§ Nice Art: Mike Mignola drew Pokémon. Forget everything you ever knew. I repeat, Mike Mignola drew Pokémon! Now if only he could draw Swampert and Giratina.

§ Over the last few days Black Lightning Creator Tony Isabella (with Trevor von Eeden) spoke out on Facebook about the current state of the character as portrayed in Batman and the Outsiders.  He was not happy that in the storyline, Jefferson Pierce has separated from his wife and is dating other women. Isabella expressed his displeasure in measured terms:


Many other creators commiserated in the comments. This went on for a while.

Because they’re fucking bastards and morons.

And then:

I’m taking the next couple days off from the Internet. I figure I’ll miss at least some of the clueless trolls who think the creator of an iconic character should just shut the fuck up when he and the character are disrespected by others.

As news spread, Isabella did point out something important:

PLEASE NOTE. I have read the Comic Book Resources article and the Bleeding Cool article. Neither asked me for any further comment or information. But, as I’ve said, I’ve read them. You need not tell me about them.

I thought the CBR article was okay. About half the fans who commented on it were in agreement with me. The other half were…you know.

The Bleeding Cool article was the usual clown show one expects from that website and the fans who commented took their cues from the BC clowns.

I note with little amusement that those websites rarely mention me unless it’s the stuff of clickbait. When one of Black Lightning fans started sending Cold Dead Hands and other BL trades to prison libraries and received very grateful and positive response from those libraries, no website mentioned.

When I ran for public office recently, no website had anything to say about it.

When Trevor and I appeared on the Black Lightning season finale, I don’t recall any comics site having much if anything to say about it.

But, boy howdy, let a creator stand up for his creation and that creation’s fans, they can’t get enough of it.

Honestly, who expects more from them at this point?

I’ll doubtless expand my comments in a bloggy thing posting later this week.

This part is very true. Good news never travels. That said, any time Black Lightning is mentioned without the exact wording that Isabella prefers, we get a letter about it. Tony is super duper vocal about anything to do with Black Lightning — WE KNOW. I understand his ire and frustration at the long history of distancing between DC Comics and him, but surely Isabella also knows that a profanity-laced outburst draws more attention than a calm recital of positive facts.

As a matter of policy I’d like to state: The Beat is happy to report happy Tony Isabella news — and if he has any to share, he knows my email (and my birthday).  In fact, with some further inspection of his FB page, it looks like he’s having a garage sale soon when things are safe? I’m sure there will be a lot of good things for sale so if you live nearby, maybe check it out.

MEANWHILE, the current writer of Batman and the Outsiders, Bryan Edward Hill, responded to the controversy on Twitter:

Just to put it all in one place:

I have no animosity towards Tony whatsoever, and obviously he’s entitled to his opinion. Everyone isn’t going to like my writing or me as a person, and that’s absolutely fair. No harm. No foul.

We’re living through an incredibly difficult time, and the last thing I want to do is take comics, what should help deliver us from conflict, into the mud because an artist I respect takes issue with what I’m doing. That’s just going to happen in this business.

I genuinely appreciate everyone who reads my work and shows me support. I means a lot to me, but please don’t attack Tony on my behalf (or anyone that doesn’t like my work). That’s not necessary, and it’s not helpful for our culture. That’s all I have on this one. Take care.




Who wore it best?

§ Elsewhere: Steve Ringgenberg writes the TCJ obit for Marty Pasko.  

§ RIP Fred Willard. I loved that guy…I guess everyone did. He was just innately and permanently hilarious.





Willard first burst into my impressionable consciousness as Jerry Hubbard, the clueless sidekick to Martin Mull’s Barth Gimble on Fernwood 2Night. This faux talk show anticipated many of the hallmarks of the Ironic Age, and had way too huge an influence on the very young Beat than is generally known. Tragically, the show remains unavailable on streaming or anywhere, a lost mother lode of ’70s culture and Willard at his best. If you’ve never seen Fernwood 2Night (and who has!) the clip below doesn’t have enough Willard, but it does have bandleader Frank De Vol as Happy Kyne, and the Wrecking Crew’s Tommy Tedesco on guitar.





§ A photo of Keith Hernandez in a Baby Yoda T-shirt. And now the circle is complete.



  1. I’ve always thought Tony’s passion and defense of Black Lighting was super duper cool actually. It gets me that so many fans on forums and in comments complain how so many characters they grew up with are destroyed by current creators and that “this writer doesn’t understand the character”…. so how can they criticize Tony Isabella for actually giving a damn about a character he created and invested himself into? I would think comics needed more creators that involved and not just trying to break into the tv industry! Go Tony!

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