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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

 
The ADD Blog is Moving -- Due to Blogger's ending of support for FTP publishing, this blog (and its sister blog Trouble with Comics) is moving. Please bookmark the new home of The ADD Blog at http://addblog.tumblr.com/, and you can subscribe to my new RSS feed as well at http://addblog.tumblr.com/rss. Thanks for your understanding and I hope you'll continue to follow us here on Comic Book Galaxy as we get these technical issues sorted out.

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

 
The Year at Comic Book Galaxy -- As the old year winds down, the final day of 2009 includes a winter storm where I live in upstate New York, a Chris Ware-type whiteout that is pretty to look at and pretty tough to drive in. It also includes a look at some of my favourite moments here on Comic Book Galaxy over the past year:

* My review of Batman: The Black Glove by Grant Morrison and J.H. WIlliams (and unfortunately, Tony Daniel).

* My look at keeping my collection down to the bear essentials.

* My review of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1910.

* My reflections on the Baxter Paper period (Part One; Part Two) of corporate superhero comics.

* The release of my eBooks Anhedonia and Conversations with ADD, which received some very nice reviews, especially this one by Graeme McMillan.

* My review of Yoshihiro Tatsumi's A Drifting Life.

* My review of Star Trek, directed by J.J. Abrams.

* My thoughts on Marvel acquiring the rights to Marvelman/Miracleman; and some more of my thoughts.

* My thoughts on Borders.

* Some thoughts on the best comics of the decade.

* Thoughts on comics retailers actively trying to sustain and grow their businesses.

* My homegrown shelf porn.

* My review of Abstract Comics, an anthology published by Fantagraphics Books.

* Some new Five Questions interviews: Eric Reynolds, Tom Spurgeon, Tony Isabella, Chris Ryall and Ron Marz.

* My review of The Library of America's mammoth H.P. Lovecraft collection.

* My bittersweet farewell to the periodical version of The Comics Journal, a magazine that literally changed the course of my life.

* Some thoughts on creators rights.

* My profoundly disappointed review of AMC's Prisoner mini-series.

* The posting of my comic strip Carver/Hopper.

* And of course, the launch of Trouble with Comics, the Galaxy's new group blog featuring Chris Allen, Matt Springer, Marc Sobel, and other great writers sharing their socks and feelings about comics.

Wow, it was a busier year than I thought! Hopefully 2010 will feature even more writing about comics and other important matters, both here on the ADD Blog and over at Trouble with Comics. Happy New Year, my friends.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

 
Holiday Hiatus -- I hope those of you celebrating Thanksgiving this week have a great holiday; I am off to celebrate my son's 14th birthday (happy birthday, Aaron!) tomorrow and then Turkey Day, and posting is likely to be scant throughout the holidays, always a busy time both at work and at home. But in case I don't post again before you really start feeling the season, I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season.

And please be sure to check Trouble with Comics for updates in the days and weeks ahead, including the final days of Alan Moore Month.

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Sunday, October 04, 2009

 
Conversations with ADD: Savagely Critiqued -- My downloadable, free eBook Conversations with ADD is given a critical look by Graeme McMillan at The Savage Critic(s).

Which is a fine reminder to me to remind you it exists, and to thank Graeme for all the things he had to say about it, too. I previously posted links to some other reviews as well, if you're interested.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

 
Conversations with ADD Reviewed at Tor.com -- Thanks to Anthony Schiavino for the heads-up that Bruce Baugh has reviewed my free eBook Conversations with ADD for the science fiction site Tor.com.

If you've surfed here via Bruce's review (and thank you, Bruce; I really appreciate seeing your thoughts on the project, and I appreciate the praise!), you can get more information and download Conversations with ADD here.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

 
The Movements of Chris Allen -- Update your bookmarks, CA fans, Chris Allen is moving his Daily Breakdowns to Comic Book Galaxy's new group blog, Trouble with Comics.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

 
The New Comic Book Galaxy Blog: Trouble with Comics -- Comic Book Galaxy expands in its tenth year with the new group blog TROUBLE WITH COMICS.

Since launching on September 1st, 2000, Comic Book Galaxy has had as few as one (that would be me) and as many as two dozen contributors at any given time in its history. Now, the Galaxy is expanding once again with TROUBLE WITH COMICS.

TROUBLE WITH COMICS grew out of conversations with my good friend and partner in thoughtcrime Chris Allen as I was assembling my recent eBook, Conversations with ADD. I had to dig into the Galaxy's deepest, hidden recesses to find some of the material for the eBook, and Chris helped me pound it all into shape. As we worked together on all that, I think we both realized just how much we missed feeling the rush we got from the most exciting times we had together (and sometimes separately) on Comic Book Galaxy. With that in mind, we started talking to good writers we knew, some who wrote for Comic Book Galaxy in the past, some who are new faces around the Galaxy Clubhouse but who nonetheless agree with our stated goal of "pushing comix forward."

TROUBLE WITH COMICS is edited by Chris Allen and yours truly, and the mix of contributing writers to TROUBLE WITH COMICS includes returning Comic Book alumni Johnny Bacardi, d. emerson eddy, Mick Martin, Marc Sobel and Diana Tamblyn, as well as writers new to Comic Book Galaxy like Alex Ness, Matt Springer, and David Wynne.

TROUBLE WITH COMICS will include regular reviews and features, as well as interviews, profiles, previews and more. Among the features currently on the blog is the first in a new series of my Five Questions interviews, this one featuring comics writer Ron Marz.

You can read TROUBLE WITH COMICS. by going to www.comicbookgalaxy.com/troublewithcomics, and subscribe to its RSS feed at http://www.comicbookgalaxy.com/troublewithcomics/atom.xml.

And I'll still be blogging here, as well, if you're wondering.

I hope to see you at TROUBLE WITH COMICS.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

 
Programs I Can't Live Without -- A recent PC catastrophe resulted in me (well, my friend Brian, really) reformatting my computer's hard drive, and reinstalling windows. Most of my important files were backed up, but of course all my applications were gone. Which led me on the path of finding out what I really need to be happy with my computer.

It's actually a great feeling to start fresh like this; the machine may be over four years old now, but with a new Windows XP install and four years of registry changes wiped out, it hums along now like nobody's business. Here's a list of the applications I find are essential to my computer.

* Panda Cloud Antivirus - I had been using Kaspersky for my antivirus needs, but at $60.00 to renew it and money being tight right now, I was looking for a free alternative. The first day or so I wasn't sure Panda Cloud was the app for my needs, but the past two weeks or so it's been getting the job done quietly and without hogging resources.

* Google Chrome - At the moment I find no one browser meets all my needs, but the speed and reliability of Google Chrome give it the edge over Firefox, the latest version of which I'm not entirely happy with.

* Mozilla Firefox - On the other hand, some sites are just not ready for Chrome yet, so I have Firefox to fall back on. If you're wondering, the only thing I use Internet Explorer for is Windows Updates. Other than that, I don't use it, because it's just too much of a virus and malware magnet.

* Auslogics Disc Defrag - This defragger seems to me to be the quickest and most efficient at getting everything on my hard drive where it belongs and running smoothly. I run it once a week.

* Media Monkey - I've used a lot of MP3 players over the years, but this one organizes my collection and has tons of other features that I really like. Its interface is also very intuitive and easy to use.

* uTorrent - Essential for downloading free, legal torrent files.

* Microsoft Word 2007 - If you've spent much time here, you know how I feel about giant corporations. That said, I've never found a free word processing program that is as useful, fast and essential to me as Word 2007.

* VLC Media Player - Absolutely the best player for all sorts of video files. VLC will play just about anything.

* FTP Client to be Named Later - FTP, File Transfer Protocol, is an essential part of running a website. Most of Comic Book Galaxy these days runs off Blogger's online interface, but for the legacy parts of the site that are still hand-coded HTML, I need an FTP client to get them up to the site. Since the crash, I have yet to find one that works for me, but I am not sure if the problem is with the applications I've tried, or on the server side of things. If you have an FTP client you swear by, not at, leave a comment and let me know what works for you.

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Download my free new eBook of nearly four dozen interviews with comics creators, Conversations with ADD, by clicking here. A full list of interview subjects can be found here.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

 
Early Returns on Conversations with ADD -- I'm very interested to see what you think of my new eBook, Conversations with ADD; it took much longer to prepare than my previous eBook projects, and the editing and finalizing of it seemed like a never-ending process. That said, I'm really pleased with how it came out. I love having all these conversations gathered in one handy place, and I hope you'll download Conversations with ADD and see for yourself what it's all about.

Here are some early comments:

* "Although several of the interviews are almost 10 years old, it’s an interesting glimpse into a time now passed." - Johanna Draper Carlson, Comics Worth Reading

* "[T]o be honest, I'd buy a print copy." - Mike Rhode, editor, Harvey Pekar: Conversations

* "[T]here are some good interview subjects in there, and ADD is a thoughtful commentator..." - Matt Brady, Warren Peace Sings the Blues

* "[A] great e-Book...with a collection of interviews with some of the movers and shakers of the comic industry. Go. Read. Enjoy. Learn." - Michael Paciocco, Michael Paciocco's Mind

* "I know you people like the free stuff, so go check it out." - Mike Sterling, Progressive Ruin

Mike also called me an "Internet stalwart," but that just means I'm older than white dog crap.

Hey, if you see anyone talking about Conversations with ADD, email me a link so I can see what they're saying. Thanks!

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Friday, August 28, 2009

 
Conversations with ADD Coming Tuesday -- Just an end-of-the-week reminder that September 1st, 2009 is the ninth anniversary of Comic Book Galaxy, and on that day I'm releasing my third eBook, Conversations with ADD. It'll be available for download just after midnight on September 1st. If you're a bloggers or reviewer and would like an advance copy, please email me and I'll send you one.

Conversations with ADD is nearly 300 pages in length, and includes a Foreword by comics critic and former Eisner Awards judge Christopher Allen, and an Afterword by autobiographical cartoonist Jason Marcy.

The nearly four dozen interviews in Conversations with ADD include cartoonists, writers, artists, publishers, editors, comics retailers and bloggers.

Conversations with ADD will be available for download beginning one week from today, September 1st, 2009, right here at Comic Book Galaxy.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

 
ADD: The Lost Interview -- I lost the contents of my C drive yesterday, after a total failure of my operating system that required four hours of work (thanks, Brian!) to restore my computer to (newly zippy) life. Luckily I had backed up a ton of stuff, and as I was browsing the files, I found this 2005 interview someone conducted with me. So far as I know, it was never posted online, so to whet (or destroy) your appetite for Conversations with ADD, my 300-page eBook collecting many of the comics interviews I have done since 1999, here is an interview somebody, somewhere, did with me four years ago.

What makes comics a unique and popular form of entertainment?

Stories told in comics form are capable of reaching the reader's consciousness in a way unlike any other artform -- they are both verbal and visual, like movies, but because they are also static, the pace of the story and the impact of the moments within it are under the control of both the artist and the reader. It's a creative contract between artist and the observer of the art that doesn't exist in any other artform, and allows the best creators to explore different methods of pacing, depicting emotion and the passage of time, and other narrative surprises.

What do you put the longevity of comics down to?

The appeal of comics is clear to anyone who has ever seen a child reading them. They can contain the simplest narratives of children's stories or deeply profound, visionary artistic statements designed for mature minds capable of synthesizing a complex blend of theme, narrative and other elements. Ideally children learn to love comics in their earliest years and as they mature they can seek out the greater breadth of works of comic art that are out there waiting for them to discover.

How has the format of comics changed in its long history?

Comic books started as cheaply printed pamphlets given away for free or for just a few cents. By the year 2005 comics can encompass virtually any format imaginable. I have seen comics no more than two inches tall, and massive hardcover graphic novels 18 inches tall. They can be as short as eight page mini-comics or as long as a thousand pages or more in a single volume, and in the case of Japanese comics, many, many thousands of pages spread out over dozens of volumes. This great diversity of formats is one of the things that I think artists find so appealing, the opportunity to create a story and then design a format for it that plays a tactile role in the reader's experience of the work. We see this, for example, in the works of noteworthy cartoonists like Chris Ware or Paul Hornschemeier, and more recently with Kevin Huizenga and other creators who started in mini-comics and are experimenting with form and format in addition to the formal experimentation of the actual stories they create.

With the increase in other entertainment formats, do you think the appeal of comics is still as strong as it ever has been?

Comics has made some impressive inroads into new arenas in the past couple of years. You see more Japanese comics and more North American art comix than at any other time in living memory on the shelves of mainstream bookstores, from chains like Borders and Barnes and Noble to small independent book stores. This has been fueled in part by a surge in interest in comics on the part of new audiences, and also by increased coverage in such influential mainstream publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Publisher's Weekly. And while entertainment options such as videogames and the internet compete for the interest of some readers, the great recent boom of quality graphic novels and collections of classic comics like Peanuts, Dennis the Menace and Gasoline Alley has made comics more than able to stand on its own as a diverse medium filled with wonders to behold.

Have the many movie adaptations of comic book heroes been a positive thing?

That's a tough call, and I can only speak to it anecdotally. My two children are 9 and 11, and they have seen most of the recent superhero movies from Spider-Man to Batman Begins to X-Men and even Ghost World and American Splendor. But I find my daughter most interested in comics like Lenore and the Archie line, and my son's favourites are Teen Titans Go! and The Simpsons. Neither of my kids has really had a long-lasting interest in specific comics as a result of seeing any movie adaptation, although my daughter did pretend to be Matt Murdock for a couple of weeks after seeing Daredevil, sunglasses, cane and all.

Are comics only read by young boys? Who reads comics?

The main audience for North American superhero comics seems to be males from their 20s to their 40s. But the recent boom in more diverse (and often higher-quality) comics has brought an influx of readers in of all ages, both male and female. And after over three decades of observing the comics industry, I have come to the conclusion that comics are really in a transition right now -- the comics shops that survive the next five to ten years are the ones that will embrace the full range of potential readers that are out there, while the shops that are ignorant of the wider diversity of product, or even outright hostile to it as many retailers seem to be, will continue to wither and die.

Are comics misinterpreted as purely an adolescent obsession? Is this fair?

It's certainly fair to aim that criticism at the North American superhero industry, which is painfully juvenile in nearly every aspect, from the writing and artwork to the marketing and retailing of them.

Will comics always be around, what does the future hold?

Stories told sequentially in words and pictures are nearly as old as mankind itself, depending on who you listen to, and almost certainly older than, say, movies. I think it's safe to say as long as humans are around, there will be comics in some form, whether they are called that or not.

Are comics unique to only certain cultures? How do they differ around the world?

There are certain stylistic elements that are common to comics from France, or comics from Japan, or comics from North America, but if it's a sequence of images telling a story by combining those images with words, then it's comics, no matter how badly some superhero fetishist would like to believe that, say, comics from Japan "aren't comics."

What do you think of the graphic journalism popularised by artists such as Joe Sacco and Art Spiegelman?

I think that it's among the very best things to come out of the artform to date. Personal stories that resonate with the reader's life experience and knowledge of the world are those that will find their way into the deepest part of the reader's consciousness. Creators like those you've named, and Harvey Pekar, Robert Crumb, John Porcellino, James Kochalka and others are among the most exciting and fascinating in the history of comics. And even those who traffic primarily in fiction like Dan Clowes, Alan Moore, Grant Morrison or Paul Hornschemeier, still inform their work with a sense of verisimilitude that has its roots in keen observation of human interaction, which is why their work will still be read, remembered and argued over a hundred years from now.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

 
One Week From Today -- September 1st, 2009 (or 090109 as I like to think of it) marks the ninth anniversary of Comic Book Galaxy's original launch, and approximately the tenth anniversary of my beginning to write about comics online.

To mark the occasion, on that day I'm releasing my third eBook, Conversations with ADD. It'll be available for download just after midnight on September 1st. A preview version has been made available for selected bloggers, reviewers and other writers, and if you feel you meet that description, are interested in the project but have not been contacted by me, please email me and I'll hook you up.

Conversations with ADD is nearly 300 pages in length, and includes a Foreword by comics critic and former Eisner Awards judge Christopher Allen, and an Afterword by cartoonist Jason Marcy.

The nearly four dozen interviews in Conversations with ADD include cartoonists, writers, artists, publishers, editors, comics retailers and bloggers.

Conversations with ADD, will be available for download beginning one week from today, September 1st, 2009, right here at Comic Book Galaxy.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

 
Free eBooks -- Just a reminder that my first two eBooks, Anhedonia and Strange Whine remain free and available for download any time you like. Anhedonia is mostly comics reviews and essays, while Strange Whine is a blend of comics articles and more personal, autobiographical writing.

I'm planning to release my third eBook on September 1st, the ninth anniversary of Comic Book Galaxy and approximately the tenth anniversary of my beginning to write about comics. If you'd like to be on the mailing list to be informed when it's released, just drop me an email.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

 
What Kind of Comic Book Reader Are You? -- Take this awesome quiz and find out!

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Are You A Reviewer? -- When I wrote my last eBook, I was surprised as hell that my buddy Chris Allen reviewed the thing. It never even occurred to me that anyone would find it review-worthy.

Well, with my third eBook set for release on September 1st, I'm wondering if any other reviewers might be interested in reviewing me. If you're an experienced reviewer and would like an advance copy for review, drop me an email. I'd love to get some feedback on this one, especially, because it's been far more work to assemble than the two previous ones combined, and because I would love to get the word out to readers that the thing exists.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

 
New ADD eBook Coming 9/1 -- September 1st, 2009 is the ninth anniversary of Comic Book Galaxy, and I hope to have my new eBook ready for release on that day. I'd tell you the title, but unlike the two previous eBooks I've done (you can download them from the top of the sidebar on the right side of this page), that would give away the contents.

If you're interested in being notified when the new eBook is available, please email me with "I Want Your New eBook" or something similar in the subject line.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

 
Expanding and Contracting Galaxies -- Man, I was trying to get it clear in my head this morning how many distinct eras Comic Book Galaxy has had. We're weeks away from the site's ninth anniversary (we launched September 1, 2000), and recently Chris Allen and I have been reminiscing in email about all that's happened in that time (Chris wrote a little bit about it here). One thing we're thinking about doing it trying to, in some way, index as much of the old site as we can. Many of the original HTML files are long gone (I have always admitted to being a lousy webmaster, at least give me that much), but luckily a lot (not all, but a lot) of the site is preserved on Archive.org.

I've begun a preliminary project to archive some of the site in a more user-friendly manner, and one of the things I am trying to complete is a master list of everyone who has ever contributed to the site. If you wrote for Comic Book Galaxy in the past decade, but for some reason your name is not here, drop me a line, would you?

So far, here is the complete list of contributors as I can determine:

Christopher Allen
Derik A. Badman
Tom Beland
Alex Jay Berman
Michael T. Bradley
Tom Brevoort
Ian Brill
Nick Capetillo
Johanna Draper Carlson
Sal Cipriano
Jeremy Clifft
Sean T. Collins
Mike Comeau
Dan Coyle
Matt Craig
Michael Crawford
Ed Cunard
Ken Cuperus
Victor Destefano
Loren DiIorio
Alan David Doane
Ed Douglas
Scott Eagan
d. emerson eddy
John Fellows
Adam Fischer
Brian Florence
Jeff Frank
Mark Haden Frazier
Jesus Garcia
Caleb Gerard
JC Glindmyer
Andrew Goletz
Glenn Greenberg
Jef Harmatz
Jeet Heer
Fred Hembeck
Shawn Hoke
Steve Horton
Chris Hunter
Devin Hyde
Brian Johnson
David Allen “Johnny Bacardi” Jones
Joe Lawler
Margaret Liss
Brian Lynch
Jason Marcy
Pat Markfort
Mick Martin
Derek Martinez
Marc Mason
Kevin Mathews
Gordon McAlpin
Joe “Jog” McCulloch
Evan Meadow
Bryan Miller
Brian Nicholson
Rod Nunley
Marshall O’Keeffe
Michael Paciocco
Kiel Phegley
Logan Polk
Neil Polowin
Princess, The
Ted Rall
Joe Rice
Ted Richichi
Dani Royer
Chris Ryall
Joseph Rybandt
Anthony Schiavino
Bill Sherman
Ian Shires
R. Francis Smith
Marc Sobel
Mike Sterling
Jason St. Claire
Diana Tamblyn
Matt Terl
Jerry Turner
Rob Vollmar
Aaron Weisbrod
Paul Weissburg
Dan Wickline
Monte Williams
Jim Witt
Mike Yates

A lot of talented names on that list. I'm grateful to every one of them for the time and effort they expended trying to make Comic Book Galaxy better.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

 
Five Fondly Remembered Convention Experiences -- That was Tom Spurgeon's most recent Five for Friday topic, and you can find mine in there somewhere.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

 
Downtime -- I stand accused of infrequent posting last week, and have to plead guilty. Likely to continue at least the first part of this week. Just spending some time with my kids on their spring break, and dealing with some minor real-life stuff. Apologies all around, and thanks for your patience.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

 
What I Really Need is One More Blog -- I don't know how regularly I'll be contributing, but I've signed onboard The Deadmalls Blog. If you're at all interested in the slow death of American culture, pop on over and have a look.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

 
Chris Allen Turns the Tables on Me -- It never even occurred to me that someone might find my new e-book Anhedonia worthy of review, never mind one of my favourite critics (full disclosure: and bestest pals), Chris Allen. Here's Allen's review of Anhedonia. Thanks, Chris!

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Monday, March 23, 2009

 
New ADD E-Book: Anhedonia -- The followup to my first e-book Strange Whine is now available in PDF form. It's a collection of reviews, essays and assorted other stuff that has appeared here and in other places. Click here to download Anhedonia (2MB), and if you do give it a look, feel free to email me your comments. I'd love to know what you think, and you might just end up in the introduction to the next one.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

 
Tuesday Visit to The Comics Waiting Room -- Old buddy and Comic Book Galaxy co-conspirator Marc Mason and I recently had a back and forth on Twitter that resulted in my writing a guest column for his site, The Comics Waiting Room. The subject is reviewing comics, and of course I get a Captain Kirk reference in there, excited as I am about the forthcoming Star Trek movie release.

Thanks, Marc, for letting me come in and play!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

 
Landmarks -- Just noticed that A Criminal Blog has just passed its two-year anniversary, and if you click over now you can read about Incognito, a new series coming from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.

Also, this is ADD Blog post #1,401. Boy, are my arms tired, etc, etc.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

 
Responses to My 100 Must Read GNs -- I'll try to keep this updated with new links as I find them or they're sent to me, followups to my list of 100 Must-Read Graphic Novels:

Logan Polk's 50 Must-Reads, most of which are not on my list, although many of them almost made it.

Which books on my list cartoonist Jason Marcy has read.

Johnny Bacardi does the same, quibbling about a "difference" between "graphic novels" and "trade paperbacks." Johnny, Johnny...! You're supposed to be hip to the jive, Daddio!

Blog This, Pal looks at the list. And says I "took the high road," surely a first.

Writer/artist Gary Spencer Millidge is happy at being #51.

David Wynne looks at my list and comes up with his own list of 50. Good man, Dave!

More links as they come in...

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

 
Recipe for a Good Blog -- Here's a nice, concise look at What Makes a Good Blog, over at 43 Folders.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

 
The Monday Briefing -- I have a whole lot of nuthin' for you this Monday morning. Just a couple of things...

* The Fart Party. I'm late to the party in discovering the work of Julia Wertz, but who wouldn't want to be late to a fart party, I ask ya? Go visit her website and soak in her luxurious autobiographical cartoon strip archives, and order her book published by Atomic Books, The Fart Party. I love the book so much I will probably read the whole thing again tonight. It's funny, it's dirty, it's sad and it's awesome. Most importantly, it's real, and really good, in the way great autobiographical comics are. Apparently Wertz takes some shit from readers for the simplicity of her line or whatever their complaints are, but Wertz's comics are filled with energy, great observational skill, sarcasm and wit. Not what you'd expect from something called "The Fart Party," I know, but isn't being surprised half the fun?

And thanks a bunch to Alicia at Earthworld for validating my purchase with her comment on Saturday, "You're buying The Fart Party? ALL RIGHT!" Buying it I am, for life. More Fart Party now, please, Ms. Wertz.

Bonus: My two favourite phrases from the book: "Turd cutter," and "Hot dickings."

* If you ever wondered what I'm doing, thinking or fuming about in the in-between moments when I am not constructing brilliant essays and reviews, you now have access: the add lifeblog, with all the little Doaney moments you need to build an even more complete picture of why you hold me in such contempt high regard. Bonus: It's all lower-case for more ee cummings-like pretentiousness. YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT.

* Have a great Monday.

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

 
Another Goddamned ADD Blog -- Fiddling around with a new blog on Wordpress. Not comics, or focused essays. A place for me to rant and update my conflicted and pathetic feelings. An extended version of Twitter? God help us all. Anyway, I don't know if I'll keep at it or let it atrophy and die, but I am eager, finally, to see what Wordpress can do. Add it to your RSS feeder and see if I peter out or build it up. Or, you know, you could do something worthwhile with your weekend. The choice, it's in your hands.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

 
The Lost Ones Contest Winners -- Congratulations to the winners of the new Lost Ones graphic novel by Steve Niles and company, published by Zune Arts. The winners are Mike Thompson of Springfield, Massachusetts and Carla Pullum of Palmdale, California. Thanks to everyone who entered, and Zune Arts for making the giveaway possible.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

 
The Monday Briefing -- Hello, good morning and welcome to the Monday Briefing for the last day of June, 2008. Where does the time go? I usually answer "Shushan," which is a small, small village in Washington County, New York that has a lovely little museum, a train station and not much else.

Anyways, it was a fairly busy weekend of blogging hereabouts, so if you missed it, here's what you can catch up on today:

* I reviewed Lewis Black's new book on religion and go into my thoughts on the subject.

* Coincidentally, I also reviewed the most recent run of Godland issues by Joe Casey and Tom Scioli.

* I reviewed Trains are...Mint, an autobio/travelogue sort of graphic novel from upstart Blank Slate Books. Also took a look at the same publisher's We Can Still Be Friends; two very different books, but both worth your attention. Blank Slate is one to watch.

* If you've been reading me for any length of time at all, you know I really dig the comics of Nate Powell. His latest book got reviewed here this weekend, Swallow Me Whole. It won't be out for a couple of months, so let your retailer know you WANT. Because YOU DO.

* I organized the books on the shelf over my desk yesterday, causing me to list the books on writing that I keep close to hand. Do you have any writing guides or inspirations that you find useful?

* Bonus: The best thing I read online this weekend was Tom Spurgeon's interview with cartoonist Lynda Barry. It made me want her new book a lot, but it was sold out at the closest Borders. So I bought Charles Schulz's Happiness is a Warm Puppy instead. I haven't read it since I was maybe 7 or 8 years old, but since it was Schulz's first book and is filled with (presumably) illustrations unique to the book, I thought it was worth adding to my library. I brought my son along on the trip and bought him a Spongebob-heavy Nickelodeon magazine, which he devoured in the car on the ride home.

And that's that with that, as David Paymer used to say on Line of Fire, which was a really good show.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

 
ADD Reviews Index Updated -- Subtitle: God damn I am a lazy bastard. For the first time since August 19th, 2007, I have updated the index page listing all my reviews. For the three of you who care, I apologize for being so damned lazy. There was a time I enjoyed webmastering as much as I enjoyed writing, but now I enjoy coding HTML about as much as I enjoy going to the dentist.

27 reviews were added to the page, a fact I am sure only I am interested in, insert smiley-face emoticon here.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

 
UPDATED: ADD's Summer Funding Comics Sale -- Here's a batch of funnybooks, graphic novels and DVDs I have available for sale, in the hopes of raising some cash for my family's summer plans. Drop me an email if you see anything on here you're interested in. US readers only for this, I'm afraid, but all listed prices include postage. Minimum order $10.00. Please note I do not use Paypal anymore, so if you're buying, I'll need a check or (preferably) money order.

Note: I posted an earlier version of this list last week, but there's a ton of stuff added to it, so take a look and see if there's anything you need.

UPDATED Thursday, 10:30 AM, 6/5/08

Outstanding bargains are in boldface.

Many thanks to Jog, Roger, Scott, Brian, Dick, and everyone that's help spread the word!

Comics

Albion #1-6 (ABC) - $4.00
Art Adams Set: Monkeyman and O'Brien #1-3, Monkeyman and O'Brien Special, Art Adams' Creature Features graphic novel (Dark Horse) - $9.00
Bastard Samurai #1 (Oeming; Image) - $1.00
Batman: Our Worlds at War Special (Brubaker; DC) - $1.00
Belly Button Comix #1-2 (Sophie Crumb; Fantagraphics) - $4.00
Black Heart Irregulars #1-2 - $1.00
Death and Candy #1-3 (Fantagraphics) - $3.00
Deathblow: Byblows #1-3 (Alan Moore; Wildstorm) - $1.00
Fred the Clown #2-5 (Langridge) - $4.00
Hellboy Weird Tales #1-8 (Dark Horse) - $8.00
Lone Ranger Director's Cut #1 (Dynamite) - $1.00
Majestic #1-4 (Abnett/Lanning; DC) - $3.00
Promethea #13-32 (Moore; ABC) - $12.00
Punisher Max Annual #1 - $1.00
Raise The Dead #1 (Dynamite) - $1.00
Stormwatch #48-50 (Ellis, complete Change or Die arc) - $3.00
Stormwatch Vol. 1 #0, 1-36, Special #1-2 and Stormwatch Art Portfolio (Wildstorm) - $14.00
Stormwatch Vol. 2 #11 and Wildcats vs. Aliens (end of Stormwatch; Ellis) - $3.00
Stormwatch PHD #1-2 (DC/Wildstorm) - $1.00
Street Angel #1, SLG FBCD w/ Street Angel story, and original mini-comic #1 - $4.00
Streets of Glory Preview, #1-2 (Ennis; Avatar) - $2.00
Stupid Comics #3 (Mahfood; Image) - $1.00
Team One Wildcats #1-2 (Wildstorm) - $1.00
Thunderbolts #110 (Ellis; Marvel) - $1.00
Tom Strong #1, 3, 8, 9, 12, 15-36 (Moore; ABC) - $16.00
Ultimate Extinction #1-6 (Ellis; Marvel) - $4.00
Ultimate War #1-4 (Millar; Marvel) - $2.00
Unfunnies, The #1-2 (Millar; Avatar) - $1.00
Vimanarama #1-3 (Morrison; Vertigo) - $3.00

Graphic Novels

Freddie and Me (Mike Dawson; Bloomsbury) - $8.00
Price of Persia GN (Advanced reader's copy; First Second) - $5.00
Three Shadows (First Second) - $7.00
Yuggoth Cultures (Alan Moore; Avatar) - $15.00

If you're interested in anything on this list, email me and we'll work out the details. Thanks.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

 
Recommended Online Comics Resources -- If you're a regular reader here, this may all be old hat to you, but I've posted a guide to the best online comics resources at iTaggit.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

 
Amazing Things About Me -- Here's just a few of the things I have learned about myself by reading a comments thread at Comics Should Be Good:

1) I want to move in with James Kochalka.

2) I "assume a binary continuum" of "good" comics vs. "evil" comics.

3) I am "not a person but rather a highly advanced computer program that is able to effortlessly generate article after article of blowhardism."

4) I've "chosen a side, and [am] writing propaganda for the home team."

5) I "fulfill all the popular negative stereotypes of the 'professional critic.'"

Rebuttals:

1. I would not move in with James Kochalka until baby Oliver is out of diapers. I've changed enough diapers for one lifetime, thanks very much.

2. It's not so much good versus evil comics, as good versus evil comics "fans."

3. Since I actually am a highly advanced computer program that is able to effortlessly generate article after article of blowhardism, I can't really argue with #3.

4. I'm not sure, but I think this one means I am gay. Which would explain why I want to move in with James Kochalka, actually. God damn it, these people may be on to something.

5. Not so, I lost my ascot years ago and can't afford a new one.

Apropos of Nothing


If, after learning all these new and amazing facts, you would like to expose yourself to more of my blowhardism, please do check out my newest articles at iTaggit.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

 
Update -- I appreciate the comments and emails about my lack of posting, and I apologize for my absence these past days. As noted previously, I was pretty seriously ill, and although I am mostly recovered I still have a bad cough, fatigue, and most damning of all, an inability to concentrate enough to write anything of substance here. Bear with me and hopefully I'll be back stirring up shit within a few days.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

 
Midweek Update -- I'm still alive, and over the worst, but still recovering from the flu. Sorry for the lack of posts this week; hopefully I'll be back up to speed by the start of next week.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

 
Monday, Briefly -- I spent a good deal of my weekend assembling the responses from the Comic Book Galaxy Retailing Poll. Expect a long post with all the results within the next day or two.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

 
ADD Elsewhere -- Hey, I've just posted my first essay to thisisby.us. The essay itself may or may not be familiar to you if you spend any amount of time here, but I'd appreciate if you would click over and maybe give my debut effort there some support. I just learned about this site, which pays for content based on the feedback from readers, and it looks like a great place to get your ideas out and possibly pick up some beer money.

If you like what you see and decide to post your own writing, let me know. I'm curious to see what develops now that I've dipped my toe in.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

 
FAQ ADD: Frequently Asked Questions about The ADD Blog -- Here's a handy primer to the who, what, where, why, when and how of The ADD Blog.

* Who are you? I'm Alan David Doane, a radio broadcaster since 1986 and a husband and father of two. I live in Upstate New York.

* What's this blog about? Comics, mostly. I've been reading comic books since 1972, and writing about them since the mid-1990s for a variety of websites such as Silver Bullet Comic Books, Newsarama, and this one here, Comic Book Galaxy. In print I've contributed to The Comics Journal and other magazines. On this blog, in addition to writing about comics I also cover anything else that interests me, including real life, music and movies. But since my main interest in life has been comic books for 35 years, mostly what I write about is comic books.

* How long have you been blogging? Since June 2nd, 2002. There have been a couple of lengthy hiatuses along the way, but I never stop writing about comics for long.

* So you really like superheroes? You must be new around here. It's a fairly common misperception if you say you like comic books that you must mean superheroes. But superheroes are only one genre among many that define the comic book artform, so equating a love of comic books with a love of superheroes is like assuming someone loves only westerns because they like movies. Probably my favourite genre within the comics artform is autobiography, like the works of Robert Crumb, James Kochalka, Harvey Pekar and Jason Marcy.

* Wait, you're the guy that hates superheroes, right? No, some of my favourite comics of all time are superhero stories, like Miller and Mazzucchelli's Daredevil: Born Again or Ellis and Hitch's The Authority. I do hate bad superhero comics, though, and these days, that's mostly what the corporate comic book publishers are turning out. I'd like to see that change, so that future generations of comics readers can enjoy the drama and excitement that the very best superhero comics can offer.

* But you are the guy that hates the direct market, right? Not really, I just think now that the whole world is reading comics again, it's time for those who claim to be professional comic book retailers to actually be professional. I wrote extensively about this in a multi-part essay called "A Future For Comics."

* So what kind of comics do you like? Well, there's no one word that encapsulates the comics that excite and engage me the most, although I tend to call 'em artcomics or artcomix. You might think of them as undergrounds, alternatives, or even "black and white independent filth." I don't universally love any form of comics, though -- there are good and bad comics in every category, and I'm most committed to finding and writing about good comics, no matter what label someone might want to slap on them.

* Who makes the kind of comics you like the most? You can take a look at my fairly extensive list of recommended comics, graphic novels and related publications, but offhand the creators I almost always enjoy include Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Dan Clowes, Chris Ware, Robert Crumb, Eddie Campbell, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Warren Ellis, Renee French, Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez, Harvey Pekar, Paul Hornschemeier, James Kochalka, B. Krigstein, Jason Marcy, Barry Windsor-Smith and Yoshihiro Tatsumi. To name a few. The publishers that seem to release the books I like the most include Fantagraphics, Drawn and Quarterly, Top Shelf and Pantheon Books.

* How can I find out what kind of comics I will enjoy the most? Find critics whose tastes clearly intersect with your own, and follow their recommendations into places you might previously have avoided. If Critic A's explanation of why they like a book you like makes sense to you, then find a book they recommend that you haven't read, and try that one. Watch the magic happen. This is a large part of why criticism matters in every artform, including comics.

* How much are my comics worth? On average, if you're lucky, you'll get about 12 cents from a dealer for any random comic book. That's half of what they'll charge when they throw it in their quarter bin. There are comics that are worth a lot of money, but the chances are that you don't have them. Because the comics that are worth the most money are some combination of old, in excellent condition, highly desirable, and extremely rare. If you must put a price on your comics, go to your library and check out The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. It is far, far from perfect, but it will give you a rough idea what your books may be worth. Remember that condition counts for a lot, and grade your comics accurately. Finally, remember that if you try to sell your comics to a comic book dealer, chances are, at best, they will give you 50 percent of the values listed in the Overstreet guide. Why? Because they have bills to pay. If you want to get the maximum return on valuable comics you may own, you'll have to sell them some other way, such as through an auction service or on eBay. This is much more time-consuming, though, so think about what's most important to you: Selling them fast (to a dealer for less money), or getting the most money (selling them to individual collectors).

* Which comics should I be buying as investments today? None. Occasionally a new comic book will be highly sought-after and demand high prices, but the vast majority of comic books being published today are published in enough numbers that they'll never be worth more than cover price, if even that.

* Why should I buy comics? There's only ever one real answer to that, and that is because you like to read them. If everyone bought only the comic books they genuinely love, then the publishers will make many more of those sorts of comics. Multiple covers and other schemes designed to make people buy comic books they don't read may be good for the short-term bottom-line of the corporate sector of the comic book industry, but they are disastrously destructive to the longterm health of the comic book artform. That's because they sour the suckers who buy into the "investment" aspect of comics on the idea of comics in general. So for your own best interests and those of comics as a storytelling medium, please, buy only the comics you enjoy. And tell your friends about them.

* I want to make comics. What should I do? Make them. Do your best to improve your craft, whether it's writing, drawing, or both. Tell stories that have the most personal meaning and importance to you as a human being. Educate yourself about the pitfalls of working in comics (low pay, companies taking your rights away without proper compensation and benefits, etc.) and be sure you always watch out for your best interests. If a publisher offers you a contract, go over it with your own attorney to be sure your interests are protected. Corporations will always protect and promote themselves over the interests of any individual creator. This doesn't mean "don't work for corporate comic book publishers," it just means "know what you're doing before you do."

* Will you review my comic? I'll certainly consider it. The address to send me review copies is near the top of the sidebar on the right side of this page.

* Why didn't you review my comic? Although I try to review every comic I receive, it's not always possible or even desirable to review every single thing that I read. If I didn't review your comic, it doesn't mean it's no good. But good or bad, the comics most likely to get reviewed by me are the ones that elicit a strong reaction as I read them. The least likely comics to get reviewed by me are ones that are simply average, mediocre comics. If they're spectacularly good or spectacularly bad, though, chances are very good they will be mentioned here.

* Where do you recommend I buy comics from? If you're talking mail-order, I strongly recommend Amazon.com and Lone Star Comics; they both offer excellent and timely service, and because if you click over to them from this site and buy something, it helps support my own efforts here. If you're talking about specific comic shops I recommend, there is a list of outstanding comic shops in the links in the sidebar. I've visited every one of them, and they're all worth a visit.

* I'd like to advertise on The ADD Blog. Can I do that? Sure. Just send me an e-mail and we'll talk.

* I want to publish comics. Any advice? Loads. First, realize that no new comics company can be expected to make any money whatsoever within the first five years of its existence. If you do not have the capital shored up to protect against that fact, and do not have the confidence that your books will be of such high-quality as to ensure a large readership that builds over the first three years, then do not start your new comics company until you can meet those marketplace realities. Wishing will not make it so, and if you build it, history has shown that they will not come. Be aware that no one wants your new superhero universe or American-created manga-style comics. No one.

Also: Just because you like a writer or artist, that does not mean that readers will like their work. The worst thing an editor or publisher can do is be buddies with the talent they publish. If your judgment is thus compromised, you owe it to yourself, your creators and your readers to seek out blunt, critical analysis of the quality of the work and its likelihood of success before publishing it. If you must publish comics and are not already an established company with a well-known line and a reliable slate of books, then start your new company with one bulletproof book that is so well done and wildly entertaining that it can serve as the foundation of a steadily-growing company over the course of the next five years. History has shown time and again that this is the most reliable way to build a brand and create a publishing company. Finally, if you cannot afford a full-time publicity department that is dedicated to getting your books the maximum exposure possible, then you cannot afford to be a publisher. Hiring the talent and printing the books is no more than 50 percent of the equation that results in a successful book.

* As a reader, how can I make comics better? Don't continue to buy and support comics that do anything less than dazzle you with their ingenuity, their quality storytelling, and their elegance of purpose and design. The only reason any publisher can continue to produce bad comics is because people buy them out of habit or to have a "complete collection." Just stop, and comics will get better.

Also: Go through your collection regularly, and pluck out any comics you haven't felt the need to re-read for a year or more. Set them aside, and evaluate whether you really want to spend a portion of your rent money providing space for comics you no longer want or need. Throw them out, trade them, give them away, or sell them on eBay. Make room for better comics in your home, and in your life. Make careful note of the creators and publishers who tend to create books that you are not still excited about months after you first read them. Reconsider investing your money in their books in the future. Would you return time and again to a restaurant that served you bad food? There's so much more out there, waiting to be discovered. What are you waiting for?

* How often is this blog updated? 14 times a week, according to one statistic I saw recently, which averages out to twice a day, every day. Sometimes it's more, sometimes it's less. You can always subscribe to The ADD Blog RSS Feed if it makes your life easier.

* Who are your favourite critics and bloggers? Roger Ebert, Tom Spurgeon, Chris Allen, Rob Vollmar, and Johanna Draper Carlson all come to mind. They, and other favourites of mine, are linked from the sidebar on the right side of this page.

* How can I become a critic? Probably the best information I've seen on this subject is Johanna Draper Carlson's thoughts on how to review comics. My to-the-point advice is: Be passionate, be truthful, and seek out diversity.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

 
Independence Day -- Happy Independence Day to all my U.S. readers. There's not much more I personally value more than independence, so I hope everyone, everywhere will take a moment sometime today to recognize genuine independence in some form and pay it the respect that it deserves, whether it's independent thinking, independent film, your local independent restaurant, movie theater, bookshop or comics store, and of course, independent comics. Those are the good ones, after all.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

 
Diabetic Again -- This is a post I've been thinking about writing for a week or so now, and I can tell you it won't have anything to do with comics, not directly anyway. So if you're here for the funnybook chit-chat, come back later.

I wrote a couple-three weeks back about how I had experienced a bit of a health scare -- I won't go into the gory details, but something happened one afternoon that sent me immediately to the doctor's office. I was diagnosed with a fairly simple and common infection, and given some antibiotics. Within three or four days, I not only felt fantastic, but I had managed to kick my major, major caffeine habit that I had fostered under many years of working in morning radio. The nurse practitioner that I saw told me that caffeine and alcohol would only aggravate my condition, and as it was pretty painful in the beginning, I didn't want to make it any worse. After the symptoms cleared up, it just seemed like a good idea to kick caffeine once and hopefully for all. So I have gone from drinking 4-8 cans of Diet Mountain Dew per day (the diet version because I am diabetic and sugared sodas are definitely not on the menu for me) to drinking nothing but water, lots of it, and about one bottle of Diet Green Tea (no sugar, no caffeine, plus hopefully some antioxidants) every day.

During my visit to the doctor's office, the subject of my diabetes came up, and here's where it gets complicated and hard to talk about for me. But since I resumed blogging here, I don't feel the need to stick solely to the subject of comics, and I feel like I want this blog to be an honest discussion of whatever is on my mind, so again, feel free to click somewhere else if this is not of interest to you. I'm writing this one for me, really, not for you. Although those of you that stick around, I am extremely grateful to you, and you might even learn something about the arrogance and denial that have fucked up my health a bit. And it even ties into Comic Book Galaxy, to a degree. If you've read this far and keep on reading, and you've followed this site a while, you may even find some questions answered.

Where to start? Well, I was first diagnosed with Type 2 ("adult onset") diabetes on (you'll love this) Friday the 13th of November, 1998. I had been overwhelmed with fatigue and peeing every 30 minutes around the clock for weeks, so I knew something was wrong, but even with a family history of the disease (my mother was diabetic), I was ignorant and arrogant enough to actually hope, when I first went to see the doctor because of these symptoms, that maybe I was just suffering some sort of urinary tract infection.

I wasn't, of course. I found out that day that my blood sugar was 307, 300 percent of what a healthy person's reading would be. The news that I was diabetic hit me, at the grand old age of 32, like a brick to the skull. It was raining that day, and as I drove from the doctor's office to the supermarket, I remembering crying and feeling quite a bit like I had been handed a death sentence.

A lot of that emotion stemmed from the fact that I knew little to nothing about diabetes, despite my mother having had it (at this time she had been dead for four years, a victim of Alzheimer's and brain cancer). When I went to the store I bought healthier foods for the most part, but having yet not had any education about my disease at all, I also bought a big jug of orange juice. Mom had always had one in the fridge, and I realize now it was in case her blood sugar went too low. Orange juice has an enormous amount of sugar in it, so while it's good for reviving you if you're hypoglycemic (as in-control diabetics can sometimes become), for me, hyper-glycemic, it was not a very good thing to be drinking.

Luckily for me, within a week or two I had seen a nutritionist and done everything in my power (thank God for the internet, even in 1998) to learn as much as I could about diabetes. So I soon learned not to drink OJ unless it was medically necessary (and even then, it wouldn't take much to get your sugar back up to normal), and I began a radical diet program that consisted of -- amazing, for an American -- eating fewer calories than I was burning every day. This strict meal plan coupled with mild but committed exercise -- usually a half-hour or so walk every day -- allowed me to lose a mid-size child's worth of weight in less than a year, my blood sugar returned to low enough averages that my doctor cut the amount of diabetic medication I had to take every day, my eyesight improved, my libido returned to an 18-year-old's level, basically, life was incredibly good.

I didn't feel arrogant about it at first. For quite some time -- two or three years, I would say -- I felt extremely lucky. Blessed. I had been diagnosed with an incurable illness (I heard diabetes lumped with AIDS and cancer as incurable illnesses in a radio commercial one day, and it brought me to tears), and I had, through modern medicine and what seems to me now an enormous force of will, managed to bring my blood sugar levels basically to normal. All the complications of the disease -- blindness, amputations, heart disease, death -- seemed a lot further away than they did on that rainy day back in November of 1998.

But, as they do, things changed.

My job changed in late summer of 1999, and I think that's where it began. I had made my 30 minute walk a part of my daily routine at work, using my break time to keep myself healthy. When I switched jobs and started working at an all-news radio station in Albany, I now had to sit in a chair basically for seven or eight hours a day with no opportunity at all for exercise. I more or less stuck to my meal plan, but between the lack of opportunities for movement at work and the two-hour, 110 mile or so commute every day, I was just too exhausted by the end of the day to consider exercising at home.

That all-news radio job lasted about two years, then I decided to move on to a Public Radio station in 2001. The new job actually began a week and a day before the attacks of September 11th. The pay was out-of-this world compared to my Glens Falls radio days, or even the Albany job that immediately preceded it. I was a producer, editor and anchor, and also assignment editor for reporters ("bureau chiefs") over a wide swath of the northeastern United States. So I had mad cash, a lot of responsibility, felt like I was genuinely making a better world through my work in radio (a first in what was then about 15 years in broadcasting), and more or less thought I was on top of the world. As you might guess, I would trace the beginning of my arrogance to this period.

Because I had previously had such great control over my blood sugar, I went from 1998 and testing three or four times a day, to maybe once a day by 2000, and probably once a week or less by 2002 or so. I left the Public Radio station in late summer of 2004 under what I felt were less-than-ideal circumstances, and that's where I think the depression set in, depression that I experienced I would say from that time up until maybe the beginning of this year, 2007. So, for two or three years, beginning in August of 2004, I entered what was probably the darkest and most hopeless period of my life.

I said that this post would intersect with Comic Book Galaxy, and here's where that happens. I'm not going to bother digging into the CBG archives to come up with specific dates, so I admit that some of this may be hazy on exact details, but the crucial point is that sometime in 2005 or 2006, when things started to go wrong here (during the "New Comic Book Galaxy" phase that introduced a ton of new columnists and features), I was just too depressed and up my own ass to keep things on course here. I tried the best I could, because there's nothing in life I love more than this site except my family -- but as problems cropped up and had to be dealt with, my main method of dealing with them was just to end them.

So I fucked up this site quite a bit during this time. Offhand, I would say I owe huge and sincere apologies to Derik Badman, Johnny Bacardi, Mike Sterling, JC Glindmyer, Marc Sobel, Ed Cunard and Shawn Hoke, great contributors all; and all of whom came onboard CBG only to leave suddenly because of my inability to think my way through the various issues that came up during this time. Chris Allen, Rob Vollmar and Chris Hunter were an unbelievable help in trying to help me keep this thing going, but as 2005 rolled into 2006, my posting and ability to manage this site were increasingly sporadic.

I took a new radio job in late April of 2005, a time that coincided almost to the day with the accident that destroyed my red car. And while the decision not to buy a new one was based as much on ideology as budget constraints, I have to say that the lack of freedom was yet another blow to my ego and sense of self. These days I am a lot more philosophical about being carless -- if not proud -- but when the accident happened, it was just more crap to deal with, at a time when I wasn't dealing well with all the crap that was already on my plate.

The new job was stressful at first -- there was a lot to wrap my brain around, because although I had been in radio 19 years at that point, I was now doing things and charged with responsibilities I had never experienced before. The learning curve was steep, but eventually I came to grips with it, and came to love it more than any radio job I have ever had. That was a big part of coming out of what I now realized was probably a pretty deep depression, and for most of 2007, I have felt pretty good about my family and my job, while more or less ignoring my diabetes.

I think it was a combination of arrogance stemming from how quickly and effectively I got it under control circa 1998, and the subsequent improvement I experienced in many areas of my health. And dealing with all the different things I did in radio from 1998 to 2007, I find that it was really easy to just forget the fact that I am diabetic. Any of my fellow diabetics may or may not be shocked when I tell you this, but I don't think I tested my blood sugar more than once or twice a year over the past two or three years.

Physically, I felt fine -- artifically propped up by all that caffeine in the Diet Mountain Dew I drank like water -- and I was actively avoiding my doctor, for a number of reasons. Primarily I assumed -- wrongly -- that my sugar was still under control. He had also been a huge fan of the Public Radio station I worked at, so I was a bit humbled by the fact that I no longer worked there. Also, his very pro-active (and very wise) approach to managing my diabetes was just not something I felt I could deal with during this time, late 2004 to early 2007. So, I went to ground, abandoned totally my monitoring of my disease, and as any diabetic will tell you, when it comes to monitoring your blood sugar, out of sight is out of mind.

When I went in to the doctor's office a few weeks back, that was the beginning of digging my way out of all this. Emotionally I feel much better than I have in years -- I don't think I'm suffering from clinical depression anymore -- and I've started monitoring my blood sugar multiple times daily. My highest fasting blood sugar has been 180, and the lowest, this morning, after a few days back on my proper meds and with some real adjustments to my diet, was 135. But I know I've probably done some damage to my body in the time I was out of touch with my diabetes, and I know I have a lot of work to do before I can start to feel that it's under my control again.

I will say that there could not have come a better time for Michael Moore's Sicko, about the abhorrent state of U.S. health care even for people with insurance. Just in the past three weeks, I have experienced some of the stupidity, contempt, bureaucracy and outright hostility the system here in Los Estados Unidos has for people with serious, life-threatening issues. I have been confronted with a lack of knowledge and thoughtfulness by people in a position to help me, that made me realize a meeker, or poorer person than myself might have just given up. Hell, maybe I would have, myself, if I was still in the depression I was in not that long ago.

There's a scorched-earth war on right now against the health and well-being of anyone in this country who needs health care but isn't spectacularly wealthy. Anyone who tells you different is either lying or incredibly naive. I really wonder how much longer I'll be able to afford to take care of myself and my family, even with both my wife and I working full-time jobs. But the lesson of the past few weeks, and of the past few years of my living in denial about a gravely serious disease I will have the rest of my life, has made me realize more than ever that if I don't take full command of my life and my health, no one else will. On this day before Independence Day, 2007, the message I am getting is that here in the United States, our leaders and our health care system are staggeringly indifferent to the health and safety of the people. Of course, I need to watch out for my own health. Because it's crystal clear that no one else is going to do it, and in fact, the current system would prefer if we all just quietly suffer and die while politicians and pharmacological companies and anyone who profits from this clusterfuck of U.S. health care gets richer, and richer, and richer.

This is not a compassionate nation. In fact, health care is our national catastrophe, and we should all be ashamed. And we should all demand change, right fucking now. The billions we've wasted on the lie that is the Iraq war could have saved millions of lives. Lives not taken in the name of U.S. aggression, and lives of those receiving poor-to-no health care right here at home.

I'm not depressed anymore, I'm just pissed off. And determined to get myself better. This is a big change for me, and I hope you'll consider what you can and should change, yourself. If you're in denial about your health, or if you are in a position to effect or demand change in the way this country cares for its people -- all its people -- I hope you'll do so. If the people of this country can't watch out for each other, it's not a country worth saving. And right now we're all in grave danger, because of a corrupt and dysfunctional health care system. A good country is one that cares for and protects all its people before it wastes it resources elsewhere. This one has a lot of work to do to get where it should be, but luckily there are great examples -- Britain, Canada and France, for example -- of countries that get health care much more right than this one. What's needed is monumental change, which I fear will only be effected by monumental outrage. I'm starting to feel it. Are you?

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Friday, June 29, 2007

 
Viewer Mail -- My most recent review has garnered a couple of comments...like this one from Jim:

"Sigh. And me being a Green Lantern fan boy/continuity porn junkie who hasn't been too happy with Hal's regular series lately, I thought Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps was outstanding. Powerful, intense, full of big bombastic scenes of congregating evil and high octane unleashed drama (I thought the sniper sequence was 'cool' in an action-packed way), I loved the entire issue, and it felt good to be twelve-years-old again, if only for a few minutes. Oh, well. I did enjoy your thoughts on the book!"

See? You don't have to agree with me to be civil -- cheerful, even! More simpatico with my take on the book, Is uspect, was Andre, who had this to say:

"Hey Alan!

This…

'Johns's writing always reminds me of an 8-year-old playing in the tub, making up stories with his action figures as he neglects to wash his ass.'

...is probably the funniest line I’ve read on the Internet this year. Well done, sir."


Keep those cards and letters coming, folks!

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

 
Thursday Afternoon Excuses -- Ach, an entire day got away from me. Sorry for the lack of updates today, but when I was not at work I was working on a brochure design for a friend of mine who just opened a new business. She was quite grateful at the way it turned out, but I was grateful she asked so I could learn a new skill. It's funny how those lending a hand can benefit everybody involved.

Comics-wise, still working on the Fletcher Hanks anthology Fantagraphics recently released; I managed to read one or two more stories last night. Hanks's mind must have been a bizarre and fascinating landscape.

Looking forward to next week; with the Independence Day holiday falling on Wednesday, I'm taking Thursday and Friday off from work, as I'd imagine a lot of people with accumulated vacation days will be doing. I also found a nifty Independence Day post of mine from a couple years back that I want to expand on and re-post.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

 
New Comic Weblog Updates -- No one at the new comics weblog updates page will answer my e-mails, but I sure would like to have The ADD Blog listed on there. Am I wrong in thinking there's a place for li'l ol' Doaney on there? If you like what you read here and think I should be listed, would you do me a favour and e-mail the site with your feelings?

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

 
Not Tired at All -- I am usually asleep by 9:30 in the evening, sadly. It's a remnant, I think, of getting up at 3 in the morning to go to work every day, which I did circa 1997-2004. But here I am at 9:38 PM all awake and everything. Exciting.

My son's Fifth Grade Recognition event went well -- he's off to Middle School next year, and while I think the idea of a 5th Grade "graduation" is a bit silly, I have to admit that the emotional speech by the principal and an entertaining and moving video presentation did get to me after all.

After the ceremony, Mom and I slipped the boy a cash-filled congratulations card, which he was thrilled to get. He was also genuinely grateful that both of us were there -- the above-mentioned hideous work hours kept me from being able to attend a lot of school events for either he or his sister in their elementary years, but now that I am a 9-to-5 kind of guy and also working much closer to home, it's a bit easier to slip out for an hour or so to be there for my kids, which increasingly I am coming to realize is the very best thing you can do for them.

If you poke around in the "contents" section of the sidebar, you'll find I added some older posts from 2002-2003 that hadn't previously been in the archives. I don't know if you care much about old posts one way or the other, but while surfing Comic Book Galaxy's saved pages at Archive.org, I found a goodly amount of stuff that I had thought lost. So I tried to grab as much of it as I could and post it, back-dated, into the ADD Blog archives. Have a look if you're so bored inclined.

I'll be adding older posts as time allows over the next few days. I'm also thinking of integrating the Kochalkaholic and A Criminal Blog stuff I've written into the archives here, just to have it all in one place...

One other thought I had today, you know what is kind of cool? Remember a few years ago when this blog, Dirk Deppey's Journalista and AK's Title Bout were all fairly widely-read internet thingies? It's kind of neat that after our various 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness(es) that we're all back and in b-i-bidness one way or another.

Hey, wait a minute, maybe I am getting tired after all. One look at the cat sleeping comfortably on the rocking chair in our living room, and I can feel the energy drain right out of me. I think I'll read some more Fletcher Hanks and hit the hay. You have a good night and we'll chat again soon.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

 
8,396 -- That's about how many words I wrote on this blog this week.

It's good to be back.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

 
Labels -- It'll take me a while to label years worth of blog posts, but I've started using Blogger's Labels function to group posts. Click on the label at the end of each post to see other posts on the same subject(s). Labels include art, corporate comics, culture, equal marriage rights, essays, FCBD, five questions, good comic shops, industry, linkblogging, lists, memes, meta, movies, music, pre-ordering, pull list, radio, real life and reviews. As always, your comments and suggestions are much appreciated!

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Blogging About Blogging -- Since I resumed regular blogging here, I have learned a number of things.

1. Blogger seems a bit...diminished to me. Posts and especially template changes seem to take forever to go through, although I'm learning that sometimes it may just be my machine the changes aren't showing up on. Because...

2. Internet Explorer realy does suck like everyone says, and I've switched to Firefox. Firefox seems to be a huge improvement in internet browsing, but with Blogger there may be cache and cookie issues, which require workarounds for me until I figure thing out. Workarounds like...

3. Add a question mark to the end of a URL and then hit shift+reload, and you will actually see the newest version of a webpage. Something to do with making a dynamic call to the server, kind of like an agitated drunk in a bar. "Garcon!" Anyway, I learned much of this either because of switching to Firefox and Googling the problems I was having, or because of problems I've had establishing...

4. RSS Feeds. I'll be honest with you, I don't much see the point of them -- I'm really old, and I like my bookmarks just fine. If I like your site, chances are, pathetically, I check it several times a day to see what you're up to. And I guess I kind of assumed everyone was as bored/neurotic/desperate for information as I am. But no, Johanna let me know pretty clearly that a lot of people are hooked on RSS these days with no plans to go into rehab. Now, if you have been checking this site several times a day, you probably know I have had a number of RSS misfires, at least one of which required ointment to heal. I don't wanna make a big deal about it in case it once again doesn't work, but I have once again attemtped to create a working RSS Feed for The ADD Blog. Please try it out if you're RSS-savvy, and after a couple more updates here let me know if it seems to be working right. if it isn't, and chances seem to favour that outcome, there's always...

5. The Google Group. I've created one so you can subscribe to an updates mailing list for this blog. Subscribe here. Yes, I know it's the 20th century way of getting things done. But I was born in early 1966, so that not only makes me old, it makes me older than Star Trek. And anyone that old should know...

6. Blogging about blogging is a sin. Yes, Mike, I know!

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

 
Subscribing to The ADD Blog -- If you'd like to receive an e-mail notice whenever I update this blog, please join the ADD Blog Updates group at Google. Thanks!

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

 
Changes -- I'm fiddling with the template today. I've moved the very long "Recommended" list to its own page, because it was adding unnecessary length to the sidebar. I also switched the archives from weekly to monthly, in the hopes of that taking up less sidebar real estate too. Blogger is ungodly slow today, so the changes may take a while to go into effect. Drop me an e-mail if you notice anything terribly wonky.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

 
Erstwhile -- Having seen this word misused at least twice this week on blogs I respect, I'm gonna just point out that this word means FORMER, not "intrepid," "awesome," or anything else. ERSTWHILE=FORMER.

Thank you.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

 
Pressing Issues of the Day -- Weighing in on recent kerfuffles in the comics blogosphere...

#1: Johanna is Right -- A lack of diversity is why superhero comics don't matter anymore. A lack of diversity in creators, storylines, characters, and readers. A lack of diversity is why Manga has made the inroads that it has in the past decade, and the people up in arms about what Johanna had to say about diversity would know that if they paid attention to the real-world readership of comics as a whole rather than the inbred, moronic discussions at the superhero convenience stores whose days are numbered across North America.

#2: Tentacle Rape -- I looked and looked, on CNN.com and elsewhere, and could find no news coverage whatsoever of anyone or anything with tentacles raping anybody, anywhere, with their tentacles or anything else. Perhaps those upset by this imaginary scourge would do well to read point #1, above.

#3: San Diego Comicon -- As usual, Tom Spurgeon has a great guide to the San Diego Comicon. My plans in two words: Not going. As usual. Oops, that's four words.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

 
Maybe I'm Vague -- Despite the interpretations of a couple of my favourite bloggers (hi, Chris and Bill!), I swear my recent "Where I'm At" post was an explanation of how I am trying to resume regular blogging here, NOT quitting again. That trick NEVER works!

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

 
Where I'm At -- It's been nearly two years since the ill-fated launch of "The New Comic Book Galaxy," and while my posting here has been pretty limited the past few months, the site is never far from my mind. Other than my kids, it's probably the most rewarding thing I've ever been involved in, and if anyone is even still reading this, believe me, I really regret that the site has not managed to regain any momentum in calendar year 2007.

This came to mind this morning for a couple of reasons...firstly, I realized that the site's seventh anniversary is this September, and it hit me how unexciting that prospect is to me, and likely anyone else, because of the slow petering out of the vitality that once resided here. Second, one of the columns slated for "The New CBG" back in '05 was a series of pieces on the now-defunct but much-missed Albany, NY comics shop/indy publisher FantaCo. Former FantaCo employee Roger Green was to have written the columns for the new version of this site, but that never came to pass for one reason or another. He mentions that in passing in this terrific remembrance of the Counterfeit Cerebus incident at FantaCo (and other shops) in the 1980s. I was really looking forward to Roger's FantaCo columns, and even though they never materialized, I still read his blog daily and love his personal, intimate writing.

But it never quite made it to Comic Book Galaxy, and soon after "The New CBG" launched, things started going wrong and a lot of momentum was lost. I don't know if I could have somehow prevented it, if so, I apologize. As I say, I feel the absence of a vital, alive Comic Book Galaxy as much as anyone.

For months I have told myself I will somehow get it back together, the magical combination of inspiration, vision, passion, fascination and free time. Oh, and, money. That's always an issue, isn't it?

My passion for comics is as strong as ever, I promise you. But everything else has been lacking, and to be totally honest, I can't see any light at the end of this particular tunnel. A number of factors suggest themselves as contributing causes.

* I write all day for money. This is a big part of the inertia that has settled in. I just don't feel like writing about anything by the time I get home in the evening, and even if I did, the kids expect dinner and help with their homework and sudddenly it's 9 PM and damn, yawn, tomorrow's another day.

* The sense of urgency I felt when CBG was created in 2000 has diminished. This is actually quite a good thing, in my opinion. Back in the days when Marvel and DC could still be called "mainstream comics" without sneer quotes around the term, artcomix -- you know, the good, worthwhile comics published by folks like Fantagraphics, Drawn and Quarterly, Top Shelf, Pantheon, First Second, etc. -- needed help. I'd like to think Comic Book Galaxy was at least in some small way a participant in the total revolution that has occurred in the comics artform in the past few years. I don't know that we need to push as hard as we used to, I think the tipping point has passed, maybe around the time Time named Fun Home the book of the year, correctly. But seriously, it seems like a lot of the work I thought we were doing has come to fruition, all to the betterment of good comics.

That all said, man, I miss being "Alan David Doane: Comics Blogger." If you loved or hated this blog in its heyday, there's no denying it was a blast to write, and I appreciate every reader who read what I had to say, especially those who found actual value in my opinions from time to time. Believe it or not, I still have opinions, and I still want to share them with anyone who wants to know what I think, but after all of the above, I really am left kind of scratching my head wondering how to recreate this blog so that it still in any way matters in a world where Dirk, Tom, Johanna and a select few others really have good blog writing about comics kind of all sewn up. And I don't bother to read the shitty or otherwise aggravating blogs anymore, because really, I'm 41 years old and who has the time to spare for that sort of obnoxiousness?

When I started this blog post, I thought maybe I would come to some sort of conclusion about the fate of Comic Book Galaxy. I haven't, really, but it's been kind of a relief to share with you -- whoever you may be -- what has been going on and where I am at, vis a vis comics and this website. The one thing that I have learned while talking to you (myself, really, but you know what I mean) is that a new approach is called for. None of the old methods seem to be working for me anymore. I miss having a dialogue with comics readers, and more importantly I miss having a dialogue with comics. So I can promise you that I am thinking about how to renew that public love affair, but, I'm not promising dinner and a movie, not just yet.

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