The Engine, Warren Ellis’s two year old forum for comics creators and aspiring comics creators, closes up shop today. So far, the replacement message board of choice seems to be Rantz Hoseley’s Panel and Pixel. Frankly we haven’t had time to spend on any message board of late, but P&P seems to be bustling along so far, with 500 members. Once we get back in the swing of things, we hope to settle in a bit more.
From where we sit, The Engine was a mixed success. While there was much useful information and intelligent discussion, it was constantly competing with threads full of Ellis-ites posting silly pictures of themselves, such as the above, and the number of exhibitionistic young women who professed themselves surprised at the level of interest in naked pictures of themselves quickly became cloying, then annoying.
Frankly, while we admire Warren for his imagination and writing skills, his twin obsessions — TV shows and BME Goth girls posing topless — were often twin distractions from the real business at hands — COMICS! (Plus, those girls who were talking theoretical physics in one post and posing in their underwear in the next, clearly haven’t learned the fundamental law of human nature that when a woman is in her underwear, a man isn’t going to actually hear a word she has to say.)
Anyway, message boards themselves are not what they used to be. #1, everyone is terrified to say anything interesting for fear that someone like the Beat will post it for all the internets to see. #2, everyone has their own message board and blog and MySpace and Facebook and Twitter to see to, now and no one has time to participate in someone else’s game. We really miss the “village square” message boards of old, but Panel and Pixel seems a bit friendlier than the heavily enforced* Engine, so who knows if it will go anywhere.
But there were good times. The art threads were always awesome. Tom vs Dirk was entertaining. Some noobs learned a lot and will go on to the next stage for sure. If nothing else, Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen learned how to be genuine “interwub personalities.” And there were pictures of cats, lots and lots of cats. And that is good.
* Despite this, our motto remains, the more moderation the better the board.
** Photo ©2007 Vanessa Yaremchuk