Thursday, February 5, 2015

Time Won't Let Me... the State of the BAB Address

Doug: As alluded to Tuesday, Karen and I promised a sort of State of the Blog post, and we've moved it ahead to today. If you'd like, put on your thinking caps and fly back in time to one of those horrid family meetings... You know the ones, like after Mom always said "Don't play ball in the house." Nah -- this ain't that. But we do want to sit down with our friends and readers and discuss where we see this train as it moves forward.

Karen: Between that introduction and the picture on the right, some of you may have run away screaming, but I promise, it isn't that bad.

Doug: If there is one thing I got out of the month of January, it was a sense of relaxation in knowing that every day was already set to run and that our readers would stop by as you always do and to some extent carry the load. And let me make this clear right up front: I really don't find the blog to be a burden, and I love participating with everyone on a daily basis, whether I created the topic, make a few comments, or just lurk. But it has at times become difficult to come up with topics that I feel meet the standard we've set over the past 5 1/2 years. I don't know if it's writer's block or if we've truly exhausted all of the great topics... But sometimes I feel like I'm going to leave you folks wanting, and I don't like that.

Karen: I'll second Doug's comments, and just say that I can't even tell you how many times I've started writing up a post to find that we've already covered the same topic before. We have been around on a near-daily basis for five plus years! I suppose it's inevitable that certain subjects pop back up, but we feel a desire to keep it fresh, and that's become a bit difficult at times. It was amazing and refreshing to see the ideas that you folks came up with during our vacation. And inspiring...

Doug: So here's the deal -- neither of us feel like we can contribute to the blog as we have in the past. We're not going to make excuses to anyone, nor do we want anyone's pity. Everyone is busy, life keeps moving faster, and all that. So we would like to make a proposal, and what we're about to say has been about a month in the works.
  1. We will continue to post on the blog as we always have, but just not as frequently. Neither of us can commit to our self-imposed need to be creative 5+ days a week. It's a pace we chose many, many moons ago and to be honest we think it's caught up to us. What we'd like to do going forward is post when that moment of inspiration strikes. It may not be at that clockwork time as it has been for so long -- shoot, we may go a couple of days with nothing and then both of us toss something up on the same afternoon. Who knows?
  2. We will make a solid effort to get back to the partner reviews on comics. I think everyone reading would agree that our past reviews have been one of the hallmarks of this space and it's been a real sense of pride for Karen and I when we look back on reviews like Amazing Spider-Man #s 121-122, our massive Vision retrospective, and even this week's examination of The Winter Soldier. Those sorts of posts were a tremendous amount of fun; a lot of work, but many smiles when complete. But neither of us can commit at this time to the exhaustive plot synopses and art scans in the double digits. Instead, we think what we did with "The Winter Soldier" may be closer to what you'll see moving forward.
  3. And here's where you come in. Let us repeat -- here's where you come in: It was in our first several months of publication when we were approached about hosting a guest writer. We about freaked out. If you know anything about Karen and I, we're both a little Type A. Give up control of our blog and its content? Heresy! Well, as they say, that was then and this is now. Using our BAB email address (if you don't know it, it's on the sidebar), we would like our readers to submit not ideas, but fully-formed posts. That's right. Now instead of using the Suggestion Box and having us sit back and say "Nah, that's not really in our wheelhouse", you can send us your idea written just as if we would have written it. Got a great topic for the Open Forum? Go. A singular issue for Discuss? Send it. But what about reviewing some classic comics, whether we've reviewed them or not? By all means. We'll supply the lay-out, using our headings. You supply the text and attach any art you want used to the email you'll send. Of course there's a catch (always is, right?) -- we will reserve editorial control over such things as grammar and spelling, and of course the acceptability of topics. The BAB is no place for Omaha the Cat Dancer, regardless of its merits.
Karen: Hard as it might be to believe, we do have some standards to uphold.
Doug: We really are excited about the possibilities moving forward. You know we love our readers, and so I'd lie if we didn't "talk about you" sometimes behind your backs. Here's something I said to Karen a couple of weeks ago when we were kicking around these ideas:
I would suggest we use the BAB Yahoo email and solicit reviews from our readers -- guest columnists. There's no reason they couldn't send us art samples if they chose. We'd be strict in reserving editorial control for content and scheduling. But I think we could get a little help and foster the community aspect we've liked. Hey, what's not to like about regular installments of "Hulk by Humanbelly"?
 Of course Karen countered with a restriction of 5000 words per post -- love ya, HB!

Karen: Think of it as a challenge, HB!

Doug: So that's where we are. We were both a little taken aback at the seeming attachment to this space that some of you expressed on Tuesday. We sure don't want to let anyone down, but that includes ourselves. So that's why we want to be up front with each and every one of you -- whether you've been with us for years (as several of you have) or today is the first day you've happened by. If you'll agree to help us, in the spirit of what has gone before, I think this thing can morph into something bigger and better as we move along.

Karen: I'm sort of looking at this as BAB 2.0. And I'm anxious to hear everyone's thoughts.



dbutler16 said...

Just a couple of quick thoughts.

I'm not surprised that you plan to reduce the frequency of your posts. I don't know how you two have managed this much for so long. We'll take what we can get from y'all.

I am all in favor of Humanbelly posts! I've often thought that he should start his own blog.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I wouldn't have the knowledge or confidence to write a post (there are reasons why some of us don't have blogs) but I'll read and comment on anybody else's and suggest topics whenever that's allowed. Nice new masthead by the way :)

Redartz said...

As dbutler poses, the frequency and quantity of your output these past few years is amazing. I fully support your 'new direction'; it sounds like a winner all around. I will always be glad for any new posts from you as your ability and inclinations dictate. Plus it will be fun to see contributions from the great array of commenters here (HB, Edo, Prowler, and on down the list)! Many thanks and best wishes to you both, Karen and Doug; I'll be along for the ride wherever it goes. Long live BAB!

J.A. Morris said...

I completely understand, I've been taking graduate school classes since last Fall and haven't been here as much, or posted on my blogs either. We've all got busy lives, so we understand if you need to slow things down at BAB. And your post is a reminder to me that I need to update my long-dormant Assistant Editors Month blog. I have an idea or two for an issue to review, so I'll shoot you an e-mail in the near future.

Doug said...

Thanks for the compliment on the new masthead, Colin!

BAB no-prize to those who name the artist -- I had to look it up.


Edo Bosnar said...

Yeah, no need to apologize for not being able to keep up the pace - as dbutler and Redartz noted, your output thus far as been incredibly prolific.
Anyway, it looks like my comprehensive, annotated, issue-by-issue (i.e., 12-part) review of Team America may finally see the light of day - I kid, obviously.

As for the masthead image artist - it's a bit of a stumper. Also, the image is a bit out of focus on my screen.

J.A. Morris said...

I believe the artist in question is Rudy Nebres.

Dr. Oyola said...

Edo, I may take you up on that Team America challenge! :)

This is totally what I expected, hoped for (as opposed to just shuttering the blog) and it is completely understandable. Five days a week is kind of crazy! I am so impressed that you kept up with it as long as you did.

I look forward to this new era, and while I am having trouble keeping up with posts for my own blog, I promise I will use some time during spring break or over the summer to crank out a guest post. Every once in a while I get an idea for something that doesn't quite fit my blog that I'd be happy to develop and contribute.

Doug and Karen, I am sure I speak for everyone when I say, you are the best!

Doug said...

J.A. wins! Nothing!

Karen had guessed Paul Gulacy. I had thought about Paul Smith. J.A. nailed it with Rudy Nebres.

Edo, I must admit to being incredibly disappointed if at some point a review of at least one issue of Team America did not show up on my email doorstep! That's exactly the kind of thing we're hoping for -- it would really help to fill in some gaps with Bronze Age material that Karen and I don't have or don't have an interest in.

As we said in the post, all ideas are welcome. Reviews will of course be credited to the author both when they run on the main page, but also in our BAB Library of Reviews.

Be thinking, people!


J.A. Morris said...

Thanks Doug, "nothing" is just what I've always wanted!

Humanbelly said...

Wait, wait-- there's wiggle-room on the whole word-limit thingy-! Like, a person could, say, post the blog article itself, including only the even-numbered words. . . and then respond to the post directly below with all of the odd-numbered ones-! BOOM-- instant world domination-!! (Me & The Leader, we hang around the local Starbucks just a-lookin' for opportunities like this. . . ).

Actually, I'm having a heck of a time keeping my attention focused away from the phrase, "Omaha the Cat Dancer". . .

Hey, do song lyrics count as word-count? Prowl, I think I'm seeing your particular loop-hole (well, or kryptonite, depending on how you look at it).

Doug & Karen, I do join all here who have been stunned at how much material and topical matter you guys have been able to generate on a near-daily basis for scores & scores of months on end. And I often wonder how even the most supportive of spouses view the considerable time-commitment and effort that it clearly must take. "You stayed up until 2:00 on a work night to write a review of WHAT, now? CLAWS OF THE CAT #4?? Aaaaand this was a priority. . . why, again??"
But there's no question that your efforts have been and continue to be amply and deeply appreciated by more than just a few folks out here in this little globe-spanning coffee-break-room. It's a happy diversion that has an outsized effect from a simple, day-to-day quality of life perspective. I don't think we can really thank you enough.

How are we missing that what JA has won is, of course, a No-Prize-?

And dbutler, a tip of the hat & thanks for the kind vote of confidence, eh? (Hoo-boy-- I suspect HBWife would pretty much brain me with a frying pan were I to announce my ambition to start a blog of my own--!)

HB-- on the late side this morning.
(Have I hit 5000 yet?)

Martinex1 said...

Doug and Karen, Thanks again for all the days; I think everybody here expressed it well.

I am all in favor of Team America Tuesdays :) Maybe some US1, Human Fly, and disco Dazzler thrown in for some variety.

david_b said...

No Omaha..?

Ok, back to the keyboard.....

Pretty much agreed on all the accolades previously bestowed, all richly deserved.

As for topics, I do agree some previously-covered popular columns are always ripe for revisiting. I don't see too much love for 'Nam' and other war comics, nor the previously-mentioned, hugely-prolific Richie Rich publications of the '70s, so genre-speaking, we've effectively covered most of what's of interest to us as readers, and along with others here, always enjoy our turn to present obscure topics, even doubling-up on some morning.

I'm not too excited with guest writers, since we've all come to enjoy both Doug and Karen's insights, so if done sparingly, that would be fine. I so look forward to BAB 2.0, building on the great success of the last five years.


Anonymous said...

If Omaha the Cat Dancer is taboo, I guess Moore's Lost Girls has NO chance?

I'm glad you guys are sticking around (to whatever degree you can handle). If I come up with a topic that I think is halfway (or even two-thirds) interesting, maybe I'll get brave enough to write something up and send it to you (as long as all mockery of my syntax/grammar is kept private :))

Mike W.

Edo Bosnar said...

All right, all right, I have to say: if any Team America reviews appear here, they won't be from me. As I've said a few times before, I very diligently followed the series all the way through back in the day, even though I never really liked it very much. The last time I read any of them was back then (1982?), and needless to say, I no longer have these books nor do I have any intention of re-acquiring and re-reading them.
Besides, if I do actually submit some reviews, I'd prefer they cover some comics I really like.

Doug said...

Edo, there's a lot of air that just went out of the collective BAB balloon. Bummer -- I thought that maybe, just maybe, that Team America series was one you'd had bound.

I'd be open to some Human Fly reviews, but as has been said it is tough to review a comic one doesn't like. I had the first few issues of that mag, but you all know the artist -- I just couldn't hang in and consequently recall nothing about the book.

Richie Rich? Bring it! Other than an Archie and one of Marvel's knock-offs, we have no reviews of the "gag mags" anywhere. Those would be welcome as well!

David, I hear your sentiment loud and clear. And I appreciate it. But Karen and I really are excited about getting a broader spectrum of 70s-80s material out for discussion. I don't know how many readers will actually take us up on the offer. I am 99% sure it doesn't push us back to a 7-days/week blog, though. But once in awhile would be nice.

Mike W -- craft away!

Thanks, everyone!


PS: Tomorrow we had already slotted a post answering the request to discuss the new Agent Carter show. Those watching, show up and conversate Friday!

WardHillTerry said...

I'm sure glad this wasn't a "So long and thanks for all the fish" post! Although I am an infrequent contributor, I am a regular reader. As much as I enjoy Doug's, Karen's, and Doug and Karen's reviews, they can't review what they haven't read. Maybe someone (or I) can get cracking and develop some posts about some overlooked books here. Flash, Justice League, Cerebus, Spectacular Spider-Man for example. You regular contributors are certainly prolific in your own ways, and we've seen your analytical skills! Have at it!
Diug and Karen have been like Stan Lee from 1955-1968, writing and editing EVERYTHING! It's time for us to be Roy Thomas!

Dr. Oyola said...

Don't worry, Edo. I have all 12 issues of Team America (and their first appearance in Captain America #269 (and they briefly appeared in New Mutants, where Professor X trained them! because they were mutants! for real!)

I am sure if I took up a collection I could have them shipped to you in a jiffy! :)

"Team America Tuesdsys" - well, if Edo doesn't want to acccept his destiny I just might find time to do it 13 Tuesdays in a row this summer ;)

Doug said...

Wardhill Terry --

I was never much into the independents of the 1980s, so those of you who were could probably even moderate discussions on particular mags or writers/artists. I think that's been a void around here as well (although I know Karen dabbled in these a bit).


Edo Bosnar said...

Osvaldo, did you think I also didn't have all of their other appearances as well. Yes, I was a regular reader of both Cap and New Mutants at the time, and thought the follow-up story in New Mutants was - despite the fact that the whole idea of them being mutants was going into wtf territory - still the best Team America story. Seriously, that series was really lame as I recall.
And if you're going to do a collection to send me some comics, do it for something I like, and not for homework. Geez, I can see it now: teachers Doug and Osvaldo are going to start handing out assignments... :P

Edo Bosnar said...

Oh, and Doug, good suggestion about the indie stuff from the '80s (or even the '70s for that matter). I know I'd like to see some discussions of the various offerings of Pacific, Eclipse, etc. And I think both Karen and Osvaldo are fans of Love & Rockets.

Doug said...

Edo --

Rip's a teacher, and if memory serves (dangerous territory), Groove is as well.

You'd better be on your best behavior.


Humanbelly said...

My parents were both teachers. . . does that carry any weight?

Hey, the Tick's first, original run (New England Comics) would fall into that late-80's Independent heading, wouldn't it? Man, I could certainly chime in on that one. . . !


pfgavigan said...


So if I wanted to do a post about two of my favorite artist, John Severin and, his sister, Marie Severin and was willing to do the work of writing it and collecting the art work, you might consider posting it?

Could we call it the Johnny and Marie Show?

Yours and outta here before Humanbelly can take a terrible revenge for that last one.


The Prowler said...

Doug/Karen Karen/Doug, this blog has been a veritable gold mine of information, entertainment and long lost memories rediscovered for this "new" old timer. (AARP, leave me alone already, I'm not ready!) I have enjoyed BAB because it is obvious that youse guys put a great deal of care into what you produce.

From what I see happening to "our Golden age" is that so much of what lived in just our heads is now coming to life on the big screen. And being ripped apart in the very pages of the comics that we once loved. It feels great to visit with those who remember how it once was, to walk through the changes to what is and to collectively shake our heads at what is to come.....

In closing, let me us these oft repeated and simple words "Thanks guys" to try and express what this blog and you two have meant to me and those I have come to see and spar with every day.

Excelsior and Make It So..........

(Workin' hard to get my fill
Everybody wants a thrill
Payin' anything to roll the dice
Just one more time
Some will win
Some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on

Strangers waiting
Up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching
In the night
Streetlight people
Livin' just to find emotion
Hidin' somewhere in the night

Don't stop believin'
Hold on to that feelin'
Streetlight people
Don't stop believin'
Hold on
Streetlight people
Don't stop believin'
Hold on to that feelin'
Streetlight people).

Redartz said...

Prowl, you must have an incredible music collection (and / or a great memory)!

Count me among those up for some indie and other esoteric topics. I might attempt an Archie review, anyone go for E-Man or the Spirit?

Anonymous said...

OK first things first, I'm glad that Doug and Karen decided to downgrade the frequency of their blogging. Why? Quality control. It's better to have two good blog posts in a week rather than five mediocre ones.

To be quite honest, I've always been amazed at how you two have managed to keep up the high quality work day in and day out, five, sometimes six days a week for over five years! Heck, sometimes I feel tired just by chiming in my two cents worth on a topic. It's for that same reason that I don't reply every single day even though I check out this blog religiously almost every day. Sometimes I'm not interested in a topic, other times it's simply too much of an effort to reply.

Of course, with the sheer number of posts invariably you will get topics repeated. I say we brainstorm and get some new discussion topics in addition to old standbys like 'who's the best villain ...'.

Personally, I applaud this strategy. Going at this pace would have made the BAB stale and repetitive. I also like the idea of readers sending in their stuff via email.

As for that new masthead, without looking up at the other responses, it looks like Rudy Nebres. It's in the way he draws those boots. If it's not him, my second guess would be Danny Bulanadi.

- Mike 'where's my no-prize' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Karen said...

It's great to check in at nearly the end of the day and see pretty much what I expected -a positive reaction to our "BAB 2.0" announcement.

Although I have to admit, I don't know how much Team America I can handle...but bring it on!

Anonymous said...

I was right the first time, it was Rudy Nebres! Guess these old glasses still work even if like Edo the resolution wasn't too good on my screen. Doug, I'm surprised you had to look him up. Nebres has a pretty distinctive art style, especially when he's inking himself.

- Mike '100/1 vision' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Humanbelly said...

Prowl, dude-- really??
Yer gonna quote a WHOLE JOURNEY SONG while Karen's LURKING RIGHT THERE BELOW YOU-??? Have you seen how big and strong her very devoted husband is???

PFG- such a solid post idea. . . such a shameful, shameless title! (Yeesh, y'know Donny and Marie do fall smack into our pop-culture era of focus, don't they? Oh, that is so unfortunate. . . )

I also love the new header poster. It's like we practically commissioned it-- with the soft focus of our fading memories. . . *sniff*


Doug said...

PFG and Redartz (and anyone else with an idea) --

Who wants to be first? I think there have been some quality suggestions tossed around today, and Karen and I are really looking forward to see what gets cooked up.

Email away!


Redartz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Edo Bosnar said...

E-man's a definite possibility for me, since - unlike the now notorious Team America - I do indeed have the entire original Charlton series bound.

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