Friday, September 16, 2005

A Death In The Family

Here's a question for all the mooks in the Peanut Gallery: does the Comics Blogosphere really exist anymore?

It just doesn't seem like there's much to the concept anymore. Which is not to say that there aren't a pile of bloggers doing fine stuff, but most of the best bloggers are more concerned with their own projects than with any sort of cross-internet debate. I'm not pointing any fingers here because I do it myself. How long has it been since I posted any interesting commentary? It's hard and it takes work to put those things together. It's more fun to spend forty-five minutes photochopping some funny cover than two hours sweating over an accurate exegesis of the latest Diamond charts.

I think there's this Platonic ideal of a comics blogosphere that doesn't really exist anymore. In its place we have a number of interesting voices talking about things like funny comic books and bad comic books but no real sense of cohesion. Perhaps those of us who were "there" at the time read more into it than there actually was, but there was something to it that is now gone. Too many of the best bloggers have simply gone by the wayside, and even those who are still left are in a diminished capacity or stay clear of comics altogether. Of course, it's easy to see that whatever there was was only really clear in hindsight - but that's how life works. Everything becomes clearer in retrospect.

So, it's not like we were co-opted. Most bloggers whose names aren't palindromes have a short shelf-life, because this is a hard hobby to which to chain yourself. I'm not going to try and say that Dirk was the glue that held us all together, but to a large degree he did act as a kind of gravitational center for discussion. And while Spurgeon does perhaps even a better job of providing a daily roundup than Dirk did, he has no interest in fostering the kind of conversation in which Dirk relished. And really - there's not a damn reason why he should have to. Perhaps the whole idea of a blogosphere was just a mutual delusion suffered by those of us who thought yakking back and forth about trivial matters in a hyperventilated manner actually, you know, mattered. Really, it didn't, and as far as media revolutions go blogs at least had a longer shelf like than pogs. Personal blogs are never going to go away as a communications format but the semi-pro info blog seems to have become the new standard, not just in comics but throughout the internet at large - which means, basically, that content filters are still a valuable commodity. You can get as much valuable industry news by tuning into The Comics Reporter and Neilalien once or twice a week than by reading everything else on the update. Most other bloggers just provide flavor commentary and humor, and while that might be interesting to some, the blogosphere as it stands now is rather claustrophobically defined. We've become a constituency, like Millarworld or the Engine, only with more sexually ambiguous superhero drawings.

In case you're wondering, this is not in any way intended to imply that I'm thinking about hanging up the blog any time soon. (Although it is worth noting that those of you who do appreciate the humor content are very stingy about it, if you know what I mean.) But... Heidi's post on the subject got me to thinking along these lines. Makes you wonder just where the days go.

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