Tuesday, April 24, 2018

BLACK LIGHTNING BEAT

Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands has completed its six-issue run. In this kind of  exit interview, I’m answering questions  that have been sent to me by the readers.

First up is Peter Crighton. He asks:  

Do you believe that the big comic-book companies are treating their writers and artists better today than in decades past?

Confining my answer to the Big Two (DC and Marvel), I believe that, overall, those publishers are treating creators better today than in the previous history of the comics industry. They don’t always get it right, but I think the folks in charge honestly want to do better by the creators. They don’t always know how.

The history of the comics history is a sad history of the creators being screwed over by publishers, editors and even fellow creators. Fixing that is going to be a long and slow learning curve. Of late, I try to avoid getting angry and, instead, poke, mock and attempt to tell the companies when they fail and how they can do better in the future.

I believe this is smart business. You’ll get better work out of the creators when they feel properly compensated and respected. Sadly, this may not be the case for all creators. But the goal should be to treat all creators better.

Jon Johnson asked:

Given your druthers, would you prefer to write the earlier, pre- New 52 version of Black Lightning or the current redo?

That’s easy. The current version, which shouldn’t surprise anyone as I was the guy who developed it. My aim was to create a modern version of the Black Lightning/Jefferson Pierce that still had the same core values as my earlier versions...and to use that as a way of doing things I had never done with the earlier versions. I know a few readers object to my recasting his daughters as his cousins. Since my new version has never been married, that was a necessary change. If I get to write more Black Lightning comics, you will see the cousins grow and mature into characters as laudable as their TV counterparts.

Cathy Sullins asked:

What will be Jennifer's super-hero name? I hope it’s not Lightning. I hope it’s something else, something more original.

I have never given this a moment’s thought. In my mind, her super-hero name will, indeed, be Lightning. I like the legacy aspect of that. I like how it looks and sounds with her sister’s super-hero name. Thunder and Lightning. If it’s up to me, she’ll be Lightning.

This reminds me of when a comics artist got on my case about Black Lightning’s name. He wanted to change it to Bolt. Which I thought then and still think now is a really dull name compared to the name Jefferson has used so proudly for four decades.

Jason Simpson wrote:

I thought Cold Dead Hands was one of the most nuanced and balanced examination of gun violence in fiction while still being a great superhero story.  Did you do a lot of research into gun violence or talk with police about dealing with guns?

Thanks for the kind words, Jason.

I have been researching gun violence for years and also researching police violence towards minorities. When I wrote my second Black Lightning series in 1995, I was given amazing access to the police of that time. The majority of them were good cops who truly wanted to serve the people. I learned a lot from them.

This time around, I had no such access. Over the past two decades, many police officers - including good cops - have bought into the destructive “them versus us” mentality. Good cops do not hold bad cops accountable...and that’s something that needs to change if we are have any chance of improving the current situation.

The usual alt.right morons have tried to frame Cold Dead Hands as an “anti-cop” comic and gone to ridiculous lengths to make a case for that. They have failed miserably because the series is exactly what I intended it to be in this regard.

There are good cops and there are bad cops. There are cops trying to figure out who they are. And, contributing to the violence on all sides, soulless gun manufactures use the National Rifle Association as a means to ratchet up both civilian and police fear and thus increase their blood-stained profits.

Naresh Sundaraman gets the last question:

If DC Comics asks you to write another Black Lightning series, who will be the villain?

That’s not a question I can answer simply. If DC wants me to write more Black Lightning series, my choice of villain would depend on the format. Is it another mini-series? Is it an ongoing series? Is it a one-off graphic novel?

In my pitch for an ongoing series, I have story lines involving existing villains, re-imagined villains and brand-new villains. I hope I get the chance to use them all.

That’s it for the Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands questions. Now that the first season of the Black Lightning TV show has concluded in such magnificent fashion, I will start taking your questions on that. I prefer you e-mail your questions to me, but you can also private message them to me on Facebook and Twitter.

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

© 2018 Tony Isabella

JULY 1963: CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU? #7

Previously...

Fantastic Four Annual #1 hit the newsstands in July, 1963. It was that extraordinary issue that inspired me to write comic books as my career. In honor of that pivotal moment in my life, I’m collecting, reading and writing about every one of the 136 issues released in that month. My first twenty columns in this series are available in July 1963: A Pivotal Month in the Comic-Book Life of Tony Isabella Volume One [Pulp Hero Press; $17.95]. The trade paperback contains revised versions of the columns that appeared in this bloggy thing as well additional material giving readers a glimpse into the world of 1963. My quest continues...

Car 54, Where Are You? #7 [September-November 1963] was yet another licensed comic book published by Dell. The most successful licenses - Bugs Bunny and friends, Mickey Mouse and friends, Little Lulu, Lone Ranger, Tarzan and others - remained with Western Publishing, Dell’s former partner, who continued publishing them under the Gold Key label.

Car 54, Where Are You? was a sitcom on NBC from 1961 to 1963. Its lead characters were  New York Police Department officers Gunther Toody [played by Joe E. Ross] and Francis Muldoon [Fred Gwynne]. They were assigned Patrol Car 54 in the fictional 53rd precinct of the Bronx. I remember watching the show, albeit not faithfully. I have a vague memory my father enjoyed it, which is probably why it was on our family’s black-and-white TV set. Obviously, the cover is a publicity photo from the show with Gwynne on the left and Ross on the right.
                                                                          

The inside front cover of this issue presents “Maid to Measure,” a single page gag strip in which a meter maid asks Muldoon and Toody for assistance. Impressed by the woman’s attention to detail, they are quick to help...to their chagrined regret. The Grand Comics Database credits the pencils and inks on this page to the prolific Tony Tallerico. The writer has not yet been identified.

Tallerico’s work was inconsistent from job to job, which, perhaps, is the result of his being so prolific. But his art for this issue is solid throughout. Good storytelling, nice action and excellent likenesses of Ross and Gwynne.
                                                                                 

“Memories” (27 pages) by writer Don Segall with art by Tallerico finds partners Toody and Muldoon demanding transfers after a spat about who made who late for work. Segall wrote for both radio and TV while also writing comic books for Dell. He wrote stories for a few other publishers as well, but the vast majority of comics work was for Dell.

Toody’s wife and Muldoon’s friends try to bring the partners back together by reminding them of the good times they’ve had together. Those good times include Toody going on an exercise binge; Toody’s wife playing matchmaker for Muldoon; the boys trying to get out of cleaning Toody’s living room; and their nervous investigation of a haunted house that reveals a crooked card game. That’s the extent of their policing in these memories: they bust a crooked card game. But, you know, it’s a fun story with lively art and funny writing. It makes me want to read the other issues in the series.

“The Jealous Cat” was a one-page prose story, author unknown. The story tells of pampered cat Jupiter whose life is upended when his family gets a puppy: Vincent. Before long, Vincent is getting more of the table scraps. When Vincent gets bigger, he gets the really nice space under the steps. Jupiter is unhappy. He spends most of his time in the backyard, coming into the house only for food and warmth. Until the day when Jupiter is surrounded by invading dogs and Vincent comes to his rescue. The two have finally bonded and walk into the house side-by-side.
                                                                                 

Tommy Trouble is the back-up this issue. As has been mentioned in previous chapters, to qualify for second-class postage, Dell has to run a feature not related to the title feature. Tommy is “a normal, active boy who lives in the city and city children are sometimes very cramped for playing room. So Tommy is always getting himself into some thing of difficulty while trying to have fun. And that’s how he got his nickname.”

“The Delivery” (4 pages) was by Segall with art by Tallerico. We’re shown an example of his trouble - his bicycle hits a garbage can, knocking into a passing automobile - and then get down to the main story.

Hired by Miller’s grocery to make deliveries, Tommy does amazingly well at the job. Given a key to Mrs. Korp’s apartment to deliver groceries while she’s out, he unknowingly interrupts a burglar in the middle of robbing the place. The robber hides in the closet and that’s when the “trouble” starts.

Tommy tosses a ball for Tiger, Mrs. Korp’s dog. The ball goes into the closet, but Tommy thinks it rolled under the bureau. He moves the bureau and traps the burglar in the closet.

Mrs. Korp comes home and hears the burglar trying to get out. She tells Tommy to keep the bureau in place while she calls the police. Grocer Miller shows up as the cops are taking the burglar away and praises Tommy as the best delivery boy he ever had. Tommy gets the last line:

But I sure never expected to deliver a burglar!!

This seems to have been Tommy Trouble’s only appearance. But, like the rest of this issue, it was fun. Car 54, Where Are You? is most definitely an underrated title of the era.

The inside back cover is “147 Famous Automobiles” ad we’ve talked about previously. The back cover is Wallace Brown trying to recruit salespeople for its Christmas cards.

Batman’s back in the next installment of “July 1963,” which will be posted soon. In the meantime, please come back tomorrow for more cool bloggy thing stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

TONY’S UPDATED APPEARANCE SCHEDULE

This weekend, I’ll be appearing at the East Coast Comicon, April 27-28, at the Meadowlands Convention Center in New Jersey. You can read about it in this recent bloggy thing and then get more details at the event’s website.

Much to my regret, I have dropped G-Fest, the annual Godzilla event, from my schedule. It’s one of my favorite shows, but, financially, I just can’t swing it this year. I hope to return in 2019 and many years afterwards.

I’m not listing San Diego's Comic-Con International as even tentative this year. That show is just too expensive for me to do unless my expenses are covered by a client, the convention or I win an award. None of those are likely to happen.

Here’s the schedule as it currently stands. I’ve added a couple of my Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales to the schedule and will doubtless add more as the summer progresses.

Friday, April 27: East Coast Comicon

Saturday, April 28: East Coast Comicon

Sunday, April 29: East Coast Comicon

Saturday, May 5: Toys Time Forgot (FCBD)

Friday, May 11: Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale

Saturday, May 12: Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale

Friday, May 18: East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention

Saturday, May 19: East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention

Saturday, May 26: Cherry Capital Comic Con

Sunday, May 27: Cherry Capital Comic Con

Friday, June 1: Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale

Saturday, June 2: Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale

Friday, June 8: Fingerlakes Comic Con

Saturday, June 9: Fingerlakes Comic Con

Sunday, June 10: Fingerlakes Comic Con

Friday, June 15: Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale

Saturday, June 16: Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale

Friday, June 22: Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale

Saturday, June 23: Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale

Friday, June 29: Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale

Saturday, June 30: Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale

Friday, August 17: TerrifiCon (Connecticut)

Saturday, August 18: TerrifiCon (Connecticut)

Sunday, August 19: NEO Comic Con (North Olmsted)

Saturday, September 8: Hall of Heroes Museum

Sunday, September 9: Hall of Heroes Museum

Friday, September 28: Baltimore Comic Con

Saturday, September 29: Baltimore Comic Con

Sunday, September 30: Baltimore Comic Con

Saturday, November 3: Akron Comicon

Sunday, November 4: Akron Comicon

Friday, November 9: Grand Rapids Comic Con

Saturday, November 10: Grand Rapids Comic Con

Sunday, November 11: Grand Rapids Comic Con

Saturday, November 17: Great American Comic Convention (Las Vegas)

Sunday, November 18: Great American Comic Convention (Las Vegas)

The astute among you will see I have only one convention appearance in June, none in July, one in August and none in October. I would be willing to add events in those months.

If you’re a convention promoter who’d like to have me as a guest at their event, e-mail me. I’ll e-mail you back with the requirements for making me part of your convention.

That’s all for now. I’m working on several different bloggy things at once. As each is finished, it will be posted.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Monday, April 23, 2018

TONY'S TIPS #256

This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...Black Lightning Season One on Blu-ray and DVD; Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay; The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl ; and a special issue of Roy Thomas' Alter Ego!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

ONCE AGAIN SUBMITTED FOR YOUR APPROVAL

Previously...

In going through my files, I have started coming across a variety of pitches I sent to publishers over the years. Some date back to before I start working in comics professionally. I thought my bloggy readers might enjoy seeing these concepts that didn’t go any further than my initial pitches. Since “never say never” is kind of a mantra of mine, I won’t entirely rule out by revisiting them in the future, but, for now, I have no plans for them.

COUNT VARGA, VAMPIRE was an idea I pitched to my dear friend Larry Lieber during the brief existence of Atlas Comics in the 1970s. I loved working with Larry, but, alas, both Atlas and my time in New York came to a close before the end of 1976.

Here’s the pitch, which was written in 1974:

One of Marvel’s most successful books is TOMB OF DRACULA. One of the more successful monster movies of late was a film called COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE, featuring a modern-day blood-stalker on the loose in Los Angeles.

Enter: COUNT VARGA.

Count Varga is at once a traditional vampire and a departure from  previous depictions of the vampire. He’s a very modern-day vampire. While Marvel’s Dracula looks archaic despite its modern setting, Count Yorga will be set in downtown Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Hollywood and other 1974 locales.

Count Varga is a youngish vampire, between 25-30 years old. An American, he becomes inflicted with the curse of the vampire while visiting his ancestral home in Transylvania. His greedy purpose in visiting the site was to prove his claim on the ancient family fortunes, having squandered away a similar fortune in the United States. He’s bitten, dies and returns as a vampire. But he is not at all displeased with this.

Varga sees his vampiric condition as a chance to gain greater power and wealth than he’d ever thought possible. He plans to use his powers towards this end.

That’s the departure. As for tradition:
 
Like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Varga will be able to appear during the day. He just doesn’t have his powers during the daylight hours. He’ll have all the traditional powers of the vampire during the night, including several Dracula doesn’t use over at Marvel. Such as the ability to become a rat or a wolf, control of the elements, etc. In short, he’ll be more than a match for the world he will be plotting to conquer.

As far as supporting characters go, we’ll have a variety of people in exciting professions to choose from. California is full of cool jobs and cool people. I would think our Count would have several regularly featured servants and friends. Maybe some of his friends would not know he’s a vampire. These can be created when we begin actual work on the series.

Protagonists for Count Varga?

I can think of several. A detective investigating some vampire-inflicted deaths. A cult of witches who oppose Varga because they want to gain power themselves. A reporter snooping into Varga’s past. And so on.

With the right artist and mood, we can have a top-seller.
 
My hazy memory is that I wrote the above pitch and then brought it to Larry. We spent a couple late hours in the Atlas offices during that period. Sometimes I’d help him with cover copy. Sometimes we would talk over ideas and Larry would sketch them out. He drew the Count Varga sketch shown above.

Though Count Varga is clearly derivative, that was something comics publishers always looked for. Few of them wanted to be the first to publish a successful concept. They wanted to be the second. A year later, while I was at DC, I sold the company on several new titles by framing them as “DC’s version of fill in name of Marvel title." I didn't stick around DC long enough to do them for reasons you can probably figure out.

In the case of Varga, I was a great admirer of Marv Wolfman’s work on Tomb of Dracula. I had written some Dracula stories for Dracula Lives! I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could hold my own working Marv’s side of the street.

I own Count Varga, Vampire. Maybe I’ll...excuse me...revamp him for another shot at the big time someday. Only time will tell.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff, but I have no idea what that stuff will be. I’ve got several bloggy things in the works and it will depend on which is closest to completion. But, whatever shows up here, I hope you’ll stop by to check it out.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Saturday, April 21, 2018

ANOTHER...SUBMITTED FOR YOUR APPROVAL

Previously...

In going through my files, I have started coming across a variety of pitches I sent to publishers over the years. Some date back to before I start working in comics professionally.

I thought my bloggy readers might enjoy seeing these concepts that didn’t go further than my original pitches. Since “never say never” is a mantra of mine, I won’t entirely rule out by revisiting them in the future, but, for now, I have no plans for them.

That’s probably a good thing in the case of today’s first attempt. Near as I can figure, this story synopsis is from 1971 or 1972. I had been corresponding with and chatting on the phone with Roy Thomas. At the time, I was working for the Cleveland Plain Dealer as a copy assistant who very occasionally wrote something for the newspaper. Roy invited me to pitch a Conan plot, which, if it met his liking, he would buy and then script.

I was neither a Conan expert nor a big fan of sword-and-sorcery. I had read the Conan paperbacks published by Lancer. I had enjoyed a few of Fritz Leiber’s Fafnir and the Grey Mouser stories. I was a big fan of Roy’s Conan comic books.

This was during the “social relevance” phase comics went through in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Somehow, I convinced myself that I could do “social relevance” in Conan. Now I absolutely believe that is possible. It just wasn’t something I could do back then.

I give you the Conan story I moronically called...

THE RIDER OF THE PURPLE SAGE

A flash of mortal lightning crosses the Hyborean plains, some hell-bound warrior off to meet his destiny. Dressed in the silver and silk and gold of far Hyrkania, the rider pushes his whimpering mount beyond its endurance. Yet it continues. The rider seems to be unfeeling, as if he had no soul. And, indeed, he does not!

What is friendship in the barbaric era between the sinking of fables Atlantis and the dawning of recorded history? The man that wields a strong sword and does not run it through you when the act would benefit him is, indeed, a friend. And also a fool.

But even a fool deserves proper honors on his death. And the Cimmerian youth Conan has paused in his travels along the Hyborean  highways to pay his late Gunderman companion his due respects. In the inn of Balik along the Road of Kings, Conan quaffs his ale and feasts on roasted pig, giving proper respect to Nestor even as his memory floats away.

Conan’s gluttony angers a Kothian thief who, no doubt, covets the barbarian’s rich purse, the gift of a grateful Corinthian aristocrat. Though unsure whether he fights one foe or many - Conan is not used to strong Hyborean brew - the young barbarian thinks he must teach these civilized dogs proper respect for the dead and for fine Brythunian steel.

Conan rises from his table and stares through the clouded ale he has been drinking. His foe and all the other customers of this inn, as well as the inhabitants, are unmoving as statues. A curse escapes from Conan’s lips as a devilishly cold breeze barely lands on his broad shoulders. He turns...

A man stands before Conan. He is elderly, but the man’s form leaves no doubt as the power of those old limbs. He is garbed in the finest silk, embroidered with ancient symbols. The man has but to glance at Conan’s arm and Conan finds himself lowering that fine sword of his.

The newcomer is a wizard from far-off Khitai. That Conan can grasp through his intoxicated stupor. The wizard wishes to hire the young Cimmerian for a single mission and he offers a bag of gold besides which Conan’s own pales into nothingness. Conan, confused by that fine beverage of Balak’s and tempted by the wealth that the wizard offers, forgets his natural aversion to sorcerers and accepts. As he does so, he is struck by strange images. The wizard’s voice is forming these images into a tale of sorcery and of doom.

The wizard’s story:

In far-off Khitai, two powerful wizards live. Unlike wizards elsewhere, they do not battle for each other’s lands. The wizards, Philcon and Marcon, are father and son. They are content to exist in this world without exercising their great powers except to provide for themselves and occasionally aid a mortal towards a well-deserved prize or an equally deserved doom. They have existed for longer than either of them can remember.

But Philcon feels the weight of the ages creeping up on a mortal frame that should have broken centuries ago. He does not fear death, but can not bear for life to go on without him. Perhaps he has been driven mad by the weight that crushes him, but he has put into operation a plan to doom the world in the near future.

Philcon has exacted a frightening payment for past favors from a young Hyrkanian noble. He has intertwined their souls and given the young man a fearsome mission. Placed on a beast that will not stop galloping until the mission of completed, the young Hyrkanian sets off for the Western Sea. When he reaches that world-spanning body of water, he will pour a mystic potion into it.

The vile potion will immediately begin its grim work. It can poison the tiniest forms of life in the sea almost immediately and these will, in turn, poison the larger forms of life, including Man! The floating dead will poison the actual waters. The dead waters will poison the land wherever it touches it. And, in turn, these poisoned lands shall cover the entire earth. Within a mere matter of a hundred years, the earth will be dead.

The wizard’s story concludes with a final image of the purple sunset over the Hyborean plains and the grim rider who speeds ever closer to the Western Sea.

Conan, a simple man, can not understand this talk of destruction coming from an ocean he has never seen. He can not quite get the notion of men living hundreds of years into his skull. But he can understand the gold that the wizard offers him. For such gold, he could kill a thousand men. The wizard asks that he but stop one man. Conan agrees.

The inn fades from view. Conan finds himself on his own strange steed and with the bag of wealth tied around his belt. He notices, somewhat incredulously, that he is traveling the same plain that the rider was crossing in the visions Marcon showed him. And, lifting his eyes, he sees the rider about a thousand yards ahead of him.

The race. Conan’s mount travels faster the Cimmerian is willing to accept as possible. Conan notes in passing that he can no longer feel the effects of the large quantities of alcohol he’d consumed, but dismisses it almost immediately to concentrate on the problem at hand. Any wizard worth his salt can cure a hangover. The problem at had seems much more serious. Conan is hard pressed to catch up with the rider of Philcon.

Spotting a fork in the road and remembering that it will gain him precious time when it again intersects the plain, Conan pushes his mount down it. When he emerges, he is racing neck and neck with the rider of Philcon. There is no way for Conan to half the other horse. Taking a moment to gauge the distance, Conan leaps off his horse, taking the young Hyrkanian to the ground with him. The rider and Conan both jump to their feet almost immediately, hands on their sword hilts.

The young Hyrkanian looks at Conan in puzzlement. Then, as powerful Philcon correctly assesses the situation, the young noble grasps his sword to kill the barbarian. The sword of Conan is also quick to enter the fray. The Cimmerian does not want to kill this young man, but the battle has come down to a basic point. One of them is to die if the other is to live. Conan, his mind his own, quickly gains the advantage and deals the Hyrkanian a mortal blow.

The Hyrkanian lies slumped against a tree and whispers a single name - Noree - into the wind before life departs.

In Khitai, Philcon lies dead, his body rapidly decaying.

From his own castle in Khitai, Marcon looks upon all this and shrugs his shoulders. His father was dead and that was indeed the major tragedy of this episode. The young Hyrkanian was also to be mourned, but such was the fate of all mortals. As for Conan...

Conan has saved the future, though he did not know it. As he would have never saved the future without Marcon's help - and Marcon notes Conan would have a particularly bright future - the wizard decides he deserves the gold more than the barbarian.

Surveying the scene, Conan grunts and feels for the wealth he had tied around his waist. It was gone. He cursed. He should have known better than to trust a wizard. The Cimmerian decides to rummage through his foe’s possession for something saleable. All he finds is a small vial of some liquid. He sniffs at the vial and finds it noxious stuff indeed. Cursing again, he hurls it at a tree. And his heart freezes.

For the minute the liquid had touched the tree, the tree withered and decayed.

******************************
Having retyped the above for today’s bloggy thing, I find I like it more than I remembered. Oh, it still has some pretty dumb stuff in it - like the names of the wizards - but it also has a couple of interesting moments and visuals. Maybe I will do something with it someday. What do you think?

That’s all for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff. Most likely some reviews. See you then.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

EAST COAST COMICON (April 27-29)

My next convention appearance will be at the extraordinary East Coast Comicon, Friday through Sunday, April 27-29, at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in New Jersey. This will be my first convention anywhere close to New York City in nearly a decade.

The hours of the show are Friday, 2-8 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 6 pm. There is free parking at the exposition center.

Though there will be cosplay at the convention, the event asks that you do not bring any weapons real or fake to proceedings. Do not bring spears, bats, knives, swords, staffs, or any other items blunt or pointed.

The brainchild of Cliff Galbraith, East Coast Comicon prides itself on being focused on comics. From its website:

We make comics, collect comics, and deal in rare underground comix, so we thought we’d like to make a con that embodied our sensibilities. As the major conventions grow exponentially, but focus less on comics, we felt a good old-fashioned con with a strong emphasis on comics was needed.
 
The comics (and media) guest list is impressive. Listing them all would make today’s bloggy way too long, but I am looking forward to seeing old friends like Roy Thomas, Howard Chaykin, Larry Hama, Jim Salicrup, Larry Lieber, Joe Sinnott, Jim Starlin, Billy Tucci and Wendy and Richard Pini. There are also a bunch of comics guests I know in passing and whose work I admire. I’m hoping to meet them and get to know them better.

Among the media guests: animator and artist Kevin Altieri; Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees and Mega-Python Versus Gatoroid, appearing with the Monkee Mobile from the former; actress Lee Meriwether, who played Catwoman in the 1966 Batman movie and is appearing with the 1966 Batmobile; producer and director J.J. Sedelmaier; and Larry Storch from F Troop. For a complete list of the guests, comics and media, check out the East Coast Comicon website.
                                                                                   

There will be panel discussions throughout the weekend. On Saturday at 3 pm, you can attend “Tony Isabella, Black Lightning and More.” From the convention website:

Black Lightning is currently the star of the hit CW television series starring Cress Williams, but the story behind his 40-year journey to primetime might be even more exciting. Created by writer Tony Isabella with artist Trevor Von Eeden in 1977, Black Lightning was DC Comics’ first black character to headline his own book. Isabella will discuss creating Black Lightning in the 1970s, reviving the character in the 1990s, and returning to him today in the miniseries Cold Dead Hands. What’s next for Black Lightning? Find out here! Moderated by John Trumbull, writer for BACK ISSUE magazine and atomicjunkshop.com.

I will do my best to answer questions entertainingly and honestly, but keep in mind that there will be questions I can’t answer due to non-disclosure agreements and just plain common courtesy and sense. Trust me; it’ll still be a fun and informative hour.

In addition to the panel discussions, East Coast Comicon fans will find an exhibitors room packed with great stuff, cosplay, gaming, meet and greets, photo ops and more. I’m hoping to see as much of this as humanly possible.

I’ll have a booth or table somewhere at the convention. Since I’m flying to the convention, that limits what I can bring to sell at the event. Currently, I’m planning to bring Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1-6; the Black Lightning trade paperbacks; July 1963: A Pivotal Month in the Comic-Book Life of Tony Isabella Volume 1; two special Black Lightning posters; and mini-posters of Daredevil and Luke Cage. I will be charging for my signature and some photos at this convention, but you can still get one free signature from me, free signatures on any item you buy from me, and free photos as long as they are not of me signing or holding up an item that I’ve signed. For more details, read my signature policy.

I’m looking forward to meeting the fans at the East Coast Comicon. Hope to see you there.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella