Thursday, March 25, 2010

Five Years Blogging: A Life Well Wasted 04

[David Brothers and I continue our discussion about five years of comics blogging. Part three is up on 4thletter.]

David Brothers: It's interesting that you say that the Splash Page's popularity is both gratifying and frustrating. I enjoy it in part because it's a team-up between two people who I enjoy reading, kind of a special event, but I can definitely see where you're coming from. It's probably a similar feeling to writing a really great bit of analysis and watching a short post where you call someone a jerk get all the attention, yeah?

I think the draw of the Fourcast! for me is just sitting around talking about comics. I don't even remember why we began it, and gmail is telling me I probably asked her in person rather than sorting it out over email. I think it was just an idea I had and decided to make work. "Hey, I wonder if I can do this? Might as well find out!" kinda thing. I listen to a few podcasts, and I'm friends with Ron Richards from iFanboy, so I figured I should take a stab at it. It's definitely a different way of talking about comics. Shop talk is informal, a "can you top this" sort of thing, writing is detailed and needs structure, but podcasting is pretty much, "Okay, Batgirl. Go!"

Text-based content is fun and lets you be very detailed and all, but doing a show is more off the cuff and raw to me. It's way more personal, in part because you're on the spot. We prep before the show, picking subjects during the week and doing a quick recap before recording on Saturday, but the prep is usually, at most, just short notes. "We're gonna talk about Batgirl, then Wednesday Comics, and then do a brief bit about Alfred." It's all freestyled, which means we get some stuff wrong occasionally, but you'd be surprised at how easy it is to do.

I laugh a lot more when doing a show. It's a chance to back down from treating comics seriously for a while and just have some fun. I realized late last year that we pretty much do a Batman-focused show once a month. I'm not very fond of the Batbooks at the moment, reading basically just Batman & Robin (when the art is good), but it's always a trip. It helps that we record in person. I've done a couple of Skype shows with the Funnybook Babylon gang and, while they were good, you end up talking over each other. Since Esther sits on my couch when we record, she has the benefit of facial cues, raised hands, or thrown books to tell me when to stop talking about how dreamy Grant Morrison is.

On the subject of sounding worse... editing is a lifesaver. If you do something like, say, talk about '80s comics for 10 minutes straight in your 2009 Year in Review show... you can delete those. I'm fairly soft-spoken, but deeper voiced, which means that a certain amount of volume adjustment is necessary, anyway.

I like that story of how you and Tim connected. It's also funny how parallel our paths have been-- I bought Tim's book at my first New York Comic-con in '07 (though I think he wasn't at the table), and I'd interacted with Geoff Klock a bit online. We had a shared love of All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder (his piece on ASBAR and the grotesque is one of my favorite posts ever) and ended up meeting by accident at NYCC 07 and spent most of what I kinda vaguely remember as being a DC Universe panel talking about Dark Knight Strikes Again.

At NYCC '08, I met the Funnybook Babylon guys for the first time after terrorizing the internet together for a couple years. NYCC '09 introduced me to Tim (briefly, at least) and led to me, Sean Witzke, and Tucker Stone standing outside in the New York cold talking about Garth Ennis and accidentally founding the Joe Casey Fanclub. Meeting all these people who I dig is fun and (so far) always cool. Have you managed to make it out to any cons?

I love being able to talk about comics online, but talking about them with intelligent people (not like-minded people) is the biggest draw for me, especially with the advent of Twitter. Has Twitter changed your approach to blogging or how you read comics?

Chad Nevett: I have been to two cons in my life. I went to Chicago in 2003 and met up with a lot of people from Millarworld. In fact, I slept on the couch of someone from the forum while in Chicago and that was a great time. It also taught me that the only thing I really like about cons is meeting people from the internet. The con itself I could do without since I hate crowds, find the panels boring PR sessions, have absolutely no ambition in meeting creators/getting autographs, and, well, can buy books any time (though some deals are wonderful). But, the meeting people was great. Though, at the time, I was 20 and our big 'drink up' meeting was in the hotel bar, which started carding after I was in, so I was good. Except that the bathrooms were outside of the bar and I would have to leave should I want to relieve myself. That meant the lone coke I ordered with my food became my only drink of the night. I'm not a big alcohol drinker, though, so that didn't bother me at all, I was just very thirsty after a while.

The other con was the Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon in 2005 with a couple of friends where I got in for free since I managed to convince them that being an editor of the UWO Gazette was good enough to warrant a press pass. I did do a couple of interviews while I was there, which was cool. I interviewed Chip Zdarsky and B. Clay Moore, both of whom were very nice and accomodating of me and my frantic note-taking. That was also one of the rare cons Warren Ellis attended, so my buddy and I got to see him do one of his famous Q&A panels which is basically Warren telling funny stories until he doesn't feel like it anymore, which, in this case, was when the con organisers told him he had to go sign things. My buddy wanted something signed and I had brought my copy of Come in Alone since it's probably my favourite piece of work Ellis has done. When we got up to the front, Ellis takes a look at my press pass and goes "I recognise that name..." (or something like that) and that was weird. I don't think it was a good thing.

I have been meaning to get to another con -- Tim keeps telling me to come to the New York one -- but money has been issue. The New York one sounds great since a lot of people I'd like to meet and annoy would probably be there. Mostly the people I annoy on Twitter like Tim, Tucker, Sean...

Talking comics on Twitter is good and bad, I find. It's great for brief little tangental discussions where you just throw quick ideas out there, but for anything actually resembling an intelligent discussion, it can be difficult because of the limitations of the site. 140 characters is rather small to have a good conversation. Don't get me wrong, I've had some, like debating Batman killing with Uzumeri, but it doesn't happen that much. Plus, because of the way it works, conversations will become splintered and fractured as other interested people jump in -- which is a cool element, but does hinder conversations, too. Like most things, it's good and bad. It's great for reactions to news items or books when you don't have much to say beyond your initial thought of 'I like' or 'I hate.'

As such, I don't think it's changed how I blog or read comics except for people mentioning books that I should check out. I think it decreases the 'need' to blog, that feeling of wanting to share with people because I'm doing so there, but, otherwise, it hasn't altered much that I'm aware of. How about you?

Read part five on 4thletter!