Monday, August 24, 2015

TONY'S TIPS #122

This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...I review Star Wars by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday, Rutu Modan’s Exit Wound and Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga Vol. 1.

Friday, August 21, 2015

WHERE'S TONY?

Well...

At the moment, I'm at home working on all sorts of exciting projects. However, from time to time, I am released from my labors and appear at comics and other conventions. This is my tentative and by no means complete schedule of upcoming appearances. Not all of these appearances are 100% locked down, but I'm confident all will happen.

Saturday, October 3: Teddy Hanes show in Rochester

Sunday, October 4: Teddy Hanes show in Buffalo

Friday, October 16: Grand Rapids Comic-Con

Saturday, October 17: Grand Rapids Comic-Con

Sunday, October 18: Grand Rapids Comic-Con

Saturday, October 24: Cleveland Comic Con

Saturday, November 7: Akron Comic Con

Sunday, November 8: Akron Comic Con

Saturday, November 21: Ohio History Connection (Columbus)

Friday, February 19: Pensacon (Florida)

Saturday, February 20: Pensacon (Florida)

Sunday, February 21: Pensacon (Florida)

Saturday, April 16, 2016: Fantasticon (Toledo)

Saturday, April 17, 2016: Fantasticon (Toledo)

Friday, July 22, 2016: Monsterfestmania (Akron)  

Saturday, July 23, 2016: Monsterfestmania (Akron)

If you're a promoter who would like me to appear at your event...and you're able and willing to cover my expenses...e-mail me. I'll do my best to accommodate you.

Monday, August 17, 2015

TONY'S TIPS #121

This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder: Monster Mash, Creepy Presents Alex Toth and Nickelodeon Magazine.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

HEADING TO PULPFEST

This is just a quick reminder. I will be attending PulpFest 2015 in Columbus this weekend. With lots to do before I leave on Thursday and lots of organizational stuff to manage when I get back home to Medina. I'll be offline until sometime Monday or maybe even Tuesday. Stay well and a have a great weekend.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

TONY'S TIPS #120

This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...The Incredible Herb Trimpe, Archie #666 and Batman Earth One Volume Two.

Monday, August 10, 2015

MISCELLANEOUS FROM MEDINA

Jon Stewart has completed his 16-year-plus run on The Daily Show. I watched the finale with my son Eddie and, even during the show, I struggled with finding the words to describe what Stewart and the show meant to me. Here’s the best I can offer.

I was not a regular viewer of The Daily Show at first. I’d watch it from time to time. I couldn’t tell you when, but, sometime within Jon’s first year, I realized TDS had become the most indispensable program on television. I don’t think I’ve missed more than five or six episodes in the past fifteen years.

When my rage at the world of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and stolen elections and a President who lied us into a war and more would make my blood pressure rise to dangerous levels, Jon and his crew would talk me down from the abyss. Their humor and canny perceptions were my shield against the bullshit and the evil.

If Jon weren’t comedic/satirical genius enough, he shared his show with some of the most talented performers I've ever seen. Stephen Colbert. Steve Carell. Larry Wilmore. John Oliver. Lewis Black. Rob Riggle. Samantha Bee. Jessica Williams. Rob Cordrey. Jason Jones, who doesn’t know this but who is the personification of a character I am creating with the hope it become successful enough that I can hire him to play it. Jon Hodgman. Kristen Schaal. Oh, hell, almost all of them. On my bucket list of things I want to write before I kick the bucket is a screenplay that would star as many of them as I could get.

Jon could take the bullshit of terrible people and make me laugh at it. When the bullshit got too big, he pooper-scooped it away with wit and wisdom. When the worst things happened, he expressed the sadness in ways that brought us together.

At the end of sixteen years and change, Jon Stewart emerges as one of the finest citizens of the United States and the world. He has been a force for decency, hope and involvement. And he leaves the program by reminding us of our responsibility to speak out against bullshit and evil. Like gladiators in a Roman arena, we must be as one in working and laughing our way to a better world.

“I am Jon Stewart” comes the first voice from the gladiatorial arena, followed by a second and a third and so many more than we can see the fear on the faces of the rich and the powerful. Even in their arrogance, their supreme arrogance, they know they are heading for the dustbin of history. I am Jon Stewart. We are Jon Stewart.

Thank you, Jon. By the way, sorry for the hyperbole. I do realize you’re not dead.

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Briefly noted: Attila [2013].

Here’s the basic plot:

When American soldiers uncover Attila the Hun's staff of power, the wrath of his son is awakened. The mummified warrior comes to life, slaughtering anyone who gets between him and the staff.

This is the weakest films I’ve ever seen from The Asylum, which is tied with Disney/Marvel as my favorite company. It was co-written by Anthony C. Ferrante, who directs the Sharknado movies, but it has none of the, well, anything, to be found in those amusing films. Bad acting, horrible special effects, even the sets are poorly lit. Give this one a pass.

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Briefly noted: Invisible Invaders (1959).

This was one of the movies which aired on Turner Classic Movies on its special Alien Invaders Night. Here’s the basic plot:

Aliens, contacting scientist Adam Penner, inform him that they have been on the moon for twenty thousand years, undetected due to their invisibility, and have now decided to annihilate humanity unless all the nations of earth surrender immediately. Sequestered in an impregnable laboratory trying to find the aliens' weakness, Penner, his daughter, a no-nonsense army major and a squeamish scientist are attacked from outside by the aliens, who have occupied the bodies of the recently deceased.

This is an entertaining low-budget film. Though most of the special effects are stock footage from military training films and such, it makes good use of them. The scenes convey the destruction happening around the world.

John Agar is terrific as a tough-as-nail major assigned to protect a trio of scientists. Jean Byron is smoking as the daughter of the oldest scientist. Philip Tonge plays her father, bringing a spiffy combination of determination and exhaustion to his character. The stand-out is Robert Hutton as a must-be-bipolar scientist who goes all over the emotional map in the movie, even putting the group in jeopardy when he gives into despair and terror.

Definitely worth watching.

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Briefly noted: What Pet Should I Get? By Dr. Seuss

This is the “recently discovered” new book from Seuss and it’s easy to see why he put it aside. It’s a clever idea that never actually comes together. The wordplay is not as sharp as what we’ve come to expect from Seuss. There are pages and verse that fall flat. Worst of all, the ending is unsatisfying and not merely because the book ends with the reader having to guess which pet the child stars of the book select.

I do not know if Seuss was okay with the publication of this or any other posthumous work. I haven’t even figured out how I feel about this for my own work. On the one hand, I think there are some fine fragments and notes and notions and plots in my files. On the other hand, would they still be my work if I don’t finish them? If I had to make a decision today, I would ask Bob Ingersoll to go through the stuff with my son Eddie and let them figure out on some case by case basis.

Anyway...there are plenty of other Seuss books completed during his life. Read those to your kids and skip this one.

I’ll be back sometime next week with more stuff.

© 2015 Tony Isabella

Sunday, August 9, 2015

PRELUDE TO PULPFEST

PulpFest 2015 is Thursday, August 13 through Sunday, August 16, at the Hyatt Regency Columbus in Columbus, Ohio. It’s a fun gathering for fans of pulp magazines and more. There is a large dealers room filled with magazines, paperbacks, new pulp fiction, comic books, etc. There will be panels, films, auctions and other presentations. For this year’s convention, PulpFest has added a new gaming track featuring a variety of games related to and inspired by the great pulp magazines.

While I have an interest in most of the above, my main reason for attending PulpFest every year is to see dear friends like Anthony “Tex” Tollin, Will Murray, Michelle Nolan, Ron Fortier, Rob Davis and others. It’s a relaxing show for me.

Unlike previous years, I’ll be part of the programming. On Thursday night at 9:20 pm in the Delaware Room, I’ll be on the “75 Years of Street & Smith Comics” panel with Tollin, Murray, and Nolan...all of who know a heck of a lot more about the topic than I ever will. My big hope is to not embarrass myself.

As I said, for me, PulpFest is a time for relaxing. I usually bring a small stack of books and other items that I haven’t been able to read at home. I get together with Columbus area friends that I do not see often enough. I’ll also be working on a story that I have  been anxious to write for months. This “relaxing” stuff is sort of a relative thing with me.

This year, there will be another possible diversion waiting for me. Matsuricon 2015 is taking place at the Greater Columbus Convention Center (which is physically connected to the Hyatt) the same time ss PulpFest. Paraphrasing the official website:

It’s an annual Japanese pop-culture event focusing on anime, manga and video games. It has American and Japanese popular culture, due to the natural overlap of fandom from both genres.

The convention considers itself a “family friendly” event. Most of its panels are all ages unless otherwise stated. If certain events are not appropriate for attendees under the age of 18, con staffers check the IDs of attendees before they enter these events.

Matsuricon’s goal is to promote the cultural awareness of Japanese pop-culture through related events, special guest speakers and cultural presentations.


Depending on what else is going on, I plan to visit Matsuricon for a few hours on either Friday or Sunday. If any of my bloggy thing readers or Facebook friends will be there, get in touch with me and maybe we can get together.

I’ll be arriving at the Hyatt on Thursday afternoon. If you want to get together with me, email me or send a private Facebook message. I’ll try to make myself available.

I won’t be doing another convention or related event until October, but I’ll talk about those appearances at a later date.

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Briefly noted: The Man From Planet X [1951]

Turner Classic Movies presented an evening of alien invasion flicks from the 1950s and I recorded most of them. Lifted from Internet Movie Database, here’s the basic plot of this one:

As a mysterious planet hurls itself toward earth, an enigmatic extraterrestrial scout arrives on a remote Scottish island with unknown intentions.

This was a so-so movie. The most notable thing about it is seeing Patty Duke’s television dad (William Schallert) playing a crooked scientist who tortures the alien scout for personal gain. Because it’s always the right move to torture someone more technologically advanced than you are.

It was worth watching once, but that will suffice.

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Barb and I went to the Medina County Fair last yesterday. I wrote a letter to the local newspaper about it:

My wife and I went to the Medina County Fair Wednesday night. We had a mostly nice time. The fair is terrific, a great place to eat delicious food that's no darn good for you and to run into friends you don't see often enough. However, I was dismayed at how many people I saw displaying, selling or wearing the Confederate flag. I wondered if these folks had always been racists and traitors to our nation...or if they came to those terrible ideologies later in life. Because if they claim that flag stands for anything else, they are being willfully ignorant of history.

The newspaper ran my letter in its Friday edition. That afternoon, when I went to the grocery store, I was approached by a gentleman who had read the letter. Once he established that I was “that comic-book guy” - the Gazette ran several pieces about me last year, so people often recognize me - and “the guy who wrote the Confederate flag letter,” he wanted to tell me something. What he told me was unexpected.

He had flown a Confederate flag outside his home on occasion, never giving it much thought until he read my letter. He said he’ll never fly the flag again. He’s neither a racist nor a traitor. He hates the thought of people judging him by that flag and was upset with himself that he never really considered what that flag stands for. We shook hands.

Maybe he was putting me on. If he wasn’t and if my letter got even one man to consider the evil that flag stands for, then I’m calling it a win for the forces of good.

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I’ve been enjoying Zoo, the CBS television series based on a novel by  James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. Intrigued by the earliest promo ads for the series, I requested the novel through my library. I enjoyed the novel and decided to watch the series.

I’m six episodes into the series and enjoying it as well. However, my reason for mentioning it here is that the show has a comic-book connection of which I was unaware. Actually, two of them, but I’ll go first to the one I didn’t just learn ten minutes ago.

Jay Faerber, who has written such terrific creator-owned comics as Noble Causes and Dynamo 5, is a story editor on the series and has written two episodes. The first (“Blame It on Leo”) aired July 28. The second (“The Cheese Stands Alone”) is scheduled to air August 18. I enjoyed his first episode and am looking forward to watching his second.

The other comic-book connection? While checking facts for today’s column, I stumbled across Zoo: The Graphic Novel, an adaptation of the novel by Andy MacDonald. I hadn’t heard of this graphic novel before, but I have already requested it from my library. Look for some further comments after I receive and read it.

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

© 2015 Tony Isabella