Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Monday Morning Meditation...

...on segments of the comics blogosphere, and why I increasingly blog about other topics.

My Headline: "New Thing Launched"
Commentary: "That thing is terrible! It ate my cat! How dare you cover this!"

My Headline: "This Art Is Ugly And Trite"
Commentary: "This art is beautiful! If you weren't so afraid of good clean sex between a man and a woman, you'd appreciate it as much as I do!"

My Headline: "Will This Character Die?"
Commentary 1: "This character died three years ago and came back as an albatross!"
Commentary 2: "This character already died -- and came back as an albatross! Duh!"
Commentary 3: "Didn't you remember that issue where he died only to return triumphantly as an albatross?"

My Headline: "Don't Forget To Check This Out!"
Commentary: "You're the sister of the letterer! You've got a nefarious vested interest! You're not allowed to show your support! I mean, I've got connections too -- but I'm a serious journalist!"

My Headline: "Racist?"
Commentary: "No, you're racist! F**k you!"

My Headline: "Sexist?"
Commentary: "No, you're sexist! F**k you!"

My Headline: "Not Sexist"
Commentary: "Stop hating your gender!"

My Headline: "Maybe The Industry Should Grow And Develop"
Commentary: "Why do you hate the retailers?"

My Headline: "Chicken Crosses Road"
Commentary: "I wrote a post with that subject 8 months ago! In fact, I invented chickens."

My Headline: "Women In Comics Shouldn't Be Defined By Just How They Are Oppressed By Men"
Commentary: "But then who will I continually blame for my failure and bitterness?"

My Headline: "Interview!"
Commentary: "This person ate my cat! And killed Jimmy Hoffa! And is a racist! And stole my idea for the chickens!"

My Headline: "Change Is Coming!"
Commentary: "F**k you!"

My Headline: "Here Is This Positive Thing I Found"
Commentary: "Here are 50 negatives, and also why you suck."

My Headline: "I'm So Sick Of This Petty Bullshit"
Commentary: "Oh, I see somebody is on the rag!"

So I'm pretty much just going to blog about my life, the books I like, etc. on here for now on, and keep it more like a LiveJournal thing. If you're a fan, and you enjoy the blog, that's great and it's appreciated. If you want breaking comics news, it probably will not be here. At some point I may launch something like that, but it wouldn't be an extension of Occasional Superheroine. I will also be reviewing a lot of independent comics as opposed to mainstream -- I'd say 2/3rds independent to 1/3 mainstream.

In addition, I want to get as much cross-pollination going on between those in comics and those who are outside of it but are into other things like film, art, science-fiction, etc.

And, in case you haven't noticed, I've launched a new blog, which is more of a "cool s**t I found" thing. It's only a week old, so that stated purpose might develop and change.

Finally, there are two other blogs/journals I might like to try: one on just my writing, and one focusing on the cool arts and development going on in my Brooklyn neighborhood.

As for the cranks...


  1. Why is it the cranks and snarky people seem to have more of an effect on what gets posted online that the people who genuinely enjoy what is written?

    I just answered my own question, didn't I? Well, whatever. I enjoy your writing here about everything, and not just comics.

  2. I always have been a fan of "desegregating" blogs-- I hope you don't stop writing about the comic rags, but I'm always happy for a sneak peak inside. I say just pile your writing, your whole nine yards, all of it in here!

  3. I'm a little confused, I thought the sort of crap you've had to endure is one of the reasons you went to fully moderating your blog posts? I mean, I haven't seen very many of those "you're afraid of sex!" posts.

    Ah, well. It's of course your blog to do with as you please, but I really enjoy seeing your commentary on the Big Four's stuff. I mean, I still haven't seen any reaction to the latest issue of Robin! ^^

  4. And who could blame you for going this route? Well, probably some people. But not this little black duck!

  5. Long time reader, first time commenter.
    ...I've really enjoyed your blog over the past few months. Don't let the bastards get you down. Everyone's a critic on the internet, and unfortunately it's the critics who yell the loudest. Just write want you want and let the go to hell

  6. Wow. Thanks for a great morning summation of the comic blogosphere.
    Saved me a lot of time!

    That's why you're the best! :)

  7. It sucks you face so much hostility on this here internets that you feel you have to change what you post and how you post about it. I'll just say that I love your blog and look foward to every new update in my Google Reader.

  8. you just killed my chicken :/

  9. Val:
    For what it's worth, I hope you continue to 'blog about comics-related topics. I've come to find the site indispensable and always thought-provoking.

  10. Ah Half Baked. So much wisdom.

    I like the aggregate of cool stuff you like idea. If I recall correctly, that's how some of the early search pages were started (before they had things like crawlers and databases and google). I started one of art inspiration links mainly so I don't have to re-find them again.

    Anywho, good luck with the new direction. I still digs.

    *hopes he's like the "cool" old lady*

  11. Sometimes when your Uncle Stanley resents the countless malcontents prone to vapid venting, I go to the Internet Anagram Server for help with my replies. I don't know why telling someone that "gecko fouls fury" makes me feel better, but it does!

    Rice Ex Sol!

  12. I see you've had those kind of days too.


  13. I'll keep reading regardless. People's general attitudes towards things give me headaches, but I've always been a fan even if I totally didn't agree. Also, horay for Wordpress!

    -costa k

  14. Good luck with all that! Cool Aggregator has been pretty genius so far and I say that having not even realized it was your blog until you mentioned it. I just thought you linked it because it was cool.

  15. Is this post for real? If so, that's terribly disappointing. Your insights on comics are simply the best online.

    I hope that the slew of posts begging you to stay will give you a moment's pause...

    In any case, I'll be sticking around regardless.

  16. You can only let words from strangers affect you so much.

    But if you want to understand or even learn anything from their comments, maybe putting the real comments as opposed as what you felt the comment was, would be a step in the right direction.

    It doesn't take a lot for me to believe you when you say people are being unfair and mean in the comments section, but it really feeds their bias if you "translate" their comments into what you felt them to be. Not that you should care, honestly.

    Just keep doing the thing you do,a and don't let the negativity in, that's what I say.

  17. I enjoy a lot of the commentary provided by like-minded peers on the web, but I don't let the negative comments and experiences colour my view of the internet as a whole.

    Everyone knows who the Klu Klux Klan are, but would you say they're indicative of the opinions of America as a nation? Likewise with the internet, it's the big stupid stuff that stands out more, makes us forget the largely positive things that the freeform communal spirit of the web has to offer - like the many supportive comments I see here frequently, and on some of the more friendly forums around the web (and there are quite a few if you look).

    You shouldn't view the web as a negative experience so much. You should view it as a largely positive one, but - like life - one dotted with the occasional loudmouthed asshole trying to be heard. I can be an asshole sometimes, but don't lump me in with that guy.

  18. Blog however you like, Val. I'll keep reading.

  19. This post makes me laugh. I love your blog. I support you writing about whatever you want to write about. Did I mention this was a great post?
    So, yes, I'll continue to read, I'm sorry you have to put up with cranks and hate that you feel forced to edit yourself.

  20. Anonymous3:33 PM

    I figured out ages ago all tastes like Chicken. Badly cooked chicken. 0_0. I just blog about what I want, and eventually--the cooks move on.

    It's so nice when they move on...

    I don't always agree with your opinions, but your subject choices are your own--and that's how it should be.

    PS- I invented pariah-ism, how dare you! (^_-)

  21. I just wanted to let you know that if I ever said anything that discouraged you from expressing your opinion in any way, I'm really, deeply, sincerely sorry. I'd like to think I haven't; we agree on a lot of things, and I hope that in those rare cases where we disagree I've managed to make it clear that I disagree with a particular statement, not with you as a person. But just in case I'm wrong and I don't know it, I apologize, because I would never want to see anyone feel like they can't express their thoughts and ideas due to the reactions of others.

    *gives a significant look to everyone else* And I'm sure everyone else agrees with me, right? :)

  22. I have to concur with much of what has been said here. You should keep blogging about comics. I have been a long-time reader and an occasional commenter.

    This is an op/ed site where you write your opinion. Some people will agree and some won't. The problem is that in our current world people think louder and more vociferous means better.

    You are right that there have been negative comments to your blogs that have seemed over the top. I also noticed that there are plenty of comments that seem sycophantic in their support of you. That's the nature of blogs ... especially one as courageous as yours, where you lay it all on the line.

    I tend to comment only when I feel I can add to the discussion. For example, I don't think the Titans cover was over the top at all. I mean, they are in their costumes! They could have had them naked with Star so pressed against Dick that we get the 'half-boob' effect. Certainly there are other covers which I felt where more objectionable. But that is simply a difference between you and me, so writing it in that string seemed silly (almost as silly as my writing it in this string).

    The truth is I was brought to this site by some Supergirl string a long time ago and stayed here to read your views on things. You come from a different angle than I do. I'd hate to see that go.

    And finally, like many I have a blog which exists in internet limbo. I can only hope that someday mine gets noticed and is so controversial that I get angry responses.

    Keep writing OS!

  23. My cat! Ahhh! No Patrick noooo!
    You were too beautiful for this world, Patrick.

    That said, I think it's great you're deciding to take your blog into your own hands Val. Some of your non-comics posts are the best in my opinion (re: your laptop struggles).

    Good luck, and hopefully us fans will take some lessons in Not Complaining 101.

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. Hey Val...

    My guess is you aren't reading these posts anymore, because you've moved on to other subjects. But on the off chance you are still checking in, I wanted to just say this...

    Years ago, when I lived in NY, I used to write soap operas. I was in my 20s, surrounded by 50 year old burn out writers who had settled for spewing out crappy daytime dramas to bored housewives.

    When I took the job right out of film school, I decided I wanted to do something different with the medium and add some life into what I saw was a dead genre.

    I was a lifelong comic book reader who thought that a lot of the serialized story techniques that I loved as a child could be utilized in the daytime serials to make them more fun and intriguing.

    Soon after I started, the established writers started henpecking me, backstabbing me and undermining me in the network meetings, doing their best to make me look stupid for my "weird" and "unconventional" ideas.

    After a year of writing, ratings went up and I won an Emmy for my work. But this only pissed off the older writers, who didn't understand my references to Alan Moore, Frank Miller and Keith Giffen.

    It was frustrating, because I was young and naive enough to think we were all on the same team. I thought we were all trying to tell stories that-- despite the limitations of the medium-- moved people. Yes, soaps might be silly, but that didn't mean they couldn't be fun.

    I wrote for three different shows over four years. And at all three major networks, I found the situation to be the same. The established writers resisted new ideas, fresh perspectives and original techniques.

    Finally, I quit. I couldn't deal with the shortsightedness and territorial conceits that motivated these petty "writers."

    And then, a year ago, I found your blog. And I immediately fell in love with your writing.

    Part of the reason why I responded so deeply and so profoundly to your perspective is that I felt a connection to you. I felt that your experience with the major comic book outlets was similar to my own experience to the major networks.

    You speak with an honesty that is sorely lacking in the mainstream media. You challenge conventional wisdom. You force people of all races and both sexes to examine the stories that are being handed to them by the corporate publishers. And at the same time, you direct readers to independent books that are worthwhile and meaningful.

    I hate to think that a small group of closed minded, conventional "critics" have caused you to question your role and importance in this information highway.

    You and I live thousands of miles apart, but thanks to technology, you move me on a weekly basis. You make me question my own ideas as white male in my 30s. You make me re-examine what I believe. You make me think about what is important and what is merely noise.

    Comic books can be so much more than what they typically are. They are an art form that can have a lasting, generational impact. And your perspective is both informed and terribly important.

    I feel sad for all of us if we lose your clear and educated perspective. Yes, we can still think and judge on our own. But your voice and your opinion was better and more powerful than anyone else on the entire web.

    And that means (in my opinion) that it was the most important voice on the planet on these issues. Because the web-- more than any other medium-- links the world together.

    I am sorry that some small minded people drove you to this point. I know what that feels like first hand. I quit writing for nearly a decade because of similar people. But I'm back.

    And I hope you will stay. Because we need you.

    You are a unique voice.

    The world is changing. And I believe you were chosen by Friends of Lulu for a reason.

    Your voice is important.

    I will follow you wherever you go. But I sincerely hope we don't lose your voice in the comic book world. My guess is people in the know listen to you and read what you have to say.

    I don't want that voice to go silent. And judging from the postings here, neither do a great number of people.

    Like I said, I have a feeling this post will end up lost in the Internet-ether. But in case it doesn't, I want you to know that your words and thoughts have had a profound impact on me.

    Your writing has made me a better man, a better consumer, and a better reader.

    And I will continue reading what you have to say.

  26. It's a shame that the ones who have the least constructive things to say are also the most vocal.

    I will continue to have you in my Favorites folder regardless of what you choose to write about because you're a good writer, but for what it's worth I have always found your perspective on comics and the comics world illuminating and useful.