Pensacon is pleased to welcome back legendary comic book writer and the creator of Black Lightning, Tony Isabella!
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Tony Isabella learned to read from comic books at the age of four and never stopped loving them. In 1972, that passion took him to Marvel Comics, where he began his career as an assistant to Stan Lee and Roy Thomas. In his 42-year career, Isabella has been an editor for both Marvel and DC.
He was a pioneer in comic book retailing as a store owner and distributor, winning national recognition for his efforts in this area. He has served as a judge for the prestigious Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards and also for the Glyph Comics Awards, which honor comics created by or starring characters of color. He created Black Lightning, the first black hero to star in his own DC Comics title. There have been several Black Lightning action figures, and the character has appeared on the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold and in the animated direct-to-DVD feature Superman Batman: Public Enemies.
Isabella’s body of work is diverse. His credits include: Captain America, Crankshaft, Daredevil, Doc Savage, Donald Duck, Dracula, Elvira, Fantastic Four, Funky Winkerbean, Ghost Rider, Hawkman, Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Incredible Hulk, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Mickey Mouse, Satan’s Six, Spider-Man, Star Trek, Star Wars, Superman, Uncle Scrooge, Young Love, and more. With Bob Ingersoll, he’s written two prose novels: Captain America: Liberty’s Torch and Star Trek: The Case of the Colonist’s Corpse.
Isabella was a contributing editor and the lead reviewer for Comics Buyer’s Guide. His humorous and thoughtful “Tony’s Tips!” was a favorite among fans and industry professionals alike. He reviewed more comics and related items, and a wider variety (manga, small press, etc.) than anyone else writing for the magazine. The columns continues as a weekly online feature at Tales of Wonder. In June 1997, “Tony’s Online Tips” debuted at World Famous Comics.
Isabella’s thousands of columns are believed to be an online record in the comics community. He currently writes the nigh-daily “Tony Isabella’s Bloggy Thing.”
October of 2009 saw the publication of Isabella’s 1000 Comic Books You Must Read, a lively history of the American comic book industry wrapped around mini-commentaries of over a thousand terrific comic books from 1938 to present. It was in the top ten of its Amazon category for several months.
Isabella continues to work for many clients while developing new projects. Isabella and his wife Barbara, an award-winning manager and pharmacist, reside in Medina, Ohio, where he is a much sought-after speaker by the area libraries and schools. Their children, Eddie and Kelly, are graduates of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.