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Longbox Soapbox (Summer 2014)

Longbox Graveyard #133

Happy birthday to me — Longbox Graveyard is three years old!

Happy Birthday To Me!

Twice a year I indulge myself with a blog about blogging, where I look at the numbers for Longbox Graveyard, assess where I’ve been, and decide if I want to keep this thing going. If you’re looking for Superhero Spoonerisms or Thanos on the couch, then you will want to skip this entry.

Otherwise — forward!

To get the business out of the way first — Longbox Graveyard has been “renewed.” I’ll keep blogging for at least the rest of 2014. I will, however, be reducing my posting frequency. I will aim for one “numbered” article every thirty days, on the first Wednesday of the month, with various shorter posts on other Wednesdays. As the whim strikes me I may run multiple numbered articles in a thirty-day period, but my plan for the balance of the year is one big article per month (some of which may be reprints, like last week’s fill-in article).

The Winter Soldier

the Winter Soldier delivered, both at the box office and for Longbox Graveyard!

Longbox Graveyard itself has never been healthier. Traffic was up a whopping 43% these past six months, fueled by the run-up to the release of Captain America: Winter Soldier, which drove crazy hits for my Top Ten Captain America Villains article. My article on superhero deck-building games has proven a strong performer, along with the usual assortment of Top Tens, which remain the most popular posts on the site. I am also pleased that the first half of 2014 saw varied voices on the blog, with guest articles about Shazam and The Punisher from Dean Compton; Peter Parker’s love life by Dan Gvozden (Part One, Part Two); and Daredevil/Kingpin by Mark Ginocchio. Also in the community spirit, I wrote about the All-Star Squadron and Thanos as part of Super-Blog Team-Up, a kind of blogging open house event that is always fun and (I suspect) helps bring new readers to Longbox Graveyard.

Captain America Google Magic

The image above shows hits by month for the lifetime of Longbox Graveyard, dramatically highlighting that Captain America-driven surge over the last three months. After the madness of April it was a little disappointing to come back down to earth in May … but that “disappointing” May still ranks as the third-best month in the blog’s history! I do think the good times are coming to an end, though, and I expect growth to slow substantially over the next six months, if only because I will be posting less … unless this summer sees my Guardians of the Galaxy articles catch some of the same Google mojo that my Cap article enjoyed!

So my metrics are healthy — traffic is strong, readers still favor me with comments here and on my Twitter stream, and the blog is even throwing off about twenty bucks a month in advertising revenue, which is pretty much the minimum threshold for keeping those obnoxious FIVE CELEBRITY BOOB JOBS YOU HAVE TO SEE TO BELIEVE ads running on my sidebar.

Power Girl Comic Book Boob Job

(link-baiting poor Power Girl and comic book boob jobs!)

Elsewhere it was business as usual. My kids still don’t read comics, and I made incremental progress toward organizing the Accumulation (though I am just about done on that front). I achieved some small Pinterest fame and opened up an account at Lockerdome. I wrote an article for WhatCulture (but didn’t find it an especially rewarding experience).

Also, my house almost burned down.

That’s video I shot about a block from my house, during the devastating San Marcos wildfire last month. Later that day, I’d watch helicopters filling up their water baskets on live news reports on my TV, hear the rotors over my house, and then watch the water drops from my window. At various times during the event, flames were visible from my living room, and my family and I would be evacuated for several days. Thanks to genuinely superheroic measures by firefighters and first responders, our place was fine, but I did see a neighbor’s home across the canyon catch fire and burn to the ground.

It was a curiously remote feeling, watching those flames approach my house. I can even recommend it, in a strange way — it brought sharply into focus the things I could and could not live without, and forced me to genuinely confront many of the ideas I have examined in the abstract here at Longbox Graveyard about being possessed by your possessions. If the wind had shifted that afternoon there is a very real possibility that I could have lost my home, and everything in it … including the Longbox Graveyard comic book collection.

Human Torch!

flame on! (almost)

I was OK with it. In a dark way, I even fantasized that it might not be such a bad thing (and I know this is a false and horrible thing to say, given that so many people suffered genuine loss in this fire). Standing there with a garden hose while the fire whipped through our canyon helped me understand that I could legitimately let my things go (though I was willing to fight for them, to a point). In the scheme of things, as much as I enjoy my comics collection and my game collection and all the other stuff packed into my house, I don’t really need any of it, and I shouldn’t let it pin me down.

The fire also helped solidify a choice my wife and I had made a couple days prior — we’re moving.

The reasons are tedious and outside the scope of this blog, but the impact will hit Longbox Graveyard where it lives. My comic book Man Cave may be going away, and with it a place to store my comics. I’ve already begun selling off my bulkier items — mostly games at this point, but comics will follow — and I’m not sure how much of the Collection I will retain, or how I feel about shoving things into a storage unit someplace. I’m also not sure what it will mean for this blog. Will Longbox Graveyard have a purpose if the comics that inspired it are no longer a part of my life?

I’m not sure.

Hulk Is Outta Here!

Hulk is outta here … but I’m sticking around for a little while, at least!

I am sure that I’ve discovered a theme for the next six months of this blog, though!

That about does it for this season’s report … as has been the case with past Longbox Soapboxes, I hope you will check in with a comment — if you comment on just one entry here at Longbox Graveyard, let it be this one!

And what would a Longbox Soapbox be without a poll?

Thanks for reading Longbox Graveyard, whether you discovered me three years ago, or last week! Your comments and support have buoyed me up through the long and sometimes arduous process of taming my comics Accumulation, and coming to grips with my own brief career as a comics creator. It’s been a good ride — and it will continue for awhile yet — but it is beginning to wind down a bit, which I think is a happy thing.

Excelsior!

(And if you want to buy a collection of 3000 Bronze Age comic booksdrop me a line!)

NEXT MONTH: #134 Star Lord: Windhoelme!

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About Paul O'Connor

Revelations and retro-reviews from a world where it is always 1978, published once a month or so at www.longboxgraveyard.com!

Posted on June 11, 2014, in Editorial and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. I’m just happy to have been a part of this great blog. What an experience! Here’s hoping this place never goes away, and once again, I am glad you and your family are all right after those fires. If I lived closer, I’d help you move, compadre!

    Like

    • Very pleased that you are part of this blog, Dean, and looking forward to publishing your All-Star Squadron article in the very next issue of Longbox Graveyard!

      (and thanks for the moving help offer … if you come out to San Diego Comic-Con I’ll take you up on it!)

      Like

      • I wish I could come. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to go, but I don’t think i will ever be able to afford it. Sorry High School me…

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        • Getting you to Comic-Con is as easy as 1-2-3.

          First, you need a ticket. Skip the crazy registration crunch and instead offer to host a panel for Comic-Con 2015. You could do a general blogging panel (and I’d happily help with that) … but Compton After Dark seems to be developing the gravitas to justify a panel all its own, maybe in the form of a “live” podcast where you interview some of the comics pros that have been coming on your show. So, there’s your ticket (and a guest) taken care of.

          Next, you need a place to stay. Again, skip the Hotelapocalypse and stay on my couch (provided I still live in the area … and that I still have a couch). We’ll ride the train in together every day, which isn’t as great as staying in the Gaslamp but it’s better than nothing.

          Last, you need to get to California. You have thumbs for two reasons — to play video games, and to hitch rides. And don’t forget the Geek Reach afforded by your Podcast — just put the word out that you need a ride from the southeast to Comic-Con and I expect you’ll be rewarded with any number of unexpected offers.

          Anyway … as lifelong dreams go … getting into Comic-Con isn’t as remote as it may seem. Excelsior!

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  2. Very glad to hear you will be continuing the blog. Yours was the first i really got into and help me start putting my little site together. Thanks again for all the advise. I know a little how you feel hen life impedes on what we love and we have to sacrifice to keep that love going. Good luck on the move and i hope thing always work out for the best for you.

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  3. Happy (belated) birthday!

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  4. Reblogged this on johnsonreginald3 and commented:
    Longbox Soapbox (Summer 2014)

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  5. Glad to have you back for another six months, and I hope the site continues to grow. Good work!

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    • Thanks, Prof!

      My rate of growth will certainly slow, but given its present size (and Google footprint) I expect Longbox Graveyard would continue to grow at some rate even if I took my hands entirely off the wheel.

      (Which is kind of scary, now that I think about it).

      Like

  6. Happy Birthday Longbox Graveyard! I enjoyed the little peek into your mind especially in light of the recent fires. I love your blog and I hope it has a long happy life for as long as you enjoy feeding it with (as always) great content.

    My son is 12 and (I shudder when I say this) “hates reading”. I tried, oh yes I tried. A steady diet of bedtime stories from toddler super hero books as well as (later) all-ages comics. Fun trips to comic-con, comic shops, and FCBD. He has a comic collection of 2 full short boxes, but has read little if any of it. At his age I was in my comic golden age, just starting to recognize and appreciate artists by name. I drew nonstop, but only when I was not reading. He is a fantastic kid! I finally had to realize he has different interests then I did, and that is OK.

    Awright folks — we need to start linking to LBG and commenting and clicking on boob ads…. FOR PAUL! We won’t stop until we DOUBLE your monthly income to $40! 🙂

    John

    Like

    • Boob clicking is a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it!

      Here’s the thing about reading and kids — you never know what is going to light them up. You have to be patient, and you have to keep putting things in front of them, and you have to accept that they just haven’t found what they like yet.

      My little guy Jack was very much the same when he was 12. A few false starts with books and comics we thought he liked, shelves groaning under the weight of unread books, and a vague sense of “he’s behind” or “he’s missing out.” Of course I compared Jack to my own experience at 12, buying comics for a quarter, and reading them (literally!) in my tree house.

      That just wasn’t Jack.

      Over time, though, he found things he liked. Of all the things, it was reading HP Lovecraft short stories on a Kindle that opened up his head. Lovecraft! Not an easy read, but he dug it. And something about fewer, bigger words on a Kindle screen made all the difference, versus getting discouraged by the size of a book, or all those little words swimming around on a printed page. He liked the high-tech aspect, too.

      Anyway, he’s a reader now. He’s half-way through the Harry Dresden series and went to a book signing for Jim Butcher last week. He read the first Game of Thrones book and wants to watch the series now. On the comics side, he’s still not much of a fan, though he swears by Mouse Guard and I plan to lay some Swamp Thing on him this weekend (working that Lovecraft angle). He writes all the time and wants to be a writer for his career.

      Every kid is different. It doesn’t look like my kids are ever going to view my longboxes as treasure troves, and that pains me, a little. But only a little. They’ve found their way, and so will your lad. Just keep giving him chances. Eventually, something will catch fire.

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  7. PS that Happy Birthday Super Family artwork at the top of your post; that’s Kurt Schaffenberg right? Warms my heart… not the most photo-realistic or gritty art style but sometimes I was just in the mood for his simple and clean lines.

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    • Dunno, it’s probably Schaffenberg. I do love that Silver Age innocence. Been reading a lot of old Adventure Comics-era Legion of Superheroes recently … they make my brain melt, but there’s no discounting their nostalgia, even their sweetness. (And they’re WEIRD!)

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  8. You asked for a comma ?, , , , , , , ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,.

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  9. Best wishes to a guy I can only describe as a wonderful blogger, and a patient host for my screwball comments. And congratulations.
    And thanks, Paul.
    (don’t sell everything, keep the good stuff)

    Like

  10. Christopher Donovan

    I am happy to read that you are not on fire.

    Like

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