Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gratuitous Self-Promotion & Linkage

Things have been a bit busy here at stately Kleefeld Manor lately. Especially the past week with the recent hubbub about the Fantastic Four death issue. Prior to this blog, I ran a FF-themed website for over a decade and became reasonably well-known as THE expert on the comic. Despite the site being down for a while now, I guess I'm still considered pretty on top of the subject, so I've been fielding more than a few inquiries about this whole death thing.

I'll point first to a couple of pieces I wrote for MTV Geek. "It Started with Death: Twice" covers my initial introductions to the FF and how they both utilized a character's death. (That went live last week; I don't think I mentioned it here.) Today's piece is "My Hero Just Died" and focuses specifically on the Human Torch. There should be a third FF piece going up later this week (after I write it) and I'm talking with the editor there about doing more, not necessarily FF related, articles over the long term. Look for more of my work over at MTV Geek in the future!

My next piece is a guest commentary I did for Comic Book Resources today. It's essentially an overview of deaths in Fantastic Four going back to the 1960s and the impact they had on both the readers and the characters. I don't cover each and every death that occurred in the book over the past 50 years, but I hit most of the significant ones, I think. I was actually pleasantly surprised how the piece turns out; it's not just a straight listing of issue summaries in chronological order, but has it's own nice little narrative structure.

The last thing I'm going to plug won't be out for a while yet, but I figured I'd throw it in now since I'm on this self-promotion shtick already. Did you see this call for scholars back in October? Salem Press is going to be publishing a three-volume encyclopedia of comic information to be used primarily by libraries. I contributed the articles for Alice in Sunderland and Fax from Sarajevo to the project. They technically haven't approved what I submitted yet, but I'm pretty confident there won't be any major problems with them. Obviously, I'll let folks know as soon as I find out when these books actually ship.

One last thing: Buy My Book!

6 comments:

Don Alsafi said...

Sean - I just found your blog via the CBR article. Thanks for providing the other links as well!

You & I have a few things in common! The FF is the comic that turned me into a comics fan, and it was during the John Byrne run as well. They're my favorite superheroes, and the comic I'll always call home. I too found the Mark Millar run pretty detestable, but kept buying it even while hoping it would be over soon.

Having now read the last several months of back posts on this blog, I see that you stopped reading the FF during Millar's run, but then sampled the first Hickman trade, with mixed results. Does the fact that you're commenting & writing articles on #587 indicate you've kept up with Hickman's run after that? If so, what have you generally thought? I too was underwhelmed by Hickman's first story, but perhaps he was finding his feet; from Prime Elements on, I've felt it to be getting better and better.

And what about that FF Plaza website? Did you just let the domain lapse when you stopped collecting the book? I have to admit, I'm disappointed - it sounds like it may have been an immense resource for the Fantastic Four fan, and I'm sorry I never saw it. Is there ever any thought to bringing it back? Would such a thing be easy enough to do, or pretty much require building it back up from scratch?

Finally, if you've a taste for the older comics, you might appreciate my own blog, Marvel Genesis. I'm reading the early Marvels from the 1960s, starting with FF #1 and going forward in order of publication, and blogging about them. Hopefully it's something you might get a kick out of!

Anyway, I just wanted to drop you a line to say hi. The various articles seemed to indicate you as being the #1 Fantastic Four Fan; since I had thought that might be me, I figured I should offer my respect. :)

Matt K said...

I have been watching in bewilderment the attention being given to "OMG a member of teh Fantastic Four iz gonna die." Were the mid 90s really that long ago?

I'm not sure whether it's the internet, or the appearance of the FF in movie theaters in the intervening years, or Marvel just being more savvy (or at least more aggressive) when it comes to manipulating news coverage, or what. But it is definitely a different world.

Sean Kleefeld said...

Don -- Welcome! Glad you were able to drop by!

Strictly speaking, I haven't kept up with the FF this whole time. As you read, I sampled Hickman's first TPB and wasn't overly impressed. I put the book aside again until things started heating up with all the promo material around #587. It's only been the past week or two that I've gone back and read most of Hickman's run. It has gotten much better as he's progressed and reading #587 "live" as it were was a really good experience. I'll admit to getting a bit nostalgic for the weekly New Comic Day excitement.

I also tried tackling some of the later Millar issues to figure out the whole Nu-World thing and get some background on the "Death of the Invisible Woman" but, frankly, I couldn't do it. I might go back and trudge through them at some, just to be a completist, but those were awful. I couldn't stomach more than a skim-through.

I actually stopped updating FFPlaza in 2007. Gregg Allinson, one of my friends who contributed a lot to the site, died in late 2006 so that took a lot of wind out of my sails. Then when Black Panther & Storm joined the team a few months later, I decided that sounded like WAY too much work to update my site to accommodate them and keep things current, so I put things on an infinite hiatus. The site was supposed to be "fun" not "work." I kept the site online for another year or so (without updates) and kept the domain for another year after that. I've reposted a couple of the articles and interviews from the site here since then, and most of the site can still be found through the Way Back Machine site.

I've never really considered bringing it back. I've got my hands in enough other aspects of comics and that was small enough of niche that I couldn't realistically keep it up to date and/or relevant. It was great when I was personally focused almost exclusively on Marvel titles, but I'm trying to keep up with so many different things that I don't have enough resources left for that. It'd also be a pretty big undertaking just to get things up to date. I've got most everything saved still but, as I said, adding all the info for Black Panther & Storm would've been HUGE in and of itself.

(When I say HUGE, I mean really HUGE. The site had database listings for each and every comic book that anyone who had ever been a FF member appeared in. Those were cross-referenced with a timeline, so you could follow any/all the characters' personal chronologies. Think: the Grand Comics Database combined with the Marvel Chronology Project. Just FF-specific, but all database driven. T'Challa might not have been a big deal by himself, but think of how many appearances Storm's made! Still makes my head hurt thinking about it!)

I did a quick scan of your blog. Looks interesting, and I'll have to start reading through it when I had some more time.

Thanks for stopping by. My blog here, as you've seen, isn't FF-specific but I try to hit on enough different stuff to keep things interesting. :)

Sean Kleefeld said...

Matt -- I've actually been impressed that a lot of the news pieces seem to have an implicit understanding that the Torch will be back and it's not as big a deal as when Superman died. They don't seem to be openly saying, "Yeah, we know this a marketing gimmick" but it seems to be a tacit undercurrent.

I've ben keeping my eye on how Marvel has been handling things, and they've DEFINITELY gotten a lot more marketing savvy over the past 5-10 years.

PenguinFish said...

Hey Sean...it was cool to see your post on CBR, I enjoyed it.

I too will join Don in saying I miss the old FF Plaza site, but at least it's nice to keep tabs on you here at your blog. Nostaglic for the site, though, definitely.

Ravin' Ray said...

Sean, I also read (and reacted) to your CRB article as well. I followed FFPlaza over the years until your announcement that you had stopped updating it. Never got around to write to you. Ironic that it took the death of both our favorite member for me to write.

I must admit I'm a returning FF reader, being most active during the Byrne and deFalco eras and sporadically picking up individual issues here and there.

There's been speculation on CBR's forum (and elsewhere, I presume) about how Hickman has left clues and hint about how the Torch will return, in the dialog and actions made by other characters, especially Val, in the issues prior to the "Three" arc.