June 30, 2015

Farewell to An Old Friend: Comic Related

You may have read the news elsewhere, and I'm almost afraid that typing this out will make it even more true....

After eleven years, Comic Related will be closing shop.

I have written my own farewell to the site, and I've posted my reaction on Facebook, but here I feel safe in exploring my feelings about its ending.

On the one hand, Comic Related was my first "professional" gig, of sorts - having a regular deadline, working with others "in the industry", and having a larger audience for my writing - those were always enjoyable. I have some great friendships that have resulted (and yes, the Zone 4 podcast will still go on), but I also have some very mixed feelings about the climate in which it's folding.

One thing I loved about Comic Related was its sheer love of comics as an art form, and its focus on smaller, more independent creators. That gave me a freedom to have opinions about books and creators that might not have been popular, as well as a platform to shout out more obscure creators and media that deserved attention. I can honestly say that I was never censored by Chuck, Brant, or John (most of the censorship came from myself), and that I always felt that we were a great voice that deserved to be heard....

....but in this current online media climate, it's a voice that needs to be asserted. Many comics/media sites either focus on being PR machines for the Big Two or second-guessing creators in order to pursue their own agenda. With the comic industry now "big business" and driving much spin-off media, it has become more difficult for smaller voices to be heard. In our current comic-saturated (and I will dare to say, "oversaturated") media culture, it's becoming increasingly difficult to remain independent.

But on the other hand, Comic Related is ending on its own terms, and for that I will respect the decision to close the site. Many of my fellow contributors are part of my "family by choice" (rather than "family by chance"), and I'll still remain connected with them through various online channels....

....and this is also the shot-in-the-arm I've needed for the blog. My creative writing commitments have led me away from the blog (being in terminal job search mode also hasn't helped), but I believe that once I let go of anything, there's space for something new to come in. In that spirit, if you're interested in having me review your book, no matter how small, you can reach out to me via this convenient Contact Me form. (Yes, it's from my personal site; although this blog has a contact form, I'll need to switch that in the next few days). I'll also download my past columns as PDFs; I'm thinking of possibly reprinting them in ebook form (please let me know in the comments your thoughts).

I'm going to miss Comic Related - it was a great site to be a contributor. I'm grateful to Chuck for taking me on, and for Brant and John for putting up with me. I'll miss it, and the next few days will be a bit rough....but much of my current creative "renaissance" was due to that column.

I'm proud to have been part of the Comic Related family. I'm also not ashamed to say that publicly.

No comments: