Thursday, July 31, 2014

TAKING IT DOWN A NOTCH

I’m exhausted. July came in like a killer grizzly bear and went out like a sharknado. I need to take it a little easier in August. So this bloggy thing of mine will be irregular for the next three or four weeks. I might post new material on a daily basis or I might go days without posting.  If that sound sconfusing to you, join the club. I haven’t figured it out entirely myself.

The last several weeks have been crazy busy for me. I did jobs for almost every comic-strip cartoonist for whom I’ve worked over the past year.  I did my “script restoration” thing on another of those The Garfield  Show albums for Papercutz. I put on two garage sales, including the wild Driveway Con 2014. I wrote weekly “Tony’s Tips” columns for Tales of Wonder, a dozen full-sized bloggy things andat least as many shorter posts.  I took a stand against local “Open Carry” supporters.

None of the above should be construed as complaining. I’m thrilled to be this active at my age of sixty-two and a half. I hope I can stay this active for another decade or three. Heck, I’m hope I can become even more active in the future.

Something else in my life also took a physical and mental toll on me. After suffering decades of abuse and disrespect from people in my life, I finally found the courage to do what I should have done years ago. I said “enough” and severed any kind of regular contact with those people. I’m not without feelings for them. I wish them well. If I can help them financially or in many other ways without  suffering abuse and disrespect, I will do so. But I had to consider my own well-being and that of my wife and my kids. I’ve worked very hard over the past two decades to get to the happy place where you find me today. I want to enjoy that happy place.

I apologize for being “mysterious” about the situation I have left.  I have no desire to cause those people any additional pain beyond that which their own actions have inflicted on them. I don’t even wish them that self-generated pain, but I’ve come to realize it is beyond  my ability to fix their situations.

August will be a busy month, but in a different way than July was a busy month. I want to get several weeks ahead on my “Tony’s Tips” columns. I want to backlog some bloggy things. I want to sit down and answer interview questions that have gone unanswered for just too darn long. I want to write two articles for one of my all-time favorite magazines. I want to get to work on some actual comic-book strips for an independent publisher.

Digression. This is where I took a break to watch Sharknado 2: The Second One with Sainted Wife Barb, who, apparently, loves me beyond all reason. The movie was even crazier than the first one and, of course, I loved it. Look for my review of this generation-defining  movie in early August. End of digression.

Besides the writing mentioned before my digression, I have several household and personal projects on my mind. Dozens of e-mails that I need to answer. Dozens of online articles that I bookmarked and want to read. Dozens of comic books sent to me by a publisher that has been exceedingly generous to me, comic books waiting patiently to be read and reviewed. That’s all just part of my list.

From Thursday, August 7 to Sunday, August 10, I’ll be at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, Ohio for PulpFest 2014. I attend the event more to see old friends than anything else, but I always find some interesting books and panels there.

Since I won’t be at Pulpfest all the time, I’d love to spend some time with the Columbus comics community. Drop me a line and we can get together for a snack or a meal.

There will be two of my “famous” Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales in August. Here’s the schedule:

Friday, August 15: 9 am to noon
Saturday, August 16: 9 to noon
Saturday, August 16: 5 pm to 7 pm

Friday, August 29: 9 am to noon
Saturday, August 30: 9 to noon
Saturday, August 30: 5 pm to 7 pm

I’ll also be doing two more garage sales in September and, weather permitting, one in October. Those dates and times:

Friday, September 12: 9 am to noon
Saturday, September 13: 9 to noon
Saturday, September 13: 5 pm to 7 pm

Friday, September 26: 9 am to noon
Saturday, September 27: 9 to noon
Saturday, September 28: 5 pm to 7 pm

Friday, October 10: 9 am to noon
Saturday, October 11: 9 to noon
Saturday, October 11: 5 pm to 7 pm

The October event will be Halloween-themed, but I’m still working out exactly what that means. I hope to have some special stuff for the other garage sales as well. More about that as we get closer to their dates.

I have two and only two more convention appearances scheduled for 2014. Those are...

Friday, October 31: WIZARD WORLD OHIO (Columbus)

Saturday, November 1: WIZARD WORLD OHIO (Columbus)

Sunday, November 2: WIZARD WORLD OHIO (Columbus)

Saturday, November 8: AKRON COMICON

Sunday, November 9: AKRON COMICON

I’d like to attend more comics and other conventions in 2015, but that mostly depends on my being invited to them by event promoters willing to cover my expenses or my making enough money to attend on my own dime. Fingers crossed, my family and I will be returning to San Diego’s Comic-Con International in 2015.

I’d also like to appear at more libraries and schools in 2015 and beyond. “Visiting professor” has a nice ring to it.

Bob Ingersoll and I had a blast when he went to Los Angeles earlier this year so that I could visit some old friends sans a distracting convention. I’d like to repeat that trip and maybe hit a few other cities as well.

Come September, I hope to carve out a few hours every day to work on the hundreds of projects on my bucket list of “things to write before I kick the bucket.” As those projects are readied, I’ll be looking for artistic partners and publishers. But I’m getting well ahead of my immediate future. Back to August.

My online Vast Accumulation of Stuff sales will resume on Monday,August 11. I hope to post these sales weekly throughout the rest of the summer and throughout the year.

Future bloggy things will have more comics and movies reviews and probably a lot less politics and personal comics history.  I know I will need/want to speak out publically on various issues, but the insanity of the right and the cowardice of the left do bad things to my blood pressure.

As for my personal comics history, I’m kind of bored with answering the same questions over and over again. In the past twelve months,I’ve turned down three offers to publish my autobiography for the simple reason that telling my story completely and honestly wouldrequire the naming of names. Which, in turn, might cause pain to a number of people to whom I don’t wish to cause pain. Whatever they did to me, whatever wrongs I suffered at their hands, I ended up ina pretty good place. I can afford to be generous.

Future bloggy things will continue my “July 1963" and “Rawhide Kid Wednesday” series. I’m writing those columns to reward myself when I complete something on my August “to do” list. I’ll slot them into the bloggy thing schedule as I finish them.

Reading over what I’ve written, I admit I have a skewered notion of what constitutes “taking it down a notch.” If orange can be the new black, why can’t crazy be the new sane?

Thanks for reading the bloggy thing, my friends.
   
© 2014 Tony Isabella

Monday, July 28, 2014

DRIVEWAY CON 2014: THE SHORT VERSION

I have a lot to tell you about my combination Driveway Con and Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale, held this past weekend at Casa Isabella in Medina, Ohio. It may take me most of the week to post everything I want to say...for reasons you’ll understand after you read tomorrow’s bloggy thing.

Driveway Con came about in a perfect storm of events that started when I took a stand on a local political issue and continued when my friend and neighbor Tom Batiuk started talking about how much we would have liked to attend San Diego’s Comic-Con International this year. Things just grew from that. You’ll get all the fun and silly details this year.  For now, taken from a posting he made to the Timely-Atlas-Comics mailing list, I’m going to let my good friend Tim Stroup give you the bare bones.

Tim compared Driveway Con 2014 and Comic-Con:

“[Tony’s Driveway Con] had things Comic-Con has: cosplayers, trivia contests, mingling with the pros, exclusive announcements from the pros and a dealer’s room. Advantages over Comic-Con: no lines and great dealer’s room prices. And I doubt Comic-Con had that A Dare With Judy issue in any dealer’s stock. Now if only I had found that Starbuck Jones issue. Looking forward to what Tony comes up with next.”

We got seven cosplayers: Supergirl, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, No-Face from Spirited Away, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Wonder Girl from the New 52.In a spectacularly stupid move, I didn’t not arrange to have anyone taking photos of the cosplayers. I’ll try not to make this mistake again. I have an idea I’ll write about later in the week.

Picking the winner of the costume contest was much harder than I’d anticipated. It came down to Boba Fett and Wonder Girl. I took memost of yesterday to make the decision.

Boba Fett, as cosplayed by Dan Guinto, wins the grand prize of $50 in Vast Accumulation of Stuff cash. But I’m also awarding a second-  place prize of $25 in VAOS cash to Jesse Adkins for her cosplay as Wonder Girl. Dan and Jesse can pick up their prize “money” at the next garage sale.

At various times during the garage sale, I asked 22 multiple-choice trivia questions. If a customer answered correctly, he or she got $1 in Vast Accumulation of Stuff cash. All told, I handed out $33 in VAOS money over the weekend.

I promised a honest-to-Godzilla comics convention-style panel for Saturday. With the help of Mike W. Barr and Tom Batiuk, I delivered on that promise. We had a lively discussions on our favorite comic books and comic strips. Tom revealed some upcoming plot twists in Funky Winkerbean. We answered questions from the dozen or so folks who were sitting in my driveway listening to us.

Several customers asked if I could do more creator events like this one, possibly in another area venues. I think that’s a possibility and I’ll be working on it.

The garage sales were very successful for me. I hit more than 200% of my weekend goal. I sold thousands of comic books, magazines and more. I had two or three customers tell me they completed various collections at the sales.

After Friday’s sale, I had to go to the Fortress of Storage to get more stuff to sell for Saturday. I also had to go to the bank for more singles and fives, something I have never had to do with any other garage sale.

After Saturday morning, I ran out of the plastic shopping bags we use to bag up customer purchases. I had to go to my emergency stock for the Saturday evening hours.

About those Saturday evening hours...they were also a success. We got six or seven customers between 5 and 7 pm, all fans who could not make our morning hours. Because this evening session proved to be convenient for the customers and worth my time, I plan to offer Saturday evening hours at most of my future garage sales.

That’s the short version of the weekend. Tomorrow’s blog will be of a more personal nature, but that will be followed by more detailed blogs on what went into Driveway Con 2014.

Thanks for reading the bloggy thing, my friends.
   
© 2014 Tony Isabella

PHOTO BY NANCY JOHNSON/GAZETTE

TONY'S TIPS #66

This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...Bill the Boy Wonder and other Batman stuff I like.

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Tony Isabella

Sunday, July 27, 2014

TONY'S TIPS #65

Last week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder, I reviewed three recent collections of vintage comic books from the 1940s and 1950s. Check it out.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

SATURDAY UPDATE UPDATE

The local weather reports now have partly cloudy skies with no rain until 1 pm or so.  If that holds up, the morning portion of the garage sale and the convention panel should be fine.

SATURDAY UPDATE

Today's garage sale (840 Damon Drive in Medina, OH) kicks off around 9 am this morning and runs to 11 am or so. Weather permitting, we'll then hold the comics convention style panel with Tom Batiuk and Mike W. Barr in my driveway.  If the weather doesn't permit, I'll try to reschedule the panel for a future garage sale or in some other Medina venue entirely.

I'll also have evening garage sale hours from 5-7 pm.

If it's raining hard in the morning, I'll close the garage door and customers will be able to enter the sale through my patio.

If we have thunderstorms tonight, I won't hold the evening hours and will try that again in August.

Look for a Driveway Con report in the bloggy thing next week.