Various developments in the comics blogosphere/twittosphere/actual-site-o-sphere going on of late.
§ Our own server crash meant we could not pay proper homage to proto-blogger Neilalien’s announcement that he was quitting near-daily link blogging after 11 years. Founded when to start a website you had to actually START A WEBSITE and not just sign up for one, Neilalien focused on Doctor Strange but covered other topics with intelligence and perspective. It’s not entirely the end, but it is mostly:
The still-addicted intent is to avoid a complete retirement. Neilalien still enjoys doing this website, and he will still require an online self-expression outlet. Barring circumstances, there will be no blogging in March (March Madness has usually had a negative impact on blog content anyway), and the planned next post will be an annual Favorites of MoCCA post after the festival in April. MoCCA usually refills the gas tank, but beyond that, no one can say. The Doctor Strange Info Pages will get some much-needed brushing-up and be maintained. It may be 1-2 braindumps a month. Like the Ancient One to Doctor Strange, he may occasionally appear to again bolster Doc fandom through its greatest challenges. Maybe the Neilalien brand will be completely repurposed. Maybe this is the last post ever. He will still be around, knock on wood- but regardless of what continues, near-daily linkblogging must end.
The occasion was met with a look back by Sean T. Collins who recalled those long ago days of horses, buggy whips, and turntables in 2002 or so when the comics blogosphere was born:
With Deppey (who incidentally was sort of Neilalien’s Baron Mordo) already gone and many other figures in the early comics blogosphere either dormant or enmeshed in other fields, Neilalien’s retirement leaves the scene nearly unrecognizable from what it once was. Major comics news sites, even corporately owned offshoots of major media conglomerates, have adopted the blog model (you’re looking at one such effort right now). And in today’s hit-obsessed climate, the idea that a site like Neilalien’s, blissfully unconcerned with anything that didn’t concern its creator, could have played a central role in the comics blogosphere is difficult to comprehend. That’s what makes his departure such a loss. And if nothing else, his passionately and frequently articulated conviction that there’s nothing wrong with Doctor Strange that smarter, better, more imaginative writing on the part of Marvel’s creators couldn’t cure will remain advice worth heeding, even if he’s no longer around to dole it out with the conclusion of each fresh Bendis New Avengers arc.
We share Collins’ sadness at the passing of an era of personal-interest-inspired content and the triumph of corporate content which is mostly concerned gaming Google’s algorithms — until Google decides to change them all and a new algorithm must be gamed. But it seems all success leads to excess on the internet — even Ain’t It Cool News started as Harry Knowles’ personal site back in the ’90s.
At any rate, Neilalien was a valiant throwback to a freer, better time, and if it’s any comfort to him, while Arachne kept talking about the Astral Plane in the Spider-Man musical last night I kept wondering what Neilalien would make of all that.
§ At Toy Fair, it was announced that the new Wizard World Digital magazine would be launched February 28th, but then that was moved to March 2. As of today, there is indeed a graphic proclaiming that and…
Some copy urging you to sign up for…something.
We signed up and will report the results. Unless someone already got something? Tell all, Beatsters.
§ The Comics Journal website has also recently been reinventing itself, purging groups blogs to their own sites: The Panelists and The Hooded Utilitarian. The former contains a lot of fine criticism, and the latter is the usual ego-show, although it is something of a sadistic pleasure to watch Matthias Wivel, Domingos Isabelinho, and Ng Suat Tong, surely the three most cranky/discerning comics critics out there, all team up on say, Tatsumi.
Anyway, whatever is happening at TCJ.com, it hasn’t happened yet.
§ The great Roger Langridge recently joined Twitter and had the only sane reaction:
What happened was more like an ambush. I mean, honestly, you people terrify me. It’s overwhelming, completely overwhelming. I basically shut my computer down for the rest of the day, hardly went near the thing unless I had to. Because every time I turned it on it was just a wall of noise. How can anybody actually think in that environment? I eventually figured out how to switch off notifications when someone follows you and that calmed things down a bit. But still.
How can anyone think? YOU CAN’T.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.