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|THE WRITERS: TONY ISABELLA|
|Tony Isabella has been a fan and collector of comic books since childhood. His love of the medium drew him to New York City and Marvel Comics in 1972 when he began his career as a comics professional as Stan Lee's assistant. In his 25-year career, Tony Isabella has done it all. He has served as an editor for both Marvel and DC Comics. He was a pioneer in the comic book specialty retail business as both a store owner and distributor, winning national recognition for his efforts in this area. This year, he served as a judge for the prestigious Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards. And, like Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, those two other "kids from Cleveland", he created a unique comic book character, Black Lightning, DC Comics' first black super-hero.
As a comic book writer, Tony Isabella's body of work is diverse, impressive and immense. A partial list of comics he has written include: The Avengers, Captain America, Daredevil, Doc Savage, Dracula, Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, Green Arrow, Harlan Ellison's Dream Corridor, Hawkman, The Incredible Hulk, Mickey Mouse, Spider-Man, Star Trek, Superman, Tarzan, and even Young Love. In 1993, Isabella was hired by Topps Comics to develop a mini-series based on the Satan's Six characters created by the late Jack Kirby. To work with one of the legendary talents in comics was a dream come true for Tony. In 1995, Isabella wrote the first eight issues of a new monthly series starring Black Lightning. This new series, which featured some of Tony's best writing ever, was greeted with enthusiastic praise and great popularity. In fact, Tony Isabella has rarely written a comic book for any of the major publishers that ever sold less than 50,000 copies an issue!
Tony Isabella is a featured weekly columnist in the nation's largest comic book collector's publication, Comics Buyer's Guide. His satiric "Tony's Tips!" is a favorite among fans and industry professionals alike. Currently Tony Isabella is working on properties for a number of book and comic-book publishers as well as developing new, creator-owned projects. Tony's latest project, the daily "Tony's Isabella's Journal" made its debut in June of 1997 on the world wide web exclusively through World Famous Comics.
Tony Isabella, his wife Barbara and children Eddie and Kelly reside in northeast Ohio, where he is a much sought-after speaker by the area libraries and schools.
Tony Isabella Interview
Tim Holtorf: I just wanted to start off with your take on the Shadow War of Hawkman. I read in your insights to that series that you originally wanted to call it Secret War but Marvel already had that pegged. How did you come about with a name change?
Tony Isabella: I started thinking about other words that held the same connotation as "secret" and, from there, it wasn't much of a stretch to "shadow."
Tim Holtorf: You really changed Gentleman Ghost through the one issue special and the regular series. What prompted you to make him more of an ally to the Hawks instead of an antagonist?
Tony Isabella: I asked myself what might motivate a dead man, a ghost, to steal valuables and decided it was more the thrill of the chase than the actual value of the things which he stole. And what better thrill than to steal a planet away from those who would claim it?
Had the Shadow War played out as I wished, the Gentleman Ghost would not have been the only "villain" to defend the Earth. After all, despite their crimes, it was their planet, too.
Tim Holtorf: Also in your insights you mentioned several "Isabellaisms." I searched throughout the series but just wanted to know, how many others are there besides Rab Mekir being Mike Barr?
Tony Isabella: Quite a few. Heh, heh, heh.
Tim Holtorf: I understand you have a lot going on with your own web site, public speaking and more. Just what are some of your responsibilities during your busy schedual?
Tony Isabella: This summer, I'm "Mister Mom" to a greater extent than usual. My kids had out-grown the wonderful day care/summer camp that had been attending, so we, my wife and I, decided to keep them home with me. I plan and supervise fun and educational activities.
In between these, I write a daily online column of around 1500 words and a weekly COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE column of the same length.
I've limited my convention/speaking gigs to accommodate my busy summer schedule. I'll be going to Wizard World Chicago, but that's it until some time in September or so.
I'm also writing stuff you won't see for months. Working with Bob Ingersoll, I just finished a 45-page comic-book special for one of the majors.
June also saw me writing a (prose) story pitch at the request of an anthology editor and being contacted to write a 40-page special for another one of the major comics outfits...though not the same one as above.
I'm continuing to develop new characters towards that time when the comics market might be more favorably inclined towards them and me...as well as looking around for other opportunities with the majors.
Nothing against the smaller publishers, but I'm a working parent and I have to make more for my time than most of them can afford to pay.
Tim Holtorf: Are you presently writing any major titles?
Tony Isabella: Sadly, no. I would be interested, but, alas, too many editors believe no one wants to read stories by a 47-year-old writer. It's a shame because I have many fans who would like to read more Tony Isabella comic books and because, quite frankly, I'm better today than I ever was.
Tim Holtorf: Timothy Truman's Hawkworld mini-series came out just a few years after your last issue on Hawkman. What were your thoughts on it at the time? And the following regular series?
Tony Isabella: I hated both. this should not be taken as a shot against the actual work. But I feel then and feel now that it was all wrong for the character.
Tim Holtorf: Rumours abound that Hawkman may come back in the first JSA-JLA teamup of the new millenium. Anything that needs to be done to make sure it's the one fans are crying out for?
Tony Isabella: I'm not sure even the fans know what they want from a new or old Hawkman, given what's been done with the character in the 1990s...and I'm less sure any one at DC knows what they want from the character.
Tim Holtorf: A lot of fans at the DC Message boards are hoping to see a Hawkman story arch from you in Legends of the DCU. Would you be interested in attempting another crack at the winged warrior?
Tony Isabella: Yes. In fact, I sent a query note to the new editor of that title asking him if he would be interested in having me write a Black Lightning or Hawkman story for that title. He never responded to the note.
All I can suggest is that the fans keep letting the editors know they want to read new stories by Tony Isabella or Roy Thomas or any of their other favorites. I'm not sure it does any good--those wacky editors--but I can't imagine that it will hurt their chances.
Tim Holtorf: And finally, what is your take on how DC rewrote Hawkman? Was it needed?
Tony Isabella: Absolutely not. Truman's motives and talent notwithstanding, I believe that the end result was a mean-spirited protagonist and series.
Thanks for your interest.
This section is dedicated to those artists and writers who have contributed at different times throughout the history of Hawkman. Check them out.
Tony Isabella: Hawkman IndexShadow War of Hawkman #1-4, writer
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