Saturday, February 17, 2018

PENSACON: PENSACOLA COMIC CON

Pensacon is one of my favorite conventions. This will be my third year in a row.

Pensacon runs from Friday, February 23 (starting at 1 pm) through Sunday, February 25 (ending at 6 pm). Spread out over the Pensacola Bay Center, Pensacola Grand Hotel, Rex Theatre, Pensacola Little Theatre and the Saenger Theatre, the convention features a terrific roster of guests, events, gaming, cosplay and much more. Here’s the Pensacon mission statement:

Pensacon is an all-inclusive pop culture convention for the fan community, spanning the genres of comics, anime, science fiction, horror, gaming, and fantasy. Our mission is to create the best multi-genre convention that is unique to the Pensacola community and that is a safe and welcoming environment for all types of fans.

One of the things I love most about Pensacon is the city takes part in the event. When you land at the airport, you’ll find the “gates” are now “stargates” and there are dozens of images and quotes from comics and science fiction on the walls. Several restaurants will adopt genre themes during the weekend. In previous years, that has included super-heroes, super-villains, Star Wars, Game of Thrones and others.

The guest list is so large that I couldn’t possibly list everyone  who will be at Pensacon. Some folks I’m looking forward to seeing again or meeting for the first time: Pom Klementieff, Neal Adams, Jose Delbo, Barry Gregory, Robert Picardo, Victor Gischler, Mark Maddox, John de Lancie, Paris Cullins, Gary Cohn, Arthur Darvill, Dan Mishkin, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Trevor Von Eeden, Eddie McClintock, Matt Frank, John Barrowman, Larry Hama, Kristy Swanson and...the list goes on.

Pensacon has a great program of panels, games and movies. It has an amazing team of volunteers to keep everything running smoothly. It has a huge vendors area featuring all sorts of cool collectibles. The convention also offers after hours events. I get dizzy thinking about all the things I want to do and maybe a little depressed when I realize I won’t have time to do them all. But it won’t be for lack of trying.

What will I be doing as a guest? I know I’m scheduled for at least two panels. One is on “Diversity in Comics” and the other is on a character I’m quite fond of name of Black Lightning. I might be on others as well. I’m just a guy who can’t say “no.”

Pensacon’s “Artist Alley” is on the top floor of the Pensacola Bay Center. From there, you can see the vendors area on the main floor. Just outside the Artist Alley is a very nice food court filled with all sorts of good stuff to eat and drink.

Because I’m flying to the convention, I won’t be able to bring much to sell at my Artist Alley table. If all goes as planned, though, I will have a special Black Lightning print and copies of my Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands scripts. Depending on how much I can fit in my suitcase, I might have other items as well.

I will not be charging for autographs or photos at Pensacon. It’s my way of thanking the con and its fans for the warm reception they always give me.

If you’re cosplaying at Pensacon, please stop by my table so I can get a photo with you and give you one of my spiffy certificates of cosplay. I had these made a couple years back and I’ve been trying to give them away ever since. This is a limited edition cosplaying collectors item, limited in the sense that, sooner or later, I’ll either run out of them or die. I’m really hoping it’s the former.

If you want to interview me at Pensacon, please e-mail me as soon as possible. We’ll set something up.

That’s all I got for this Isabella-centric Pensacon preview bloggy thing. For more, go to the Pensacon website.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Thursday, February 15, 2018

THE SHADOW #108: VENGEANCE BAY

From Sanctum Books...

The Shadow #108: Vengeance Bay & Death Has Green Eyes [June 2016; $14.95] has two full-length wartime thrillers by Walter B. Gibson, writing under the house name Maxwell Grant.

Vengeance Bay was originally published in The Shadow Magazine dated March 1, 1942. From the back cover:

The search for Blackbeard’s treasure uncovers a foreign conspiracy, and a new Shadow emerges from the darkness after Lamont Cranston is kidnapped.

Death Has Green Eyes first appeared in the April, 1945 issue of The Shadow Magazine. From the back cover:

A returning G.I. becomes enmeshed in a sinister Nazi plot that extends far beyond World War II.

Will Murray’s “Interlude” essay discusses the origins and themes of these two adventures. Confession. My friend Will’s essays are the first thing I read whenever I pick up one of Sanctum’s collections of pulp thrillers.

Created by science fiction editor and writer John W. Campbell for the novel The Mightiest Machine, Iron Munro was reinvented for the comic books. This issue’s eight-page story was written by Theodore Sturgeon and drawn by Jack Farr. It’s from the November 1941 issue of Shadow Comics.

The front cover for this volume was painted by George Rozen. Art on the back cover is by Rozen, Modest Stein and Farr with the interior illustrations by Paul Orban.

ISBN 978-1-60877-209-4

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

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

RAWHIDE KID WEDNESDAY 134

RESOLVED: The Rawhide Kid is my favorite western comics character and one of my favorite comics characters period.  This is why I’ve written over a hundred columns about him. Something about his short stature, but large courage, honor and fighting skills speaks to me.  After rereading the Kid’s earliest adventures when Marvel reprinted them in a pair of Marvel Masterworks and an Essential Rawhide Kid volume, I decide to reacquire every Rawhide Kid comic, reread them and write about them. We’ve reached the title’s extended twilight.  We’ve seen the last new Rawhide Kid story that will appear in the now-bimonthly reprint series. This is the 134th installment of my “Rawhide Kid Wednesday” columns.

The Rawhide Kid #147 [September 1978] has a cover by Paul Gulacy, which illustrates “Renegades of the Wild North!” This story first appeared in Rawhide Kid #95 [January 1972]. That issue’s cover was  penciled by Larry Lieber with inks by Frank Giacoia.
                                                                                         

The 14-page ““Renegades of the Wild North!” was written and drawn by Lieber with inks by George Roussos. Regular bloggy thing readers know what a huge fan I am of my friend Larry’s work, but this tale might just be my least favorite of his Rawhide Kid stories. I wrote about it on July 13, 2016. You can read my review here.
                                                                                
The inside front cover of the issue is an advertisement for The Bad News Bears Go to Japan. Wikipedia tells me that:

The Bad News Bears Go to Japan (also known as The Bad News Bears 3) is a sport-drama 1978 film release by Paramount Pictures and was the third and last of a series, following The Bad News Bears and The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training. It stars Tony Curtis and Jackie Earle Haley, also featuring Regis Philbin in a small role and Japanese wrestler Antonio Inoki in a role.
At first glance, I thought this ad was drawn by Jack Davis. But, as it’s not signed and doesn’t look like Davis’ work when I look at it more closely, I’m going to guess that it’s drawn by an artist who was trying to ape the Davis style. If anyone can identity who drew this ad, please share that information with us.
                                                                                 

Rawhide Kid readers still got a Jack Davis fix this issue. He drew a half-page “Slim Jim” ad.

Most of the paid ads in this ish are unimpressive. The newspaper Grit. ICEE frozen drinks with ICEE bear points on the cups, points that can be exchanged for various gifts. Novelty ads. Learn how to be a locksmith. Build strong arms. Daisy rifles. More novelties. Sell Christmas cards to earn cash or prizes. Baseball cards inside boxes of Hostess cupcakes and the like. Grow muscles. Sell other Christmas cards for cash or prizes. Gliders. Yawn.
                                                                                

The one interesting paid ad is a Clark Bars offer that would bring you a radio-controlled Batmobile of Spider-Mobile. Yours for just $12.95 each and dozen candy wrappers.
                                                                               

Heroes World’s usual full-page ad is all about the t-shirts. Here’s the problem. It’s a confusing ad that doesn’t show all the shirts that the copy says are available. I’m guessing “Captain America with declaration” and “Spidey, Cap and Hulk marching scene” refer to images from various Marvel calendars. I have no guess as to what “all over print” refers to. Most interesting is the addition of a Red Sonja t-shirt. It’s only available in adult sizes. To quote the ad: “Sorry, kids...she’s just too hot to handle!”

The issue has the usual two pages of classified ads. There are 22 ads for mail-order comics dealers, an ad for Star Wars buckles and belts and the now-usual ad offering 3 mil comics storage bags for three bucks per hundred.
                                                                                   

There’s another uninspiring half-page ad for Pizzazz in this issue. I don’t think I’ve ever actually owned or read an issue of Pizzazz, so a trip to eBay is probably in order.

The other half of the Pizzazz page is a Marvel subscription ad we have seen before. It shows Iron Man, Conan and, from the Defenders, Nighthawk. The choice of characters puzzles me. Conan was a pretty big hit, so he makes sense. Iron Man wasn’t setting the industry on fire, but he was one of the classic Marvel super-heroes. The one I don’t get is Nighthawk.
                                                                                 

The Outlaw Kid reprint comes from The Outlaw Kid #19 [September 1957]. John Severin drew and signed the cover.
                                                                             

“Gun Crazy!” (4 pages) was drawn by Doug Wildey. The writer has not yet been identified. This is the third reprinting of the story. It also appeared in Outlaw Kid #8 [October 1971] and Outlaw Kid  #24 [October 1974]. I’m not giving you a recap of this short story or the usual spoiler warnings. Because it’s basically the same story as the Outlaw Kid reprint that ran in the previous issue.

A bully is shown bullying someone. The Outlaw Kid gives him what-for, refusing to engage in a gunfight with him. The bully tries to ambush the Kid. Not paying attention to his whereabouts, the bully puts himself in mortal peril. The Kid saves the bully and the bully vows to change his ways.

I’m of a mind that this reprint rehash indicates how little thought was going into Rawhide Kid at this time. The new covers were nice, but the interiors were by the numbers. Run the next 14-page Rawhide Kid story in order. Run the first four-page Outlaw Kid story that you can lay your hands on.
                                                                              

The only remaining editorial material in this issue is the Bullpen Bulletins page. Normally, I give you an item-by-item recounting of the page, but, this time around and, for the immediate future, I’m just going to scan and include the actual page. This is only partly due to my getting lazy in my old age.

The truth of that matter is that the Bullpen Bulletins pages that were run during Jim Shooter’s time as editor-in-chief strike me as unbearably insincere. The “Stan Lee’s Soapbox” feature is sincere, but lackluster compared to Stan’s previous efforts. The individual items neither convince me of their honesty or make me want to read the comics and other publications they plug. What was once one of my favorite elements of a Marvel comic book is now something I just skim because it’s there.

There are only four more issues before Rawhide Kid ends its long run. But I may have some surprises for you before I call it quits with my equally long “Rawhide Kid Wednesday” series. Keep watching the bloggy thing.

The bloggy thing is still in standby mode while I work on a number of personal and professional matters...and attend some conventions in Windsor (Canada) and Pensacola (Florida). But I’ll be back soon with more stuff. Have a great day.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

TONY'S TIPS #246


This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...Remembering creative legacies; Batman: Gotham by Gaslight; Luke Cage; Kong on the Planet of the Apes!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

ACTION! WINDSOR 2-18-18

My 2018 convention schedule kicks off with my first outside-of-the-USA convention in three decades.

Action! is “An all ages event celebrating comics, horror, anime, sci-fi, and cosplay!” It takes place on Sunday, February 18, from 10 am to 6 pm at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts, 401 Riverside Drive W in downtown Windsor, Ontario, Canada. I love the event’s “mission statement” as presented on its website.

ACTION! is a one-day celebration of comic books, horror, sci-fi, fantasy and anime/manga presented by The Comic Book Syndicate and St. Clair College.

[The Comic Book Syndicate is a TV show and web series about comic books. At some point during the convention, I’ll be interviewed for that series. Let’s hope the opening credits post a warning about frightening images. Think of the children!]

The show will play host to vendors, exhibitors, retailers and  cosplayers who also specialize horror, anime/manga, sci-fi/fantasy, and video games, creating an all-inclusive pop culture experience to delight and entertain fans of all ages. As always, you can look forward to meeting comic book creators and publishers working in the industry both professionally and independently.

Event chair Jolie Inthavong and community liaison Michael Poirier contacted me and made my appearance possible. The government of the United States issued me a passport so I could travel to the event, so my country has to share any blame if I act out. The only person off the hook is cosplay director Becca Tremblay. I haven’t spoken with her yet, though I certainly hope so.

Action!’s guest list offers a great deal of variety. It includes a small press publisher specializing in genre fiction; cosplayers who have risen to the top of their craft; cartoonists and writers from Canada and the mysterious land known as Michigan; plus podcasters, gamers and a Star Wars group. Some of the guests are of particular interest to me:

Megan Kearney is an award-winning cartoonist. She’s releasing her first original graphic novel in 2019 from Papercutz. Which makes us cousins of a sorts since I write script adaptations and additional dialogue for that publisher’s Garfield books. Papercutz is one of the very best publishers of great kid-friendly material from overseas. They do terrific comics.

In looking over Action!’s guest list, this item stood out as being of particular interest to me:

The Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI) is a non-profit organization based in London, Ontario.

As part of their awareness mission their gambling program in partnership with their HIV-AIDS program, created an Indigenous made comic which debuted at Forest City Comic-con on September 23rd, 2017. The book is a double-sided comic created to help bring awareness on to Indigenous issues. On one side is the story of education and HIV awareness called Nurse Hope, and on the other side is the story of a girl named Raven who learns a hard lesson about gambling and how her community is there for her.

This comic was created to help educate people about only some of the problems that are faced within the Indigenous communities, and more importantly hold a message that there are solutions to these problems. It’s about the strength and support you can find in your friends, family, and community programs. The comic was drawn by Indigenous artist Sonawahes Antone with backgrounds by Maximum Creative Inc. AIAI would like to acknowledge that funding was also provided by The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, AIDS and Hepatitis C Programs.

The Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI) represents approximately 20,000 First Nations citizens from seven member communities and is unique among provincial associations because of the diversity of their members. The Oneida, Mohawk, Delaware, Potawatomi, and Ojibway communities from all across Ontario are represented by AIAI, and while they may all have different languages, cultural practices and a wide-spread geography, are united through AIAI to collectively protect their Indigenous and Treaty rights.


The diversity of comics creators, comics and readers is one of the many reasons I consider right now to be the for real Golden Age of Comics. Expect to hear me talking about that often during the many conventions I will be attending this year.

What else can you expect from me at Action!? Outside of a very few posters and prints, I won’t be bringing items to sell. But the convention organizers and I let vendors know that early on. I expect there will be no shortage of Isabella-written stuff like Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands and Black Lightning Volume One and Black Lightning Volume Two at the event.

There will be no charge for my signature at Action! This may not be the case during some of my 2018 and many of my 2019 appearances, so now is the time to get Tony Isabella to deface your comics and books.

One thing. If you have a lot of things for me to sign and there’s a line of other fans with things to sign, I’ll sign some of those things and then ask you to go to the back of the line so I can sign items for those fans who only have one or two items. There will be lots of fun stuff at Action! and I don’t want fans to miss any of it because they’re standing in line for my signature.

If you feel you must pay something for those signatures, consider making a donation to The Hero Initiative. That fine organization is there to help comics creators when they need a helping hand. They deserve your support.

Want a photo with me? No charge there either, though I will ask you to send me the photo for possible use when I write my bloggy thing report on Action!

Cosplayers! Don’t be strangers. Very often at conventions, I don’t get a chance to wander the floor admiring your work. Come see me. We’ll have some laughs, take some pictures and let your inner hero (or villain) out for everyone to see.

As always, I’ll do my best to answer your questions about my work. Please keep in mind that, because of non-disclosure agreements and my not wanting to ruin upcoming surprises for you and just plain common sense, there are questions I can’t or won’t answer. 

That pretty much covers my prelude to Action! For more information, you can visit the event’s website or Facebook page

Thanks for stopping by the bloggy thing today. I’ll be back as soon as possible with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Thursday, February 8, 2018

TONY'S TIPS #245

This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...Thomas F. Zahler’s Time & Vine; Draw!, the “how to” journal of comics, illustration, animation and more; and The Totally Awesome Hulk!

Friday, February 2, 2018

TONY'S APPEARANCE SCHEDULE

This is my 2018 appearance schedule. Please note that Comic-Con International in San Diego is only tentative. Certain things have to fall in place before I can confirm that I'll be there.

I'm not inclined to add any more appearances, but I'll not say it couldn't happened. Any interested convention or event promoters can email me, though I will not be able to respond to those emails until mid-February.

Here's the schedule...

Sunday, February 18: Action (St. Clair College; Windsor)

Friday, February 23: Pensacon

Saturday, February 24: Pensacon

Sunday, February 25: Pensacon

Friday, March 9: Cleveland ConCoction

Saturday, March 10: Cleveland ConCoction

Sunday, March 11: Cleveland ConCoction

Wednesday, March 21: East Clark Elementary School

Saturday, March 24: Cleveland Public Library Coffee and Comics

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 18: East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention

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

Friday, June 8: Fingerlakes Comic Con

Saturday, June 9: Fingerlakes Comic Con

Sunday, June 10: Fingerlakes Comic Con

Friday, July 13: G-Fest

Saturday, July 14: G-Fest

Sunday, July 15: G-Fest

Thursday, July 19: Comic-Con International

Friday, July 20: Comic-Con International

Saturday, July 21: Comic-Con International

Sunday, July 22: Comic-Con International

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)