After a long hiatus dealing with health issues—both for the author and the website, which had to be rebuilt after a nasty crash—guttergeek returns! This version of guttergeek will be something new and different—hopefully sustainable into the future.
In 2006 when we started this site, there was a paucity of intelligent review sites for comics.A couple of the sites I most admired had just called it quits after several years, and there seemed a need that guttergeek could fill. For several years, with wonderful collaborators, guttergeek served as a lively if inevitably discontinuous site for graphic narrative review.
Almost a decade later, there are many excellent sites where intelligent reviews and debate about comics takes place on a regular and decidedly continuous basis. And for me, the fire and acid that flows through the good reviewer's veins have increasingly been replaced with whatever that goo is that made Stretch Armstrong do his special thing back in the 70s:
For those of you too young to remember Stretch Armstrong, it was a toy that... stretched. Kenner spent tons of advertising dollars convincing us that this was a space-age innovation we had all been waiting for, but try as they might they could never make playing with Stretch look anything other than profoundly lame. So of course we all wanted one because we were sure the kids on the commercials were doing it all wrong. And because it was the 70s and there was nothing else to buy, we all got one. None of them lasted more than a week. Most of them did not survive the first day. Once the complete range of advertised fun had been exhausted—stretch, return, stretch—it was time to tear him open and see what was inside. And it being the 70s, of course we ate it without a second thought.
Sweet, stretchy goo. That is what flows through my veins today. Not the stuff of the hardboiled comics reviewer or investigative journalist.
Of course, it is comics that made me so damned gooey. Over the past couple of decades, I have had the opportunity to get to know comics as I never did, even in my comics-crazy youth (of course, I was completely loaded on Stretch Armstrong's gooey insides at that time, so I cut my younger self some slack). I have gotten to know comics in all its myriad forms in the 21st century and have been lucky enough to get to study and teach its long history to unsuspecting students and anyone else who would listen. And I have come to know comics people—those who make, publish, edit, sell, distribute, collect, read and debate comics—intimately and in the process I discovered my people.
So it is, suffused with goo and love for all things comics, I surrender my role as fierce and savage critic to younger folks with sharper pens. And I assume my new role here at guttergeek, as a reader sharing his reading (and screening) diary.
Of course, I still have opinions, and some of them are going to be harsh and piss people off—even people I like very much. But as my own ongoing adventures with the health and illness continue, I increasingly have little time or patience for books, comics, movies, or tv I don't enjoy. So most of what I will be sharing here are my thoughts on things I find interesting, worth thinking about and working through. The site will continue to be primarily devoted to comics, of course, because comics dominate my reading life, but there will also be discussion of fiction, film, TV and all things pop culture.
The old site remains, or most of it. We spent some time over at The Comics Journal's website and briefly merged with some awesome people to create a supergroup called the Panelists at TCJ—and some (much?) of what we posted during that time got lost in various reshuffling. But I have recovered what I could and put it all in the archives. As I mentioned earlier, this site got severely scrambled so I am sure there are some broken pages and links out there. Do let me know if you find anything that needs repair—or if you have any ideas for the future of guttergeek.
Alright, then. Let me just get all these ashes off me, and we'll get this party started...