Flash in Two Pans

Hi. My name is Jim Henley, and I used to be a comics blogger.

I’ve been running the weblog, Unqualified Offerings, since October 2001. It’s mostly a political diary, with the usual bloggy digressions into whatever else I feel like writing about. This means that, for about a year and a half, I was what passed for a big-time comics blogger, by the standards of 2003 and 2004. Then I took six months off from blogging at all, and when I started blogging again, I didn’t resume blogging about comics. And then, I didn’t resume blogging about comics some more.

Tell me if this ever happens to you. You get an e-mail that deserves a better response than you can give it right at the moment. Maybe it’s from a friend, or friendlike interlocutor. Maybe it’s on a difficult subject. So you let it sit, until you can write something better. Then you realize it’s been sitting for awhile, and you decide that the only way to make up for letting it go so long is to write something even better than you initially planned to. And hello, vicious circle. So you never do respond. Comics blogging was like that for me once I came back. And eventually it seemed absurd that all of a sudden I would start blogging about comics again just out of the blue.

Happily, Tor.com gives me a fresh occasion to return to the enterprise. Meantime, two other things happened. Comics — I’m talking specifically about superhero comics here, for reasons we’ll get to — got worse, and the comics blogosphere got better. We’ll have to return to the question of how superhero comics got worse. For now, let me offer you a few examples of the awesomeness that is comics blogging. I’m not warranting these as the only blogs worth bothering with, or the only good blogs or anything like that. It’s just a taste of what’s out there:

Journalista – Run by Dirk Deppey, online editor of The Comics Journal. Dirk midwifed the comics blogosphere back in the day, then took a hiatus to run the print side of the Journal for awhile. Apparently, to coin a phrase, they keep pulling him back in. Dirk’s a monstrously energetic linker with an unfailingly provocative take on the medium. TCJ’s mission is art comics, and Journalista has a strong art-comics focus, but Dirk also covers what he calls “pop comics” (aka “genre comics”), digital comics and manga.

The Beat – Heidi MacDonald runs the Beat for Publishers Weekly. She covers everything. It might be fair to say the Beat is a “poppier” than Journalista. Then again it might not. She seems to do less linking to fellow bloggers than Journalista, with more focus on creators and what bloggers insist on calling the MSM. (Or, as my blogfriend Justin Slotman insists on writing it, the Emm Ess Emm.)

Sean Collins – The blog is not called Sean Collins. The blog is called something obscure. Sean writes about comics of all kinds, plus movies (with an emphasis on horror), music, and the occasional other thing. Sean has worked in comics journalism, and has written his own independent comics (see his sidebar). He writes about comics on a freelance basis for various venues.

Comics Worth Reading – The sole-proprietership of longtime fan and critic Johanna Draper Carlson. If it has pictures one after the other, likely with words tucked into them, Johanna writes about it: manga, superheroes, art comics, web comics, even newspaper strips.She’s got one of the broader perspectives on the hobby you’ll find.

Jog – the Blog – Jog started blogging about comics right when I stopped. He’s kept it up for four years now. Jog will do quick surveys. Jog will do in-depth reviews. Jog will be snarky. Jog will also happily praise things he likes without snarking at all. Jog is the blog people mention liking when you start talking about the comics blogosphere with them.

Chris’s Invincible Super Blog -The slick-looking ISB was recommended to me by academics/culture-bloggers John Holbo and Belle Waring. Not just a snarkblog, but if you insist on publishing an Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter miniseries, you take your chances.

The Howling Curmudgeons – This group blog has been publishing steadily for years. (I was on their roster for a time, even. Hi guys!) They don’t just blog superhero comics and movies and such, but they do unabashedly blog superhero comics and movies and such.

That’s seven links. Why seven? There were seven members of the original Justice League.

UPDATE: This update is just a test folks.

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