Still here? Good, because I’m serious: This is the last “Grumpy Old Fan” post. Not a dream, hoax, etc.
As for why, that’s not important. It really isn’t. I was going to title this post “The Last Worthless Evening,” as in the Don Henley song, but that seemed to suggest some bitterness on my part that really isn’t there. Essentially, I’ve been given an opportunity to do some slightly different work for Robot 6/CBR. Assuming it all works out, I’ll be back around these parts soon enough; although it may not be on Thursdays, and it won’t be under this banner.
As always, however, some history for those who might have come in late. “Grumpy Old Fan” goes back almost 10 years, to June 2006 and Blog@Newsarama. B@N likewise traced its roots to The Great Curve, a group blog that was going strong when I joined in spring 2015. I didn’t have a standing column at TGC, but when we were setting up special features for B@N, I picked the Thursday slot and chose what I thought was an ironic title. It would hang a lantern on any disconnect between me -- at the time, a codger of 36 -- and what I imagined as the appreciably-younger segments of online comics fandom.
In fact, as I got more involved online, I realized I needed to speak not just for the DC Comics lifers, but for folks from all kinds of backgrounds. We all love comics, I’d say, and we all want good comics. More to the point, a lot of us love DC Comics, and want it similarly to embrace a more diverse readership. It is not, and has never been, enough for me to be satisfied that DC is meeting all of my personal superhero-story needs; and to the extent I haven’t spoken up sufficiently for a group that’s been wronged, then I haven’t been a good commentator.
That said, “GOF” debuted in the wake of Infinite Crisis, charted all of the crossover churning from 52 and Countdown through Blackest Night and Brightest Day, and chronicled the New 52 from Flashpoint through Convergence. There were controversies aplenty throughout those nine years; and while I didn’t address them all directly, I tried to use this space to push DC in more diverse, creator-friendly directions.
See, I learned early on that I am not a journalist, and being a blogger at a comics convention isn’t like being part of the White House press corps. My parents were journalists, and I have friends who are journalists (including one who covered the White House), but I’m just a reader with a soapbox. I hope I am an educated, open-minded reader, and that I have used this platform mostly for good. I do love comics, not just because I grew up reading The Flash, Green Lantern, and Justice League, but because I have come to appreciate the art form’s unique qualities.
While that might sound a little pretentious, considering my love for stories like “The Fiend With Five Faces!” from 1978's JLA #156, this is the life I have chosen. I started reading superhero comics almost 40 years ago, when DC was trying both to build on its Silver Age successes and emphasize how much it had “grown”; but I didn’t appreciate that at the time. Instead, I just read the things, took a few years off to be “cool” in junior high school, and then picked ‘em up again. That was in 1984, and I haven’t stopped yet.
Accordingly, I bring up the old days not because they were better, but because they can be instructive. It’s hard to get kids to like what you like, especially if it’s not something all their friends are doing. I read comics to my daughter when she was a baby, and thankfully she (now 7) reads ‘em on her own; but there’s no guarantee she’ll keep on.
Conversely, a lot of us just keep racking up the miles. Many of you who have “only” been reading comics for five or ten years are going to wake up one day and realize it’s been a lot longer. Heck, I’m hardly alone in having read comics (and especially superhero comics) for most of my 45 years.
The difference, of course, is in how I choose to employ those experiences. I’ve been very lucky for the past nine years to have aired my opinions through “Grumpy Old Fan.” I’ve met a lot of very cool people, fans and pros alike, both online and in person (although a lot fewer of the latter, unfortunately); and I’ve worked with some of the best comics bloggers around.
Thus, with “GOF” closing up, I need to thank the folks who helped bring it into being, including editors Alex Segura Jr., John K. Parkin, and Kevin Melrose. Stephanie Chan and Shane Bailey created Blog@Newsarama’s graphics, but I think Stephanie designed the fist-shaking GOF logo, which gave way eventually to more topic-specific graphics. Of course, Newsarama’s Matt Brady and CBR’s Jonah Weiland provided the real estate.
I tried not to miss a Thursday, but when I moved from Virginia to Tennessee in early 2008, Tim O’Shea filled in with a very nice Archie Goodwin retrospective. (We’re rooting for you, Tim!) Speaking of people everyone likes, this space enabled me to interview two of the most pleasant guys in comics, Kurt Busiek and Scott Snyder. Michael May and I collaborated on a couple of Catwoman posts a few years back, and my holidays were always a little more bright thanks to the end-of-year throwdowns with Carla Hoffman.
Finally, thanks to all of you for reading, whether it’s been for a week or for nine years. If there’s one thing “Grumpy Old Fan” has taught me, it’s that we’re all in this together. Since I’m not going offline for good, I’ll try to keep pushing wherever I can, because we can do better. We all love comics, we all want good comics, and we all need to work toward making comics good for everyone.