Sunday, June 16, 2013

Four Years in the Rearview Mirror!


 Doug:  Yep, time for that annual rite of passage as time marches on -- it's our anniversary!  If you get into the Wayback Machine and set that baby for June 16 2009, you'll find the first post from your hosts on this blog.  As they say, time certainly does fly by, and I have to admit to perusing old posts myself, as I know many of you do either from the links on the sidebar or the "You might also like..." feature at the bottom of each day's post.  It's fun to get that sense of evolution and history as we've gone on.  Today's a chance to take a breather and reflect on the past 12 months of Bronze Age Babies publication.

Doug:  For my money, the most notable innovation of the past year was our vacation in January.  If you weren't around for it, we decided to take a break from new posts, choosing instead to re-run "classic" comic book reviews from our backlog of material, and then try something totally different -- throw 20 days worth of our discussion-based posts wide open to our readers.  And you know what?  It was an exciting experiment that really proved to be rewarding -- rewarding from our point-of-view, as the community-based site we'd hoped to create was proven to really exist, and I think rewarding from our readers' points-of-view because they got the opportunity to circumvent the Suggestion Box and go for it in an immediate sense.  What I don't understand, though, was the fall-off in our readership just after the vacation ended.  Here's a screenshot from the Comic Blog Elite, which we check out from time-to-time for statistical purposes.  You can see the emigration from the BAB over the past several months, as compared to the latter months of 2012.  This is something I cannot explain.

Karen: Our vacation was not only a nice break and chance to recharge the batteries, it also gave the rest of our BABsters a chance to take the lead, as Doug said. That turned out to be a whole lot of fun. I was really amazed and pleased by the response and it was fun to be just one of the gang, leaving comments. I think we might want to do some more "DIY" posts. The results we get are quite entertaining!

Doug:  I couldn't agree more.  I've long wondered why some of our non-blogging readers don't have their own sites, as we certainly have some knowledgeable and well-spoken folks who stop by.

Doug:  Books that really dominated the conversations around here were the Marvel Firsts: The 1970's series of three volumes and of course Sean Howe's thought-provoking Marvel Comics: The Untold Story.  We got a ton of mileage out of the Marvel Firsts, especially during October when we featured the first appearances of the Monster of Frankenstein, Werewolf by Night, Dracula, and the Living Mummy.  Of course everyone knows that sort of thing leans toward Karen's interests more than mine, but I was very happy to sort of get my feet wet in that genre.

Karen: I'm definitely the monster and sci-fi nut around here, it's true, but you jumped right in on those reviews! I really am glad I got those Marvel Firsts books. They're a great overview of the eclectic nature of 70s Marvel. Super-heroes, monsters, westerns, science fiction -pretty much anything you could think of, Marvel was printing it. The Howe book certainly was a hard read for us. We knew that the 'Marvel Bullpen' was mostly a fantasy, but reading about some of the things that happened at the company was disheartening. It did however engender some interesting discussion here.

Doug:  And speaking of discussion, which is the backbone of this blog, we keep trying to innovate the way we encourage you to chat with us.  We seemed to hit on two winners when we came up with our "Who's the Best...?" and "True or False?" genres.  The former seems to be a lot of fun, as Karen or I provide a short list of a certain something, and you do the rest.  We really love to see how far the net is cast!  The "True or False?" form is still in its infancy, but there have been some wonderful conversations as you voice your opinions.  We'll keep these going into the 5th year, as well as our old standbys like "The Open Forum" and "Discuss".

Karen: I enjoy that we can throw out just about anything and get some sort of response. I feel pretty free to toss out any idea -Jonny Quest, Major Matt Mason, Harlan Ellison - whatever, you folks always have something to say! Sure, there are some posts that have fallen a bit flat, but for the most part, we can get a discussion going on just about anything.

Doug:  I thought we got some good suggestions from our readers that have proven to be useful to all readers of the blog.  The "Recent Comments" section has really allowed older posts to maintain their commenting lives, as anyone checking out that feature (on the sidebar, if you don't know what we're talking about) can immediately go to one of our last ten comments.  The reading list, which admittedly some have viewed as a daily spoiler of sorts, does give those users an opportunity to read ahead of our reviews (assuming they have the stories, of course).  We're open to change, as long as we feel it fits the spirit of the blog and our greater community.

Doug:  So, what's ahead in the 5th year (man, that just doesn't seem possible!)?  While we really haven't gotten too far into future ideas, you can tell that we have July and August planned for comics reviews.  We have discussed whether or not it's time to tackle "The Dark Phoenix Saga"; for whatever reason, X-Men is the only title we've dealt with in the order of publication (well, at least until we skipped a few issues to get to the "Proteus" storyline).  Rest assured we'll do it at some point.  Personally, I'd bug Karen to do some early stories from Steve Englehart's run on the Avengers, specifically when Mantis and the Swordsman came back on the scene.  For books that I'd do solo, expect more of the Bob Haney/Jim Aparo Brave and the Bolds, and I just ordered the DC Library Edition Superman: Kryptonite Nevermore.  We definitely need to get some Superman on the blog.

Karen: There was a recent suggestion to review old issues of Starlog magazine -that was something I intended to do years ago, when I discovered my old issues out in the garage, but never got around to it. I guess I'll add that to the list! I might even get back to my FOOM magazine reviews. I haven't forgotten about the science fiction and fantasy novels and writers posts either, I'll get back to them as well, and of course we'll have more movie, TV, and music discussions as well.

Doug:  As always, this spot wouldn't be so meaningful to Karen and I without the continued readership of the folks who happen by each day.  Some of you have stuck with us for a loooonng time, and there's certainly a sort of kinship that has developed.  Whether you know it or not, we really get excited to see that email notification that we have a comment on one of our posts.  Thanks for brightening our day, each day!

Karen: What he said!

23 comments:

Humanbelly said...

Ah, many, many Congratulations to ya, Doug & Karen! By my reckoning there'd have to be at least several hundred of us that are hitching up regularly to your Bronze Age Cosmic Wagon Train, yes? Even w/ the dip in visitation numbers? Man, I wouldn't worry about that-- it's such a nice community of bright, enjoyable folks, and you do a fantastic job of maintaining that sense of operating on a personal level with all of us. It always feels like a group of folks 'round here, never a horde.

I don't do a whole lot of surfing around our genre' blogosphere, and that's because I'm generally disappointed in the results when I do. Soooooo many sites are either a)completely unattended/abandoned/non-functioning or idle, b) so big & overpopulated that you get lost within even the smallest group of threads, or c)seem to thrive on a steady diet of who can out-crude/out-profane/out-flame each other as explosively and cruelly as possible. That last is particularly off-putting, and our genre(s) do seem to attract a hefty proportion of that bunch.

Aaaaaand that does not happen here (Ha! Or to put it in Bendis-speak: Does. Not. Happen. Here.) in this delightful oasis of good will and civility the two of you have created. Believe me, the time and effort you put into it is mucho appreciado grande (okay, never took high school Spanish. . .), and I'm sure I speak for several score of us in offering our thanks and encouragment to continue unabated.
(Although those several score should still speak for themselves, eh? Just like the end of "It's A Wonderful Life", y'know?)

My lovely and brilliant wife, who is by no means a comic book fan, insists that its actually quite important for our cognitive health as we age to engage in exactly this kind of mentally stimulating activity-- what with the writing, the analysis, the forming and voicing of opinion, the sharing of ideas, because it's not the subject matter itself that is key, but the process we go through when actively engaging with it and with others.

(I mean, there are a couple of trilobite communities out there, even. And you don't want to cross folks the wrong way in that crowd, believe me!)

Oh! May I add. . . A Happy Father's Day, as well!

Hmm-- any grandfathers amongst us yet, out there?

HB

Redartz said...

Well said HB! Can't add much to your comments, but will take a stab at it.

Doug And Karen- congratulations on running such a fine site, and thanks for all the time and obvious love you have devoted to it. As HB noted, the process of conversation is a great benefit to us all, and BAB stimulates plenty of this. Your topics and reviews are literate and entertaining, and the friendly quality of this community makes it a pleasure to read. It seems as if the Internet brings out the worst of folks when you visit some sites ( even friends and relatives can make visiting Facebook uncomfortable). Yet here, we are truly among friends. Here's to another year of BAB; be well and be happy.

Oh, a very happy Father's Day to all, from the father of two comics fans and the grandfather of a future one...

Fred W. Hill said...

Well, I'm not a father myself, HumanB, although one of my younger brothers already has 5 grandchildren (he's now 50 and I just turned 51 on Friday), but I am about to cross the Florida peninsula over to Clearwater to visit with my dad. Anyhow, I echo your congratulations to Doug & Karen on this 4th anniversary! It's been a lot of fun discussing old favorites from our childhoods/ young adulthoods. And I really appreciate that although various posters may have some disagreements we are predominantly mature enough to avoid being disagreeable and make this a positive experience for us all. Thanks Doug & Karen!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Humanbelly said it perfectly. Personally, I read quite a few blogs every day, but this is the only one where I actually comment (yes, I'm a lurker); I guess I just feel comfortable here. So happy anniversary (blogiversary?)

Mike W.

david_b said...

Not much to add, all my best to Doug and Karen, GREAT cross-section of topocs, great opinions expressed, lots of love felt.

Hard to say which columns I love more, everything seems to work well. I love hearin' from all our gang of regulars. It's quite literally a home away from home..n whether I'm at my desk or out on some rare vacation.

My humble thanks. And more so, thanks for putting up with all of us, especially me and my long posts (which I hpoe makes sense every so often...) and avatar-changin' ways.

Here's to the next 4 years...!

William Preston said...

This site brings me near-daily joy. Thanks for the posts and the truly pleasant, bright, fun community.

Congratulations!

Comicsfan said...

I was so pleased to find this nice oasis of comics fandom when I first started blogging. Congrats on such a great site--it's a pleasure to read, and always a pleasure to return to. :)

Edo Bosnar said...

Yep, pretty much everyone else said it, probably more eloquently than me. So congratulations on four fun-filled years, and a very, very heartfelt thanks from me also, for taking the time to do all of this and playing host to the bunch of us.
And Karen, looking forward to the SF/fantasy/writers posts.

vancouver mark said...

My morning routine is to click on the computer and go make coffee. I sit down and start off with two daily prayer/devotional websites. Then a quick scan of the morning's headlines. Then I slow down and relax with you guys. Thank you for the many many pleasant hours.

Mike said...

Congrats guys! -- you two run a great blog. I follow it pretty religiously now, and it is one of the very few that I actually comment on and have recommended to others.

Now, Bronze Age Babies, on to greater and better things for the coming years! -- up, up and awaaay!!

(trying to psyche myself up for Man of Steel ... sorry about that)

themiddlespaces said...

Back from my trip. It was awesome!

Anyway, I am new around here, but I took an immediately liking to this pace. As others have mentioned, the discussions are always polite without being worthless unanimous agreement (not even close!), and I love the Bronze Age and appreciate the perspective of folks who got into the comics just a little before I did.

Thank for the site. Is there a place where you guys posted more history about the site? What drove you to start it? How'd you attract a community? Does it have its origins in another site or community?

ALSO: I wonder if the dip in the view has to do with your break? Could there have been people who stopped looking everyday, planning to return after January, but kind of falling off?

Future post suggestions: I don't know if you've post about this, but something I'd love to see a post about are people's collecting practices. How did it start? How has it changed? How do you store and/or catalog your collection? Have you moved to only trades or just keep issues? Etc.. . How do you decide what to look for? We have a great range of people here, so I am curious about that.

Here's to four (or forty) more years!

P.S. Call me Osvaldo :)

Steve Does Comics said...

Congratulations to the pair of you. It's always one of the first blogs I visit and, as I've said elsewhere, this is one of the sites that inspired me to launch a blog of my own.

Doug said...

Thanks to all for the very kind words! Those of you who've commented on the environment here - that's very gratifying!

Osvaldo - indeed we have done several posts in the past that answered the very questions you've asked. I will try to dig them up later.

Doug

Garett said...

Congrats you two! Love coming here, great way to start my day.

William said...

I think that Humanbelly speaks for us all, but I'll still go ahead and add my most sincere congrats to you, Karen and Doug, on the 4 year anniversary of BAB. You guys do a great job, and we all appreciate you being here and doing what you do.

I can't remember the exact day I discovered you guys, but I know it was well over a year ago (maybe two), and now BAB is usually the first site I visit on the web each morning. (Just to see what's up). I'm not at all a fan of the modern approach to comic storytelling, so you guys are like an island oasis in a sea of mediocrity.

You asked why more of us don't have our own blogs? The answer probably because we don't need to as long you two are here. We all have similar interests, and if we had our own blogs they would most likely cover the same subject matter as you, and that would redundant. (I do have my own website myself, but I just use it to publish my action figure comics).

So keep up the good work. Looking forward to year five of BAB!

The Groovy Agent said...

Congrats, guys! Man, time doth fly! I've read you guys from the beginning, and while I don't get to comment often enough, I'm by here every day to at least lurk for a while. You guys are the real deal, covering so much ground and creating such a cool atmosphere. Keep on truckin'!

Karen said...

Hi folks, thanks a million for all the love today. The blog would not be worth doing if not for your participation. That's really what makes it fun.

Doug and I first met at the Avengers Assemble board about 7 or 8 years ago and back then there was a great camaraderie there. That was what we hoped to develop with this blog, and thankfully, through you all, that has come to pass. It's fun to hear you talk about BAB as part of your morning routine, because my morning routine includes the anticipation of reading your comments!

I also want to give a shout out to my blog partner, Doug, for all his hard work. In the last two years especially, as I have split time with other writing projects, he has really shouldered the burden of coming up with new ideas and moving ahead with solo posts (like the delightful Zany Bob Haney reviews) and I appreciate his efforts. His dedication to keeping us updated daily is impressive.

So many thanks to you all, and also a happy Fathers Day to those of you who are fathers, or have taken on that role for a child who is not your own -fathers come in many guises!

Karen

Graham said...

Congratulations. I don't comment very much, but this is one of the nicest groups of people I've ever encountered on the internet. Everyone here is so knowledgeable about this subject, that usually all I have to do is read the comments. This is a regular stop for me everyday, whether you hear from me or not. :)

Anonymous said...

Can't add much to what's been said, other than many thanks to you both for my favorite blog. Always cheers me up. Many happy returns. My hat is off to you both.

J.A. Morris said...

Congrats to you on 4 great years, and thanks for inspiring me to start two comic blogs...which I need to update ASAP!

Thanks for creating such a wonderful community for myself & the other regulars.

Anonymous said...

Can't add much. Karen, Doug and the whole BAB community make my day!

Tom

Unknown said...

Five years! Congratulations! You've lasted longer than the original Star Trek did. No wonder you guys needed a vacation. BAB is always one of my daily stops. I don't always have the time I would like to comment, but that's how life is these days. The community of regulars that have grown around this blog are an amiable and perceptive bunch.

I've been finding the peripheral posts as interesting as the straight-up comics posts. I was growing into the wide world of science fiction in the mid-to-late 70's, and BAB seems to be finding all the touchstones of my youth. The recent discussion on Ellison was another great example.

I mentioned Byron Priess in the Ellison comments as a suggestion for a future post. Steranko's Mediascene, and Star-Reach were also part of my 70's experience. Starlog was a big part of it as well. From the 2nd issue on, I never missed an issue. I started collecting Heavy Metal in 1979. Did any other BABer's "graduate" to Heavy Metal in their teens?

I am actually working on an idea for a blog, but god knows when or even if I'll ever get it off the ground Time is at a premium these days.

James Chatterton

Joseph said...

Congrats to both of you and to the BAB blog community as a whole. Echoing what others have said, this is my favorite comic site and that is the direct result of the quality of the posts and comments.

Keep up the great work, everyone!

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