Wednesday, July 1, 2015


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 69th installment in that series.

The Rawhide Kid #84 [February 1971] has a eye-popping new cover by Herb Trimpe. It’s a classic image of the Kid pushing his horse to the max while firing back at his pursuers. The excessive cover copy is redundant. The image alone sold me on this comic, even though I knew the stories within were reprints.

All three stories in this issue - When Six-Guns Roar, The Man Who Caught the Rawhide Kid and the long-of-title The Girl, the Gunman and the Apaches - were reprinted from The Rawhide Kid #27 [April, 1962]. You can read what I have previously written about these Stan Lee/Jack Kirby/Dock Ayers collaborations by going back to May 23, 2012 in the bloggy thing archives.


“The Mighty Marvel Checklist” takes up half a page. The hit of the month - as I see it - was Sub-Mariner #34 with its first teaming of Namor, the Hulk and the Silver Surfer. That alliance would lead to the formation of the Defenders the following year. The other Marvel issues on sale were Fantastic Four #107, Amazing Spider-Man #93, Avengers #84, Thor #184, Captain America and the Falcon #134, Hulk #136, Daredevil #72, Iron Man #34, Astonishing Tales #4, Conan the Barbarian #3, Chamber of Darkness #4, Sgt. Fury #84, The X-Men #68, Western Gunfighters #4, The Outlaw Kid #4, Our Love Story #9 and Millie the Model #188.

The rest of the page was a “SUPER POSTER OFFER” from Marvelmania. For two dollars (including postage), fans could order four posters  that were said to be three feet high. There was Spider-Man by John Romita, Doctor Doom by Jack Kirby, Captain America by Jim Steranko and the Incredible Hulk by Herb Trimpe. I don’t recall buying these posters, so I can’t tell you anything about them from any personal experience. A quick check on eBay saw them being offered for sale for hundreds of dollars. I wish I did have them.

On the inside front cover, MONSTER S-I-Z-E MONSTERS that were seven feet tall in authentic colors with glow-in-the-dark eyes could have  been yours for $1.25 including postage and handling. You could get the Frankenstein Monster or Boney the Skeleton. Still on hand were comics dealers Howard Rogofsky, Passaic Book Center, Robert Bell, Grand Book Inc. and Clint’s Books. A buck would still buy a sample copy of The Comiccollector fanzine.

This issue had a house ad advertising The Mighty Marvel Western #12 [January 1971] and The Ringo Kid #7 [January 1971]. The former was a 25-cent comic book with a new cover by Herb Trimpe and reprints of the Rawhide Kid by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers; Kid Colt by Lee, Jack Keller and Christopher Rule; and Two-Gun Kid by Larry Lieber, Ayers and Vince Colletta.

Ringo Kid #7 was a standard 15-cent comic book. It also had a new Herb Trimpe cover. Inside, there were three short Ringo Kid stories drawn by John Severin and a non-series story drawn by Bob Forgione with inks by Jack Abel.

The Marvel Bullpen Bulletins page announced that John Buscema was the new artist on Fantastic Four, that John Romita was returning to Amazing Spider-Man and that Sal Buscema was the new penciller for The Avengers.

Another item plugged Iceman’s guest-shot in Amazing Spider-Man and said Marvel was considering giving Bobby Drake a strip of his own.

Marvel vacation news was next. Roy Thomas went to Great Britain for three weeks. John Verpoorten was going to West Germany. Gene Colan was on his way to Europe. Meanwhile, Barry Smith has completed his arrangements to make New York his home.

There was a huge plug for Thor #104 by Stan Lee and John Buscema, which didn’t have the impact Stan clearly hoped it would have. Even when I looked at the cover for the issue, I could barely remember anything about its contents.

There was an item about Marvel writing an entire issue of Spider-Man without exclamation points and no one seemed to have noticed. Such matters would be left to individual writers.

Finally, in “Stan Lee’s Soapbox,” the Man explained why the Silver Surfer title had been cancelled. It didn’t sell.

The issue’s editorial content concluded with a “Marvel Masterwork Pin-Up” of the Rawhide Kid fighting an Apache warrior. Pencilled by Larry Lieber with inks by John Tartaglione, it was lifted from the cover of issue #74.


July is crunch month for my memoir of sorts. Bloggy thing posting will be erratic, but there will be new content here as often as I can manage while still hitting my daily goals for the writing of my book. Thanks for sticking with me.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2015 Tony Isabella

Monday, June 29, 2015


This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...Star Trek/Planet of the Apes, Knight Rider and Saved by the Bell!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Today (Wednesday) is my "Getting Ready for IndyPopCon Day." The convention is Friday, June 26 through Sunday, June 28, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. You can get further details by going to the event website.

I’m one of an army of terrific guests that includes Edward James Olmos of Battlestar Galactica and, more recently, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I hope I get the opportunity to tell him how much I enjoyed his layered performance on the latter. His character kept me guessing from his first scene to his last scene this season and that was due, in no small part, to his talent.

Also appearing at the convention: Tony Moore, Sam Jones, John De Lancie, Malcolm Goodwin, Sophie Henderson, Brooke A. Allen, Scott Shaw, Joe Corroney, Casper Van Dien, Jim Wynorski, Troy Brownfield, Lloyd Kaufman, Brizzy, Franchesco, Kevin Bachelder, and a bunch of fine people from my favorite film company, The Asylum. Okay, it’s tied with Disney/Marvel for my top spot, but I have a big heart and I can love both.

I’ll be appearing on two panels during the weekend:

Saturday, June 27
11:00 am
with Kevin Bachelder and Greg Sorvig

Sunday, June 28
1:00 pm
with Brooke Allen, Tony Moore, Scott Shaw and the Amalgam Podcast Network

When I’m not on a panel or at a panel I’m not on or just wandering around the convention talking to cool people and looking at cool stuff - when you check out the website, you’ll see there are many cool panels, people and vendors - I’ll be set up at:

Booth Number 515

Please don’t be shy about stopping by my table. I’m always happy to sign Isabella-written stuff for both fans and retailers. I never charge for my signature. However, on the unlikely chance I have a long line and you have a whole bunch of comics for me to sign, I may have to sign just some of your items and ask you to go back to the end of the line for the rest. If you have less than a dozen items, I can sign them all without making that request of you. That sound fair to you?

I’m happy to answer questions at my table and on my panels. I’ll do my best to answer them all, though, on occasion, the answer might be “You’ll have to buy my new book.” Heh, heh, heh.

I love cosplayers, especially those appearing as characters I have created or have written. I’m delighted to pose for photos with you. All I ask is that you send me a scan of the photo with permission to use it in this bloggy thing or my Facebook page.

I'll have some stuff for sale at my booth. These will include:
The rare double-sided Superman that was created for Cleveland's International Superman Expo of 1988. My supply of these is limited, so I'll be selling them for $20 each.
I'll have a box of Isabella-written stuff, but I'm not sure what will be in that box or what the prices on the items will be. That's one of today's tasks.

I'll have a box of fairly recent comics priced at $1 each.

I'll have Archie digests for sale at $1 or $2 each. Digests originally priced under $5 will be a buck and digests originally priced over $5 will be two bucks.

There might be a miscellaneous box of other stuff, but that depends on how long it takes me to put together the other stuff..

Since 1000 Comic Books You Must Read is out of print until I get a chance to explain to the publisher that electronic versions aren’t even close to being the same as “in print” and that “out of print” means their rights to the book have expired, I won’t have copies of my award-deserving, best-selling book for sale. However...

If anyone has good condition copies of the book they are willing to part with, I’d be delighted to purchase them from you at $10 each. I would love to replenish my supply of the book so I can continue to sell it at conventions and my garage sales. If you have a large quantity of copies, email me before June 25 so I can be ready with payment for you.

I’m really looking forward to IndyPopCon. The show will be open to the doubtless eager public from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Friday, 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday and 10 am to 5 pm on Sunday.

I hope to see you there.

Monday, June 22, 2015


This week in at Tales of Wonder...Zombillenium, Roller Girl and Joe Frankenstein!

Sunday, June 21, 2015


My local library system continues to supply be with great comics material. Most recently, I read Darryl Cunningham's Psychiatric Tales: Eleven Graphic Stories About Mental Illness [Bloomsbury USA; $17]. Published in 2011, the book is informative and moving. It was Cunningham's first book and here's what Amazon says about it:
Psychiatric Tales draws on Darryl Cunningham's time working in a psychiatric ward to give a reasoned and sympathetic look into the world of mental illness. In each chapter, Cunningham explores a different mental health problem, using evocative imagery to describe the experience of mental illness, both from the point of view of those beset by illness and their friends and relatives. As Cunningham reveals this human experience, he also shows how society's perceptions of and reactions to mental illness perpetuate needless stigma, for example, the myth that schizophrenic people are more likely to commit crimes than non-schizophrenic people. Psychiatric Tales is a groundbreaking graphic work; it deftly demythologizes and destigmatizes the disorders that 26.2 percent of American adults live with every day.

Concluding with a reflection on how mental illness has affected his own life, Darryl Cunningham's Psychiatric Tales is a moving, engaging examination of what is, at its root, the human condition.

Cunningham has been doing some terrific work with his non-fiction graphic novels. I've like all the ones I've read to date, but I particularly recommend this one to you.

ISBN 978-1-60819-278-6


Saturday, June 20, 2015


From Kent State University Press:

ROSES IN DECEMBER: A STORY OF LOVE AND ALZHEIMER'S by Tom Batiuk and Chuck Ayers [$34.95].

From the Amazon solicitation:

Since its debut in 1987, Crankshaft has engendered reader loyalty and affection with its wry wit, engaging storylines, and identifiable characters. Created by Tom Batiuk and drawn by Chuck Ayers, the strip offers plenty of humor but also tackles serious issues like adult literacy, school violence, and the challenges of aging.

Roses in December is a touching collection of two Crankshaft storylines of characters who find themselves dealing with the incurable condition of Alzheimer's disease. First, Ed Crankshaft's best friend Ralph is confronted with the trauma of his wife Helen's worsening Alzheimer's. He never knows if the love of his life will recognize him on those days that he visits her at Sunny Days Nursing Home. Ralph and Helen s love story unfolds with humor and heartbreak.

In the second story arc, Crankshaft s neighbor Lucy McKenzie also exhibits symptoms of Alzheimer's and eventually is moved to Sunny Days Nursing Home by her sister Lillian. The fourteen­ year struggles of Lucy, Helen, and their loved ones are elegantly told, preserving their dignity and reminding us that sometimes a sense of humor can be our greatest possession during life's trials.

Through the deceptively simple medium of the daily comic strip, Tom Batiuk and Chuck Ayers ad­dress the profound effects of Alzheimer's disease in a thoughtful and occasionally humorous way.

Roses in December includes a resource guide for caregivers, patients, and practitioners.

ISBN 978-1-60635-264-9