Five Years Blogging: A Life Well Wasted 03

March 25th, 2010 by | Tags: , ,

Flashbackville continues! Bloggers talking about bloggers! Read part two and come back here to read part 3! Words!

DB: Oh, I did feel that pressure. It was shortly after I got attention for blogging about race, I think, when I felt like I absolutely had to comment on everything. Very much a “If nobody else is gonna do it, then I will!” It was “with great power comes great responsibility,” but arrogant and stupid, because I absolutely did not have to say something about everything. It felt like an obligation, but in reality, it was just me being foolish.

Before I learned to say “Whatever,” I was over-extending myself trying to keep up with what was going on in blacks and comics. I still do feel that pressure, but I’m smarter now, and more discerning. I understand that comprehensive coverage isn’t necessarily the best thing, choosing instead to focus on a few worthy subjects. Sometimes I hear about something that I could write about, but it’s just a joke to me at this point. “Oh, Brian Bendis wrote a comic where Luke Cage was felled by a heart attack? What, all the black characters got high blood pressure?”

I like your point about Graphicontent being “Two English lit guys talking comics.” I don’t think bloggers need anything more than two eyes and a brain, but I’m kinda in the same boat as you guys. I started really studying lit in high school, thanks to a teacher who would crack the whip if you didn’t slacked off, and kept that up through college. In fact, if you go back and look at my transcript, I’m willing to bet that they were the only classes with consistent grades, because I actually cared about reading and dissecting what I read. For me, it’s very much about using skills that were nurtured in school. “After Apple-picking” isn’t so different from Seaguy or DKSA, I don’t think, you know? They all use references and metaphor to illustrate a point, and sometimes that point is open to interpretation. I think I’m pretty good at that critical analysis thing, taking one specific aspect of a book and talking about what works about it. It’s a little different from annotations, which are David Uzumeri’s trade, or the way that Jog puts everything he talks about into their exact historical and artistic context, but no less valuable.

Approaching comics like real books with meaningful content and all gives me a kick. I feel like you and I have similar approaches, though you’re better at reviews than I am. Your Splash Pages with Tim Callahan feel a lot like what I’m talking about, two guys dismantling things to see how they work. Does that sound right to you? How’d you end up hooking up with Tim? Was it a case of like minds seeking each other out?

CN: I found about Tim through his book on Morrison’s early work. That got a lot of buzz when it came out, including an interview on CBR, I believe, so I ordered and read it (aside from the Doom Patrol chapter since I hadn’t read that run completely at the time). Around that time, I decided to write a big post on Morrison’s first year on Batman and wound up referencing him and Geoff Klock a little bit. He somehow came across the post and left a comment about how it was good or something and I geeked out a little since here was this guy who wrote a book about Morrison and he liked what I wrote about Morrison. After that, I read his blog, he read my blog, we left favourable comments back and forth, and in early 2008, he asked if I wanted to do the Splash Page with him for Sequart’s website. It began with us just picking a book each week and discussing it, and people apparently like it, and it’s gone through a variety of formats since Sequart had site problems, including a lovely stay at CBR. I’ve never quite understood why it works since Tim and I are pretty similar in our tastes and approach to comics that you wouldn’t necessarily think it would be interesting to read. Usually, when you have two people talking about anything, the appeal is that they approach things from different perspectives like you and Esther in the Fourcast, but Tim and I… I don’t know how that works, but it seems to be the work people like best from both of us — which is gratifying and a little frustrating since I’m sure we’d both rather be liked for our own work more than the discussions we dash off in spare five minutes here and there.

The thing I actually like best about the Splash Page is just having a chance to discuss comics with someone. I gave up message boards years ago for a variety of reasons and the blogosphere has filled that gap a bit, but talking with Tim is also good for getting that need to discuss things out of my system. (Though, twitter is filling that gap pretty well, too.) Is that why you began the Fourcast with Esther? And why podcasting instead of something like the Splash Page that’s text-based? How do you find discussing comics for a podcast compared to writing about them? One of the things I worry about when it comes to doing a podcast is that I’ll sound a lot worse than I present myself since, with words, you can delete and rewrite until it says what you want it to say. Going from that much control to just hoping you don’t say stupid things is a little scary.

Part four is up!

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