Wednesday, August 30, 2017

I Don't Do Anniversary Posts

Working under the assumption that I would be the only one to care, I've never written an anniversary post for this site.  Yet, somehow, today marks the tenth anniversary of Not Blog X and I feel compelled to at least say something.  I announced around two years ago that updates would be sporadic on this site, given that the mission statement was increasingly irrelevant, and the days of blogging seemed to be on the wane anyway.

Since then, I've been able to contribute to CBR, first chronicling the early years of Wizard (kind of an obvious aspect of fandom from this era to examine, even though I'd previously given it only minimal attention), and continuing now with a look at the DC Animated Universe and the Adventures titles of the day, along with the occasional article on some varied topics.  Clearly, that's where the bulk of my attention is spent, and the link posts here reflect that.  I'm also in the final months of reviewing the television work of David Milch over at Gentlemen of Leisure, in case anyone hasn't checked that site in a while (which is also in the midst of looking back on 1990s X-Men at the moment...crazy, huh?)

I also published a novel through Amazon over a year ago, recently finished a second novel that may or may not be self-published, and I'm around 25,000 words into my third novel.  This is in addition to a non-fiction project I'll likely be publishing on Amazon before the end of the year.  I'm writing as much now as I was back in the era of two posts per day, but in different formats.

Do I have any deep reflections on my decade of doing this?  Not particularly.  I could ramble on about my obsessiveness with fonts (only recently did I let go of adamantly insisting every post be Times New Roman), the formatting quirks of those original posts (writing in Word, copying the text, emailing it from a Yahoo account to a Gmail account, then copy and pasting in Blogger's template...which, bizarrely, was the only way to get the spacing between paragraphs the way I liked), the confusion over why my posts sometimes appeared in a gray typeface and sometimes in a black typeface, or the sheer surprise of having the occasional creator stop by to comment on something they worked on years and years earlier.  I should thank all of the commenters who let me know I wasn't speaking into a void for all of these years, truthfully, because doing this without comments can get lonely.

I've mentioned earlier that I was inspired by writers like Paul O'Brien and Dave Campbell when starting this blog, but one major influence on this site was totally subconscious and only recently revived.  This thing...the 1997 The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family paperback, is actually the template for my style of comics writing.  Starting with a summary of the story, listing the creators and release date, and chopping up much of the commentary into separate segments with allegedly clever headings...this was all inspired by A Complete Guide, and to be honest, I'd totally forgotten this until I stumbled across the book when going through some things at my parents' house. As it turns out, many TV bloggers (if that term even existed then) were doing similar bits on Usenet groups going back over twenty-five years ago, but I was totally ignorant of this.  My inspiration really is that paperback book, one forgotten at the bottom of a plastic storage bin years ago.

In 2007, the most popular website in the world was Myspace.  Comics blogging had exploded around three years prior, and I was one of the last guys to receive a tiny amount of attention in the crowded field, via Mike Sterling linking to me in the first week, and the late, lamented Newsarama blog linking a few days after that.  Even when I started this site, Blogger was falling out of favor as more writers embraced Wordpress, a move I didn't make simply because I found Wordpress' main page too confusing on a cursory glance.  I wasn't expecting this project to last that long -- maybe one year -- and as Wordpress gave way to Tumblr, which gave way to Twitter, I assumed everything in this platform would be going the way of Tom's over-the-shoulder profile shot soon enough.

I used to include dozens of links to comics blogs in my sidebar, partially because it was considered just a basic courtesy in those days, but also out of respect for the amount of work it takes to keep something like this going.  When I stopped updating regularly with new content, I decided to drop the links to various graveyards and have Blogger update the sites that are still going.  The eagerness to begin these ventures died years ago, and while fans of a certain era thought nothing of dedicating hours out of their week to spread their love for the medium, you're not likely today to see someone start a new blog with an enthusiastic nod towards Wednesdays in the title.

The love for these characters still exists, but we all know what's happened.  These franchises aren't "ours" anymore, and the generation that entered the hobby during the booms of the '80s and '90s probably doesn't speak the same language as a fan who wasn't even born the first time Ain't It Cool ran grainy photos of the X-Men in those black motorcycle outfits.  Fans introduced to these characters through the DeFalco Marvel years or Levitz DC years are likely too old/jaded to care that much about the latest shocking event storyline, let alone willing to write lengthy essays about this kind of material.

Blogging isn't totally dead, and so far the content on Blogger hasn't been scrubbed from the internet, but as of now, commentary has morphed into microblogging on Twitter, or vlogging on YouTube.  I reluctantly participate in one and eschew the other.  I'm not judging anyone who works in these formats, but don't expect too much from me in this area.  And I do respect the handful trying to keep traditional comics blogging alive; I rode this thing about as far as it can go, but for everyone still having fun out there, (not that anyone's seeking my permission) go for it.

So, ten years.  Thanks to everyone who's stopped by over the years.  Perhaps I'll never find out if Dick hated my blog, but for those of you who got something out of this, you have my sincere gratitude for your support.


dschonbe said...

Thank you for all the content!

Matt said...

I still miss coming here on a regular basis, but I've been trying to keep up with your CBR stuff and I've skimmed the GoL material as well, though I must admit that the complete works of David Milch just don't excite me, personally, all that much. But in any case, you gave me a lot of great reading material over the years, and I still jump over here once in a while to remind myself what you thought of a particular series or issue when I happen to stumble across it in my own daily life. I re-read all your TMNT ADVENTURES posts just a few months ago, in fact.

Anyway, I'll keep following on Twitter to see what you're up to next!

P.S.: I had that Simpsons book too; in fact I think it's still out in my garage.

Matt said...

I remember stumbling onto you blog around 2009 or so when I was getting into 1990s X-Men comics. I actually found it doing a Google image search of Uncanny X-Men covers; I clicked on Uncanny 338 (the one with the Madureira drawing of Angel) and it took me to your site. I've been a fan ever since.

You're insight on 90s X-Men comics as someone who was reading them when they came out) actually fueled my enthusiasm as a fan of the different series from that period, and without your blog I wouldn't have discovered quite a few runs I now love. It was also fun to see the blog evolve over the years in the material you covered, from TMNT, to Spawn,too late 90s Spidey, to 90s DC, etc. (I'm still holding out hope someday you'll cover the Heroes Reborn books and the relaunch titles that came out of them). It's been a hell of a ride, and I wish you all the best in your future writings.

PS. Without realizing it till just now, I kind of did my own 10 year anniversary tribute to the site this past summer. Around early May when my spring semester ended, I started to reread through the 90s X-Men comics I own with the January 1990 issues of Uncanny, New Mutants, and X-Factor, reading every issue of every series, spin-off, mini-series, one-shit, etc. By the end of August I've gotten through Operation Zero Tolerance. I've actually been using the old blog posts as a resource to know what order to read everything in as well as using your takes on the issues as a frame of reference to compare with my own opinions. It's been a fun little experiment so far.

thinkingcog said...

I have the Simpsons book too and I'm annoyed with myself that I didn't notice the format.
Whenever discussion of on-line comics journalism comes up (which is frequent in my circles these days) I always cite this blog as my favourite.

I discovered this through a post made by Thomas Newton on his SAY IT BACKWARDS blog and there's an example of a dead link, with all its glorious content lost to the internet ether.
I love that I can come back in and revel in my own most passionate era of collecting comics.
It's so easy to be derisive of the 90s and the excess but I really loved this stuff and I've re-read your overview of X-eras a lot.

Your work at CBR is basically the reason I read the site these days as its clickbaity nature is too prominent now. You're one of the best writers doing this anywhere right now and even when I don't agree, I always understand your point of view. Keep it up as long as you can and I'll keep reading. Thank you for everything.

Jamesway61 said...

I first found this site in April 2012 when i was looking for more information on comic books from Marvel and Dc from this era, Since by then you had a huge archive, I spent the next few hours digging into every post and learning about the settings,characters and story-lines from that era.

As someone who wasn't big into comic books growing up "At most I had copy's of Lego magazine with the free bionicle comic in them every month" This was a very helpful as I had only seen the cartoons of these characters and story's.

This site gave me a informative history and opinion of this era.

Thank you.

Austin Gorton said...

Happy Anniversary!

While our blogs started roughly around the same time, I didn't start my X-Men reviews until a few years into it, and you were a large inspiration for me starting those, so thank you for that, as well as for all the years of great content, and in general helping shed some of the stigma of shame surrounding 90s X-comics (and 90s superhero comics in general).

This thing...the 1997 The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family paperback, is actually the template for my style of comics writing.

Man, I read that book to pieces when it first came out. I still have it, along with the subsequent volumes, and even the massive hardcover edition that covered the first 25 seasons (and is now, of course, out of date), that I picked up for a steal out of B&N's bargain department a few years back. I never realized before now just how impactful that approach has been on my writing as well.

Anyways, congrats again on the milestone, and keep up the good work, in whatever form and place it may come!

Guy LeBlanc said...

Happy Anniversary Not Blog X!

Your blog reawakened my love of comics and got me back into reading my 90s x-men comics collection after drifting away from the superhero comics scene in the late 90s. Your fairness, honesty and love for the comics of that era was like a lighthouse in a sea of sarcastic online commentators.

Your posts were always insightful and interesting to read, even when the comics you were reading weren't (your synopsis of the Cy-Gor storyline in your post for Spawn #57 remains one of the funniest things I've read). I admired your courage in moving on to reading Archie's TMNT Adventures, a comic which I had also collected with great enthousiasm as a kid and which I was fortunate to rediscover through your website.

It's also as a result of your thoughtful analysis and commentary about the style of different artists that I got interested in the behind the scenes stories about the creators which in turn got me interested in the history of Marvel Comics as a whole. I've now even started reading through the early Lee and Kirby era of Marvel Comics with my kids (who seem to be at just the right are to truly appreciate those stories).

Through the links on your blog I also discovered other interesting websites that I keep coming back to: Gentlemen of Leisure that led to me having a closer look at Claremont's run on X-men and Not a Hoax! Not a Dream! where I was reminded of my love for the Simon Furman era of Transformers comics which I've also restarted reading with my kids.

My life has been nothing but enriched by Not Blog X and for that I want to say:

Thank You G. Kendall!

Thank you for starting this entertaining blog and staying with it for as long as you did. My kids also thank you, because if it hadn't been for Not Blog X, they probably wouldn't have been exposed to foundational Kirby and Lee 60s Marvel Comics, excellent Transformers Comics or fun TMNT adventures featuring giant floating intergalactic cow-heads!

Gokitalo said...

A belated Happy Anniversary! One of my favorite review sites on the 'net, especially because you provide a lot of context in your reviews, e.g. statements by the creators, information about what went on behind the scenes and so forth. Oh, and the humor: I just read your review for Bishop: XSE #3 and laughed out loud at your paragraph about the mullets.

G. Kendall said...

Wow, guys. Thanks for all of the nice words. It's appreciated, believe me.

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