As long rumored, the much maligned Comics Journal website has re-launched with a new editorial team: Dan Nadel and Tim Hodler, founders of the Comics Comics website and ‘zine, will bring their view of contemporary comics to the hallowed brand of TCJ.com.
Hodler started things off with an editorial which, amazingly, did not talk about how crappy websites are; insead it laid out a pretty exciting vision for the new site:
This site is divided into several sections which will continue to grow over the days and weeks and months to come: Feature articles, including lengthy interviews, investigative journalism, and long-form critical and historical essays; regular columns on a variety of subjects; a steady stream of book reviews; thorough and easily navigated event listings; an ever-growing archive of The Comics Journal‘s thirty-plus years as a print magazine (by the end of 2011, each and every issue will be online)—this will be available in full to magazine subscribers only; and of course this daily blog, which will be a catch-all for short items, selective link-blogging, and a forum for guest voices and bad jokes.
The Comics Comics site will no longer host new material; the archived content from the TCJ website is missing for right now — causing Dirk Deppey much upset — but will be coming back.
The new version really shows up just how what a paucity of ambition the last version had. Already we have long articles on The ABCs of Auto Bio Comix by Patrick Rozenkrantz and the strange case of the Frazetta family by Bob Levin.
Although news of the change had been out there for weeks, it was been embargoed because (ironically enough) the news of the new team was supposed to break in the New York Times. We couldn’t find the link to the story, but the idea that the once doggedly investigative Comics Journal quashed a story because it was getting a planned scoop in the paper of record….well, we didn’t see that one coming.
Tom Spurgeon has the first interview with Nadel and Hodler:
In other words, yes, we’re attempting a counter-intuitive web site strategy, in the hopes that quality content will draw people in. We’re interested in making a magazine that has a place in the larger visual culture, and can be a go-to source for people seeking insightful writing about comics.
So far, so good…
Spurge also notes the passing of the old Journal message board:
Anyway, the Journal message board enjoyed a reasonably polite and correspondingly dull first couple of years. At the time I left the magazine in April 1999, the board was in the midst of suffering its first sustained period of practiced tomfoolery and outright headaches in the form of pranks and a general chaotic posting atmosphere purposefully aimed at disrupting its basic function. This effort was spearheaded by a few bored cartoonists and peripheral industry folk who thought that their goofing around and making fun of people was in line with the Journal’s antagonistic, prank-filled history. Ripping into people, fake names and slapping the ball of conversation from other people’s hands quickly became a competing mode of speaking on the site. A lot of it was funny if you weren’t involved, and stomach-churning if you were.
Speaking as someone who was regularly subjected to abusive posting by the poo-flinging monkeys of the board, it was a fine example of what no modding will do, and we won’t miss it much.
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.