Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Five years. What a surprise. My brain hurts a lot. I never thought I'd meet so many people.

Yes, it was five years ago today that, inspired to create my own by a link on one of Elayne Riggs' message board posts, I tentatively wrote this, my first tentative steps towards joining in on the whole internet weblogging thingamabob. Since then, as I've said before, I've met a whole lot of wonderful people, including many that I have revered growing up; had some incredible (and sadly, only one profitable) opportunities that I would not have been afforded had I not started, and by and large have had a pretty good time writing about, as I was fond of putting it, "stuff I like".

Then, not long after I started, the Comics Blogosphere happened, and since I was reviewing and writing about comics as well as music, movies, sports and TV, I was kinda caught up in the groundswell and witnessed how it grew (for better or worse). I have been privileged to see the advent of a ton of great writers who have written either solo or as part of a collective, many of whom extended friendship and respect my way. Even though I kept writing about other things, eventually I decided to focus on comics at the expense of the other subjects, and that's what I've featured here for quite some time now.

Which brings me to an announcement of sorts. Here on my fifth blogging anniversary, I've come to a decision. For a number of reasons, I have decided to shut this blog down for the foreseeable future. I've gone on hiatus before, but this is different.

While I have no intention of giving up my comics habit, which I've spent the best part of 47 years nurturing, I'm frankly just running out of things to say about them. It's not that there aren't still good comics being published, far from it- but there is a mean-spiritedness and an overt cynicism in a lot of what is being published these days that spoils a lot of the entertainment that is presumably there to be had; it's like these writers and artists are terrified that someone won't think they're "hip" or "edgy" so they write the most nihilistic, oppressive things they can think of, and feel satisfied that they've been true to their self-perception as an arbiter of what is "cool", and have serviced their faithful fans. While I have never been opposed to realism or dark tones to any of my fantasy fiction, too much of anything, especially the negative, is never a good thing and just because you CAN do a thing doesn't mean you SHOULD. It's like they're writing as if they're afraid the cool kids will make fun of them. Some writers get it. Many more don't. But all I know is that I seem to be reading fewer and fewer titles these days, almost no mainstream superhero titles, and judging by what I keep seeing here and there around the Web, that's fine with me.

Regardless, and forgive me digressing, there are other factors- I had hoped that when I took my new job in April, the reduced stress would rekindle my enthusiasm, but it hasn't happened. Also adding to my malaise is the fact that more and more I feel like I'm shouting out in the middle of the forest as loudly as I can, but no one is hearing. I do have my readers, I know, and commenters, and I am thankful for all of them. But I look at my referral stats and I'd bet that on a good day, 1/2 to 3/4 of my hits are image searches. I rarely, if ever, get linked to by any of the "major" linkers of the Comics Blogosphere; Deppey pretty much ignores me, and only smirkingly threw me a link bone once since Journalista has relaunched; Heidi, too, and the only time I can recall getting a mention on The Beat was for getting embarrassed and hassled on a message board. Tom Spurgeon, God bless him, will link to my reviews if I send him an email, but I seriously doubt if Jog or Graeme or Carlson has to do the same; and so forth. Speaking of Carlson, I am well beneath her radar as well. Which is not to say that it's their fault; there are lots of voices out there to choose from and frankly, mine has not always been the clearest, loudest or brightest, nor have I always stayed in key. And please understand that I'm fully aware that when it comes to writing and/or reviewing with length, substance and insight, I am in no way the equal of a Jog, Ian Brill, Alan David Doane, or Bill Sherman, to name a few. I recognize and accept my shortcomings. After all, I'm a graphic designer slash prepress artist, not a journalist. But still, a little recognition goes a long way towards building enthusiasm, that's all I'm saying. Shouting into the void becomes wearisome. I just don't feel like part of the conversation anymore, and I can't muster up the enthusiasm to do what it takes to join in again.

I've always said that when this came to be more like an obligation or a chore than something I did for fun, then I would stop. That's what it's become, so that's what I'm going to do. If you, for some godforsaken reason, just want to read what I might post in the future, by all means visit my LiveJournal- I intend to put stuff up there from time to time. It probably won't be comics stuff though. I also intend to continue the Elton John commentary blog, since it will have a finite time of ending at some point in the future. I still plan on dropping a comment once in a while here and there, because not writing about comics doesn't necessarily mean stop reading what others have to say about them. And I'm not ruling out a return to writing about comics- I plan to keep buying and reading them. I just am not going to worry myself about squeezing out what I laughingly refer to as "reviews" weeks after everyone else has read them and discussed them at length. For the last several months, there have been far too many memes and uninspired "posting a cover" types of posts, and it just needs to stop. If for some reason I change my mind and return to this blog, I may just start over with a new template and get rid of a lot of the flair I have over there on the linkbar. Who knows. I don't want to seal up the door, just put a good, sturdy lock on it.

Anyway, that's it. Happy 5 years to me. I just want to say thank you to everyone who's ever stopped by and spent some time, and linked to me, or commented. The friendships and acquaintances I've made are a source of much joy to me. Thanks to everyone for everything. Be good, be good to each other, and may every song you sing be your favorite tune, in the words of Mick Jagger.

It remains to Freakazoid to have the final say, I think. Apologies for stealing Tom Foss' April Fool's Day prank.

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