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Comics Breakdown!

Thought I’d take a moment to promote two of my favorite things in life: comics, and dogs who type!

Akela Talamasca

That’s Akela Talamasca, “Twitter’s spirit animal and a Typing Husky.” Akela has long had one of Twitter’s most entertaining feeds, and in recent months that feed has been supplemented by fast, funny, and furious outbursts of Silver Age comics goodness in the form of Comics Breakdown.

Comics Breakdown

Problem is … if you miss one of Akela’s Comics Breakdown Tweetstorms, then you miss out on the fun.

Problem solved! Comics Breakdown is on Storify!

Comics Breakdown

Yep, just go to Akela’s Storify page and you can find archived versions of past Comics Breakdown episodes. It’s just like reading them on Twitter, only you aren’t interrupted by the horrifying news of the actual day! WIN!

Thanks, Akela, for being a bright spot in a dark age. And if you like what Akela is doing, here, then vist the Akela Talamasca Patreon page and pitch in a dollar or two. Dog food doesn’t buy itself, you know!

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“And As For Me …”

What’s this? A mysterious package arrives at Longbox Graveyard Secret Headquarters!

What's This?

(Actually, it’s not a surprise at all, as I ordered it. But I pretend otherwise. Coy self-deception is a survival trait for comic book bloggers).

Within, red wrapping.

IMG_0094

(Nice of this eBayer to go to such bother. I would have just tossed the thing in a box).

And within that wrapper, within that box … it’s the Mole Man!

IMG_0095

I was all set to tear the box open … but this is a pretty cool box. I particularly liked the “Then & Now” information panel that made up one side of the box.

Mole Man Then & Now

Ah, but “WHY Mole Man?” I hear you ask. Why did I buy this bust?

I don’t particularly like Mole Man, and I don’t collect busts. I’ve sold off or given away nearly all of my comic book stuff.

Yet here I’ve purchased a Mole Man bust!

Blame this:

Mole Man Value Stamp

Don’t blame the Value Stamp per se (though a different Value Stamp cost me my copy of Hulk #181that’s another story).

No, blame that portrait of the Mole Man, excerpted for a Value Stamp. You see, when I set up this blog, back in the dim days of 2011, I set up a Twitter account to go with it, and Twitter required an avatar. Child of the Bronze Age as I was, I “naturally” flashed on using a Marvel Value Stamp. I scrolled through the invaluable on-line listing of Value Stamps and settled on one that was a portrait with a good “read” and a funny expression: Mole Man.

Not really thinking more about it, I took to Twitter as the Mole Man.

Of course, if you follow me on Twitter … all you see is that damn Mole Man face.

Longbox Graveyard on Twitter

With no small degree of regret, I admit to 27K-plus Tweets on Twitter. That’s a lot of Mole Men!

OK, so I’m the Mole Man. I can go with that.

My Unintentional Avatar is made sweeter through the intentionality of Glenn J. Smith, a Longbox Graveyard reader and Twitter spirit animal who fixed me up with a less gloomy version of the original Mole Man:

Happy Mole Man

With my avatar thus afforded the legitimacy of an individual’s artistic expression, I’ve come to embrace the Mole Man.

First, I did a Pinterest Gallery for him. This is not to be scoffed at! I’ll have you know that I’m the FIFTH MOST INFLUENTIAL MAN ON PINTEREST!

(You see, I become more like Mole Man each moment!)

Then I wrote an impassioned plea for why Ian McShane should play the Mole Man on film.

But, really, those were baby steps, leading up to owning my very own Mole Man bust.

Mole Man, in the cradle

I’ve been looking for this bust for years. Really!

Yes, I know it is readily available on eBay. That’s where I got it! But I set strict rules for the acquisition of my Mole Man.

Specifically, I wouldn’t pay more than twenty bucks for it.

I spent the last two or three convention seasons hunting for Mole Man on dealer floors up and down the west coast, but never found my quarry (and the prices, overall, of these Bowen Designs statues were not encouraging).

So when I found a slightly damaged version on eBay, for $14.00 shipping included, I pounced like a ravenous Moloid!

Mole Man Is Home

And now Mole Man resides in a place of prominence on the bedroom deck that doubles as my office in my new beach condo digs.

It has been a long, strange journey, but I cannot escape this fate. My bust is here at last …

… and as for me …

I am the Mole Man

… I AM THE MOLE MAN!

(goo goo g’joob!)

Freshly Pressed!

Normally I save these “transparent traffic stats columns” for my bi-annual Longbox Soapbox entries, but these events will be cold by the next time one of those columns rolls around …

Freshly Pressed!

Longbox Graveyard was “Freshly Pressed” last week. This is a recognition afforded by WordPress to blogs publishing on their platform that they wish to spotlight. The selection criteria is obscure, but as the official site notes, “There are half a million of you and a handful of us,” so being selected for one of the eight daily Freshly Pressed spots is a significant endorsement for Longbox Graveyard.

Feels good!

It also feels a little strange, because this particular endorsement came for Best Frenemies Forever, a guest blog about the relationship between Spider-Man and the Human Torch, ably provided by the talented Mark Ginocchio of Chasing Amazing blog. So, yes, Longbox Graveyard was Freshly Pressed, but not in recognition of the work I’ve done here the last two years so much as for Mark’s very fine contribution. I said I wanted to welcome other voices to Longbox Graveyard, and I meant it, so I will still happily accept this recognition, whatever mixed signals it sends to my ego. My only regret is that the feature didn’t send more clicks over to Mark’s home blog, which is excellent and worthy of a Freshly Pressed feature all it’s own (and you should all click over there right now).

visit Mark at Chasing Amazing!

go there now!

Reading the experiences of other bloggers who were Freshly Pressed, I expected my airbags to deploy from the impact of thousands of views, but that effect never quite materialized. Rather than thousands of hits and hundreds of comments, Longbox Graveyard’s traffic was in the hundreds during my Elvis Week(end) … but that’s OK, and probably about as much as you can expect for a long-form Bronze Age comic book blog. If we’d posted about something more accessible — like an excoriating review of Iron Man 3, or some kind of hunky pose-down between Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans that generated plenty of heated comments — then I expect we would have gotten a lot more traffic.

Freshly Pressed!

For Longbox Graveyard, the Freshly Pressed effect was felt not as a spike but more like the tide coming in (and staying). Near as I can tell, the WordPress dashboard lumps views from within WordPress itself with organic views, so exact numbers aren’t available, but from Friday through Sunday (when Longbox Graveyard was at or near the top of the Freshly Pressed site), I appear to have averaged about 325 additional daily views that I can ascribe to the promotion, more than doubling my usual weekend traffic. For the week as a whole, I also gained 139 new followers for the blog (versus the 100 that had signed up in the preceding two years), and also garnered 58 “Likes” (also, easily, a record for the site). Those Freshly Pressed floodwaters have also been slow to recede, and as of this writing my daily views are still running noticeably ahead of normal.

Another impact of an elevated profile inside the WordPress ecosystem (which I didn’t really know existed before this) were a series of “reblogs” from other bloggers, which I gather is a kind of endorsement. It would be churlish to question the value of a Human Torch and Spider-Man article to the Chinese Massage blog, but there we are (and if you find yourself in Beijing and want a pretty girl to help you get “vigorous and comfortable,” well, now you know where to go. Flame On!)

Elvis Week at Longbox Graveyard

note the big spike above is NOT from Freshly Pressed — that’s the Reddit Effect — Freshly Pressed traffic starts arriving on the 21st!

Because it never rains but that it pours, the Freshly Pressed tidal surge was foreshadowed by a flash flood, and followed by a thunderstorm. First, a link to Mark’s post got traction over at the comicbook sub-Reddit, driving 1600 views on what turned out to be an all-time record day for the blog (2,630 total views). I suspect that visibility had a lot to do with WordPress discovering Longbox Graveyard for their Freshly Pressed recognition in the first place. Then, out of nowhere, my Panel Gallery of Steve Ditko’s Amazing Spider-Faces was featured at Tor.com, adding another couple hundred views on 6/25, right when the Freshly Pressed effect was beginning to abate. (Tor.com? Who knew?) It is possible that my Dikto piece was discovered as a result of Freshly Pressed traffic, but I think I’ve traced the origin of the Tor endorsement to a retweet of one of my routine promotional Twitter messages on Sunday. Whatever the source … thanks, and I’ll take it!

Freshly Pressed!

That’s all I can tell you about Freshly Pressed! I have no special insight on why Longbox Graveyard was selected, or how you can make that happen for your own blog. I do know that it is a legitimate accomplishment for Longbox Graveyard, and I’m proud to have had it happen. Thanks to WordPress for the recognition, and thanks especially to Mark Ginocchio of Chasing Amazing for his great work and contributions to this blog! Thanks also to my many readers — both those who have been with me from the start, and those who have joined in just the last week — for making Longbox Graveyard such a rewarding endeavor!

(And if you are a new reader who discovered Longbox Graveyard through Freshly Pressed, or Reddit, or Tor.com, or a prophetic dream, or even a tip from your cellmate, why not post in comments and introduce yourself? I won’t bite).

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