I’m not very good with good-byes, so I’ll make this short.
(Yes, readers who’ve had the unfortunate experience of reading my sentences that go on forever and ever can laugh at that…)
After nearly twenty years of covering comics, and ten years with Newsarama, I’ve decided that it’s time for me to move on to other arenas and challenges. And just to cut off the legs of any rumors that may be trying to take root, this is a decision I made, and am leaving the site at my own time, on my own terms.
Needless to say, Newsarama will go on without me, in the capable hands of Mike Doran and Lucas Siegel, who’s stepped up to do a lot more for the site. And of course, Vaneta, Troy, Chris, Steve, Zack, Mike Lorah, Steve Ekstrom, John Siuntres and the rest of the gang will be sticking around, and I’m looking forward to see what they’ve got planned for the coming months.
Over the years, I’ve seen this industry change from a niche that we were all convinced was on life support to a thriving, vibrant, legitimate and accepted form of media whose characters are now virtually in every household, theater, and store. I’ve ridden its ups and downs and reported on just about everything that could be reported on. I’ve covered what looked to be its mortal wounds, and celebrated new directions that pioneered new ground. I’ve made tons of friends over the years, laughing and crying with them over good news and bad. Paul Levitz says we’re a “tribe” – something that has its own social and community connotations, and I remember one year at some show or something, telling Jimmy Palmiotti that I see him more than I see most of my family. It was something that I think Charles Brownstein commented on too – calling the now year-long convention schedule a never-ending summer camp.
I guess what I have to say is that for the past 18 years, I’ve been honored that the comics industry took me into its family…it’s community. Thank you for allowing me to have a go at this crazy job and succeed, despite insane conditions, challenging competition and the occasional weeks and months of uphill battles.
Of course then, there are the thank-yous. First and foremost, I have to thank the Newsarama readers who, for nearly ten years now have made the site a part of their comic reading habit, or have, on occasion, discovered or come back to comics through us. You’re a rowdy, passionate bunch, full of opinions, vigor and life that this industry needs. You’re an amazing cross-section of this industry, from intellectual, considerate fan to vulgar soccer hooligan and everything in between.
On the professional side of things, I should probably start by thanking Mark Waid, who was my first professional interview back in…1994 (and actually first amaturer one before that in 1991, I think?), and who, even to this day, is the guy who’s had to endure far too many interviews with me. As for the rest? Wow – there are tons. I’ll try to get some, but if I miss you…hey, it’s been nearly 20 years…
I can’t begin this list with anyone other than Patty Jeres, who helped me when I needed it, praised me when I needed it, and scolded me…when I needed it. And Bob Wayne – who put up with me, chided me, teased me, said some rude things to me, and in the end, realizing that I wasn’t going away, begrudgingly became a friend. Likewise, I have to thank Paul Levitz for so many things. Okay, we’re going to be here all day if I keep this up, so, in no particular order, I need to thank: Greg Rucka, Dan Didio, Ed Brubaker, Jimmy Palmiotti, John Jackson Miller, Fletch, Maggie Thompson, Joe Quesada, Charles Brownstein, Jen Van Meter, Nick Barrucci, Geoff Johns, Amanda Conner, Alex Segura, Brad Meltzer, Jeph Loeb, Alan Moore, Alex Ross, Brian Bendis, Darwyn Cooke, Jeff Smith, Dan Jurgens, Karl Kesel, Mark Millar, Grant Morrison, Matt Wagner, Howard Chaykin, Jim McLauchlin, Greg Pak, Joe Keatinge, Matt Idelson, Todd Dezago, Harlan Ellison, Ross Richie, Ron Marz, J.G. Jones, Steve Wacker, Brian Wood, Larry Young, Kevin Smith, Todd McDevitt, Jonah Wieland, Matt Hawkins, Filip Sablik, and about a million more.
Of course, I have to thank the folks at Imginova, who, along with Mike and Lucas and the rest of the team, will take the site to new heights, I’m sure.
And I can’t end this without two final thank yous. First, to Mike Doran – what a ride. Thank you for listening past that initial fussy e-mail all those years ago and suggesting that what might work is if we teamed up. Yeah, I think it worked. Thanks for everything. And second – I have to thank my wife Shari (Mrs. Newsarama to oldtimers), who’s been with me on this whole thing, watching from the sidelines to running the business side and then gladly, back to watching on the sidelines. I literally could not have done this without your love and support. I love you.
Finally, because I guess you get to do these things when you retire, my advice for the industry? It’s simple. For fans: demand more, demand better. If it’s not good, for God’s sake, don’t buy it. For creators, don’t rest, don’t get comfortable. Don’t take the easy option. Take the harder road. Create more, create new. Let the past be the past. Take your inspiration and move ahead. Demand more of your audience and your publisher. And for publishers – break free of doing things as they’ve always been done. Find your audiences again. Challenge and inspire new generations with stories of heroes who do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. Push the boundaries of what you do and how you do it. Take bigger risks, make bolder choices. Don’t let what we’ve seen as crazy, successful decisions stand by themselves – let them be the foundation to bigger and crazier ideas. To paraphrase Walt Disney, keep moving forward. Open new doors, do new things. As the long-time geeks know, we won. Comics are everywhere. Everyone’s watching. Don’t screw it up.
As for me? I may be around. I’ve got some ideas I want to play with, and some may just pan out. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to reading comics hopefully with a different eye now – not one looking for the news angle of any given issue, storyline or creator, but one that’s back to reading comics for the love of them.
Thanks again for letting me be here –
p.s. – And Graeme? That headline is one last one for you.