ComicBloc today is a long-standing community, nay, family of comic fans. In some form or other it has existed for over 15 years, which is crazy when you think of the changes that have happened in both the comic and internet industries. Many of our members have started as high-school nerds or fans, and have gone on to become legit industry professionals themselves. We’ve had some amazing late-night conversations and drinks with people wherever we go at comic conventions.
Over time, Facebook and social media have risen to take a lot of the core traffic of the forums elsewhere (which we’ve followed and stayed up with), and we’ve had our thoughts of shuttering the site and moving to those places – and the forums may some day do that.
Today, ComicBloc is a simple expression of making comics. We tell one story a week, in a weekly webcomic format.
Method of Fluxion, our current story, is about a middle-aged dad trying to come to grips with his precocious and maturing 13 year old daughter. He is uncomfortable doing so, so he falls back on stories and metaphors for how to have difficult conversations with her. Those stories are of his favorite comic book growing up – the aether pirate, Method. Pre-teen girls aren’t stupid, however.
Method of Fluxion is created by Dustin Davis, a founder of ComicBloc and advertising executive, and Keith Dallas, a long-term administrator and comics professional in his own right, having published for TwoMorrows and IDW, as well as newer self-started projects on Kickstarter.
Back to the beginning:
GeoffJohns.com was created in 1999 when a young writer from Michigan got his start in comics out in California. At the time, it was a simple forum meant to allow Geoff to connect with new-found fans of his work (Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.). Over time, Geoff’s energy and attention to character and history began to win over audiences, leading to more writing opportunities and higher-profile books. In the meantime, readers began to be attracted to his writing because of a confluence of respect for the past, innovative stories, and his general attitude toward fandom.
His work with other professionals began to attract them to the site – and this in turn caused the site to grow. More and more professionals wanted to be associated with the site – and this in turn with Geoff signing his first exclusive with DC prompted Josh, Geoff and myself to analyze spinning his site off into a stand-alone new platform. And thus, ComicBloc was formed.
The other important factor was a long-term belief that I’ve had that online communities CAN be successful, and more than hate-filled bile magnets. Josh and I have worked our whole careers in interactive production and advertising, which has helped us use this as a platform to bring design, and play with growing technology. This led us to also begin giving artists blog platforms that to this point didn’t have digital presences: Scott Kolins, Leonard Kirk, Ethan VanSciver.
A lot has happened over the last 15 years: Wizard has turned from the apex of the industry into something far lower; Newsarama got bought out; SilverBulletComicBooks turned into ComicsBulletin; mySpace rose and then fell, defeated by Facebook, which is loathed as much as it’s used; most blogs have been outstripped by the role Facebook provides. We are still here.
The site is, and always has been, about a love of comics, and a celebration of the community. Because of the internal growth of the site, it’s also had a unique community that has always been its lifeblood. Geoff got bigger, and in turn, so did we. Author Greg Rucka asked to use us for his official forums and we were happy to oblige. Ron Marz and J. Torres came shortly after. We’re happy to have been a home for these people, and hope to be able to do more for them.
In 2006, by some obscene head-wound, we decided to turn the fanboyishness into more than a forum, and started creating content. Over the course of 3 years we created over 1,000 pieces of content for the news site, further ingraining us to the industry. At its peak, we had two editors and ten writers. In 2009, we began the process of overhauling the site in preparation for the fourth phase of our lives. We did our best to compete for scoops with the big dogs: ComicBookResources, Newsarama, etc – and ran ourselves ragged doing so.
The site was hacked unfortunately later that year, and in the process of restoring it, the server crashed, eliminating a great deal of work, and corrupting months of post information. This had the practical effect of setting us back for years while we re-focused on other things, and the site slowly languished back to our core community.
However, Josh and I sat down and decided to do it again – and you are looking at the first steps in that new endeavor. This is just getting started, and we hope to have much bigger content contributions in the future. Our new goal: create content for our members, and continue to foster a respect for the medium as a whole. We did this for 3 years, before the chase of content writing with our own life changes caused us to put the site on pause while we re-evaluated.
But all the while, a voice in our head said we should do something with it still – tell a story. Tell many stories? This is our place, and you know what, it’s not too bad. We’re still here. 15+ years later.