[Above: Caleb Goellner, Chris Sims, Andy Khouri, Your Humble Narrator, & Joe Hughes, at the ComicsAlliance HQ at San Diego Comic Con 2012]
Last Friday, AOL shut down a handful of subsidiaries, including ComicsAlliance (source: CBR). Ever since its debut in 2009, ComicsAlliance was my primary resource for comics and pop culture. I forget how exactly I discovered ComicsAlliance or Laura Hudson (though I do recall getting the premiere issue of Comic Foundry while I was tagging along with Kaiju Big Battel at MoCCA Fest 2007), but the tone and presentation of ComicsAlliance’s content greatly resonated with me and cemented itself as my homepage ever since. Over the years, ComicsAlliance’s staff has grown to include a rich variety of contributors who have written pieces that made me laugh, cry, think, critique, and most importantly, relate. These were people who I wanted to sit down and have long discussions about Batman, karaoke, and inequality (preferably over drinks). These were people who I could see myself being friends with.
Back in 2009, I had only just started implementing social media into my life beyond LiveJournal, with a Twitter account and the launch of Fashion Tips From Comic Strips. I dabbled in comics-blogging and convention coverage, but I was really just dicking around in the humble little space that I carved out with my web presence. I bugged and befriended some of my favorite comic creators and comics journalists on Twitter, and at some point, a childhood friend of mine connected me with Laura Hudson. After proper introductions and brainstorming over content, Laura granted me the opportunity to write for ComicsAlliance, starting with a series of Halloween costume tutorials. Since this was my first journalistic freelance gig (let alone, for a media outlet that I held in such high regard), I struggled with a rare case of insecurity (in my case, at least) and excessive self-criticism over the content I was producing. However, Laura and Andy repeatedly reassured me that I was over-thinking and over-complicating my writing process, and encouraged me to believe in my intuition and my voice. I’ve taken this advice to heart since, in both my freelance work and various other endeavors in my life.
In May 2011, I launched Best Cosplay Ever (This Week) on ComicsAlliance, a weekly feature where I showcased a gallery of exceptional cosplay. To this day, I’m still completely floored and humbled by the overwhelmingly positive response to Best Cosplay Ever. During my time with ComicsAlliance, I got to meet some of my favorite creators and cosplayers, ramble about Jem & the Holograms at great length, host a proper style critique of the DCnU redesigns with the staff, and more. Although I’ve continued to struggle with my own journalistic obstacles (along with balancing CA deadlines with my full-time day job), I was honored to be a member of this crew, and I always felt like a valued contributor, thanks to Laura, Joe, Andy, Caleb, Chris, and all of the other staff members whom I’ve bothered over the past few years.
As a reader, ComicsAlliance provided me with information, insightful op-eds, and hours of entertaining content. As a contributor, ComicsAlliance gave me confidence, an outlet, and an entourage of coworkers whom I’m incredibly proud to call my friends. I am eternally grateful for ComicsAlliance for giving me a sense of belonging in a community and industry that often overlooks fans like me. And that’s why I’m still in utter shock and heartbroken over AOL’s decision to shut down ComicsAlliance.
Despite AOL’s decisions, I fully believe that the spirit of ComicsAlliance will live on in some incarnation, because if there’s anything we can count on in the comics industry, it’s the compulsion to reboot nice things. And if and when ComicsAlliance is properly retconned, my only request is that my coworkers and I get to work together once again (and that my redesign isn’t a hot mess).
Until then, thank you, ComicsAlliance. For everything.