: I adapted “The Drifting Snow” for Vampire Tales #4 [April 1974].

Who is Tony’s favorite Western hero?

C) Rawhide Kid

Which of these comic-book TV adaptations did Tony write an issue of?

C) Welcome Back Kotter

Tony wrote nearly a dozen issues of Justice Machine for two comics publishers. Which of these publishers did he not write any Justice Machine issues for?

C) Millennium

Who was Tony’s favorite member of the Justice Machine?

B) Talisman

Which of these characters did not appear in Justice Machine?

A) Atom-Smasher

Which of these comic-book publishers didn’t publish Star Trek comic books?

A) Dynamite

Which of these comics publishers was the first to publish a Planet of the Apes comics?

B) Gold Key

ADDENDUM: Gold Key published a comic-book adaptation of Beneath the Planet of the Apes in 1970.

Which of these heroes was an original member of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

A) Charlie-27
B) Martnex
C) Vance Astro
D) Yondu

ADDENDUM: This was a trick question. All four of these characters were in the original Guardians of the Galaxy.

Who was Marvel’s Misty Knight based on?

C) Pam Grier

Which of these was not a Harvey Comics character?

C) Little Slack

Which actor/actress will not be appearing on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in that show’s second season?

B) Ted McGinley

ADDENDUM: However, McGinley will be appearing in the third season as the biological dad of Agent Melinda May’s previously-unmentioned son. Hilarity will ensue.

Who created the Spectre?

B) Jerry Siegel

When Genma Saotome is splashed with cold water, he transforms into a...

A) giant panda

Which of these was NOT a comic-book title?

B) Outlaw Annie

ADDENDUM: When I first wrote the question, the incorrect choice was Nellie the Nurse. Until I remembered that Marvel has published such a title along with Millie the Model, Sherry the Showgirl and Tessie the Typist. If this trend ever comes around again, I have already written  proposals for Becky the Brain Surgeon, Dana the Designer, Pauline the Producer and Caitlyn the CEO. Four sisters who are doing it for themselves. Hilarity will ensue.   

Which of these was NOT an Archie title?

B) Archie Meets the Ghostbusters

I’ll be back before you know it with the rest of the “garage con” strips by Tom Batiuk and the finale of my Driveway Con 2014 report.

© 2014 Tony Isabella


The genesis of Driveway Con 2014 was during a conversation with Tom Batiuk, my friend and neighbor who does those Crankshaft and Funky Winkerbean comic strips beloved by millions. We were both special guests of last year’s Comic-Con International. Neither of us could attend this year’s Comic-Con International. This made us very sad.

Tom suggest we get together for lunch here in Medina during Comic-Con to ease our pain. I think he was planning to bribe the servers to ask for our autographs and take photos of us. Naturally, I took our “wish we were in San Diego” conversation several steps further and into the realms of madness.

I would turn my June 25-26 garage sale into Driveway Con. I would have prizes for anyone who came to the sale in costume or who could answer trivia questions correctly. Then, on Saturday, we would set up a table and hold an honest-to-Godzilla comics convention style panel in my driveway.

Tom agreed to be on the panel immediately because he is as crazy as I am. I called up Mike W. Barr, who lives in nearby Akron, and he also put his sanity into question by agreeing to be on that panel. I figured the worst that could happen with this plan would be that nobody would come to the panel and we’d go to lunch an hour early.

Fate turned the odds in my favor when the garage sale got all kinds of crazy publicity on multiple fronts. It would be one of the most busy - perhaps even the most busy - of any garage sale I had done in the past.

Digression. I wish I had been smart enough to take photos of the festivities. I’ll try to be smart enough in the future. I did get some photos from Nancy Johnson, who wrote that wonderful piece on Tom and myself for The Gazette. If anyone else took photos, please send them my way. End of digression.

Much to my delight, I got seven cosplayers: Supergirl, Darth Vader,Boba Fett, No-Face from Spirited Away, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and the New 52 version of Wonder Girl. Dan Guinto (Boba Fett) won the grand prize of $50 in Vast Accumulation of Stuff cash good at any of my remaining 2014 garage sales. Jesse Adkins (Wonder Girl) won second-place and $25 in Vast Accumulation of Stuff cash.

During the garage sale, at random times, I asked 22 multiple-choice questions of my customers. If the customer answered correctly, he or see got $1 in Vast Accumulation of Stuff cash. Adding the VAOS cash from both the costumes and the trivia questions, I handed out $33 over the weekend.

The first dozen trivia questions were all about my exciting comics career. See how many you can answer correctly without going to the Grand Comics Database:

Complete this Black Lightning poem fragment:
“Justice, like lightning, should ever appear
“To some men hope and to other men ....!”

A) beer
B) fear
C) Pam Grier

What was the first comic-book story Tony Isabella wrote for Marvel Comics?

A) Haunt and Run!
B) Werewolf’s Lair!
C) When Titans Clash!

What was the name of the first British weekly edited by Tony for Marvel Comics?

A) The Daredevils
B) Doctor Strange’s Mystic Tales
C) The Mighty World of Marvel

Tony used Hydra in two different Marvel Comics titles? From these three choices, name the one he didn’t use Hydra in.

A) Avengers
B) Daredevil
C) Giant-Size Creatures

What was the title of Tony’s last Black Lightning story?

A) Armies of the Night
B) Blowed Away
C) Twas the Night Before Kwanza

What super-villain did Tony name after a comic-strip character?

A) Discus
B) Kite-Man
C) Pain-Killer

Who was the first author whose work was adapted into a comic-book story by Tony?

A) Robert Bloch
B) August Derleth
C) Harlan Ellison

Who is Tony’s favorite Western hero?

A) Ghost Rider
B) Jonah Hex
C) Rawhide Kid

Which of these comic-book TV adaptations did Tony write an issue of?

A) I Dream of Jeannie
B) Scooby-Doo
C) Welcome Back Kotter

Tony wrote nearly a dozen issues of Justice Machine for two comics publishers. Which of these publishers did he not write any Justice Machine issues for?

A) Comico
B) Innovation
C) Millennium

Who was Tony’s favorite member of the Justice Machine?

A) Challenger
B) Talisman
C) Titan

Which of these characters did not appear in Justice Machine?

A) Atom-Smasher
B) Blazer
C) Youthquake

The next ten questions were more general:

Which of these comic-book publishers didn’t publish Star Trek comic books?

A) Dynamite
B) Marvel
C) Tokyopop

Which of these comics publishers was the first to publish a Planet of the Apes comics?

A) Dark Horse
B) Gold Key
C) Marvel

Which of these heroes was an original member of the Guardians of the Galaxy?

A) Charlie-27
B) Martnex
C) Vance Astro
D) Yondu

Who was Marvel’s Misty Knight based on?

A) Eartha Kitt
B) Nichelle Nichols
C) Pam Grier

Which of these was not a Harvey Comics character?

A) Little Dot
B) Little Lotta
C) Little Slack

Which actor/actress will not be appearing on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in that show’s second season?

A) Lucy Lawless
B) Ted McGinley
C) Patton Oswalt

Who created the Spectre?

A) Gardner Fox
B) Jerry Siegel
C) William Woolfolk

When Genma Saotome is splashed with cold water, he transforms into a...

A) giant panda
B) medium-size cockatoo
c) tiny elephant

Which of these was NOT a comic-book title?

A) Millie the Model
B) Outlaw Annie
C) Sherry the Showgirl

Which of these was NOT an Archie title?

A) Afterlife with Archie
B) Archie Meets the Ghostbusters
C) Archie's R/C Racers

How did you do? I’ll post the correct answers in my next Driveway Con bloggy thing.

© 2014 Tony Isabella


The Gazette is published Monday through Saturday in my home town of Medina, Ohio. Every ten years or so, the newspaper “discovers” the city is home to a - gasp - comic-book writer and decides it should run an article about me.

These discoveries often follow on the heels of my getting involved in some godless activity like routing the local Christian Coalition when they tried to mess with our library or infringing on the right of paranoid narcissists to carry assault rifles into establishments patronized by sane people.

When The Gazette or one of its freelance writers asks if they can interview the comic-book writer, I almost always agree. I can’t let my ever-so-much-more-famous-than-me friend and neighbor Tom Batiuk get all the ink. The only time I refused was when the request came from a freelancer who was, to be blunt, an asshole. That guy might be worth an entire bloggy thing all to himself, but I may save him for one of the novels on my bucket list of things to write before I kick the bucket.

This time, the Gazette freelancer was Nifty Nancy Johnson.  She’s incredibly friendly and considers herself the “feel-good” writer. I’m happy to report that spending an hour or two talking to me did not change her sunny outlook on life.

Nancy called me a couple days after interviewing me to read me the rough draft of her article and check facts with me. I am not used to such diligence. In the past, I have considered it a victory when reporters get most of the names I’ve carefully spelled out for them correct. Nancy got everything right.

Nancy also interviewed Tom Batiuk. The idea was the articles would run together, but she didn’t know when. I found out when they would run on the morning of Monday, July 21, when I walked to the mailbox to get my morning newspapers and saw my own chubby self - and that Batiuk guy - on the front page of The Gazette.

Did I say front page just then? That’s an understatement. Tom and I took up just over two-thirds of the front page with our articles continuing on an inside page.

The headline screamed:

Comic book men drawn in different directions

“Tony Isabella and Tom Batiuk have a lot in common. As children, they both remember a family member reading the comics to them. As teenagers, they both had a fascination with comic books and spent long hours creating characters and writing comic book storylines. They both published comic strips, magazines and books. These are the stories of two Medina County residents who followed the same passion down two very different paths to national success.”

Wow. I hadn’t even gotten to the actual articles and I was already impressed. That sounds like the introduction to a movie or maybe aclassy cable drama. I’d probably be played by Danny DeVito.

Johnson’s article might just be the best article ever written about me. Her piece on Batiuk was just as good. But my pleasant surprises in that day’s paper weren’t over.

The interior page continuations of the articles included a big fat sidebar about my July 25-26 garage sale. Taken from one of my blogs about the event, the sidebar would draw many local residents to the sale. My reaction was...I’m gonna need a bigger boat.

There’s more.

In his Funky Winkerbean strip, Batiuk had been running an extended storyline in which mom Holly Winkerbean is trying to complete her son Cory’s collection of Starbuck Jones comics while Cory’s serving in Afghanistan. She was down to the rare remaining issue he needed, but she wasn’t able to find that issue despite going to San Diego’s Comic-Con International with comic-shop owner John Howard, another regular in the strip. Holly probably used up all her remaining luck just getting a ticket to Comic-Con.

Back in Westview - Tom’s fictional version of Medina - John tells Holly that there’s one more place she can look for the elusive last Starbuck Jones issue she needs:

“My friend Tony’s garage con.”

That first of six “garage con” strips ran on the same day as those articles about Tom and myself. The strips continued throughout the week. John described my garage sale to Holly. He salted my quarter comic boxes with the Starbuck Jones issue Holly had been trying to find and enlisted my thespian skills to make it seem that Holly had lucked out big time. My garage sale was depicted accurately, but I look like DeVito as the Penguin in Batman Returns.

That week’s worth of strips running the same week as my July 25-26 garage sale was a wild coincidence. Batiuk is way ahead of schedule on Funky Winkerbean. He doesn’t like anyone to know exactly how far ahead of publication he at any given time, but I think he probably wrote this sequence while George W. Bush was still the president. Which would have been years before I decided to have a garage sale on the weekend of July 25 and 26. That Nostradamus fellow ain’t got nothing on my pal Tom.

I posted a short version report on the real-life Driveway Con 2014 on July 28.  You’ll get the full story tomorrow.  

© 2014 Tony Isabella

Monday, August 4, 2014


Back Issue $74 [TwoMorrows; $8.95] is dedicated to the “Fantastic Four in the Bronze Age!” It’s a swell issue filled with good info on what Reed Richards and friends were up to during those thrilling years. There are articles on comic books with interviews and art byvarious FF writers and artists. There are articles on the animated FF series, the radio shows and even the Mego figures of that time.

There always has been a “however,” doesn’t there?

However...when Jarrod Buttery writes about the FF in the 1970s and gets to the one fill-in issue on which I worked, he gets my credit wrong. It’s a minor error, but I like to correct such errors when I become aware of them.

Fantastic Four #153 was running very late when I was given the not-unwelcome job of finishing a multi-issue story by Gerry Conway and Rich Buckler. Buttery identifies me only as the issue’s scripter, which implies I only wrote captions, dialogue and sound effects for existing art. That wasn’t the case.

Fantastic Four #153 was running very late, so, the very afternoon I received the rush assignment to write the issue, I sat down in my Marvel office and co-plotted the issue with Buckler.  There was no existing plot for how Conway had intended the story to end and no art has been drawn for that concluding issue.

For the next three days, work progressed on the issue as follows: Buckler would bring in pages and I would script them overnight to be sent out for lettering the next morning. Joe Rosen would letter them and send them directly to Joe Sinnott for inking. There was no time for any substantial changes to any stage of the process. The book had to go to the printers.  Which it did.

The entire issue was completed in four or five days.  Stan Lee and Jack Kirby could have probably done it in two, but the rest of us were mere mortals.

My credit for Fantastic Four #153 is properly co-plot and script. It’s a minor thing, but it’s important to me that, when it comes to my comics career, the information out there is accurate.

Back Issue is usually pretty good about this. I’ve been interviewed by many of the TwoMorrows writers. In exchange for the opportunity to fact-check what is written about me, I make myself available to those writers and answer their questions as swiftly as my own busy schedule allows. It’s a good relationship and I hope it continues for a long time to come.

© 2014 Tony Isabella


Driveway Con 2014, as I jokingly called my July 26-27 garage sale, benefited from great local publicity. Incredibly, that publicity  started because my home state of Ohio, run by the iron fist of its largely Republican statehouse, has enacted some of the most insane “gun rights” laws in the country.

Ohio’s “open carry” laws allow attention-seeking gun fetishists to walk around brandishing guns, rifles and assault weapons wherever they please. There are some exceptions to this “right” - proximity to schools, inside banks, the statehouse itself - but, pretty much short of a business adopting a “no guns” policy and posting signs,  the “open carry” crowd can pack whatever heat they want and do so wherever they want to roam.

The worst part of these Ohio laws as I see them is...the police and other law-enforcement personnel are not allowed to ask these open carry folks for their identification or their reason for strolling around with rifles and assault weapons. They are supposed to assume that such an individual is the “good guy with a gun” so beloved of the National Rifle Association and the gun manufacturers who fill that organization’s coffers. They are supposed to assume that the weapons have been legally purchased and that these “good guys” who carry them have the legal right to do so.

When a pair of these “good guys” were walking around Medina’s nice little public square, several of the business owners there called the police. When the police arrived, those “good guys” initially refused to give identification or state their purpose for carrying to the police. They did eventually answer the officers’ questions. The police do have the right to ask for identification and intent when, in their judgment, the “good guys” are acting suspiciously. It also appears these “good guys” were carrying the weapons in too close proximity to a school that borders the square.

The Medina “open carry” crowd, bolstered by gun activists from well outside the city, threw a fit over this. One couple walked around the police station with their weapons and their infant children in their arms. Because they were the very model of “good guys with guns.” Encouraged by the outside activists, the local “open carry” group announced they would stage an open carry walk. That’s where I came into the picture.

I am not against “open carry” in all circumstances, but there must be limits as to the nature of the weapons being carried and there must be on-the-spot accountability of the individual’s right to be in possession of openly carried weapons. It should never be akin to the “Wild West” of the gun fetishist’s fantasies, especially since, in the actual “Wild West” of the past, it wasn’t at all unusual for  the local sheriff to demand visitors to the town surrender firearms while in town.

The “open carry” advocates planned to hold an “open carry” walk on Saturday, June 21. They claimed their intention was to educate all of us fearful types about their gun rights.  My guess is that they were far more interested in drawing attention to themselves and in intimidating those opposing Ohio’s ill-considered “open carry” law.

Their plans made the front page of The Gazette. I read they planned to hold a meeting at Dickey’s Barbeque Pit and then use the parking lot of the restaurant as a staging ground for their walk.Dickey’s being one of my favorite local restaurants and all, this pissed me off more than a little.

I called the restaurant to express my dismay and inform the place that, much as I liked their food and all, I wouldn’t be patronizing them in the future if they allowed the “open carry” people to open carry in or around their premises. The invisible hand of the market doesn’t have to be holding a gun.

The person I initially spoke to was shocked on account of Dickey’s had no idea this was happening. The manager had agreed to let the “open carry” group have a meeting at the restaurant, but, somehow, never realized the group would be packing heavy heat when they did so. The group had met in the restaurant once before, but, on that occasion, they were not armed.

The manager wasn’t happy about this turn of events and his workers were incredibly unhappy about it. No sane person wants a bunch of gun-toting maniacs - and, sorry, but if you feel the need to walk around with an assault rifle, I’m not going to assume you’re that good guy with a gun the NRA keeps carping about - around when all they want to do is enjoy a meal or get through their shift.  I kept  in touch with the restaurant all morning.

I was in the parking lot of The Gazette when I spoke for the final time with the Dickey’s manager. I was there to pick up a free kit for my garage sale.

The owner of the restaurant had made it clear in no uncertain terms that the “open carry” zealots would not be allowed to use his place of business as a staging ground for their walk or, if they were armed, use the meeting room. I was delighted to receive this news.

I went into The Gazette and, while I was there, informed them of my latest conversation with Dickey’s and that their front-page story was now out-of-date. One reporter was told to call the restaurant to confirm what I’d told them...and I was asked if I would consent to be interviewed and photographed for a follow-up story the paper would run on Saturday. Since I never figured on dying a peaceful death, I agreed to the paper’s request.

The headline of the Saturday edition of The Gazette made it clear: Restaurant says no to “open carry” walk.

The photo of me ran below the fold as part of The Gazette article on customer reaction to the decision made by the Dickey’s owner on the matter. The reaction was overwhelmingly favorable. Few people were comfortable with the brandishing of rifles and assault weaponsin public places or on public streets.

When I went to the restaurant Saturday evening, I was thanked by a number of employees. During the next few weeks, I was also thanked by friends and strangers. Even some of my most conservative Medina friends and neighbors agreed with my position.

The Gazette follow-up story on the “open carry” walk said there were 22 participants. Based on the comments posted to the group’s Facebook page, half or more of those participants were not Medina residents.

There’s not much I can add to the discussion of Ohio’s “open carry” laws and other gun laws. The NRA’s positions are not the mainstream positions. I think we can enact reasonable gun regulations that do not infringe on sane interpretations of the Second Amendment. The kind of regulations supported by law-enforcement personnel and, for many years, by the NRA itself. However, that’s a conversation for a future bloggy thing.

Unexpectedly, my opposition to the local “open carry” group led toamazing publicity for Driveway Con 2014. I’ll be back to tell you about that in the next day or so.

© 2014 Tony Isabella


This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...It's a wild trip to the past as we witness Jimmy posing as a boy from Mars, his date with Miss Metropolis and his battle with an evil duplicate.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


Gorgo. Konga. Reptilicus. I love the Charlton comic books based on these monster movies of the 1960s. Even the issues not drawn by the great Steve Ditko. Simply put, they delight me.

Konga is a particular favorite of mine because it so transcends the lousy movie that spawned the series. The issue shown here is Konga #6 [May 1962]. The Ditko cover art is taken from a full-page scene from the interior story.

I’m keeping these comic books until the day I die. I’m pretty sure I have almost every issue of these titles, but they are scattered throughout my Vast Accumulation of Stuff. Once I get all the issues together, I will move swiftly to pick up any issues I am missing.Because I love them.

Side note. I even own the novelizations of the three movies, which were also published by Charlton under their Monarch Books imprint.I should really read them soon.
More to come.
© 2014 Tony Isabella


B&V Friends Comics Digest #239 [Archie; $4.99] has one story that speaks to me deeply. Written and drawn by Dan Parent with inking by Jon D’Agostino, “Yard Sale of the Century” (6 pages) kicks off when Veronica stops by Betty’s lawn sale and determines the Lodge family should hold then ultimate in yard sales.

Veronica’s world is different from the one I live in.  The Lodges have tents set up in their yard. They hire professional salespeople to man their cash registers. They have valet parking. Alas, their prices, bargains though they may be in Veronica’s world are far too high for the yard sale crowd. At the end, the Lodges lost money, a lot of money, on this sale. On the other hand...

The people who came to the sale delight in the small purchases they were able to afford and had a great time looking through the other cool things available for purchase.  Most important, Veronica and her parents had fun doing something together.

I won’t be writing about every Archie digest that comes my way, but I will be writing about them from time to time. Keep checking the bloggy thing for other mini-posts like this one.
© 2014 Tony Isabella


Comic Book Heaven was a thrice-yearly magazine by Scott Saavedra. Published by SLG Publishing, the 5.5" by 8.5" magazine was filled with funny and snarky and loving commentaries on old comic books. I love that stuff and I loved this magazine.

Flee, Puny Humans! The Comic Book Heaven Collection featured a lot of the best stuff from the magazine’s first several issues.  This was published in 2003 or thereabouts. It’s worth looking for.

You can look forward to more of these “Stuff I’m Keeping” posts. As I go through my Vast Accumulation of Stuff, I want to start sortingthe comics and magazines I’m keeping. While the individual issues of these titles are scattered throughout the VAOS, I wanted to get a start on organizing them with the eventual aim of determining the issues I still need.
More to come.
© 2014 Tony Isabella