A couple years ago, I shut down my comics web site, Comics Bookcase. It wasn’t easy.

Sure, the site never made money, and while it had modestly-decent traffic and a few hundred newsletter subscribers, it was never that well-known in the industry. But it was mine, and I poured a lot of myself into it. I’m a journalist by trade and a lifelong comics reader. The site was my ode to both, and I worked hard at it, updating 3 – 4 times a day with the help of other talented writers. 

But in 2022, I was burnt out. To run a comics site, you have to do so much more than write. You have to podcast, and maybe also do video streaming. And you need to be on social media, obsessively, so an audience will find you, and publishers and creators will then see your audience and send you review copies, tag you in promo, offer you interviews, etc. It’s so much.

And I could have ignored all that, just written for myself, but without money, I at least wanted an audience. It’s vain perhaps, but validation from your cohort in comics is its own motivator, plus I felt like I owed outreach to my contributors and to the pros who spent time interacting with me. So yeah, those are some of the reasons I killed my comics web site.

Phew. I’ve never laid that all out there before in one place, but there it is. I remember after stopping, I felt this brief but intense heartache (it was a big change, after all) that soon gave way to major relief. And looking back now, I’m glad I did it, as it’s allowed me to contribute more to The Beat. But, for the past couple years, my site hasn’t felt dead, it’s felt abandoned, and so this week I’m changing that.

Death of Comics Bookcase
Cover art by John McCrea with colors by Mike Spicer.

Death of Comics Bookcase, Vol. 1

The end of the site was abrupt. One day I was updating like normal, the next I said, never mind, no more, I’m tired…and then a few weeks later, I showed up at The Beat, like nothing.

So I thought — why don’t I dust off Comics Bookcase…and kill it. Maybe folks who remember it fondly will get a kick. And how better to kill it than in comics? I’ve been steadily making comics for a few years, too. So, that’s what I’m doing via Kickstarter with Death of Comics Bookcase, Vol. 1.

Death of Comics Bookcase, Vol. 1 is a 48-page comic, written by me. It features six stories with different creative teams, spanning horror, fantasy, superheroes, sci-fi, and crime. The stories standalone, but there is a cheeky sensibility running between them, as well as subtle connections in the actual artwork. But more than that, there is a framing device that features a giant walking, talking…comics bookcase. 

A group of teens stumble into an old creepy house, and come across an anthropomorphic Comics Bookcase. They are terrified, but the Bookcase doesn’t realize it…and just starts telling stories, taking us into our other short comics. This main Comics Bookcase story is by the creative team of artist Ryan Lee, colorist Doug Garbark, and letterer Shawn Lee, the same team from the excellent and underrated, Mountainhead.

You can check out the first two pages from the book below…

From there, the kids just get more and more horrified, until…well, the title tells you what happens but not how.

But, of course, there are five other stories in the book too, featuring artists Anna Readman, Nick Cagnetti, Luke Horsman, PJ Holden, and Pat Skott; as well as colorists Brad Simpson, Jason Wordie, Ellie Wright, and Dearbhla Kelly; and letters Becca Carey, François Vigneault, Rob Jones, and Simon Bowland. 

You can learn more about each story via the campaign page now.

Cover by Raul Allen

Moreover, I think the whole book has the same madcap sensibility and love of comics that pushes someone to blog about them for four years with few tangible benefits, other than feeding their own passion and propping up books they love. Making this goofy story — with the help of such great collaborators — really felt like a natural evolution, and a perfect goodbye for something I’d worked so hard at for so long. There’s a lot of me in this book, and I never could have done it if I was still putting so much of myself into the site.

I hope you’ll give it a chance.

Death of Comics Bookcase, Vol. 1 is now live on Kickstarter.