Wednesday, October 26, 2016


This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga Volume 3 featuring Japanese takes on Batman stories of the 1960s; Kim W. Anderson’s Alena, the award-winning graphic novel from Sweden; and Huck Book One: All-American by Mark Millar with artist/co-creator Rafael Albuquerque, “the feel-good super-hero book of 2016!" 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


The Shadow #100: The Death Triangle, The Crimson Death and The Seven Deadly Arts [September 2015; $15.95] celebrates an incredible  milestone for my friend Anthony Tollin’s Sanctum Books. For this extra-size Centennial Edition, Tollin has collected three novels of The Shadow by the three writers who wrote under the house name of Maxwell Grant.

The Death Triangle is by Walter B. Gibson, one of the most prolific writers of all time. It was first published in the October 15, 1933 issue of The Shadow Magazine:

Death strikes, again and again. Mystery covers the affairs of the Wycliff household. Then The Shadow plays his hand against this scheme of death.

The Crimson Death by Theodore Tinsley first appeared in The Shadow Magazine for August 1, 1941:

Murder struck in a dizzy dance of death that drew even The Shadow into its arms.

The Seven Deadly Sins by Bruce Elliott is from The Shadow Magazine dated October 1946:

A mysterious cult murmuring eerie incantations..death occurring in the wake of an ancient curse. It was more than black magic and superstition–it was the clever plot of mortal men--and only The Shadow sensed the danger...

Also included in this volume is the original interior art for these novels by Tom Lovell, Paul Orban and Edd Cartier and historical commentary by Will Murray. Another great book for fans of classic pulp adventure.

Keep reading the bloggy thing for more information on Sanctum Books publications.

© 2016 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...Raina Telgemeier’s Ghosts; The Big Con Job by Jimmy Palmiotti and Matt Brady with art by Dominike “Domo” Stanton; and Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur Vol. 1: BFF by Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare with art by Natacha Bustos. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


The Grand Rapids Comic Con is on Friday, October 21 through Sunday, October 23, at the DeVos Place, 303 Monroe Ave NW, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This will be my next-to-last convention appearance of the crazy and often wonderful year I’ve been having.

Mark and Jennifer Hodges put on a wonderful show - I was a guest in 2014 - and this year will be no exception. There are comics guests, media guests, literary guests, cosplay guests and what promises to be a bustling artists alley. In addition to a big fat schedule of programming that extends over the main stage and several other spaces within the venue, the convention is hosting a short film festival, an art show, an anime room, a car show and activities for the kids. It’s going to take all my will power to spend most of the show at Booth #539, which is where you’ll find me most of the time.

The comics guests roster for this event is amazing: Kevin Eastman, Jae Lee, Joe Rubenstein, Rodney Ramos, Steve Lieber, Allan Bellman, Greg Wiseman, Dirk Manning, William Messner-Loebs, Arvell Jones, Jason Moore, Thom Zahler and many others. Some are old friends I’ll enjoy seeing again, others are creators I’m eager to meet. I hope to be able to spend a few hours each day exploring the convention and maybe scoring some cool books and comics.

The celebrity guests aren’t as familiar to me, but I really want to meet Denise Crosby. I’ve admired her work for a long time and not just in Star Trek-related shows. She was a highlight of the short-lived (but excellent) Key West and delivered a knockout performance in two episodes of NYPD Blue.

There will be a gaming room offering all kinds of games. There are exhibits from the Hall of Heroes Museum and the private collection of Wes Shank. The latter will include props from sci-fi movies and much more. I’m thinking “much more” should be the overall tag for this convention.

There will be cosplay and cosplay contests. I’m hoping that Black Lightning, Misty Knight, Tigra and Zatanna are well represented. Yeah, I know I didn’t have anything to do with the creation of the Maid of Magic, but a guy never forgets his first comic-book crush.

On Friday, at 5:30 pm in Grand Gallery D-E, I’ll be presenting “Tony’s Tips! Live!” As you can glean from the title, it’s a live version of the column of news, views and reviews I’ve been writing for decades, first in Comics Buyer’s Guide and currently online at the Tales of Wonder website:

Join Tony Isabella, creator of Black Lightning, co-creator of Misty Knight and Tigra, 44-year veteran of the comics industry for a lively discussion of well, everything. We’ll talk comic books, giant monster movies, blogging and anything else that comes to mind. You can ask any and all questions and sometimes the answers might actually match them.

I hope we get a good turn out for this presentation. I mean, I’m no stranger to talking to myself, but if there are other people in the room, I don’t look quite so insane.

When I’m not wandering the convention, I’ll be at Booth #539. I’ll have various Isabella-written things to sign like the recent Black Lightning collection from DC Comics, a few copies of my 1000 Comic Books You Must Read and some of the Garfield comics albums that I have worked on for Papercutz. I’ll have the double-sided Superman poster I helped designed for the 1988 International Superman Expo in Cleveland, Ohio. I’ll have some other items as well.

While I’m at my booth, I will be delighted to sign Isabella-written items. As I’ve noted in the past, I am not charging for autographs this year. That will likely change in 2017.

If you have a great many items for me to sign, and if other folks are also waiting for me to sign their items, I’ll sign a couple of your items and then ask you to go the end of the line until I can sign for your fellow fans. I’ll sign as many Isabella items as you like, but I may not be able to sign them all at once.

I’ll be happy to answering your questions and discuss this and that with you. However, for contractual reasons, I might not be able to answer questions concerning some of those contracts and some of my future projects.

I will not read your scripts or other written materials. That’s for your legal protection and mine.

I will, time permitting, look at your art portfolios. But there’s not much I can tell you if all you have are pin-up shots. I’m not an art expert. My forte is visual storytelling, the proper flow of a comics story from panel to panel, page to page.

The hours for the Grand Rapids Comic Con are:

Friday, October 21, from 2 pm until 8 pm
Saturday, October 22, from 10 am until 7 pm
Sunday, October 23, from 10 am until 5 pm

There will also be late night programming until 11 pm on Friday and Saturday night. 

I’m looking forward to attending Grand Rapids Comic Con. I hope to see you there.

© 2016 Tony Isabella

Sunday, October 16, 2016


When I took a cold hard look at my convention, work and personal schedule over the next couple some matters my family and I are dealing some necessary upgrades to my home and my office...I realized something would have to give. Sadly, it's the bloggy thing.

I'll still be posting announcements of my convention appearances during this hiatus. I'll still be writing Tony's Tips for the Tales of Wonder website. I'll still be posting the quick plugs for Sanctum Books and TwoMorrows publications. But the full-scale bloggy things won't resume until Tuesday, November 1. As always, thanks for your understanding.

All the best to my friends and my readers. I'll see you soon.

Tony Isabella

Friday, October 14, 2016


Louis A. Isabella, my father, passed on this date two years ago. I wrote about him here.

A number of people have asked about the dog tags I wear when I travel to conventions and other events. The tags are visible in a few of the photos taken at the Luke Cage premiere last month. They are my father’s dog tags. I wear them to honor him as well as for other reasons.

Dad loved to drive, especially the big old Isabella Bakery delivery truck. He stopped making deliveries when he was needed inside the bakery itself. He sacrificed one of the joys of his life because he was needed elsewhere. In many ways, that selflessness was the story of his life and repeated time and time again.

Dad also loved to fly, which he rarely did even during his service in World War II. I still remember the delight in his eyes the day I was invited to tour an airbase and museum as part of a project I almost did for the Air Force. Dad and my then-young son Eddie came with me. It was one of the best days of my life.

The third part of this story is that, of all the member of my birth family, no one was ever more supportive of my career than Dad. He build an office for me in our family basement. He drove my stuff to New York when I moved there to work for Marvel Comics. He built a  display for me when I was selling comics at conventions. He saved every comic book I ever sent him. I don’t know if he read them, but he did like to see my name in them.

After Dad passed, going through the odds and ends being set aside for a garage sale, I saw his dog tags. No one else wanted them, so I took them. I started wearing them to comics conventions and other events, especially when I was flying to those things.

Dad loved to fly, so now he flies with the son to whom he gave such strong wings. Dad lived to travel, so he comes to conventions with me. I think Dad would get a kick out of the love and respect that I receive at conventions and at events like the Luke Cage premiere. I bring these small reminders of him with me because I am just as proud of him as he was of me.

Dad is my co-pilot, so I wear his tags.

© 2016 Tony Isabella

Thursday, October 13, 2016


From Sanctum Books...

Doc Savage #84: The Men Vanished & Death in Small Houses [September 2015; $14.95] reprints two Doc novels by Lester Dent and William G. Bogart, both writing as Kenneth Robeson. Looking at the two novels first...

Dent’s The Men Vanished first appeared in the December 1940 issue of Doc Savage Magazine. Here’s the back cover blurb:

Doc and Patricia Savage mount a rescue expedition to the unexplored Amazon after seven of the world’s greatest explorers mysteriously disappear!

Bogart’s Death in Small Houses is one of four Doc novels written by the author. The story is from the October 1946 issue of Doc Savage Magazine. From the back cover:

The Man of Bronze seeks to learn why bizarre bearded hermits are stealing portions of postwar model homes and why a lady trucker has been marked for death!

There are several bonus features in the volume. “Doc Savage and His Aides” is a two-page reprint from the original pulp magazines that show head shots of the characters and provide quick information on them. Will Murray’s “Intermission” reveals the back stories of the two reprinted novels.

Publisher Anthony Tollin’s “Nick Carter in the Comics” leads into the 10-page “Nick Carter Accused!” The comics story first appeared in the March 1949 issue of Shadow Comics. It’s drawn by Bob Powell with assistance from his studio and written by Bruce Elliott.

Murray’s one-page article - “The Men Behind Doc Savage” - presents short biographies of Dent and Bogart. Sanctum Books always delivers great bang for your reading buck. I highly recommend their books. Check them out.

© 2016 Tony Isabella