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!