Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Five Years Blogging: A Life Well Wasted 02

[To celebrate the fifth anniversary of both GraphiContent and 4thletter, David Brothers and I started chatting on Google Docs a couple of months ago and, well, we've finally finished with 11 chunks of discussion. The first part is up on 4thletter with each of us posting a new piece each day. So, enjoy the next five days as David and I talk blogging, comics, and, hopefully, make some sense along the way.]

David Brothers: I think I asked Gav and Wilde because they were my main comics friends online at the time. In fact, I'm like 99% certain that Wilde was the one who put me onto 100 Bullets. I thought it'd be fun to have something a little more open than a message board, and I wasn't quite arrogant enough to think that I could do it on my own. I wanted the kind of comics site I wanted to read, where reviews and oddball pieces and litcrit all walked around hand in hand. If it were just me on 4l!, I wouldn't be bored to tears, but I wouldn't be half as interested (and dedicated) as I am now. It's nice to talk these things out long-form sometimes, like when me and Esther did the point/counterpoint on the "superheroes don't kill" thing a few months back. It's comic shop talk taken to a more formal level, I guess?

Before Esther joined up, we had a couple roster changes. Wilde faded away after a while, so we asked a guy we knew named Paul, code-named Hoatzin, into the circle. He was a really funny guy, did some great reviews and had some quality cartooning chops, too. He eventually faded, too, leaving just me and Gavin. We hustled along for six months or so in 2008 before I badgered Esther, who I know from living in San Francisco, into writing for 4l!. We'd get together and talk comics every once and a while, and it was always fun, in part because we don't see things the same way.

Gav and I have specific tastes, including a shared love of Power Man & Iron Fist. I thought Esther would add an interesting point-of-view to the site, got her to do a couple guest posts, and then sent her a login like "Hey, try this if you want to go all out." This would've been late August, early September '08. Now, between all three of us, we've got almost every base covered as far as interests in comics go. Gav does Marvel and funny stuff (he is genuinely my favorite comedy writer online, has been for years), Esther loves DC and isn't afraid to flex her fangirl feminist muscles, and I'm, uh, everything else.

How much thought do you put into Graphicontent as a site/endeavor? I have rules that I write under (no cursing, no unreasonable personal attacks, list the creators involved every time, provide context whenever possible, etc) in an attempt to present a certain image of "David Brothers, comics blogger." I don't know how successful it is, but I've been doing it so long now that it's second-nature. How do you approach blogging? What're your qualifications for doing it? (Do you need qualifications to blog?)

Chad Nevett: I don't know if I ever thought about that explicitly. Obviously, I don't adhere by the no swearing rule, but I've always made a conscious effort to avoid personal attacks as well. I think my approach has always been just present my thoughts as honestly and directly as possible. I've always tried for a conversational tone, because that's what I find easiest to write and read, especially when discussing subtext and other facets of the work beyond superficial readings. Of course, it's more of a spectrum than a fixed point with short reviews usually very informal and casual, while longer pieces are more formal in tone.

My approach to blogging has changed over time, especially since I got the CBR reviewing gig. I think that made my blog posting a little less formal most of the time since I had to be more formal and professional all of the time there. Blogging became an outlet, partly, for that casual approach to discussing comics where you can tell exactly what I think in as direct a way possible. Meaning, if I think it's shit, I say it's shit. I can understand others not wanting to present that image, but it's never concerned me.

I think the internet has proven you don't need to be qualified other than wanting to say something. I think my education certainly gives me a perspective that's different from many. I'd hope I'm able to look beneath the surface a bit more, see the subtext a bit easier at times, pick up on literary techniques... That was partly my goal, I guess, when Steve and I began the blog. Two English lit guys talking comics. Do bloggers need qualifications? What do you think you bring? Do you ever find yourself falling back on being a 'black blogger' (or, feeling pressure to present that image) since that's an area not necessarily filled by comics bloggers in general?

Read part three over at 4thletter!