So last week my column was criticized for not being primarily about comics, the same day that my fellow columnist John Ostrander got over a dozen comments writing about politics, not one of which queried the appropriateness of his subject matter. Obviously people who have written and drawn comics for a living (Denny, Michael, etc.) can get a little more slack than someone who’s only ever written four comic book stories and had them all published. Not that I’m bitter! Oh no, indeedy; I’m actually grateful those critiques have given me fodder for this week’s column!
As I mentioned in my reply to this criticism, I understand some readers’ frustration with me not writing about comics more often. Even my mom asks me why I don’t focus on comics more often, and she doesn’t even read the stuff! But after all, ComicMix is a pop-culture site dominated by people heavily invested in the artform. Heck, that’s what CM 2.0 is all about, giving our readers original comics content. And we haven’t yet introduced a separate tab for our columns to distinguish them from our regular pop-culture news, so it’s probably reasonable to expect that we columnists will focus on comics as much as our news reporters do. And I love reading comics, but… but…
But nowadays, when I talk about my favorite reading material and hobby and community, I can usually only discuss what’s happened recently, not what’s going to happen in the near future or even Right This Very Week. As many of you know, this wasn’t always the case. About 10-15 years ago I did weekly comic book reviews on Usenet and CompuServe under the header "Pen-Elayne For Your Thoughts." I’d get the books on a Wednesday and most of the reviews would be up by Friday. My job at the time allowed me to do this, I was being somewhat under-used (technology and outsourcing would eliminate that position in ’97) and I had plenty of energy when I got home. Then I got a new job which proceeded to harness a lot of that energy, so the reviews had to go, I just couldn’t keep them up any more.
When I married Robin, I stopped buying most DC books the week they hit the stores, because as a regular freelancer for DC he receives a comp box each month of all the "pamphlets" they put out. For a time the comps were usually current to within a couple weeks of what was in the stores, so I could still keep up as plot discussions moved from Usenet to message boards. But by the time blogs became big, the synching had fallen a bit behind. (The new comp box arrived at our house on Monday, and I now have all the Countdown issues up until "04," when of course the current big discussion is about the final issue.
I also now have the first issue of Tangent: Superman’s Reign so I can finally read issue #2 which Robin inked and which came out in stores the Wednesday prior to the NY Comic Con. Just to give you an idea of the lag time here.) Four years ago, when my boss moved the office out to Westchester, my weekly visits to Midtown Comics to view the new books and collect my non-DC haul became an every other (or every third) week mail order. And because I no longer had the new comics when most of the active online discussions took place, I could no longer participate. By the time I acquire and read the book featuring the return of Barry Allen, or the mostly-Spanish issue of Blue Beetle that has this xenophobe’s drawers in a bunch, it will be well into June and everyone will have long since moved on.