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Category Archives: Editorial

Site news of interest to Longbox Graveyard readers.

The Treehouse

Longbox Graveyard #158

I often write that Longbox Graveyard exists in a world where it is always 1978, but regular readers of this blog will know that since October of last year, I’ve been living in the now. Specifically, I’ve been reading and reviewing the sixty-odd titles that made up Marvel Comics’ latest relaunch — the awkwardly-named All-New All-Different Marvel Now!

Given my oft-voice preference for comics of the past, why did I commit to such a sustained sojourn in this current era of high cover prices and convoluted continuity?

Well, I’ll tell you.

It was all about the Treehouse.

Treehouse?

My love of comics is bound up in nostalgia and a desire to revisit my lost youth. I expect it is the same for many older fans (and I am on the hard side of fifty). While I genuinely enjoy and appreciate comics from the 1970s, I recognize that many of the reasons I prefer them to more contemporary efforts is rooted in that self-same nostalgia. Certainly, comics today enjoy better printing standards and an overall higher level of artistic execution than the beloved books of my youth … but I still like comics from the 1960s-1980s better than today’s offerings. I always will.

Bronze Age

Bronze is Golden

My love of these comics is wrapped up with the life I had in those years — things I’ve touched on over the last five years of this blog, like moving to Hollywood, CA in 1974, and exploring weird old comic shops along the boulevard; meeting Forest J. Ackerman and realizing for the first time that growing old didn’t mean you had to grow up; getting deeply wrapped up with fantasy fiction in general and Conan and John Carter in particular; starting new schools and getting my first girlfriend; moving away from home; starting my own tentative career as a writer and a creator … all those life events are things I associate with comic books, sometimes very specific comic books. When I remember chasing around my backyard in Hollywood, throwing my dad’s sculpting hammer at rocks and trash cans, I also think about Thor and Hercules and Firelord taking on the insane living planet Ego — both those things are equivalently real in my memory, in that long summer of ’74.

Thor #227

Other memories are entirely made up. Like reading comics in a treehouse.

I did have a treehouse at the Hollywood house — more like a tree platform, actually, overlooking a canyon in the Hollywood hills. I used to go up there with my toy Winchester rifle and shoot at imaginary Skrulls, something that once scrambled a police helicopter my way. (This was a high-crime time in Hollywood, and everyone was jumpy, maybe doubly so because that was the summer of the SLA, and the house that the LAPD lit up with 9000 rounds of ammo was only about a dozen miles from my house). I don’t especially remember reading comics in that treehouse, but that doesn’t matter — the idea of comics and childhood and treehouses are all bound up together, and led directly to my dropping several hundred dollars on new Marvel Comics these past few months.

In the middle of 2015 I was in a miserable place. My health wasn’t great, my best friend from my childhood was dying of cancer, and my work was providing little in emotional satisfaction. I still had enthusiasm for comics but my attention was flagging a bit, and I was entertaining the notion of winding down Longbox Graveyard entirely (I mean, I was publishing things like Top 10 Super-Dogs, for crying out loud!). I was so distraught that I decided to medicate myself with whatever felt good, eating everything in site and ballooning up to 250 pounds (don’t panic, I’m back down to 200 now), and also indulging myself in any easy bit of retail therapy that I thought would make me feel better.

The Blob

fortunately, I am The Blob no longer!

I decided that reading comics in a treehouse would make me feel better. So that’s what I did. Sort of.

Marvel’s All-New All-Different relaunch intrigued me — mostly because I was desperate — and it promised easy fodder for a series of micro-reviews at Longbox Graveyard. So, instead of closing down the blog, I’d force myself to produce daily content through much of the year. With my own original comic — 4 Seconds — coming out (I thought) toward the end of 2015, it also seemed a good idea to familiarize myself with Marvel’s latest output … if I was going to be a comics creator again, then I should know a bit about my field. I resolved to buy all the #1s in the Marvel relaunch.

This was easier said that done.

WE REALLY MEAN IT THIS TIME!

Marvel solicited the relaunch with a PDF catalogue that laid out the new titles and the new creative teams, but there was no easy way for me to just push a button and get one of everything. I either had to go into a local comics shop and set up a pull list (and I am too lazy for that), or I needed to order them online, but the online options I surveyed didn’t make it easy for me to determine which books were and were not part of the relaunch. After way too much work, I assembled a scratch list of all the books that I thought were part of the relaunch (and this became my review archive, which you can visit here). Armed with this info, I opened an account with Westfield Comics, both because I remembered them from my mail order days in the 1980s, and because they offered a nice deep discount for new customers that took some of the sting out of those Marvel cover prices.

Then I forgot about it. One of the downsides of an outfit like Westfield is you secure those deep discounts by ordering months in advance, which can take some of the heat out of purchases made in the heat of the moment. And the purchase really was made in the heat of the moment, and was more than a little irrational. I’ve made much about getting rid of stuff here at Longbox Graveyard, and now here I was ordering dozens of floppy comics that I would read once and toss (or eBay, I guess). But, darn it, I was in a painful place and I just wanted a box of comics to read in a treehouse with my friends.

comicss

So when the box showed up, I rounded up some friends. Billy King, Chris Ulm, and I weren’t friends when we were kids, but it feels like we were. Comics give us a shared memory of youth that was separated by miles and years in actuality. Chris and I have been friends for thirty years, and we have a rich comics history between us, but it has mostly been professional, like when I was writing comics for Chris when he was Editor-In-Chief of Malibu Comics, or when Chris has joined me for podcasts and guest columns at Longbox Graveyard. I haven’t known Billy as long, but we have still been friends for a dozen years, and recently he pitched in with character designs and story architecture for 4 Seconds. The three of us all work together in the mobile games business, and we have lunch hours to kill, so … they were my built-in Treehouse Comics Pals, and the Treehouse itself was a spare conference room at our office, where we’d show up a couple times a week, unpack our lunches, and sort through my big box of new comics.

pack your lunch

It was great. The experience, I mean. The comics were OK (and more about them in a moment), but the experience of getting together with my friends, and all of us kind of going back in time to read the same characters we’d loved as kids — that was nice. We’d share the books we thought were good (rarely), or bitch about the things Marvel got wrong (more commonly), or better yet just set aside the darn books and get into geekfights about Marvel’s characters and creators, or maybe we could trigger an Ulm Rant about his Malibu days and the state of the direct market or some unprintable story about the true origins of Image Comics or the Ultraverse. I should have recorded those Treehouse sessions — they would have made a dynamite podcast. But, really, it was the free and easy nature of just showing up and reading comics with friends that made the magic. There were no expectations. And over the period of weeks and months that followed, we read a lot of comics, and I got some of the healing that I needed. Things are better now. I’ve got good and caring friends. They are a blessing.

But how about those comics?

All New All Different

On the most basic level, they did the job. Taken as a whole, the comics of Marvel’s latest relaunch were about what I expected. Maybe a little better than I expected. There weren’t any real lightning bolts in there, but neither were there a lot of outright stinkers. I think I gave about half of the books a “thumb’s up” by saying I’d read a second issue (the only kind of review score I attached to this project). That’s pretty good. The launch was mostly B-level books with a few that might grow into something better, and a couple sad-sack titles that never should have seen the light of day. But every book in the launch had something to offer; I’m glad I read them all, both because of the joy of being in the Treehouse, and because it was educational to take such an in-depth and focused look at the state of Marvel Comics circa 2015-16.

Even after reading all those books, and writing the reviews, and arguing them out in the Treehouse with the guys, there’s still one thing I don’t understand, though.

Just who was the All-New All-Different Marvel Now supposed to reach?

Was it to attract new readers? If so, the initiative failed (and I don’t mean just in terms of sales numbers, which have been pretty soft). No, just looking at this relaunch as a jumping-on point, it earned failing grades. It spun out of a cross-over event (Secret Wars 2) that ran late and wasn’t wrapped up until well after the first wave of relaunch books hit the street, and aside from some of the books referencing some vague cataclysm that came months before, there was no spark or starting gun or anything, really, to mark the start of this new start to the Marvel Universe. Precious few of the books were genuine #1s — in too many cases, readers needed knowledge of prior continuity to make sense of what was happening (and even prior knowledge didn’t always help — I read sixty relaunch titles and never found out what happened to the Fantastic Four, or why Ben Grimm was now part of the Guardians of Galaxy). Looking back over my reviews, you will see where I noted that book after book failed to measure up for new readers. Now, sure, new readers come into ongoing comics series all the time, and figure it out as they go … but Marvel made a point of relaunching everything in their line with new #1s, and I don’t think it is too much to expect that most of these first issues would be actual first issues.

(Except that it was too much to expect).

Sasquatch

a comic book Bigfoot, a creature every bit as mythical as a new comics reader

Was this relaunch intended to reactivate Marvel’s existing base? Maybe, but if so … it may have done more harm than good. Save from temporarily goosing the sales of some series, this relaunch doesn’t seem to have fired up the readership in any meaningful way. The relaunch didn’t create a breakout hit, and sales numbers have largely returned to pre-relaunch levels. Renumbering and relaunching is risky, as fans might as easily see it as a jumping-OFF point as a place to jump on. Renumbering ongoing series that were only in their first year (like Squirrel Girl) seemed especially unwise.

fanboys

guilty as charged

Maybe the relaunch was intended to attract mainstream Marvel movie and TV fans? After all, the Avengers movie franchise is the biggest thing in the world, while the comic is lucky to sell 100K copies — theoretically there are a lot of movie fans out there who might be interested in reading a Marvel comic. But, no … while this comics line had a S.H.I.E.L.D. book that TV fans might recognize, too much was scrambled up and significantly at odds with the movie take on these characters to welcome movie fans as new readers. The All-New All-Different Marvel Now has female Thors and Wolverines; dozens of Spider-Men (and the only one of them that was Peter Parker was nearly unrecognizable as such); an old man wearing Captain America’s costume (and another geezer swinging Wolverine’s claws). There were several Inhumans books, but none for the Fantastic Four. Jessica Jones was on Netflix but nowhere to be found in the relaunch. The Avengers lineups (across all the many Avengers books) didn’t map to the canonical characters so popularly portrayed in the films. Some of these ideas worked fine in the context of comics, but they did nothing to roll out the welcome matt for film fans. Quite the opposite.

the golden age of movies is "twelve"

my son at the Marvel Movie Marathon several years ago … and he still doesn’t want to read comics!

Was this relaunch intended to bring back lapsed fans? Well, it did get me to buy several boxes of comics, but I was emotionally wounded and kind of in a unique situation. Neither Chris nor Billy, my Treehouse pals, were monthly Marvel readers before this relaunch, and they really haven’t changed their position. Chris may collect a few of these books in trade (something he was doing anyway), and Billy plans to collect a (very) few books up through issue ten or so, but after that, he’s out. For my part, I’m not buying any #2s, though I might catch up with a few of the series as Billy brings them in, or when they spool up on my Marvel Unlimited digital subscription service. But I have zero enthusiasm to keep up with any of these books on a monthly basis.

At best, mixed results in this area.

lost boys

those kids are out there, someplace, and all grown up, too!

So if this relaunch wasn’t aimed at new readers — or even old readers — and if it didn’t drive movie fans to check out the comics, and if it didn’t drive new readers into comic shops to open up new pull lists, then why blow everything up and relaunch at all? Was it just for the sales bump? If so, it’s kind of like that Daffy Duck trick, where he blows himself up on stage. It wins the contest with Bugs Bunny, but what do you do for an encore?

Daffy Wins!

(A rhetorical question, I know. We can look forward to more events and relaunches and renumbering and etc. and etc. until the business stabilizes or the last fan goes to that big longbox in the sky … but that’s a subject for a different article).

Coming out the other side of the relaunch, I do have a firm idea of what I want from Marvel Comics, though. Not that I expect Marvel to do this, but if I had magic powers, I would want a Marvel where there were fewer books but higher quality; with stories that are complete in one volume; about characters that I recognize that don’t invalidate most of what I remember about them from the Silver and Bronze Ages; with enough continuity that the stories fit together without collapsing under the weight of ridiculous trivia; provided in a format that was easy to buy and collect without making it my part-time job to scour the solicitations and place blind orders months in advance with no clear idea of what was and was not part of the relaunch or event I was trying to follow; and I want the stories to have broad enough appeal that I could share them not just with my Treehouse pals, but also with my wife and my kids and just regular friends who don’t sleep, breathe, and eat comics all the time.

It will never happen.

Except, actually, that it has.

It’s called the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

MCU

My sad realization after reading all these Marvel Comics is that the Marvel Comics I most want to read are the Marvel Movies. They hit every criteria I noted above … I get two or three movies a year, maybe a TV series, all of pretty good (sometimes great) quality, and they are major pop culture events that I can share with pretty much everyone in my life. They are the characters I know and love made fresh with contemporary interpretations that keep the best stuff from the past while ignoring the nonsense and serving up familiar surprises about what comes next.

And so for me, the future of Marvel Comics isn’t comics at all! At least, it isn’t contemporary comics … I will still go back to 1978 for a comics fix now and then. But these latest books? Good, but not good enough to change my habits. So it goes.

Ah, but … what about DC Comics, you ask? Aren’t they about to relaunch on their own, with a “Rebirth” event that will make the New 52 old news?

DC Rebirth!

Well, yes they are. And it just so happens that I’ve ordered the first wave of those books, because I want the Treehouse to continue. One way or the other, I’ll be reading thirty-odd DC books this summer, and maybe more if I like what I see in the first wave.

The question for you, dear reader, is should I review DC’s Rebirth the same way I did Marvel’s All-New All-Whatever Blah Blah Blah?

Vote in my poll, below!

Thanks for reading, voting, and (I hope) commenting below. I consider all the many online friends I’ve made through Longbox Graveyard, both here on the blog and through Twitter, to be part of my extended Treehouse family, and nothing would please me more than shooting the breeze while reading a box of comics with all of you. Since I can’t do that, this blog has been the next best thing, and I will keep it going awhile longer whether I review the DC books or not. But please cast a vote, to guide me in what I should do next at Longbox Graveyard … and I will see you in the Treehouse!

NEXT MONTH: #159 Fire And Water: Human Torch vs Sub-Mariner!

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How To Save Comic-Con

San Diego’s own Comic-Con International returns this week, hot on the welcome news that the show will be staying in town through 2018.

San Diego Comic-Con

I’m delighted that the show is staying in San Diego. I share the opinion that moving Comic-Con to Los Angeles or Las Vegas would rob it of it’s very specific charms. Comic-Con is more than just the show — it’s also the climate, the Gaslamp, and the decades-long tradition of fans flocking to San Diego to get their geek on and reaffirm old friendships.

Unfortunately, Comic-Con is also crazy crowds, an impossible ticket, impossible hotel reservations, and endless hand-wringing over what does and does not belong at the show.

Fortunately, there is a solution. And unlike the on-again, off-again plans for San Diego’s Convention Center expansion, this solution is entirely within the control of the Comic-Con committee.

It all comes down to … programming.

not that I agree ...

I actually think Twilight was a net gain for Comic-Con, as it introduced a new generation of fans to the show, but I understand why some feel differently.

But I do think the pendulum has swung too far away from comics at Comic-Con. With WonderCon recently departed for Los Angeles (alas), the opportunity exists to kinda-sorta restore Comic-Con’s comic book roots. Gradually upping the non-comics media content at WonderCon — while reducing the same at Comic-Con — would allow the two shows (run by the same committee) to approach a kind of crowd equilibrium.

As a Spring show in Los Angeles, WonderCon seems ideally suited to the kind of big media movie and television presentations that have (frankly) overwhelmed Comic-Con. WonderCon’s new Los Angeles location makes it more convenient for Hollywood to attend, and WonderCon’s Spring date is better suited for promoting that summer’s movies (the summer movie season is half-over by the time Comic-Con rolls around in July).

Avengers in Hall H

Comic-Con should keep a hand in the big media events — which are after all as much a part of this show as Artist Alley or the Eisner Awards — but adjusting the programming balance by 20-30% in favor of comics or nostalgia media at the expense of current TV and movies would go a long way toward changing the character of the show, and I think for the better.

Over time, Southern California could have two powerhouse shows — a Spring show in Los Angeles that is about film/TV and pop culture and also comics, and Summer show in San Diego that is about comics and pop culture and also film/TV. WonderCon in L.A. gets the big movie announcements and the fans swooning over TV heartthrobs, while Comic-Con in San Diego gets the big comics publishing announcements and one or two big media moments from studios still looking to build that Comic-Con buzz.

And the 501st Legion would fit in fine at both events!

501st

What do you think? Would gradually re-branding these two shows prove a benefit to all? Am I just a cranky old guy who wants Comic-Con to pointlessly reverse the hands of time? Let me know your thoughts, in the comments section, below.

And enjoy your time at Comic-Con, if you are fortunate enough to go! (I will be there Saturday, grumbling about the crowds, no doubt!)

Death To Advertising!

Longbox Graveyard has gone ad-free!

National Lampoon

I’ve used WordPress’ WordAds here at Longbox Graveyard for the last couple years. It never amounted to much — scarcely a dollar a day when the planets all aligned — but I kept it going because along with comments and hits it was another way to “keep score” with my blog. I’m a metrics guy, and I like watching little numbers go up.

Besides, I grew up in an era where comic books carried pages that looked like this …

Comic Book Ad Page

… and so I rationalized that the increasingly ugly ads integrated into the flow here at Longbox Graveyard were just part of that tradition.

But … ugh … those WordAd serves were pretty tacky. Chances are you didn’t even notice them, but as the guy who looks at this blog every day, I was getting worn down.

Ads used to appear at the top of this page, in the top spot on my right sidebar, and at the end of most posts. Some ads were fine, but I really didn’t like the chumbox stuff:

chum

And so they are gone.

I won’t promise they’re gone forever … WordAds only pay off when they’ve hit $100, and I might someday get sick of seeing my account stuck on fifty bucks, and decide to turn it on again. If my traffic really picks up again and I feel like I am leaving money on the table, ads might return. But I don’t need income from this blog, and giving up seven bucks a month in ad revenue is a small price to pay to be rid of this obnoxiousness.

(If it was your convention to click on ads to support Longbox Graveyard … thanks! If you are still in a supporting mood, consider purchase of a graphic novel from my sales page).

I turned a blind eye to ads here at Longbox Graveyard for a long time … if you are interested in what finally changed my stance, check out this article from The Awl.

See ya later, Chumbox!

UPDATE: Even after disabling ads, I’m still seeing them from time-to-time. Letter of complaint is pending to WordPress, I’ll let you know what happens!

 

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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