Monday, June 16, 2014

How's That for Half a Decade?

Karen: Five years? Has it really been that long? Wow. I can remember very clearly when we started the BAB -everything else is a blur...But seriously, I know both Doug and I feel a sense of achievement making it this far, and most of that feeling comes from you guys, the BAB community, without whose interaction it just wouldn't be the same. I mean, without you guys, it'd just be me and Doug talking to each other, or ourselves, and while that could be fun for a little while, it's not five years worth of hoots and hollers, so hats off to you all, for making this the place that we hoped it would be when we started five years ago.

Doug: Funny story -- way back before we were on our first blog, when the discussion was taking place concerning what we wanted to do about expanding our thoughts on various Silver and Bronze Age comic books, Karen suggested we start a blog. Guess who was skeptical just about up to the date of that first publication? Yup -- me. I think I've warmed to the idea since! And as we've said many times, it's been a labor of love. I want to express again how great this venue has been for me in terms of really getting me back into comics reading. I had been going through the motions in the late 90s-early 00s, buying books that just stacked up, languishing atop the longboxes in my basement comic room. But since I've been a part of two blogging teams, my readership of books I loved (and some I never knew) has taken it's rightful place in my spare time. So I'm thankful to have this forum every day to come and meet some friends for some cordial conversations.

Doug: Looking back over the past year, there are some innovations and milestones worth mentioning. First off, forming a presence on Twitter has brought us new readers and commenters, as well as a wonderful opportunity. Through use of @bronzeagebabies, we have been fortunate to meet several other wonderful bloggers, and those new associations and friendships gained us a part of the second and third renditions of the Super Blog Team-Up. Speaking for Karen (if I may), we were so proud of our first post in this series, when we took a tour through the convoluted history of the Vision and the Original Human Torch. I will again laud Karen for her research in kicking off that post so that we could both then run with it. And it was our presence on Twitter that got us close enough to Kurt Busiek to be able to email him a couple of questions. Those of you who read the post enjoyed his lengthy explanation of his thought process in explaining some of the ways he "undid" the damage wrought by John Byrne in the pages of Avengers West Coast. As to our more recent offering in the SBTU on the Frightful Four, the deadline approached during a somewhat trying time for each of us. Again, if I can speak for Karen, I don't feel that either of us was satisfied with our output on that post. Perhaps it was due to the personal life factors, perhaps it was due to our chest-puffing over the Vision post... but I would never say that we put our best efforts into the FF post. I think I can say publicly, because I don't know why it wouldn't happen, that our pal Osvaldo Oyola will be bringing The Middle Spaces to the ranks of the SBTU on our next go-round in the early autumn.

Doug: As to the milestones, you may recall that we recently published our 1500th post; today's offering is #1544 for those scoring at home. Also for you numbers geeks, either today or tomorrow someone will make the 23,000th comment on the BAB. I guess that more than anything brings a sense of satisfaction to us that we've done what we set out to do -- seriously... 23K comments? Please hear my applause directed at you, the reader. You've done what we wanted you to do when we started five years ago -- to partner with us in a venture that would electronically create the feeling we may have gotten in years gone by, standing at the spinner rack or newsstand the day new comics came out. One more number: tomorrow I'll review Detective Comics #363 from the recently-released Tales of the Batman: Carmine Infantino hardcover. It will be the 489th review by the Bronze Age Babies.

Karen: Now I know some of you might have wondered what's been going on here lately, as I've been less active in these parts. It was even brought to my attention that a few thought there might have been problems brewing here between Doug and I . Nothing could be further from the truth! As we're moving forward I feel like I owe you all an explanation. Back in September, my Dad was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. As you can imagine, this was devastating news. Over the last nine months my life was pretty much consumed with this situation. Then last month, Dad passed away after fighting so hard. Throughout it all, Doug has been just outstanding in his support for me. I could not have asked for a better blog-partner, or friend. It took an enormous load off of my mind knowing that I did not have to worry about the blog during this time. I'm very thankful to him for everything he's done, and continues to do, here. However, going forward, I have started to think about my priorities, and I realize I do want to spend some more time with my husband and loved ones, and I need to achieve some goals I've had for myself for some time. This being said, something has to give, and for now, that means fewer partner reviews on the blog. They just take an  incredible amount of time for me. But that doesn't mean we won't still do some! Things are just changing a bit, and I hope you understand why.

Doug: I've of course been very supportive of Karen, and she of me. Not wanting to wreck a good thing, I nonetheless questioned the direction of the BAB with her fading into a less-regular role. I told her (in one of our editorial meetings -- do you know how hard it is to buy/bring the donuts to a meeting when the person you are meeting with is over 1500 miles away?) that I thought we had two "spirits" of the BAB: our partner reviews, and the great community of readers who rally around this space daily. I even offered an opinion that we close this down and immediately re-open on another blog where we'd operate a bit more as individuals -- I was thinking of our readers and your expectations of us and of this blog. I think in the end her advice is very sound -- we need to keep the BAB going, as our readers have adapted to every new idea we've thrown your way through the years (even the clunkers here and there). So when you come by tomorrow, we'll both be here -- as David Byrne said, "Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was". But a seven days a week schedule? That's probably not to be seen for awhile, unless one of us throws something together quickly on a weekend.

Doug: And speaking of the beginning of the 6th year (sheesh!), here's what you can expect -- my solo reviews of the first four issues of Frank Miller's turn on Daredevil, as well as a George Perez Wonder Woman, and then in August to celebrate the release of the Guardians of the Galaxy film, we're going to get back into that partner review saddle and bring the BAB treatment to the first four Guardians (the real Guardians, no less) issues of Marvel Presents. And, Karen did note to me Saturday that it is a shame that our Giant-Size July feature will go on hiatus this year, so for old time's sake we're going to squeeze in a partner review of Fantastic Four Annual #5. So, the more things change, the more they stay the same, huh? Oh, and to Edo Bosnar? You know how you're always singing the praises of DC's Blue Ribbon Digest? I have a new discussion-based category coming your way this week, with that title. Just wait -- it'll be fun!


Anonymous said...

Woo hoo !! Happy birthday - let's hope BAB is still going strong in another five years. Karen, sorry about your father - both my parents are deceased and it certainly leaves a big gap.

Redartz said...

Karen- truly sorry to hear about your father; my sympathies to you and your family.

As for the BAB, here's a big hi-five for reaching 5 years! Both of you deserve much praise for your obvious efforts, and for all the time you have devoted to this site. The combination of great hosts and a wide array of enthusiastic commenters make this blog a true gem. Any changes you make, any adjustments you feel are needed- worry not. This has been a great ride, and I for one will stay aboard for more fun and enlightenment! Again, thanks Karen and Doug; best wishes to you both (and to all you other BABabies).

William said...

First of all, I'd like to offer my heartfelt condolences to Karen on the passing of her father. I can definitely relate (and sympathize) as my own father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year. He went through surgery and radiation treatments and, according to the doctors, he is doing much better now. However, it was a very stressful several months there for a while.

Next I'd like to congratulate you guys on your five-year anniversary. I wasn't around for your very first blog post, (but it looks awesome and I plan to go back and read it when I get the chance). However, every since I came across your little slice of Bronze Age nostalgia heaven, I have been a daily reader. In fact, it's usually the first place I go each morning.

While it's awesome that BAB has been around so long, and been so successful, it's also a little bitter-sweet that you two are not going to be able to collaborate on the same level that you have in the past. I was surprised to hear that you guys were even considering ending BAB and starting something entirely new. That would have been a bit of a bummer, I must admit. I think you are doing the right thing by just keeping the current format going as best you can. I'll still keep reading, and I hope you guys stick with for many years to come. Congrats again!!!

dbutler16 said...

First, my condolences to Karen. I've been very lucky so far, so I can only imagine what you've been going through.

Second, happy birthday! Save me a piece of cake.

Third, like Doug, I'd only been going through the motions with the newer books. They just didn't bring me that much happiness, and wren't worth my time or money. It's always nice to meet some like minded individuals to discuss the "good old days" with, even if I can't visit this blog as much as I'd like.

Humanbelly said...

Fantastic post, you guys. Rest assured that the appreciation is reflected right back at you by all of us and is magnified several hundred-fold. Maybe even several hundred-and-one-fold (but who's counting?).

Karen, have no doubt that pretty much everyone in this community offers their condolences on the loss of your father. Even when it's expected, even when we're braced for it, even when we've reached an age where it's an obvious and inevitable reality in our lives-- you simply cannot be ready for the passing of a parent. I do imagine that a large proportion of your friends here have born or are bearing that burden themselves, and are spiritually standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you.

Doug, rest assured that you handled this with admirable discretion and tact on Karen's behalf. We knew something was up, mostly 'cause Karen was lingering in the background more than usual, but you were able to convey to us that she would be fine even as you protected the privacy of her circumstances.

And let me offer a booming, thunderous, resonant vote of "YEA" in support of Karen's preferred plan to keep BAB running as-is. . . especially since "as-is" actually means that the format, material, and forum is rather nimble on a day-to-day basis anyhow, and seems to be able to adjust as necessary to the immediate circumstances of its creators (the two of youse). Honestly, I think that, Karen, in expressing your desire to direct your focus a bit more on husband and family, you've probably hit upon something close to the heart of what makes this little community of comics-loving folks work so well-- its deeper commonality: we "get" the life/work/hobby balancing act, for the most part. And while we deeply love and enjoy our particular pastime and how it can enrich our life. . . without the priority of that life in the first place, well. . . that's where personal over-investment can happen, and almost invariably turn REALLY ugly. ("Dude, how can you say Deadpool's better than Lobo?? Man, I'm gonna come to yer house and eat yer goldfishes!! !@#$%") Y'know-- like how it is on pretty much the other 99.85% of the internet world. The recent name, rank, serial # post couldn't have come at a better time to remind us all of that, in fact. We are SO fortunate to have this friendly haven of easy good-will shared by such a diverse, far-flung group of folks.

Keep it going, Doug & Karen. Adapt and modify when & where necessary, but I've no doubt the heart will carry it through for many more years to come.


The Groovy Agent said...

Congratulations of five years, you guys!! What a wonderful place you've carved here for us to explore, enjoy, and express our love for great old comicbooks! Ya keep on truckin', now!!

Edo Bosnar said...

Oh, man, Karen, I'm genuinely sorry to hear about your loss. My condolences and best wishes go out to you and your family.

Otherwise, congratulations on the blog - not just the anniversary, but the whole thing, really. You both have certainly succeeded in making this a fun place to visit and comment every day, and there's really no need to shut down the blog and start over again due to changing circumstances. I know as long as it's BAB and you two are around here someone, I'll keep on visiting.
And I'm looking forward to all the stuff in the pipeline for this summer - and I'm suitably intrigued by the Blue Ribbon category...

david_b said...

First off, Karen, my utmost humble condolences on the passing of your father. Like yours, mine shaped me in far too many ways for me to even contemplate. In the first few years after mine past on (in 2004..), I would kid myself and muse 'Hmm, haven't talked to Dad in a while, better call him today', even though obviously I knew he left us. Now more recently, with my successes on the 'military side', NOT.. A.. DAY.. goes by that I don't wish he could see me for all my accomplishments, like making 'full-bird Colonel'. He certainly advocated me to go in, and I ponder at times who I'd be if I hadn't, other than far less a public servant (or a man, for that matter). Anywho, I pray you (and us all) spend time to ponder and rediscover just how our parents shaped us, like peeling back an onion, obviously 'Fathers Day' yesterday was a great time for reflection for those of us who said a loving 'good bye' to our Dads at some point.

And of course CONGRATS to our BAB homeworld here. I'm SO behind the 'keeping-as-is' notion for BAB. I have never felt so trusting and safe of all our regular contributors, I enjoy everyone's contributions.

(Even ol' Matt C., though we haven't heard from him of late, have we..?)

However the Internet evolves in the next 10-20yrs, I pray BAB will still lead the way in Bronze Age love.

Blessings, all.

Dr. Oyola said...

Karen, I am sorry for your loss. I couple of years back I had a spate where three close family members died in a span of less than 3 years. It was devastating each time. Having things to do and friends and family to spend time with is very important in the mourning process - so it is good to reevaluate your priorities, but also remember that the things that give you joy (hobbies, interests, whatever. . ) shouldn't be given up. Our lost loved ones would want that joy for us, too.

My best to you and yours. . .

That said, I hope it does not sound crass, but I am certainly happy that we won't be mourning the loss of Bronze Age Babies. I love this blog and community. As someone who only blogs once every other week, sometimes once a week, I am always impressed by the pure amount of output on BAB. And to keep it up the quality for 5 years!? HOLY CRAPOLA! I think it totally makes sense to adjust the schedule as needed. I am sure the daily posts are part of what got you such a loyal readership, but now that you have us, you can afford to let up.

I don't know exactly what goes into doing your co-written reviews, but have you every considered having guest co-reviewers a few times a year to take up the slack?

Regardless, I am looking forward to celebrating 10 years of BAB, so keep up the good work.

Finally, I am happy to be taking part in the next super blog team up!

Anonymous said...

Karen, so sorry about your father. I lost mine a little over a year ago and think of him often, especially yesterday of course. He was a great dad!

And congrats on the 5 years! And need to apologize or explain yourselves to the rest of us for anything. Sometimes I think the two of you are too hard on yourselves but I can understand that feeling when you haven't spent as much time on something as you wish you could have. But, it's that labor of love attitude that shows through on everything you guys do here and it's what keeps us all coming back. Showing up here at the BAB really is the closest thing I can think of to that "what's new on the spinner rack" feeling.


Doug said...

To everyone so far --

Thanks for the well wishes and kind words concerning this blog and our history. Truly, a great group of people happen by here each day. And thanks, too, for allaying my concerns about your adaptability. Resiliency is a positive attribute, to be sure!

Osvaldo, we've often mentioned the potential for guest-bloggers, but I would not say we've ever seriously considered it. But we know several high-quality bloggers do feature that, from Diversions of the Groovy Kind to Chasing Amazing and the Longbox Graveyard. I don't want to say never, but it's not on our radar at present.


Karen said...

Thanks everyone for your kind remarks. I appreciate it, I really do. I hesitated to say anything at all, but I knew there was some question about what was happening around the BAB and I felt it was necessary to clear things up.

Father's Day was certainly a bit difficult this year, and I know there will be a lot of feelings to sort through moving forward, but I am glad that Doug and I are continuing to move on with the BAB. Even if I don't always get the time to respond to every post, I do enjoy seeing the comments and the interaction going on here. Knowing that this has become a favorite 'dropping-in place' for a number of folks makes me feel so very happy. I'm glad you guys are willing to hang in there with us!

Like I said, I'll still be around. It's no secret that Doug has always been the more prolific of the two of us! But it's really the combination of us and you that makes the BAB what it is. Thanks so much for coming back again and again and turning this blog into a true community.

J.A. Morris said...

Condolences to Karen, sorry to hear about the loss of your father.

And congrats on 5 years! Thanks again to both of you for setting up this community, and for inspiring me to start not one but two comic blogs (the dormant one is in the process of being updated).

You're my first stop every time 7:00 AM rolls around.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about your dad, Karen; my mom died (of MS, not cancer) 14 years ago, so I can definitely empathize.

The Blue Ribbon thing sounds cool...I was a big fan of those digests too!

Mike W.

William Preston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William Preston said...

Congratulations—and thanks—on five years of web (and web-headed) fun. Karen, thanks for sharing your time and energy, even in a diminished capacity, through this difficult time.

Best wishes to you both!

Anonymous said...

The easiest way to put this would be HB, Edo, Dr Oyola, david_b, et al since they have done a far better job putting into words what I would never be able to do. Karen, I don't have the words to tell you how very sorry I am to hear.

For a lurker who came very late to this party, I've truly enjoyed the blog that "youse guys" put out. When I look over these past three posts, I see just how great BAB can be and what fun you can have on the internet. I can't believe I'm typing this, but more DC, more World Cup and as always, Make Mine Marvel!!!

The Prowler (recently received a new shipment of !!!!).

Anonymous said...

My deepest condolences go out to you Karen. I lost both of my parents, my dad in 1992 and my mom in 2002. You'll always miss them no matter how long they've been gone but you also have to be thankful for the memories and the way in which they raised you.

Well, now on a different note, congrats on the 5th anniversary of this blog. To be quite honest, I've always been amazed at Doug & Karen's stamina - to produce a blog like this on a daily basis 7 days a week takes quite a lot of time, effort and research! I read this blog everyday but posting a reply can be tiring! What, are you two related to the Flash?

Seriously, though, while I'm sad that we won't see as much output as we've become accustomed to before, I'm also glad that Karen will be focussing on the truly important matters in her life. Best wishes to you and your family Karen.

- Mike 'hey do we get a no prize for the 23,000th comment?' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Humanbelly said...

Y'know, Dave_B, it's funny-- MattC had crossed my mind as well when I was thinking about what I like about this enclave. He hasn't been around in quite some time, and I miss him too. There's something about having that steadfast, resolute, often-contrary (w/out stooping to being offensive) point of view represented that will keep any forum honest and not let it just deteriorate into being an echo-fest. Even unanimous opinions are subject to true justification.

Every group needs to have a Carol Schwarz (DC's perennial Republican mayoral candidate), is what I'm sayin'.


Stephen said...

Hi Doug and Karen - I can't remember how I discovered this blog (probably stumbled across it while doing some online research on Bronze Age titles) and I only infrequently post a comment, but I have enjoyed your work here and the amount of thought you put into your reviews.

Karen, I'm sorry to hear about your father. Both my parents have passed away, my mother nearly 5 years ago from a degenerative neurological illness, so I can understand and sympathize with the feelings of watching a parent taken away by a devastating illness.

I wish you all the best.


Teresa said...

Karen, my condolences to you and your family. My Grandmother passed away fighting the same. Its hard.

BAB is always churning out good stuff and I can't keep up. So dialing it down is ok with me. You both do great work and your love for the hobby really shines.
The longevity is impressive. I couldn't do it.
Toss more questions at us to get the fire going when you need a break. That way you can be surprised participants.

Regardless, thank you for all the hard work.

Doug said...

Mike, if tomorrow's review of Carmine Infantino's Batman gets to around a dozen comments, someone has a shot at that No-Prize! This comment is 22,986, brother!

Now I see you all posturing, trying to be "the one". Love it...


Garett said...

All the best to you and your family, Karen. I'm looking forward to more BAB, whatever form it takes!

Edo Bosnar said...

Wait, is there really going to be a prize for comment # 23K? Then I'm gonna go spelunking in the archives and leave ... hmmm, let's see 22,986 + 2, 12 comments on random posts... :P

Humanbelly said...

Edo, edo, edo. . . Doug is a TEACHER, remember? Any "prize" he hands out is going to be along the lines of winning the "privilege" of cleaning the erasers all week. . .

(Careful whatcha wish for, pal-!)


Edo Bosnar said...

Yeah, you're probably right, HB. Either that or one of those dreaded "useful" prizes, like a pencil sharpener...

Doug said...

At our school, the big deal is milkshake tickets good for a free treat at lunch.

I also have a nice stash of gently used 3-ring binders that I found in the hallways after the students left. Coupled with my collection of
"floor sample" pens and pencils, I think we'll find a prize worthy of that 23,000th comment!


Humanbelly said...

As we careen WILDLY off-topic....! (Are we never to be safe again-??)

But heck, I'll still toss in that my Dad was a middle-school principal for the entirety of my childhood, and every year after the last day of school he'd come home with a box of contraband-type loot that he'd confiscated from the hapless students over the course of that school-year. There were almost always a few comic books included in the trove, one of which- Dell Comics OUTER LIMITS #1 (in incredibly worn condition)- I still have. A surprisingly great comic, in its way.

I think I got all of my childhood jack-knives this way, as well. And honestly, I carried a nugget of guilt knowing that this bounty was a product of my friends' and peers' misfortune. . . (okay, but I did still hang onto the comics-- I cannot lie. . .)


Doug said...

HB --

I wouldn't know much about contraband, but I can attest to the amount of good stuff kids just leave behind. It would outweigh the GDP of some Third World countries! Just in my wing alone, there were two $115 graphing calculators that our custodians pulled out of lockers once the students were gone. That, coupled with the amount of textbooks (for which the students had been fined as "lost" during book check-in) is shameful. As a parent, if either of my boys had behaved in such a manner, there'd have been a trip to the woodshed looming.


Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, you're not kidding about the stuff HS kids leave behind: my mom's last job before she retired was janitor and custodian in a big Silicon Valley high school. The amount of - often brand new - clothing and other apparel items she found left behind and never reclaimed in the locker rooms (esp. sweatshirts, sweatpants, t-shirts, even tennis shoes) boggled the mind.

Doug said...

Edo --

You comment of 9:31 am (central time, USA) was the GRAND PRIZE WINNER!!!!!!

I don't know how many of those 23,000 comments are yours, but I know it would be a pretty fair percentage relative to the rest of our audience. You've been with us a long, long time, and Karen and I appreciate your input on a daily basis. Thanks for enhancing this community and making our "jobs" fun! And to everyone else -- hey, you got us to the milestone mark, and we certainly think it's worth celebrating.

Cheers to all! Thank you very much!

Doug (and Karen, if I may)

Humanbelly said...

Oh man, Doug--
Shipping that box of used binder covers, discarded pencils, and mismatched surplus sneakers to Croatia is gonna be MAXIMUM-murderously expensive. . .

. . . maybe a Quizno's gift certificate instead? (They're goin' bankrupt. . . you can probably get 'em cheap-!)


Dr. Oyola said...

From now on, all BAB "No-Prizes" shall be referred to as "an EDO" - or at least, I think they should be. :)

Edo Bosnar said...

Thanks, Doug - and I did without actually trying! And with such an on-topic comment. I guess in this case, I can honestly say I owe it all to my mom...

Edo Bosnar said...

Osvaldo, I don't know if I want that kind of notoriety...

Humanbelly said...

Hmmmm. . .
An "Edoration", perhaps--?
An "Edophy". . . ?

This is a tough one. . .


Joseph said...

As I'm always so late to the party (my blog reading is regulated to the weekends), all I can do is point to others that said it so much better. particularly Humanbelly's first post on this thread.

I couldn't be happier that my favorite blog is continuing with great strength. And I'm so sorry about your loss Karen. Like many of my fellow posters, I have lost parents too (both of mine), and while this doesn't help you in any way, we all understand and applaud your need to step away from more trivial things to attend to what is most important. The outpouring of support here reminds me that this is my favorite internet community of any I've ever found.

I'm looking forward to 5, 10, 20 more years.

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