Portrait illustration of Tony Isabella by Michael Netzer
|Born||December 22, 1951|
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
| Black Goliath |
|Awards|| Goethe Award 1972|
Inkpot Award 2013
Tony Isabella (born December 22, 1951)is an American comic book writer, editor, Actor, artist and critic, known as the creator and writer of Marvel Comics' Black Goliath; DC Comics' first major African-American superhero, Black Lightning; and as a columnist and critic for the Comics Buyer's Guide .
Tony Isabella was born in Cleveland, Ohio.He discovered comics at the age of four, when his mother began bringing him I. W. Publications titles she bought at Woolworth. Early influences from the comic book world included Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Roy Thomas, Robert Kanigher, and Len Wein; Isabella was also influenced by writers such as William Shakespeare, Harlan Ellison, Ed McBain, Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, Lester Dent, Dave Barry, Max Allan Collins, Don Pendleton, and Studs Terkel.
As a teenager, Isabella had many letters published in comic book letter columns,primarily in the pages of Marvel titles. He was active in comics fandom as well, a member of CAPA-alpha, and a regular contributor to comics fanzines.
Isabella's work in comics fandom attracted the attention of Marvel editor Roy Thomas(whose professional career began in similar fashion), and in 1972 Thomas hired Isabella as an editorial assistant at Marvel. With Marvel's establishment of Marvel UK that year, Isabella was assigned the task of overseeing the reprints used in Marvel UK's nascent comics line. He also served for a time as an editor for Marvel's black-and-white magazine line.
As a writer, Isabella scripted Ghost Rider ; the characters It, the Living Colossus, in Astonishing Tales ; Luke Cage in Hero for Hire and Power Man; and Tigra in Marvel Chillers ; Daredevil ;and Captain America . While writing the "Iron Fist" feature in Marvel Premiere , he co-created the supporting character Misty Knight with artist Arvell Jones. Isabella developed the concept of The Champions series and wrote the first several issues.
During his mid-1970s run on Ghost Rider , Isabella wrote a two-year story arc in which Johnny Blaze occasionally encountered an unnamed character referred to as "the Friend" who helped Blaze stay protected from Satan, who had granted Blaze supernatural power and created the Ghost Rider. Isabella said in 2007,
Getting prior approval from editor Roy Thomas, as I would from later editors Len Wein and Marv Wolfman, I introduced "The Friend" into the series. He looked sort of like a hippie Jesus Christ and that's exactly who He was, though I never actually called Him that.... It allowed me to address a disparity that had long bothered me about the Marvel Universe. Though we had no end of Hell(s) and Satan surrogates in our comics, we had nothing of Heaven.... [After two years] I'd written a story wherein, couched in mildly subtle terms, Blaze accepted Jesus as his savior and freed himself from Satan's power forever. Had I remained on Ghost Rider, which was my intent at the time, the title's religious elements would have faded into the background. Blaze would be a Christian, but he'd express this in the way he led his life. ... Unfortunately, an assistant editor took offense at my story. The issue was ready to go to the printer when he pulled it back and ripped it to pieces. He had some of the art redrawn and a lot of the copy rewritten to change the ending of a story two years in the making. "The Friend" was revealed to be, not Jesus, but a demon in disguise. To this day, I consider what he did to my story one of the three most arrogant and wrongheaded actions I've ever seen from an editor.
Isabella later said the assistant editor referenced was Jim Shooter.In 2020, Shooter said he had been concerned that this "basically established the Marvel universe is a Christian universe" and could alienate some portion of the readership by suggesting "that all other religions are false." He said after consulting with editor Marv Wolfman, he made the changes.
For DC Comics, Isabella worked as a writer and story editorbut is mainly known for his creation of Black Lightning , writing both the character's short-lived 1970s and 1990s series. After reaching an agreement with DC, Isabella returned to the character in 2017 with the publication of the Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands limited series.
Isabella and artist Richard Howell produced the Shadow War of Hawkman mini-series in 1985, involving the characters of Hawkman and Hawkwoman.An ongoing series was launched the following year.
In 1987, Isabella began writing the Justice Machine series for Comico, co-plotting with series creator and penciller Mike Gustovich. The new series picked up from the end of the Bill Willingham/Gustovich written limited series Justice Machine featuring the Elementals , which re-booted the series' continuity from the older Noble Comics/Texas Comics-published original series. The ongoing book became one of Comico's best-selling series, selling upwards of 70,000 copies of each issue at its peak. Isabella wrote the first 11 issues of the Comico series before moving on to other projects.
In 1990, Isabella returned to the characters and wrote the series for Innovation Comics, with Gustovich pencilling once more.
Isabella wrote the Comics Buyer's Guide column "Tony's Tips" for over a decade. The last column was June 22, 2010.Starting in 2013, he continued "Tony's Tips" online at Tales of Wonder. He also regularly writes about comics and his work on his personal blog.
Isabella is the co-author with his fellow Comics Buyer's Guide columnist Bob Ingersoll of the short story "If Wishes Were Horses..." which was published in The Ultimate Super-Villains: New Stories Featuring Marvel's Deadliest Villains (1996),and the novels Captain America: Liberty's Torch (1998) and Star Trek: The Case Of The Colonist's Corpse (2003). In 2009, his non-fiction book 1000 Comics You Must Read was published by Krause Publications.
During the 1980s, Isabella operated Cosmic Comics, a comic book shop in the Colonial Arcade in Downtown Cleveland.
He has also worked on translating foreign-language Disney comics and revising the wording for the U.S. market.
Isabella's wife is named Barbara; they have two children, son Eddie (born c. 1989) and daughter Kelly (born c. 1992).
|2020||Black Lightning||Judge Isabella||Episode: "The Book of War: Chapter Three: Liberation"|
James P. Starlin is an American comics artist and writer. Beginning his career in the early 1970s, he is best known for space opera stories; for revamping the Marvel Comics characters Captain Marvel and Adam Warlock; and for creating or co-creating the Marvel characters Thanos, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora and Shang-Chi. Later, for DC Comics, he drew many of their iconic characters, especially Darkseid and other characters from Jack Kirby's Fourth World. For Epic Illustrated, he created his own character, Dreadstar.
Western Gunfighters is the name of two American Western-anthology comic book series published by Marvel Comics and its 1950s forerunner, Atlas Comics.
Vampire Tales was an American black-and-white horror comics magazine published by Magazine Management, a corporate sibling of Marvel Comics. The series ran 11 issues and one annual publication from 1973 to 1975, and featuring vampires as both protagonists and antagonists.
The Champions are a fictional team of superheroes appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The team first appears in The Champions #1 and was created by writer Tony Isabella and artist Don Heck. Their titular series is regarded as an example of a failed superteam comic, suffering from constant turnover in the writers and artists working on the series, lack of a consistent direction or concept, and mediocre sales.
Rich Buckler was an American comics artist and penciller, best known for his work on Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four in the mid-1970s and for creating the character Deathlok in Astonishing Tales #25. Buckler drew virtually every major character at Marvel and DC, often as a cover artist.
Allen L. Milgrom is an American comic book writer, penciller, inker and editor, primarily for Marvel Comics. He is known for his 10-year run as editor of Marvel Fanfare; his long involvement as writer, penciler, and inker on Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man; his four-year tenure as West Coast Avengers penciller; and his long stint as the inker of X-Factor. He often inks Jim Starlin's work. Milgrom is the co-creator of DC superhero Firestorm.
George Tuska, who early in his career used a variety of pen names including Carl Larson, was an American comic book and newspaper comic strip artist best known for his 1940s work on various Captain Marvel titles and the crime fiction series Crime Does Not Pay and for his 1960s work illustrating Iron Man and other Marvel Comics characters. He also drew the DC Comics newspaper comic strip The World's Greatest Superheroes from 1978–1982.
Gary Friedrich was an American comic book writer best known for his Silver Age stories for Marvel Comics' Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, and, in the following era, for the series The Monster of Frankenstein and for co-creating the supernatural motorcyclist the Ghost Rider and the supernatural hero the Son of Satan.
William Robert Brown was an American comics artist with an extensive career from the early 1940s through the 1970s. With writers Edmond Hamilton and Gardner Fox, Brown co-created the DC Comics hero Space Ranger, drawing the character's complete run from his debut in the try-out comic Showcase #15 through Mystery in Space #103.
Tales of the Zombie was an American black-and-white horror comics magazine published by Magazine Management, a corporate sibling of Marvel Comics. The series ran 10 issues and one annual publication from 1973 to 1975, many featuring stories of the zombie Simon Garth by writer Steve Gerber and artist Pablo Marcos.
It! The Living Colossus is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Initially a statue animated by a hostile extraterrestrial, he first appeared in the science-fiction anthology series Tales of Suspense #14, in a story drawn by Jack Kirby. He was revived in Astonishing Tales #21 by writer Tony Isabella and artist Dick Ayers as the protagonist of a short-lived feature, in which he was animated by a wheelchair-using special-effects designer.
The Zombie is a fictional supernatural character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett for the standalone story "Zombie" in the horror-anthology comic book Menace #5, which was published by Atlas Comics, a forerunner to Marvel. The character later became well known for starring in the black-and-white horror-comic magazine series Tales of the Zombie (1973–1975), usually in stories by Steve Gerber and Pablo Marcos.
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Ghost Rider is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is the second Marvel character to use the name Ghost Rider, following Carter Slade and preceding Daniel Ketch, Alejandra Jones, and Robbie Reyes. The character's story begins when motorcycle stuntman Johnny Blaze becomes bound to the Spirit of Vengeance Zarathos after making a deal with Mephisto to spare his surrogate father. With his supernatural powers, Johnny seeks vengeance as the "Ghost Rider".
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The Western Kid is a fictional Old West character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was the star of Western feature published by Marvel's 1950s precursor, Atlas Comics.
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Barbara "Bobbie" Chase is an editor and writer in the comic book industry. She worked for Marvel Comics throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 1994–1995, she was one of Marvel Group's Editors-in-Chief, the highest level a female editor has ever achieved at the company. She was Vice President of Talent Development at DC Comics from 2015 to 2020.
Created by writer Tony Isabella and artist Don Heck, the Champions consisted of Angel, Iceman, Hercules, the Black Widow, and Ghost Rider.
My anger over Shooter rewriting the last issue of my two-year Ghost Rider run, a story that had been approved every step of the way by three previous editors-in-chief, has been documented on several occasions.
He [Jim Shooter] told Tony Isabella to rewrite the climax to a two-year Ghost Rider story line, in which the hero was saved by Jesus Christ, on the grounds that it would be seen as religious propaganda.
Writer Tony Isabella and artist Trevor von Eeden provided the creative juice for Black Lightning.
Tony's Online Tips has reached the end of its decade-plus run. I announced this last week in various venues, but I didn't want to leave without saying a more proper farewell and, in that farewell, try to explain this decision without sending any one into a panic.
Cosmic Comics was easily the most successful comics shop in the Cleveland area for nine of the eleven years I owned it.
| Ghost Rider writer|
| Captain America writer|
| Daredevil writer|
(with Bob Brown in late 1975)
| Black Lightning writer|
| Hawkman writer|
| Justice Machine writer|
|Black Lightning vol. 2 writer|