In the early days of The Beat I used to start many days with a “meta” post about my doings and very important thoughts, but that kind of personal stuff jumped the shark long ago, it seems. No one really cares about me seeing a blue lobster anymore…or rather, that’s really what Twitter and Facebook are for. There’s a social network for every ephemeral thought, and I now spend hours each day sharing the ephemeral thoughts of thousands of my close personal friends.

In a way, it’s too bad. Those were some of my most favorite posts to write — like the time I went shopping for a mop. I guess you had to be there.

I’ve been a bit at war with my commenters of late, and banning a lot more people, including some old-timers. Judging by the comments, Beat readers are a bunch of cranky old farts. Yet when I walk amongst the people, I am greeted by many folk of all ages and castes. The Beat is recommended reading at many cartooning schools, and I’m always pleasantly shocked to find that some of these young turks also read this page. Why don’t they ever comment then? The other day a friend pointed out that message board commenting is a thing of the past. No one has time for that except cranky old farts. Kids today just hit the Facebook Like button. Much more efficient and leaves more time for reading your Twitter feed, or friend page.

So I’m adopting more of a zero tolerance policy for pointless whining around here, or as much as time will allow. And as much as I detest Facebook, I detest AT&T too and I just can’t quit either.

I would ask, if you are a reader and not a personal acquaintance, to “like” my Beat page and not my personal page, but I haven’t figured out how to promote that page properly here. When I have a minute I’ll add the proper widget and all will be well.

I’ve also been pondering what aspects of comics upon which to concentrate my coverage. Covering it all used to be pretty easy, but now there is a dedicated, professional blog to cover EVERY aspect of comics, whether it’s comics movie news, or controversy, or comics lifestyle. Tom Spurgeon and Robot 6 remain generalists of the cool and newsworthy, but even they are far from exhaustive. Link blogging seems to be covered by Twitter, and the major media covers most aspects of comics exhaustively. So where does that leave The Beat?

I guess the same place it always was. I cover what I like, what I enjoy, or what I think People Need To Know. The latter seems to be the most important to me these days. It’s pretty clear that the comics industry is going through one of its periodic reinventions. The advent of digital comics is changing everything very quickly. Some people are adapting and others still don’t even see the change. Some people, I’ve realized, don’t want to change, and the older I get, the more I sympathize. I’ve reinvented myself several times in my career, and it’s fun to have a rewarding challenge, but even I can see at some point you just want to stick with what you already know.

Anyhoo, I don’t know where I am going exactly with all this blather except of late I feel the pressing need to get as much accurate information out there as possible. Of course, I make a lot of dumbass mistakes along the way — when your writing deadline is 15 minutes, it’s going to happen. But despite the big storm that’s blowing through, I feel like where the comics artform is going is a bigger and better place than ever. People just need to know where the storm cellar is. There are more talented young cartoonists than at any other time in the history of the world. They live in a world where getting paid isn’t even the most important thing, some of the time, and although that seems demoralizing, it leaves a lot of freedom that people are taking advantage of.

And for those who are really committed, the opportunities are limitless. I went to a talk by Dash Shaw the other night, and he explained that since making comics was the most important thing to him, he always created a situation where it was possible, even if it meant living in a smaller town — Richmond, VA — where rent was cheap enough for him to live while he was making comics. I think that story is key in the way a lot of people are approaching their careers in an uncertain global economy. Dash Shaw’s plan worked out for him — he’s making a living making comics and movies that matter to him, and finding an audience.

I hope The Beat can be a resource as we get to the next phase. And please, keep sharing those links and inside stories. Comment complaints aside, I know I have a very loyal and engaged audience, and I’m incredibly grateful for that. I’m very excited about the things I see happening, and I hope to continue to share them. Stick around. It’s going to be fun.

PS: one little housekeeping note. I’ve added links to all my categories at the bottom of the page. The whole thing needs an overhaul, but the drop down menus were getting a bit unwieldy.

  1. For what it’s worth…

    In an era where every interest has umpteen subcultures, and every subculture has seventy blogs, twice as many facebook pages, and a couple thousand Twitter accounts, I think all we have is who we are. I write as me, you write as you, hopefully everyone who does that gets to share, debate, and understand each other.

    More and more the stuff I choose to read is about the people behind it, not their ability to scoop another site or feed me sixty posts per hour.

    So I’ll keep reading because I appreciate your writing, your humor, and your perspective on the news. Whether that happens ten minutes before some other site or not, I hope, is irrelevant.

    Anyway. Great post.

  2. Heidi,

    I echo your comments about the many young talented cartoonists we are blessed to read. Every day, I am blown away by what they create. The comics’ world has never been better–despite what some may say. It’s inspiring!

    And thanks for the post. I enjoy these soliloquies. I like the reflection and what’s on your mind.

    This is still the blog I read first every morning. You are appreciated.


  3. To echo one of Matt’s comments above, I read The Beat for your perspective. When a news story comes out, I’ll likely end up seeing it multiple places. The reason I’ll read about in on The Beat is to get your take on it. Also, you do a good job at pulling things in from multiple sources sometimes, so we are not getting just a one-sided story. My 2 cents.

  4. Since I began to dig into the webcomic scene at the beginning of this year, The Beat was a treasure chest of insight for me. I follow it attentively and I like your perspective on the scene. It is diverse and balanced.

    Keep up the good work!

  5. I enjoy your curated approach (as opposed to mass link blogging) and insight. I don’t comment often (no more than a few times a year), but I read the Beat every day (usually multiple times a day). So, thanks for the site.

  6. I cover what I like, what I enjoy, or what I think People Need To Know.

    I always thought this was your site credo, even if it wasn’t hanging on the sidebar in a elegantly stitched sampler.

  7. “Dean Haspiel
    11/12/2010 AT 11:53 AM
    You keep filling this space and I’ll keep coming back. Every day. CHEERS. And, thanks.”


  8. This site is one of the last standing Comics news sites on my RSS feeds. They are all just way too chatty. I appreciate some taste and personal opinion exercised in what sort of comics news is actually important. You do a pretty good job and though I don’t agree with everything you say and may indeed be a cranky old fart, if it weren’t for the Beat I would actually be at a loss for where to get sort of general comics scene news without overwhelming my intake valve with say, something the size of Bleeding Cool.

    So I don’t think you are providing an also-ran service — far from it! Please continue to save me from Bleeding Cool, thank you. 8)

  9. I too, drop by for the perspectives with YOUR slant.

    Half the fun’s finding out that “slant” in perusing the site’s analysis and wrap-ups! (Can’t live by CR, tcj and CBR alone in getting my Comix news feeds.)

    I DO miss the “DDGB” and “Salma-Hayek-as-LUBA” days, though… ;)

  10. As far as I’m concerned, this site is must-see reading. Every day, twice a day. I come here for your expertise, your far-reaching grasp of what’s happening and what’s about to happen, for your industry savvy, and especially for your linkage. I don’t have time to read everything that’s out there, but I know you’ll point me towards the really crucial stuff.

    Whenever I’m asked about my resources for building Columbia’s collection, I mention four things: PWCW, The Beat,, and creators’ blogs/Facebook pages.

  11. Being a very busy, cranky old guy (59 next week) I don’t have time for twitter or Facebook. Your blog and Mark Evanier’s are the only ones I read on a regular basis. Yours is the one that really keeps me in touch with whats going on in comics and I really enjoy the small convention coverage. Don’t let the whiners get you down.

  12. I think the most important aspect of The Beat is that you care as do we. Personally I rely on you as a filter for what is important. We all have differing opinions sometimes but that’s okay. Keep doing what you do. It’s the 21st century, manners are all but gone, so we’ll only thank you when prompted.

    Thank you.

  13. Places like The Beat are necessary, imo, because, even though I am getting older and grumpier, The Beat gives a personal side to the comic business world. And I’m not all about Facebook and other, world-consuming, electronic social outlets like some people.

    Like you said, yes, general comic book business (GCBB), can be and is discussed in many media outlets that is readily available to anyone with a connection these days, so..that being the case, people like me, are not only interested in GCBB that you provide, but it’s also nice to read/see that you are an actual person, etc., with more than just the general consensus opinion on something.

    While I rely on your type of site and other that are more for just relaying news item after news item, as a comic book fan, I appreciate the fact that I can come here and read some posts that are not just robotic information with no one caring about what is posted.

  14. Hey, I’m one of those young guys who’s been reading the Beat for awhile now, but never comments.

    I use it to get perspective on certain happenings, find titles mentioned in passing I might want to read, and keep up to date while I’m here in college.

    I definitely agree about the comics industry, and I’m always interested by your posts have to do with its future, whether it’s on the big guys, small upstarts, or indie stuff.

    Thanks mate.

  15. I’m a librarian who’s deluded himself into believing The Beat is professional reading. It’s ridiculous how many times a day I come here.

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