While I was off the grid, the Blogfather Dirk Deppey announced via Twitter that he had been laid off by Fantagraphics:
I’ve been laid off from Fantagraphics. Wednesday will be my last day as The Comics Journal’s newsblogger.
Sean Kleefeld has the best roundup I’ve read of reactions and the state of the blogosphere. He also quotes Dirk’s lnger thoughts via Twitter:
For the record (before I get too drunk): Fantagraphics is the only company that I’ve stayed with for more than two years… and not coincidentally, the first people for whom I’ve worked that I’ve respected from beginning to end. I’m not surprised at being laid off — if anything, I’m grateful that Gary Groth held out as long as he did before letting me go. Gary and Kim Thompson are two of the coolest people I’ve ever met, and it’s been my privilege to have drawn a paycheck from them. No regrets: The last ten years have kicked ass. I’ve done great things and meet interesting people, and was paid it. How great is that? Working for Fantagraphics, editing The Comics Journal and running its website have added meaning to my life that I’ll cherish forever. Kim, Gary, Kristy, Michael, Adam and everyone else: Thank you. I’ll go to my grave thankful to have met and worked with you. (Please forgive the spelling mistakes, etc. Next up: more beer!)
It’s no secret that Dirk didn’t think much of me or my work, and over time the feeling began to be mutual. If it had been announced five days before Christmas that I was laid off, he’d be dancing on my unemployment check — and in a way, that might be the best thing I could say about Dirk. He certainly called ’em as he saw them, and stated things that other people were too polite or sensible to say.
But beyond this petty blogospheric bickering, Dirk was absolutely the pioneer of comics linkblogging, inspiring others, and championing more to create the golden era of the amateur blogosphere. His tireless efforts to promote manga, and belief in the internet as a legitimate journalistic arena were hugely influential. His exit leaves a huge void at The Comics Journal’s website — perhaps there are secret plans afoot to boost the site’s news-gathering output but as it stands now, it’s definitely a “read it when you have time” site as opposed to a “gotta catch it now!” outlet.
Despite our differences, I hope Dirk comes back, and I expect to see him back here in no time. The internet is a huge, lawless place and it’s not the same without Dirk Deppey. Until that time, I wish him the best.
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.