Longbox Soapbox (Fall 2011)

Longbox Graveyard #26

This issue marks the 26th installment of Longbox Graveyard, brought to you every Wednesday since my inaugural post last June. A half-year of continuous publication is a significant achievement for me, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to editorialize a bit about this blog — looking at where it’s been, how it is doing, and where it is going in 2012 (and beyond?).

First and foremost, I’m still having fun with Longbox Graveyard, and intend to continue it for at least another six months. So yes, this is me, taking my own Green Lantern oath that I will never watch that crappy movie again, but that I will also in good faith try to keep this blog going as a Wednesday tradition at least through June 2012, where I will write another Longbox Soapbox looking backwards at the six months that today lie just over the horizon.

It will be a busy six months. Hollywood is bringing us another bumper crop of geek movies, so I will be writing about The Avengers, Batman, Spider-Man, John Carter of Mars, and more. I also want to review the rest of Tomb of Dracula, continue my appreciation of Walt Simonson’s Thor, do a couple columns (at least!) about Master of Kung Fu, and take a look at books like The Defenders and Deathlok, too. I’ll touch a little bit more on my own comics career (starting with a Steve Gerber story related to that pending Defenders column), and of course there will be plenty of surprises (meaning that, no, I haven’t got each of the next twenty-six issues planned in advance, although I do have things more tightly scheduled than you’d expect). If Longbox Graveyard stalls out, it won’t be for want of material.

Statistics & Hits

How is the blog doing? I’m not sure. My hits grew steadily each month since launch, peaking at a bit less than 2,200 views in October before flattening in November. My ranking seems to hover in the low hundreds over at Comic Blog Elite, which either means I have plenty of room for growth, or I am seriously over-performing for a one-man, once-weekly blog about books that have been out of print for a quarter-century. I’ve been getting more spam, which is a perverse indicator of growing search strength.

hits aren’t everything

I’ve made a few attempts to drive growth. I’ve been pretty active on Twitter, which has found me a few new readers and generated a spike or two, as when Ed Brubaker tweeted about the American Dream column I wrote about his work (this remains the single most viewed Longbox Graveyard post, narrowly leading my Tomb of Dracula post at Halloween, which benefited from a surge of views from the comic books subdomain at Reddit). I don’t think many people stick around from those spikes. My updates at Facebook drive a few hits each week. Believe it or not I even have a Myspace page for Longbox Graveyard but I only use it to post blog updates, and I don’t think it’s gotten me any traffic.

my Longbox Graveyard avatar on Twitter and other places

I do follow several other comics blogs, and post comments now and then, which has driven a trickle of traffic back to this site. Part of the problem is that most comics blogs are focused on current books, so their readership has limited interest in what I pedal here. I could create a stir by criticizing current creators and fan favorites but I don’t want the flames and really, Longbox Graveyard is the internet’s biggest glass house — I’ve got no business giving anyone grief for what they like.

I’m sure there are plenty of clever things I could do to make the blog more search-friendly but I can’t be bothered. I do chip away at it but driving hits is not my focus. That being said, every hit is a little validation for what I do, so if you value the blog, please tell your friends and re-post and recommend my content to your social streams.

In terms of specific posts, I suppose my most disappointing effort has been my review of Supergods. I put a lot of work into that post but to judge by the traffic it received, no one gives a shit about Grant Morrison (and in this perhaps the internet is wise). I had the most fun writing my various Thor and Conan posts, and the Jim Starlin “Cosmics” posts were fun, too. Generally speaking, posts strictly about collecting or about my own comics work have been the least well-received. The top three search terms generating traffic for Longbox Graveyard have been (by far) Chris Hemsworth Naked, Jason Momoa Naked, and Chris Evans Naked. Linkbaiting works, kids!

for my own sanity I will henceforth restrict myself to linkbaiting Jennifer Lawrence naked

The Accumulation

My stated aim of maintaining this blog to help me sell off part of my vast Accumulation hasn’t amounted to much. I gave a stack of Amazing Spider-Man to Billy King and mailed a run of Paranoia to Mars Will Send No More, but otherwise haven’t managed to reduce the pile at all. Instead, the collection has grown … but at least I am better organized than when I started, and I’m having fun with the stuff I’ve added. I keep telling myself that I will get my books packaged up to offer on eBay, but I keep finding other things to do instead. Maybe I’ll get to it after the holidays. Or maybe not.


I’ve read a lot of comics these past six months, practically to the exclusion of all else. Not everything winds up on the blog, and not everything has been twenty-five years old or more. More recent graphic novels that I’ve read and enjoyed include Batwoman: Elegy and Ed Brubaker’s Criminal. There have been some classic runs that I’ve read, too, like the New Teen Titans Omnibus, and the “Panthers Rage” saga from Jungle Action, but it remains to be seen if I will review them here at Longbox Graveyard. My happy problem is that even when it doesn’t yield blog fodder, I find myself reading comics for entertainment again, which is a huge step for a guy who didn’t touch comics for two decades.

Batwoman: Elegy

The Boys

My lads Miles and Jack continue to vex me with a near-total disinterest in comics. At least, they have zero interest in the thousands of moldy old books I have on hand. Miles is happy to read Sin City, Kick Ass, Scott Pilgrim, and Walking Dead, all of which we have to go out and buy (as opposed to the thousands of books I have that he could read for free). Miles’ interest in Captain America and Judge Dredd has proven short-lived. Jack hasn’t gotten much traction with anything except a couple World of Warcraft graphic novels. I will continue to put books in front of them but they are seeming a lost generation.


Longbox Graveyard is a couple dollars in the red, but that’s no big deal. It has never been a goal to monetize this blog — that I have monetization links at all is just a matter of course. I feel like I live next to a river, so I might as well put out some traps, even if I’m not counting on catching any fish. My Longbox Graveyard Store wasn’t helped by the tax dispute between Amazon and California, but now that it’s up again it still isn’t getting any sales. I was happy to get some trade credit from MyComicsShop.com … until I realized that it was a commission on a purchase I made through my own site! My “Contribute” button is as hard to find as Bigfoot and I’m not convinced it works (send me a million bucks and I’ll let you know how it went). No one cares about my back issues page. I did get a free Young Justice DVD. Whee!

S’okay. I do this blog because it is fun for me and therapeutic. It might lead to something else down the line but my expectations are modest. Actual operating costs are insignificant and I don’t expect to be paid for my time.

secret passive-aggressive goal of Longbox Graveyard


The nicest benefit of Longbox Graveyard has been making new friends and getting reacquainted with old ones. I’ve met a number of fellow comics geeks through my posts here and on Twitter — Mars Will Send No More has been especially vigilant in offering regular commentary (and he sent me a truly-awesome Christmas card with some vintage dinosaur swag that nicely lifted my spirits). Glenn Smith doesn’t comment here but I know he’s a frequent reader and we chat quite a bit on Twitter, and Horace Austin has offered some especially insightful comments. There have been many others, beside, and if I don’t mention you it really is because there are too many to mention. Every comment at this blog is read and given a reply, and I look forward to continued correspondence with all of you. It’s also nice to run into folks in real life and have them tell me they’ve enjoyed the blog. I do genuinely appreciate that you guys read what I write.


It will really help me get a handle on my readership if you can click one of the buttons below. I’m frankly not sure how many people read this blog, or how they are reading it — please take a moment to let me know how you read Longbox Graveyard.


If you comment on only one Longbox Graveyard blog every six months … let this be the one! Please post a comment to let me know you’re breathing. It doesn’t have to be much — “Keep it up,” “You suck,” “Batman roolz,” whatever. Scrawl something on my wall via the comments section. It will encourage me to continue this blog.

Thanks for your support these past six months, and I hope you will stick with me for the next six months to come. Please tell your therapists and your geeky friends about Longbox Graveyard, and if you read something you like here, please hit those share buttons for Facebook, Reddit, Digg, and Twitter to drive my exposure.

Finally, if you’d like to write for Longbox Graveyard, let me know — I’m actively looking for guest voices to feature on the blog!

NEXT WEDNESDAY — #27 Silver Age Gold


About Paul O'Connor

Revelations and retro-reviews from a world where it is always 1978, published every now and then at www.longboxgraveyard.com!

Posted on December 14, 2011, in Editorial and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. Good read as always Paul. Its interesting how the traffic has been fairly steady and the steps it takes to get more traffic. I certainly enjoy reading Longbox… and thanks for the link up top =)


    • Thanks for reading and posting Billy. Would like to see you for lunch sometime soon, now that you’re going in break and are just down the street … drop on by, let’s catch up on comics and everything else and see if there’s some way I can get you more involved with Longbox Graveyard.


  2. I have almost zero interests in comic books, never have outside of “Weird War”, and yet I usually find your various ramblings pretty interesting.


  3. Every Wednesday, we check out Diversions of the Groovy Kind to see what’s up on “Black and White Wednesday,” and we check out Longbox Graveyard to see what the score is on random Bronze Age treasures. It’s our weekly geekly ritual and makes us happy.

    We have no interest in reviews of anything on TV because we haven’t owned one for 20 years and intend to keep it that way. No real interest in movie reviews either, because 99 out of 100 comic book movies suck.

    We do like that your reviews focus on complete runs, as that is how we usually read. We do like that we almost always learn something, and that you have hipped us to a few buried treasures we didn’t know about in our comment discussions. We do like that you actually respond to comments, and we can have a dialogue about books instead of monologues.

    We do not like that you live in another state, preventing us from dropping by your house with a cold case of beer and a fresh pack of bags and boards to bribe you into letting us go through those longboxes for three or four hours.


    • Delighted to learn I am part of your weekly geek ritual, Mars — you are one of my earliest and most frequent commentators, and it is always a pleasure to see you pop up here. Likewise it has been nice to get to know you a little bit outside the sphere of this blog, through our correspondence, and I’d certainly welcome your beer-equipped home invasion to paw through the Longbox Graveyard in the garage. Maybe we can connect at a convention sometime.

      My pattern here on LBG has been to run a comics review every-other week, alternating with “something else” that might be TV/movies, or a game, or a general collecting blog. The reviews are more popular and better columns overall, I know, but they also require greater effort and I don’t think I can keep up a weekly pace if all I did was review blogs. At the same time I do feel sometimes that I have a backlog of reviews (I have my reviews projected out into the spring at this point, even if I haven’t written them yet), so if I get far enough ahead I might try running several reviews in a row.

      Right now, the tentative schedule for the next several weeks is Silver Surfer next week, the Operation Ajax iPad graphic novel the week after that, then Steve Gerber’s Defenders, and then a blog about the unpublished Sludge/Ultraverse script I wrote under Gerber’s direction several years ago. A little further out are Teen Titans and Deathlok, plus I plan one or two columns around release of the John Carter movie along the lines of what I did with Conan last summer.

      I tend to write the blog in bursts of two or three in a weekend and then go fallow for awhile, but so far at least I’ve kept the illusion of weekly publication. Signing up for another 26 issues is like agreeing to run a marathon but I think I am up to it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, as always, Mars, and happy holidays.


  4. Don’t have much insight on the world of “old” comics but love your writing, keep it up!



  5. Paul – I very much enjoy checking in here once per week – keep it up. I collected comics like a maniac through the entire 80’s took a 20-year break through the 90’s and 2000’s and started organising things again this year. A bit like yourself, I’ve been rereading, filling in gaps, selling off unwanted books. I’ve managed to reduce a 3000ish book collection to about half that – but the cost of bagging and boarding what I’ve kept, plus those luscious trades, has meant I’m in the red… This is a great hobby and it’s blogs like yours that give people some guidance about what back issues might be good and why. Keep. It. UP. If you get a bit over it, drop your updates to biweekly. Regards. Adrian 🙂


    • Thank you for reading and posting, Adrian. I believe this is your first post here, so welcome.

      Your comments will definitely encourage me to continue the blog, and congrats on your success in reducing your collection. Are you selling on eBay or elsewhere? I fully expect to remain in the red even as I sell off my books but at this point it’s really more about recovering space, reducing the Accumulation to a curated collection of stuff I really want, and getting out from under the psychic burden of unwanted possessions.

      Your break almost exactly corresponds with my absence from comics … I hope it wasn’t my work in the early 1990s that drove you away! Actually that would be hysterical.


  6. In New Zealand the dominant online marketplace is trademe and I’ve moved my books that way. It’s a lot like ebay. No chance of getting even half of guide value down here though and the economics suck… many of my low end books have sold at reserve of NZ $1 – minus 50c commission & 10c for a bag leaves me 40c… this could be for a VF/NM grade book I paid NZ $1.75 for in 1984 and have carted around 10 different houses since… lol… It’s weird, for NEW comics we pay 50-100% more than you guys due to freight and exchange rate.
    The 90’s has a bad rep it seems, you shouldn’t beat yourself up, you were playing to the comics fashion theme of the day. I’ve enjoyed finding out for myself. I picked up Gen13 #1-20 for a song (pretty crap I thought) Witchblade 1-16 also cheap (not bad) Cable & Deadpool I liked, Spawn – only read #1. More Love & Rockets! Yes!
    Of this decade I’ve enjoyed Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, Old Man Logan, Red Son, Kingdom come, and currently Irredeemable, Uncanny X-Force, New52 Frankenstein, Justice League, JL Dark, Swamp Thing, Animal Man…
    In the 80’s I was a big Mage/Grendel fanboy, and I’m sad that flame seems to have died. Even sadder that Cerebus didn’t live up to its potential. My X-Men populate approx #140-220 with a few older starting at #94. The run you’re selling would actually suit me nicely… but instead I bought the “Essential” trades that will fill gaps. This will suffice. I was also into Flaming Carrot, Ralph Snart, Dr Strange, The Defenders, Swamp Thing, Watchmen, V for Vendetta, but I didn’t read the New Teen Titans. So will look forward to your musings on any of those topics. And also on any gems I might have missed.
    Cheers :))


    • Thanks for the insight on the Kiwi market, I bet shipping does put a dent in everything. One of the reasons I only sell inside the U.S. (when I sell at all) is because of the expense of international shipping, plus it requires additional forms at the post office, and I can’t skip the line and use the automated kiosk the way I can for domestic mail. I know this limits my market, but when margins are as slim as you describe, convenience trumps everything else.

      I don’t think I’ll be filling in my 90s gap any time soon, but if the Guardians of the Galaxy had a decent reboot I may need to track that down. I always liked the Guardians — it was a hopeless book, a lot of pieces that didn’t fit, terrible bad guys in the Badoon … but I still liked them. I ran across the Guardians again recently when doing my Defenders re-read, so they have been a little more top-of-mind, plus that property has been mentioned a couple times in recent interviews as in development by Marvel for a film (which is peculiar, but there you have it).

      I think you are better off with X-Men Omnibuses (Omnibusi?) than the original books, to tell you the truth. You might reasonably complain that the colors don’t look original but the print quality is so vastly superior that I think they are a no-brainer, versus tracking down the still irrationally priced original issues. I’d buy an Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Vol. 2 in a heartbeat, but it seems perpetually “about to be printed” by Marvel (going on several years now). I have a borrowed copy of the Whedon X-Men Omnibus that you mention here on my desk, maybe I will read it over the break.

      Groovy to hear back from you, Adrian, thank for reading and please post any time!


  7. Paul …

    I love this blog. I look forward to it. I’m jealous. Well written. Well thought out. And regularly posted. Yeek.

    Makes me wish I could find time to get back to my own blog. Keep up the GREAT work.



    • Thanks for checking in, Dwo, and I would love to see Funny Book Fanatic return in 2012! I have a link to your blog listed under “Friends of the Longbox” in my left-margin gutter … this is the little candle I keep burning in the window for you.

      I think we bloggers put pressure on ourselves to publish regularly, but for most readers it doesn’t matter. I subscribe to dozens of blogs via RSS, and when a blog publishes, I check it out — when it doesn’t publish, I don’t think about it, but neither do I resent the lack of material. If you published just one new post — just one, with no promise or intent of another — I bet you’d still get a great response. And in publishing one you may find you have an appetite for another (entirely on your own schedule).

      Think about it! I would consider it a great achievement of the Longbox if you got back in the blogging game, plus I would value the opportunity to ruminate on second-string superheroes with you again, and to trumpet HOW WRONG YOU WERE ABOUT SCARLETT JOHANSSON AS THE BLACK WIDOW!



  8. Together we can put an end to this destructive conflict & rule the galaxy
    as writer & artist.


  9. Paul,

    Longbox Graveyard is the only comics blog I read with any regularity. The Bronze Age is of strong interest to me and I enjoy your musings on it. Keep the blog going!

    Also, you list what’s coming up in 2012 and cite the new Spider-Man film. Regarding our favorite wall crawler, I just wanna mention that April will mark the 50th anniversary of Spider-Man. I look forward to knowing what your favorite Spider-Man stories are.


    • Hey, Horace! Thanks for stopping by. (I edited your typo and deleted your follow-up message).

      Not sure what I can write about Spider-Man next year, unless it is a column about how I’ve always been strangely indifferent to the character. Spider-Man is of course immensely popular, one of the greatest and most important comic book heroes of all time, but I’ve always been a little tone deaf to him. I don’t dislike the character by any stretch, but neither have I ever really been a fan. I’ll have to think on it. My column may end up being about how you can simultaneously be a comics fan for going on forty years and at the same time be completely indifferent to one of the foundational books of the form!


  10. Paul,

    Yeah, Spidey was quite ubiquitous during my collecting heyday.

    Amazing Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-Man, Marvel Team-Up, Marvel Tales and Spidey Super Stories. Not to mention the newspaper strips and TV appearances (the syndicated cartoon, the CBS TV movie and “The Electric Company”).

    You’re not a Spider-Man fan. That’s cool. There are lots of other cool characters out there.


    • My interest in Spider-Man is picking up a bit. After your last post I decided to take a fresh look at the character. The only Spidey I had close to hand was Essential Spider-Man Vol. 3, which picks up about six issues into John Romita’s run. I thumbed around a bit and settled in to read the multi-part story commencing with issue #50, where Spider-Man (briefly) surrenders his identity and the Kingpin uses the opportunity to make a move to control the underworld.

      Liked it quite a bit … I think my attitude toward Silver Age tropes is improving (something I touch on in tomorrow’s column about the Silver Surfer). I came away from that story wanting to read more Spidey, but collections of the early stuff are hard to come by at a reasonable price. I think I have a work-around, though, and will likely be blogging about it here before too much longer.

      Long story short, Horace, was that you shamed me into looking at Spider-Man again and I owe you for that. Thanks!


      • The Lee/Romita Spider-man is THE Spider-man!!! Nobody made Spidey come alive like Romita and the scripts were tight. The Marvel Tales reprints are totally worth it. We like snagging them in a reasonably priced ‘fine’ grade.

        Parker with Gwen and MJ rules. We still haven’t forgiven Conway for killing Gwen. Quick death would be too good for Norman Osborn, too.

        Other than Lee/Romita, we dug the totally different Jenkins/Ramos rendition, too. Nice run.


        • Part of my tepid feelings about Spider-Man are down to joining the book in a down era. The first issue of Spidey that I bought was #136, which was a continuity-heavy “son of the Green Goblin” issue that wasn’t really an ideal jumping-on point. The books of that era had a kind of looking-backwards aspect to them that made me feel that I’d already missed the best years of the character. Spidey had already lost his youth and his innocence and his girl and I got the sense that the stories I was reading weren’t as “important” as the ones that came before. Conway and Andru weren’t exactly a definitive team for the web-slinger, either.

          Looking back at the first hundred issues — Lee/Ditko and then Lee/Romita — reveals a fresh and sunlit era for the character that I find refreshing now that I am pushing fifty (which looked cheesy when I was in my twenties, and which was entirely out of reach when I was a twelve-year-old getting into comics). I will likely do a review of Amazing Spider-Man #1-38 (the Ditko run) when the new movie comes out next summer, and then look at the JR run later in the year. Looking at digital options for these books because the reprints are a little spotty right now … may treat myself to a Marvel digital subscription if I can find a satisfying work-around to view the books on my Flash-adverse iPad. (I have a plan!)


  11. Wonderful post as ever, Paul! (sorry for the late comment – a wee bit behind on the feeds)
    Hope you had a merry Christmas!


  12. Having just discovered your blog through another site that I visit regularly, I would say to you keep up the good work. I thoroughly enjoyed your evaluation of the Silver Surfer and found your judgement of the character and the series as spot on. I would say to you that you should try the late eighties series that the Surfer starred…Marshall Rogers’ art was enjoyable and the stories were not terrible. I am a Spider Fan, so I’m not sure if I can agree with your comments on that character. He was my gateway in to comics as a young boy via the classic Marvel Team Up title and the reprints in Marvel Tales.
    Really enjoy your writing, hope to enjoy more of your posts!


    • Thank you for reading and commenting, G-Ray, and welcome to Longbox Graveyard! I publish a new blog every Wednesday — set yourself up with an email or RSS sub and you won’t miss a column.

      I’ll see if I can run down the Surfers you recommend. I’m presently exploring the breadth and depth of what Marvel has on offer in their Digital Unlimited subscription program, but I don’t think they have those particular issues. I did check out some of the Jim Starlin/Ron Lim issues, but didn’t like them much (which is strange because I generally dig Starlin).

      And I am coming around on Spider-Man, largely due to the aforementioned Marvel Digital subscription, where I’ve developed a new-found admiration for Steve Ditko, largely because viewing his work digitally (up close, recolored, and in greatly improved resolution) really reveals the genius of the man. I plan to review issues #1-38 of Amazing Spider-Man when we get closer to the new movie coming out this summer.

      Marvel Tales was a good window into classic Spidey. I know that another of the contributors here — the always-groovy Mars Will Send No More — pounces on those books like a hawk when he finds them in the quarter box. Superior stories and a bargain price — that’s the kind of comic book collecting I can support.

      Thanks again for reading and posting, G-Ray, please feel free to comment at any time.


  13. Hey this is the Nate who is buying your Ultravrerse stuff. I am 6 months into your efforts, and man, they are terrific! You have got the right idea about so much, even if I find warlock to be about 10 times better than your praise! I am so eager to keep going, I reckon I will end this comment now and see what the heck comes next!


    • Hey, Nate! Thanks for reading and commenting (and sign up for an account, so you can be anonymous no more!)

      Overall I was a little hard on the books I first reviewed at this blog. Captain Marvel, Warlock, Micronauts, and Teen Titans all likely deserve a bump in their letter grade. I think my issue with Warlock is that he’s a good and sometimes great character, and that Magus storyline was aces, but the rest of that run (and all too often the character itself) was inconsistent, and hence my lowish grade.

      Fingers crossed that Adam gets some screen time in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.


  14. Still working my way through the archives…good stuff! Spider-Man roolz!


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