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January 14, 2013

Comics-Related New Year’s Resolutions From CR Readers


Posting this year's comics-related New Year's resolutions yesterday, I included a call for a group of resolutions from anyone that might care to send them in. I got two really nice responses, two more than I expected. If you'd like to send your own in for this post, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Janice Headley

1) My partner-in-crime, Mike Baehr, was recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, so this year, I resolve to find ways to make working conventions easier on him. Better start pumping iron... or taking iron supplements... both, really!

2) Speaking of conventions, I want to make more of an effort to walk around at those things, instead of planting myself at the Fantagraphics booth the whole time. It's hard, because we do get busy, but I really love getting to see what everyone's up to.

3) This must be the year I organize my mini-comics... Binders and plastic sleeves? DVD storage boxes, repurposed? I will figure it out.

4) Yup, write a dozen fan letters: cartoonist Kelly Froh mentioned the other night that she wrote a fan letter, and I thought, "wow, that's so cool!" and then you mentioned it in your own resolutions. I want to start doing that, too.

5) And finally, I'm determined to finish my own comic by the end of 2013. Dear god.


Kiel Phegley

1 - Write More About Comics on The Cool Kids Table
This one's been bothering me for a while, and now that I won't have the formal requirements of grad school on my back, it's time I start chipping in on the CKT again. Poor Ben Morse is pretty much doing a one-man show at this point, my brief participation in important "Gossip Girl" scholarship aside. Blogging can be silly, but I hope it also makes me a more effective writer in that it's never as dry or perfunctory as CBR news copy generally turns out by definition.

2 - Engage CBR's Readers In a Better Way
I get the feeling that I only really talk directly with CBR readers when they're complaining about something we've done wrong on the message boards, which is pretty much the worst possible way to figure out how to serve your audience better. Trying to remind myself that social media is a two-way street, and that asking people what they'd like to see kindly may yield good results. I have administrator access to the CBR Facebook page, for crying out loud. Should probably use that to do something besides deleting curse words lobbed at X-Men writers.

3 - Keep My Big Stupid Mouth Shut
Conversely, I'm going to make a concerted effort to check myself when I get thin-skinned online. I'd like to think that even when I'm being brutally honest with myself (i.e. drunk) about my public behavior, I can still say that when I engage with people who criticize me online it's because I'd like to get an honest discussion going about how I could be a better reporter. But intent means next to nothing when I always end up making an ass of myself.

4 - Slut It Up In The Comics Community
2012 was the first year I did almost nothing in comics except writing for CBR (the "almost" comes from that one Spider-Man thing I wrote for you, which was at least 37% motivated by guilt from whiffing on your questions). I was on no podcasts, hosted no panels, wrote no major freelance pieces and did no broader advocacy. It's hard to feel like a real part of the community when you don't put any effort back into it, so my new motto is turn no opportunity down regardless of pay or personal gain (though some may do those things too!).

5 - Write A Few Actual Comics, For Myself If No One Else
This one has a really fine line because I think there's a definite conflict of interest when journalist types try to act as creative types in comics. But after I wrote a brief script as part of my graduate studies last year, I realized how much I enjoyed doing such things regardless of whether anyone ever draws it. I think I'll do more of that, and if anything ever looks decent enough to be drawn, I can always give it the "Sean T. Collins special" on Tumblr.


Derik A. Badman

1) I'm reading one week of Peanuts strips a day. I'm 9 years beyond on the Complete Peanuts series and after a year... well, I'll still be behind, but less so.

2) I'm reading one month of Sunday Krazy Kats a day. That should get me through all three of those big fat Fantagraphics hardcovers before the year is out.

In both cases I thought the strips would benefit from a reading pace that is closer to the original syndication (I'm too impatient to really do one/day one/week, though). So far (two weeks in), I'm finding that to be true. A lot of Schulz's week of strips tend to follow similar storylines/jokes/themes, and Krazy Kat is just so dense that taking on more than four in a row is a little too much.


Jason Green

1. Read 1000 comics this year. I've fallen behind on a lot of comics over the last year, especially some of my favorite comics because of my stupid habit of reading things I'm not sure I want to keep buying first and letting the books that I know are good (Savage Dragon, The Unwritten, Fatale, Invincible<) start to pile up. And that's just silly: the best stuff should get read first, and the stuff I can't work up the enthusiasm to read probably shouldn't get bought in the first place. At this point, I am literally 10 years behind on reading Fred Perry's Gold Digger. I mean, come on. I've also paired this resolution with one to watch at least one movie a week for the entire year. I hope between the two that consuming that much new art instead of just watching the same American Dad reruns every night will make me a better person.

2. Related to the above, read the entire run of at least one "classic" that I haven't read yet. I've only read about a third of Cerebus, about half of Strangers in Paradise, and literally none of Love and Rockets. Hopefully one of those things will be fixed by the end of 2013.

3. Also related to the above, read more manga. For being someone who at one point owned something like 75% of the manga available in English at that time, I feel completely out of touch with what's going on in that sector of comics these days. Time to catch up.

4. Write more comics, and get them out into the world. At the very least, I'll have short stories in the war- and romance-themed anthologies from St. Louis-based comics collective Ink and Drink Comics (shameless plug!), as well as in our Free Comic Book Day mini-comic. The hope is by the end of 2013 to get out at least two collections of the various anthology stories I've written over the years, and to finally complete my first graphic novel, which I was really chugging through up until November but got very, very lazy about over the holidays. Time to dive back in.

5. Write more about comics. I only wrote 5 comics-related articles for PLAYBACK:stl last year, and while I'm proud of all of them, that's a pretty paltry figure. At least one a month seems like a much better pace for that.


Douglas Wolk

1) Make some more comics myself. I've always had a habit of consuming art rather than producing it, but the very few times I've gotten to participate in creating comics have been so personally rewarding that I've finally admitted that I need to do that more. I have a couple of amazing opportunities on that front at the moment; I want to make the most of them.

2) Own fewer comics at the end of the year than I did at the beginning of the year. I don't mind having countless boxes and shelves of comics and books, as long as they're comics and books I actually care about. I currently own far too many that are just taking up space. Someone else has to have better use for them.

3) Find another way to respond to particular comics purely as a fan. I've enjoyed the various online projects I've done that have focused on specific series, and I've learned a lot from them; I probably need to take a few months' break from a weekly schedule, but it's important to me to do at least a bit of writing about comics that's entirely for pleasure.

4) Read all of Tintin and all of Garth Ennis's Punisher. The former is one of the peaks of Western comics; the latter exemplifies a lot of what I'm uncomfortable about liking and uncomfortable about disliking in American mainstream comics. I've only read stray volumes of either. I need to rectify that.

5) Get a much better sense of the webcomics landscape. The webcomics I read on a regular basis are pretty much the same ones I was reading on a regular basis three years ago, and I'm sure there are some newer ones I would love if I put a little effort into discovering them.



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