Friday, November 14, 2008

Why Comic Related?

Some of you may be wondering why I give so much praise to this little site that could, and why I push them so much trying to spread the word as it were. Well, let me tell you a little story that should explain my undying support for this site and its creator.

As most of you know, I've been working in and around comics for the better part of a decade now in some capacity. Whether as an editor, letterer, writer or even web designer, comics have been a big part of my day-to-day life for years. So when the opportunity to do something productive and give back to fellow comic fans came about I jumped at.

This first happened, oh, three years ago or so? Maybe longer. I discovered a site, ComicAvalanche.com, via some writers I knew who had columns over there. So I started checking out the site and pitched a column idea of my own. And thus, Indy-Pendant was born (a play on words and spelling, somewhat ill-conceived, but I stand by it). This column focused on spotlighting independent comic creators, properties and publishers/studios. It was a fun ride lasting 75 installments, and I made a lot of friends and contacts through it, and forced myself to explore independent comics more as well. Why? I'll get into that in an installment of my upcoming column at ComicRelated.com in the near future.

While I was with CA, I began redesigning their website, a couple of times actually, though looking back, neither design was that great. But it was an improvement, and the site at least had a fun and quirky feel to it. I also began posting and somewhat editing.

Not too long afterwards I found an ad for paid editorial positions for SilverBulletComics.com (not to be confused with SilverBulletComicBooks.com, which is now ComicsBulletin.com), so I bit. I was brought on as PR editor, which just meant I posted press releases and such to the site part-time. I also wrote a column called Myth Conceptions, which I inherited from a friend. This all led to an eventual full-time EIC position with the site, and before all was said and done I was practically running the entire site by myself for the better part of the year. In that year, I made tons of contacts and had tons of ideas, many which I never would be able to implement. I was limited by what I was able to do for various reasons. Then, for reasons I won't discuss in detail here, I had to leave the site, and now the site just isn't there anymore.

Actually, while I was still with the site, but in the dying days, an idea hatched - I should do my own site! So it was in the back of my mind if I wasn't able to do everything I wanted to do with SBC I should do it elsewhere.

Earlier this year the plan was set in motion. I had a partner and a staff of contributors, and was even in talks with a web designer. We had big plans and were eager to go forward with all of them! Then something happened - I got offered a job. And while the job wasn't really completely in competition with what we wanted to do, they were dead set on me not doing the site if I worked for them. Ultimately, the job didn't work out, but then my partner (and financial backer) got gun-shy for valid reasons and backed out. So the dream was dead. There was just no way at the time that I could take it on by myself.

Then I discovered a little-known site that happened to be run by someone who literally lives 4 miles from my house totally unbeknownst to me. That site was Comic Related. And while modest, it seemed to be gaining a following and had a lot of cool content, especially indy focused. And that's one thing that carried over from my days with CA was that particular focus. I tried to do more and more of it at SBC, but the fact is SBC was also a comic store and had to have mainstream content to try to promote sales through the store. And my plans for my own site heavily included an indy focus. So it was cool to see a site really doing that in earnest like CR.

Once I spoke with Chuck Moore a few times I became excited about the man's passion for the site. He updates the site 365 days a year by himself, even on the holidays. You just don't find that kind of passion and love too often, and I admired and respected that. He basically did the same thing I did with SBC, so I found a kindred spirit.

As time went on I submitted a review here and there and just kind of sat back and watched the site grow. In the little time I've been following the site - a year or so - the site has just grown phenomenally. They've added podcasts, a host of columns and blogs, a bunch of creator forums, strong articles and overall content, a strong convention presence and much more! And their numbers show that this is the kind of site people want! So I was very eager to be a part of it, but didn't really know how I wanted to contribute. I had kind of left that dream behind when plans for my own site fell apart, and I had honestly completely moved on. But I was so impressed with what they were doing I had to be involved in some small way.

So I just began communicating with everyone and trying to hype it up and support it as best I could. It wasn't that much at first, but over the past few months I have just become enthralled and consumed with the growth of this site and the kindness and community feel of everyone involved. It really is like a family, and a totally supportive one at that! I'm thankful for the press and promotion Chuck has given me and Wannabez, and more than that I'm thankful for the friendships I've gained through this site. I have a feeling, for one, that Chuck and I will be friends for life, and I'm sure other longtime friends will be made through this site as well.

With the relaunch of the site coming tomorrow (and it is a gradual relaunch, but the new look will go live tomorrow) I really wanted to share my thoughts and reasons why I love this site with all of you, and why I just have to be involved with this site in some way. I am not paid to work for this site, nor have I contributed all that much up to this point. This is purely a love for what is being done with this site, and the feeling that I'm standing on the verge of something big. Not to mention that the more I learn about Chuck's plans for the site the more I find how dead on similar it is to what I wanted to do with my own site, and so I just have to back that. It's not a case of "oh, I wish I could do that - so I'll ride the coat tails" kind of thing. It's more of a mutual support and love for the industry and for what is being done through Comic Related.

Mark my words: Comic Related is THE comic site to watch. And very soon many will agree with me. And the reason I can so boldly say that is because Chuck is NOT trying to compete with other sites of the same ilk. His goal is not to take them down or outdo them. He's simply doing this for the love of the medium, and it just so happens that everything he's doing and plans to do is and will be very appealing to the masses. Chuck is all about helping people out, cross-promoting, and even partnering up in certain cases. Some other sites aren't that kind about things, and that's what separates Comic Related.

So if I seem to be kissing-up or blindly praising because I will be writing a column for the site, that's not the case. I truly love what this site is doing and completely respect the people involved in it. I can't say enough good things about Comic Related, and I doubt I'll run out of things to say for some time to come.

B-Out

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