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Longbox Soapbox (Summer 2016 Edition)

Longbox Graveyard #162

The sleeper has awakened! Longbox Graveyard is back! 

Captain America #101

My thanks for sticking with me through this month-long hiatus. After five years of continuous publication here at LBG, going away on vacation for a couple weeks seemed a good opportunity to step back from the blog (and Twitter, and Instagram) and take stock of my online comics fandom efforts. My return coincides with this summer edition of the Longbox Soapbox, where I reveal blog stats for the last several months, and determine if Longbox Graveyard will continue.

First things first — Longbox Graveyard will continue! I do still enjoy doing the blog, and you guys seem to like reading it, so I will commit to another year of publication. But my frequency will decrease. LBG started as a weekly blog … then moved to twice-monthly … then to once-a-month … and as of now, will be published “irregularly,” which means that I will aim for once-a-month for big “numbered” articles, but we’ll see how it goes. I don’t want to publish just to publish, and while I still have plenty of enthusiasm for comics blogging, the refractory period between those enthusiastic outbursts is getting longer and longer. It happens to all of us as we age, honest!

This shouldn’t impact LBG’s readership too much. The blog has been on a slow drip for quite some time (my frantic publication of Marvel reviews notwithstanding), and I effectively missed the last month entirely and the world still kept spinning. In fact, it kept spinning at a remarkably stable rate, which gave me a picture into the blog’s base traffic level, absent any sort of promotion on Twitter or Instagram. (I abandoned promoting on Facebook ages ago — not because it was a poor source of traffic, just because I don’t like Facebook).

Anyway, it looks like daily search traffic and the occasional visit from Longbox Graveyard diehards guarantees about 2000 views a week for my little one-man blogging operation, down from roughly 2800 per week when I am actively adding content and promoting up a storm. The chart below bears with out, with the last four full weeks on the graph showing activity when the blog was mothballed while I was on vacation (and the right-most week being partial at the time of this screenshot).

Longbox Graveyard weekly traffic

That level of traffic might be kind of sad if I was trying to monetize Longbox Graveyard, but seeing as I’ve turned off most advertising here (again), it’s more than enough for a cozy little fannish operation that is primarily an outlet for my four-color obsessions, and a safe space to discuss the same with a loyal cadre of leaders that have stuck with me through thick and thin. So I expect this to be my traffic level for the future, maybe ticking up a bit when I add new content, or return to Twitter and Instagram in force (and the jury is still out on whether I want to do that … it’s fun to interact through those channels, but it was starting to feel like work, and after a month away I find I don’t miss it much, whereas blogging is still calling my name).

And what might you expect here at the blog in the coming weeks?

I dunno.

shrug

I have a pile of DC Rebirth books here awaiting review, but I am having trouble getting traction with that project. For the most part, these books have failed to inspire the kind of strong emotion that makes for good reviews. Everything has been a “C” so far, and I’m not sure I want to devote a lot of digital ink to damning DC’s latest reboot with faint praise. I may yet take a run at this — if so, you’ll see the first reviews in a day or two.

Or not.

Steve Ditko's Doctor Strange

Looking farther out, I will certainly do something magic-related when the Doctor Strange movie comes out in November (probably in concert with Super-Blog Team-Up). I have a long-gestating Golden Age review series that looks at comics year-by-year that may finally see publication — I’ve written the 1939 entry, but need to finish my 1938 article to kick things off right. I might do something with Star Wars in December, to coincide with Rogue One’s theatrical release. I have special monster plans for October. There’s the second-part of my promised Fantastic Four Annuals review bumping around somewhere; I’d like to take a look at the Claremont/Byrne run on Marvel Team-Up; and I am forever saying I will get back to reviewing Tomb of Dracula, Master of Kung Fu, and the rest of Walt Simonson’s run on Thor. Maybe this is the year!

we miss you, Darwyn

But for now, it’s summer time. The nights are long and the living is easy. San Diego Comic-Con begins this week, and it is right in my backyard, so I expect I will be down there getting in trouble. I’ve been keeping up with a few contemporary Marvel series through my Unlimited digital sub, and several DC Rebirth books are still inbound, seeing as I preordered them months ago. I hope everyone out there is having a great season and reading lots of comics. In fact, that suggests a survey question:

Sound off in the comments, to let me know what you are reading, and to let me know you are still out there and a part of Longbox Graveyard! Thanks in advance for your support, and I look forward to visiting with you here at LBG for the balance of this year and beyond. Excelsior!

NEXT MONTH: Scooby Apocalypse!

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Longbox Soapbox (Summer 2015)

Longbox Graveyard #148

Another year goes by, and it’s time for another installment of my blog-about-a-blog — Longbox Soapbox, where I discuss the past, present, and future of Longbox Graveyard!

Batman #192

what does the crystal ball portend for Longbox Graveyard?

Issue #147 of this blog marks my four-year blogging anniversary. I estimate I’ve written about a quarter-million words about comics here at Longbox Graveyard — maybe twice that, if you factor in all my sundry “non-numbered” posts, guest blogs for other sites, and Twitter and Instagram blather.

That’s a lot of words! I’m not sure they’ve all been that great, lately — and when two of your most recent posts are Top 10 Super-Dogs and Chris Hemsworth Naked, a strong argument can be made that Longbox Graveyard has jumped the shark.

Action Comics #456

But I find I still have a few things to say about comics, so I have renewed my domain name for another year and I expect to continue publishing Longbox Graveyard through the summer of 2016.

But there will be changes.

Shade The Changing Man

ch-ch-ch-changes!

I do still have things to say about comics, but I don’t need to say them so frequently. This blog has already downshifted several times when it comes to frequency, debuting as a weekly blog, but now publishing on the first Wednesday of the month. I will continue with a “numbered” post each month, but my off-week Wednesday posts will mostly go away. That means bye-bye to Pinterest Gallery posts and (yes) Naked Chris Hemsworth, but I don’t think anyone will miss them. Publishing every Wednesday was a happy habit, for awhile, but my non-numbered posts have too-often been empty content, and it is time for them to go.

Half the reason I was keeping to a weekly schedule was to help sustain the blog’s growth, but a glance at my stats will show that my readership has stalled over the last year:

blog stats!

The year 2014 looks like it was Peak Geek insofar as Longbox Graveyard is concerned, and for the first time, I expect my average readership will decline, year-over-year, when the final numbers roll in at the end of 2015. I’m down about fifty views a day — a significant number in a blog that only gets 400-500 views per day.

Maybe things will bounce back. Maybe they won’t! In any case, I’m tired of pedaling so hard just chasing views.

Fewer posts and better posts shall be my watchword in the year to come. Let me know how I do, OK?

DC Explosion!

comics explosion, comin’ at ya!

And what do I have planned for the year ahead? Well, I’ve been thinking about reviewing John Byrne’s run on Fantastic Four, but if that doesn’t happen before the movie comes out, it likely never will. I’d like to do a review of the Marvel Puzzle Quest mobile game — a little outside my purview, but my gaming articles have done well here in the past. Looking toward the end of the year, I’d like to do something about Star Wars and comics. I expect there will be another Super-Blog Team-Up, and hopefully another guest blog from Dean Compton. It is my perennial wish to return to my review series on Tomb of Dracula and Master of Kung Fu. I have a hankering to revisit the Claremont/Byrne age of Marvel Team-Up. And I might even get around to publishing those long-promised (and long-forgotten) web comics that I mentioned here a couple years back!

WarChief!

alas, Warchief, your copyright date mocks me

This summer should also see the debut of my original comics story 4 Seconds, published by Thrillbent, which is coming down the home stretch right now … but more about that when we have a firm ship date.

(Let me know which topics interest you in the comments, below!)

Taking stock of where I am personally, right now, comics-wise … all is well. Maybe it’s too quiet. Compared to last year’s Longbox Soapbox — when my neighborhood was burning down and a move loomed in my future — the present is positively sedate! I’m installed in my new place; my comics Accumulation has been catalogued, reduced, and tamed; and I am enjoying the occasional old comics read, more often in digital form than not. I do still enjoy having this blog, but I do see The End coming into view …

The End Approaches!

… but not yet!

Thanks, as always, to my many loyal readers (those of you who aren’t bots, at least!) As is the tradition with my Longbox Soapbox columns, please check in with a comment below — let me know you are are out there, and breathing.

And to that end, take my poll:

See you next month!

NEXT MONTH: #149 Ant-Man!

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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