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Exile in Guyville

Well, it had to happen someday. Someone’s finally asked about the existence of women comic book bloggers. And while the obvious response is that they’re all over LiveJournal, Elayne Riggs and Laura Gjovaag only name seven, including themselves. I had no trouble coming up with 20 non-pros off the top of my head, but maybe that just means I’ve been paying more attention to the issue. It’s not a community, certainly, but it’s not nothing and we’re not all invisible.

Where am I going with this? Nowhere directly, but it coincided with the first post by a woman at the new Comic Book Galaxy, although author Diana Tamblyn still isn’t listed among the official contributors. I wasn’t surprised to see that the new direction CBG would be taking included lots of writing from lots of white guys, but it was interesting to note that (by my count) 12 of the 25 contributors are also bloggers.

Before I go any farther, I’ll note that I was not one of the women approached by CBG to contribute and I have absolutely no interest in being involved with them anyway. What’s interesting to me is that so many other bloggers feel differently. I understand that many comics bloggers really want to break into comics writing and that there are already plenty of bloggers writing weekly columns (and arguably some of the best ones) for a wide variety of comics sites. I’m perfectly happy to write here and do nothing else because I get to set the rules and the parameters (in my case, in collaboration with Steven) and then write whatever I want to write. I gave up my dreams of writing professionally a decade ago, so this current setup is pretty much my ideal. So what is it that makes some of these new blogger/columnists consider shifting to a wider pop culture focus or confining comics reviews to CBG? I don’t really know beyond what they say there and I’d love to hear more because I’ve always been fascinated in why people write the way they do on blogs and what they think they’re doing with their blogs in the first place. But what do they think they’re doing with their columns and how do those replace or supplement their blogs?

And here’s where things get ugly or controversial, and I’m just going to say what I think with the caveat (which I hope would be obvious to all readers anyway) that obviously this is just what I think and I have no vested interest in whether or not others agree or want to implement my ideas. There’s no good reason I should matter to you, right? I think if CBG were a teaching hospital, I wouldn’t go in for surgery there. It’s a site that requires copious editing, and yet not all the punctuation ends up where it belongs. Sure, it’s a work in progress, but it’s not the second coming of anything. I have a reputation for despairing that there’s not more good writing in comics, a complaint that extends to comics criticism. While there aren’t many CBG columns I think are really badly written, I’m not getting excited either, not hearing new voices, just some guys on the internet. And the real, core problem is that they’re writing as if they’re not on the internet. This is a site that has three different columns analyzing and reviewing Ice Haven in the same week with not only no conversation between them but no links from one piece to another. In fact, if I hadn’t made those links for you, you’d be stuck doing what I did and puzzling through the commentary listing to try to find where the two that aren’t listed might have been. This is a comics site that talks about comics but not in a way that makes discussions readily available to a casual reader. The google search is effective but inelegant, to say the least.

Why give up the conversational possibilities of a blog for a closed system like this? Why write something online if it might as well be mimeographed? Why have three overlapping reviews and nothing synthesizing them, analyzing the connections and dissonances (and nothing to help readers do this for themselves)? And I realize that none of these CBG bloggers have closed up shop and I really don’t expect them to. I’m sure it brings them more prominence than their individual endeavors would and it must be great writing experience to be expected to deliver the same sort of writing on a regular basis (which is yet another reason this would not be the job for me!) and I don’t think these blogger/columnists have made a bad decision in getting involved here. I do think it’s a bad idea to think that this version of CBG is the apotheosis of anything. But I’m not the whole audience, though I’m a reader, and it doesn’t need to appeal to what I think it should be.

But for those keeping score at home, I think it should be more like a blog than a webzine with near-daily updates. It could be an active conversation between all these informed and verbal columnists engaging each other’s ideas rather than writing in a vacuum for an audience in the ether. It could be easily navigable with a link for the title of each referenced comic or creator connecting to any other uses of those names on the site. In short, it could be intertextual in a way that it’s not, and I think that lack is its greatest limitation. It’s not a galaxy with any constellations in it, just a collection of loose stars. And sure, constellations are in part the stories we attach to groups of stars, but it’s a lot of work for a reader to create those stories right now and there’s no way to see whether what I call the Big Dipper is someone else’s Great Bear.

Of course I think it would be good if there were more women writing for CBG if they wanted to and had things they wanted to say, but I also know that there are already women writing for readers who are willing to look and pay attention. We don’t all have the same interests or tastes in comics or in blogging and I wouldn’t expect a woman at CBG to speak for me just because we have ovaries, but I’d be interested to see what she’d say just as I’m interested enough to read women bloggers who are writing now. But if there are other women who don’t want to be part of the move to “put more ‘gal’ into the Galaxy soon” (especially given the way contributing editor Chris Allen discusses, views and interacts with real-life women) I don’t think that’s a problem at all. I’m just glad there are other venues where their voices can be heard, and I prefer those anyway.


  1. Ian Brill says:

    I started writing for CBG becuase I wanted my writing to have a wider audience. The reason I want a wider audience is that I’ll hopefully get more feedback which I can use to better myself as a writer. I have gotten feedback and am always ready for more.

    I like the blog becuase I can write about whatever I want (although I find this leads me to coming up with only two or three good posts a month, if that). I like putting the big reviews on CBG because I never thought they looked good on my blog. I’m kind of wondering what kind of writing I want to do now and how I could prusuit it but for right now I figure I’ll take every oppuritnity that comes my way and see how it goes. I often get down on myself as a writer becuase of personal issues (whenever I read someone airing their dissastifaction with the writing on CBG or The Comics Journal my immeidate thought it “I’m one of the people they’re talking about” even though I know that’s a somewhat narrcistic and neurotic mindset. I’m trying to get over it).

    One of the reasons I like writing for CBG is that I have to challenge myself when I read posts like yours or Heidi’s, both which have many sentiments I find myself in agreeance with.

    I wish there were more women writing for CBG, more women bloggers and more women for The Comics Journal. The only thing I think I can do is to come up with more articles that are discussions and discussions that include women (I’m thinking of the “roundtable” format you soemtimes see but it doesn’t have to be jsut that). This would also take more advantage of the fact that this is on the internet as well.

    Those articles are not as easy as coming up with a review and real life problems prevent me from getting a start on any thing like that until late-August but I would like to see them happen. It would be more work but I think it would be worth it.

    — 13 July 2005 at 1:21 am (Permalink)

  2. Rose says:

    — 13 July 2005 at 1:53 am (Permalink)

  3. Jog says:

    Hmmm. I tend to see my own blog as something of an amorphous entity, which I concede might not even be an accurate perception considering that I maintain a handful of recurring features, which generally appear at the same time every week. Further (just to advocate the devil while representing myself, which is probably against the model rules of professional responsibility), I do observe a constant presentational regimen, what with the bold review titles and asterisks before paragraphs and all that, which one would think would defeat an amorphous status; so why was that the first thing I thought of when examining my own blog? I guess because I feel (in the act of creation) that I sort of put things up when I encounter them, and I often feel that sometimes the make-up of the site shifts with my own moods. I really haven’t been doing a lot of reviews of new comics recently, and that’s partly because I haven’t had a lot of access to the store, but also partly because I’m sort of enjoying just writing about silly daily experience or online comic things right now. I wonder if I just retain too constrained a definition of what a tightly-structured blog is, thereby excluding myself from that sort of classification.

    Shee… did any of that make sense? I do enjoy the conversational aspect of blogs, although I find myself leaning a bit more on my comments section (one of my favorite parts of blogging) then on site-to-site links, maybe because I find that sort of inter-site/inter-reader communication more immediate; occasionally I see linking blog posts acting as massive ships sailing past one another, each crew shouting to the other. Is it the bulky size of the posts as compared to the relative brevity of the comments? I don’t know. But I do love citing to conversations that I’m interested in.

    Which is something I don’t do in my column. So why do I have a column when I can have a blog? I think it stems from a desire on my part to play around with compartmentalization, which is linked (inexorably, mayhap) to my earlier-stated feelings on the amorphous state of my blog. I wanted to do some (dusting off the old term again; I should be paying Dave Fiore a fee) comics punditry, and I wanted to see how I could tackle that subject in a confined space. As it turned out, I think I might just have a tendency as a writer toward a plurality of approaches when confronted with a fixed subject, because I found myself bouncing from straightfoward commentary to hypothetical lectures to (for lack of a better term) short stories with a satiric bent to more autobiographical rumination on comics as they relate to myself. I think I’ve simply found for myself that my original goal was capable of containing more of a multitude of approaches than I’d expected. Or, once again, perhaps I’m not really that varied, and it’s my perception that’s skewed. Heh… how can I ever be an unbiased narrator, though?

    I like my column, and I like doing things with it. I sort of like having a weekly deadline applied to my comics writing (probably yet another reaction to the perceived liquid state of my blog; certainly I have enough deadlines for writing in my weekday job). I like having a very set subject matter, though it might have only been slightly more ’set’ than what I’d been doing all along. But I enjoy thinking about these things in different ways, so both avenues appeal to me.

    — 13 July 2005 at 3:19 am (Permalink)

  4. zack soto says:

    CBG is a good site, but I agree with your comments regarding their features..
    They had a big Project Superior thing, which makes me happy even if the only mention of my piece was kind of offhand and negative (I’m in the camp where any publicity is probably good publicity), but what struck me was that there were three very general reviews of the book, all basically covering similar ground and none reading very closely. Why have 3 cursory reviews when 1 in-depth review would have been so much more effective? It added up to not much actual insight in the long run, and seemed more like 3 people happened to turn in reviews at about the same time so they got tied together as a larger feature.

    (I guess I need to put a disclaimer that I thought it was cool that they did anything about the book, and even cooler that they made a big deal about it, so I don’t seem ungrateful for what we did get. (It’s so tricky being a cartoonist on the internet these days!!) The majority of cartoonists seem to get outright ignored and under-reviewed, so it’s nice to have something you were a part of get recognized in any way.)

    — 13 July 2005 at 4:37 am (Permalink)

  5. Rose says:

    — 13 July 2005 at 10:13 am (Permalink)

  6. zack soto says:

    Hey, thanks for the link… I ended up spending 20-30 minutes reading that guy’s blog.

    — 13 July 2005 at 1:07 pm (Permalink)

  7. Ian Brill says:

    Don’t worry, the Crisis on Infintie Conscience on my part has been around for a while. Everything Wrong with Comics Criticism is Ian Brill????????s Fault was actually going to be the name for my blog.

    Thank you for the kind words about my “growing up in public.” I guess there’s something good about seeing how potential can be realized both in myself and the site. I think CBG has the potential to fully take advantage of it being on the internet and able to do things print can’t. There are a lot of minds there that can acieve this and I think we can hammer soemthing out.

    I’d like to talk more but I’m getting on the road soon. This will defintely be the first blog post I read when I get back.

    — 13 July 2005 at 1:48 pm (Permalink)

  8. Johnny B says:

    — 13 July 2005 at 2:01 pm (Permalink)

  9. Christopher Allen says:


    I’ll admit, I read your thoughts at first in a bit of a fury, ready to unleash some sort of blistering response, but I do try to overcome this reactionary tendency and see where others are coming from. Otherwise, how can we learn anything, right? It’s hard, but I try not to make too many assumptions about people. Apparently, my blogs about trying to date women and recognizing that women have breasts, and sometimes, tan, glowing skin; and that I don’t like my mother-in-law, has led you to believe I hate women and that their absence (aside from Diana Tamblyn) from the current incarnation of Comic Book Galaxy is part of some misogynist agenda. I really can’t help you with that, though I’m still unclear why sites with no women at all aren’t also in your crosshairs.

    Anyway, onto your other points. The reason why I write for the site as well as for my blog is different from many of the other contributors, in that I started writing online at Comic Book Galaxy, with the blog a much more recent outlet. Some of my reviews will appear on the blog first, but mainly it’s just me writing about my life and other media and the creative writing I’m doing. I really try to be as open and honest as possible there, the only topic really off-limits being my ex-wife out of respect to her and our kids. I think it helps me keep the column itself a bit more focused, having let out my “steam” and other, non-comics thoughts on the blog.

    I think your ideas about making CBG’s various pieces better integrated with each other are smart ones, though whether any of those will be put into action really depends on ADD’s interest and time available. To be honest, though, I’m not much interested in assigned writing, like having to review Project: Superior on a deadline, and prefer the “happy accident” of the three Ice Haven reviews, which were written with no knowledge of what the others were doing. I reviewed Superior because I like AdHouse and was reading the book at the time, but generally I like to be spontaneous. And I’m not all that interested in a discussion about Ice Haven with Marc Sobel or Logan Polk, not as a knock on them at all but because I just don’t have the time, and said what I wanted to say and want to move onto other books. I understand the irony of me saying the following, since I’m a guy who passes judgment in minutes on what takes others months or years to do, but you’re essentially asking for an interconnectivity for CBG–a daily site with currently a higher-than-average amount of content for its type–that most weekly-updating or monthly-updating sites/webzines can’t or won’t accomplish. I think “writing for the Internet” is broader than you are making it. Making each column interactive with the reader is one perfectly valid way, and we do have a message board for this purpose, but myself, I find a lot of the time the signal-to-noise ratio is very poor, with more people moved to comment only if they’re complaining or taking shots. While I don’t agree with a lot of what you’re saying above, I don’t take any offense, because at least you went into it with some depth. As you say, CBG is a work in progress, and while I think it’s a good start to have many of the top “white guys” writing about comics in one place, no one ever said we were satisfied with just that.

    — 13 July 2005 at 4:50 pm (Permalink)

  10. Steven says:

    (Actually, Rose never said you hate women. Or implied it. Or said CBG has a misogynist agenda.)

    — 13 July 2005 at 5:14 pm (Permalink)

  11. Christopher Allen says:


    Give me a break. She makes note very early in the post of the fact that Diana Tamblyn is the first female contributor to the New Comic Book Galaxy (on this past Monday), but STILL(!) is not listed as a regular contributor, as of two days later, as if that’s significant. No mention is made of any past female contributors to CBG, either. Maybe Diana doesn’t fit the qualifications of “regular” contributor; maybe she hasn’t turned in her bio or accompanying photo, I don’t know, but I think Rose goes quite far out on a limb here, and then she ends up implying that any female contributor interested in writing for CBG better check out my blog first. If she wants to comment on this, I’m happy to engage her, but am not all that interested in your parenthetical toadying. I’ll show her the respect you won’t, that she can speak for herself and doesn’t need an interpreter.

    — 13 July 2005 at 7:23 pm (Permalink)

  12. Christopher Allen says:

    Hey, Steven;

    Here I talk about trying not to make assumptions and I steamrollered all over you. I apologize. Someone interpreting how I should read what someone else wrote is obviously a hot button for me. I’ll wait and see if Rose has any follow-up comments and leave it at that.


    — 13 July 2005 at 8:02 pm (Permalink)

  13. Rose says:

    — 13 July 2005 at 10:04 pm (Permalink)

  14. Rose says:

    — 13 July 2005 at 11:32 pm (Permalink)

  15. Christopher Allen says:


    Just to clarify something that I probably should just let go anyway, I wasn’t really asking my son to ask his friend about dinner because I thought it would be cute at all–it was merely out of convenience because her mother and I arrive at different times, generally, to pick up our respective kids, but I did think better of the idea and was able to talk to her myself a couple weeks later. It seems odd to me you find it relevant to whether a woman might want to write about comics for the site, but I guess if I’m going to write about my personal life, it’s fair game. Good point about how much I should or shouldn’t reveal about others without their permission, though–blogging is fairly new to me and it’s something I hadn’t considered much beyond, of course, not using last names and other specific info.

    My personal involvement in the site, whatever title Alan has given me, is more of a sounding board for him. 99% of the vision is his, and I’m happy to give my opinion if asked, but don’t often make suggestions that don’t stem first from an idea of his. It’s just a lack of time, rather than any lack of interest or ego issues or any other silliness. The aforementioned Butcher had some great suggestions recently, some of which have been put in effect and some of which haven’t as yet. One person’s “basic” idea is another’s logistical nightmare, but I’m sure as time permits the navigation will improve, though I don’t see it in as dire a shape as you do.

    It’s my understanding that Diana stumbled upon CBG after ADD reviewed her minicomics, and her bio not being up yet is an unfortunate, not sinister, oversight. I think you’d agree it’s more important that her actual writing is up there, is good, and that her own site is linked to, so it’s not like we’re hiding her light under a bushel (if I was Dave Sim, maybe I’d say “void under a bushel”?). Ed Cunard was involved long before, and I think his main contribution will be interviews, which are somewhat harder to coordinate than writing a column or review solo, you know?

    As for the hype, I guess I disagree on your apparent definition of it. The CBG relaunch was alluded to, obliquely, once a week for about a month until it happened. Promoting new CBG updates on both the ADD and CBG may be annoying to you and others, which of course is unintentional, and I don’t exactly know the reason for it, other than that the main page and Alan’s blog are different entities with different points of view and content. Part of the reason may also be that there are still some people who either don’t know that CBG returned, or they only show individual blogs on their blogroll and not websites.

    I guess I don’t understand your view on when to hype. It seems more sensible to me to hype whatever new content is up for the day, rather than singling people out. Speaking for myself, I would be “demeaned” more if I turned in my column and ADD chose only to mention Bacardi that day :). It’s a team thing, and you want to stand behind all the contributions, plus, once something is approved for web publication, it’s kind of up to the audience what’s worthy of attention, right? I mean, maybe ADD really liked Logan’s Ice Haven review more than mine or Marc’s, and hyped it accordingly, and you miss out on reading Marc’s, that might have tickled your fancy more.

    Finally, was I trying to control what gets discussed about CBG on the Internet? Sure, I guess; we all want some measure of control over how people think of us and talk about us–that’s life. Do I think I CAN control it? Of course not. I always find it funny (ie: exasperating) when people say hostile things and then are bewildered when the subjects react strongly. Heidi chose the occasion of our relaunch not to wish us well or comment on the content, but to start this gender bias issue, and Chris Butcher picked it up as well with nothing to say about the content but rather the format he would have preferred for said content. As a writer and someone enthusiastic about the other writers involved, I was hoping for more discussion of the message rather than the medium, but other than some impotent fuming and snarkiness, I realize there’s not much to be done about it. Thanks for the additional comments.

    — 14 July 2005 at 12:49 am (Permalink)

  16. Steven says:

    If there is interest at CBG in further refinements to the site’s user-friendliness, you might check out WordPress. It’s a blogging platform, but it’s very flexible and is often used as a content-management system for entire web sites. You’d probably need a PHP programmer to customize WordPress, but it’s a solid framework and would remove a lot of the logistical nightmare of running a complex and dynamic web site. It’d still be a fairly major project, but maybe something to think about for the next big redesign.

    — 14 July 2005 at 2:01 am (Permalink)

  17. Diana Tamblyn says:

    Hi everyone,

    Just wanted to let you know that I am the guilty party as to why I don’t have a listing in the regular contributors section. ADD asked me for a bio and a photo and I haven’t had the time to send one in yet. This week though, I’ll be passing the info along to him…

    I also wanted to add that it’s been a good experience working on the site and with Alan!

    — 14 July 2005 at 1:19 pm (Permalink)

  18. Teresa says:

    As a comic’s blogger, I just wanted to say that when I heard about CBG relaunching with a lot of blogger participation, I was excited and clicked over to read. I used the masthead to see what was new. As a woman, my sense of the comics blogosphere may be oriented a bit more towards women, because I can easily relate to them as peers. And I was surprised not to see any women on the masthead. I didn’t think, “Oh, what a bunch of misogynists,” I was simply disasppointed. And then I read a few articles.
    When Heidi voiced her opinion about no women being included, I said to myself, “That’s exactly what I thought!” But then I saw that others were dismissing what Heidi said and realized this might be a rather loaded subject. Which indeed it is. As I think all these comments show.
    I don’t see anything sinister in CBG, or its contributors, or Rose. It’s business as usual that women are ignored or seen less, read less. It takes effort, real effort, to see us, read us and include us.

    — 14 July 2005 at 2:29 pm (Permalink)

  19. ADD says:

    I defy anyone to go through the CBG review archives and tell me the site has ignored women. That comment is beyond insulting, not only to the site and its contributors, but to the vital female creators we have consistently covered, including Phoebe Gloeckner, Renee French, Colleen Coover, Diana Tamblyn and others. I defy you, Teresa, or anyone else to contact these creators and ask them how they feel about how Comic Book Galaxy has “ignored” them and their important, exciting comics work.

    — 14 July 2005 at 2:55 pm (Permalink)

  20. Rose says:


    I guess my comment about how you still don’t have a contributor listing could be read as evidence that I believe there’s some kind of hidden agenda at CBG, but I more meant that since ADD and Chris Allen have heard the concerns about lack of women participants and pointed out that they have one in you, I don’t understand why they wouldn’t at least put your name on the list with the note that your bio is yet to come or something like that. The problem was that there was no way for people who thought that lack of women was an issue to ascertain that the lack of women wasn’t as dire as it looks without making comments, which they did, and then facing hostility.

    Really, what can people say when a site launches? “Gee, your contributors sure do a good job of introducing themselves!” I don’t fault anyone who didn’t have lots of boosterism or in-depth commentary in the first days after the site went live. However it’s easy to look at the bios and photos and note that this site is pretty white, pretty male, pretty straight. In other words, it’s pretty much characteristic of comics readers. Maybe it’s because of what I would call the hype surrounding the relaunch or maybe it’s because of the “pushing comix forward” tagline, but I don’t think it’s surprising that people (especially those who fall into one or more of those potentially underrepresented groups) would notice this particular iteration of the “fanboy” status quo.

    Chris, I still think there’s a problem if you don’t want the site to be more interactive with readers but you’re annoyed when they do choose to interact on their own terms. I understand you’re emotionally invested, but that still seems weird to me on a philosophical level. Maybe if you do think about reformatting the site at some point in the future, a clear understanding of what kind of ideal analysis and communication you want from your readers would help you decide how to choose a form that would be more conducive to that.

    — 14 July 2005 at 2:57 pm (Permalink)

  21. Rose says:

    ADD, I didn’t see your comment until I’d posted my own.

    I encourage Teresa to respond herself, but you might note that she said “ignored or seen less, read less,” meaning this was not necessarily a litany of woes but more of a buffet. I’m not sure why you think she was talking about CBG rather than the world or the web in general (and the comics blogosphere in particular, which I think was a target at play here in my post and her response). Whether or not CBG is ignoring women (and I would be annoyed if creators like the ones you mentioned were being ignored), by virtue of only having only one woman on staff at the moment, you are pretty much requiring a setup in which women are seen less and read less than men. As I’ve said, I don’t think it’s a problem as is, although I’m sure everyone’s ideal would be to include more diversity of many sorts, but I don’t think you can argue with Teresa’s logic either.

    — 14 July 2005 at 3:11 pm (Permalink)

  22. Christopher Allen says:


    I don’t think there’s a lot of meat left on this bone, but let me address a few little bits in your latest comments. Diana’s byline links right to her site, so anyone interested in reading her fine article on the Seth exhibit can learn more about her there until the bio is up. If someone is predisposed to reading bios of contributors before they read the content, then I guess we’re guilty of um, waiting for the contributor to take the required step of turning in a bio and image. It’s not like we’re going to press on this year’s high school yearbook and Diana missed Picture Day and we HAVE to stick some sort of icon or cartoon in there.

    What can people say when a site relaunches? “Hey, I just read these new columns, and Tom Spurgeon interview, and here’s what I thought of them. Plus, check out all the milky white hunks on the bio page! Grrr-uff!” There’s nothing worth noting about an in-depth interview with the best white comics critic working, who also wrote the best white biography of Stan “The (White) Man” Lee along with the positively opaque Jordan Raphael? Seriously, neither ADD nor myself use the heavy editorial hand often, but one our peeves are debut columns that merely introduce the author and what he’s GOING to be talking about. There’s got to be something interesting there first. Whether it’s interesting to you or other readers is up to you, but to act like there was nothing to talk about with the relaunch as an excuse to trot out this female contributor thing, is pretty weak.

    I think it’s weird that you think that talking about CBG on your blog is somehow interacting with CBG as a reader. It’s just not. Am I interacting with creators when I write a review of their comics? Not really. If anything, it’s reacting, and in this case, overreacting, and playacting, and possibly malefacting. Sorry. Anyway, I’m not averse to interacting with readers–I respond to comments on my blog–it’s just not something I have a LOT of time for. I think my presence here makes clear I’m not unapproachable or anything, and again, CBG has a message board, and our emails are readily available in our work as well. Of course, if staying within the confines of your blog is your preference, feel free to let us know the next time you weigh in on the site.

    — 14 July 2005 at 3:45 pm (Permalink)

  23. Rose says:

    Yeah, Chris, I think I’ve said and resaid everything I’ve got and if it still doesn’t make sense to you, it makes no sense. I’ve been trying to clarify, not accuse, but it’s clearly not getting through. If you think that no one linked to the Spurgeon interview or expressed excitement about CBG and the involvement of bloggers, you and I don’t read the same sites. With plenty of people making those points already, I don’t see why you were so sad that Heidi and Chris didn’t, but you were and that’s over (I hope).

    But you’re the one who said (of comments from Heidi and Chris) “As a writer and someone enthusiastic about the other writers involved, I was hoping for more discussion of the message rather than the medium, but other than some impotent fuming and snarkiness, I realize there????????s not much to be done about it.” That makes me think you think some blog posts are discussions of CBG, no? That’s all I was talking about, too. It’s guess “interaction” is a bad term since it’s technically one-way, but I was trying to highlight the issue of linked discussion or discourse in my choice of terms since that was one of the main thrusts of my argument.

    — 14 July 2005 at 4:09 pm (Permalink)

  24. Teresa says:

    Hi all,
    I’m kind of shocked that my views were seen as so insulting because that’s really not what I intended. I was trying to explain how I first encountered the new CBG–why my expectations were raised, what I expected to see, and how I used the masthead to understand what was new.
    I also made a point of saying I did not think CBG or anyone involved with it are misogynists. And it’s true that you’ve gone out of your way to write about female creators, and you do so often, and that’s GREAT, lots of PATS ON THE BACK for you, but that WASN’T THE POINT of the discussion now, was it? It was about female contributors.
    So here’s a nice example of how women are not heard. Here are some women bloggers, voicing an opinion abut wanting to read female authors. And the message that you deliver again and again is that you don’t want to hear it.
    When I said that women are ignored or seen less or read less, I was not speaking specifically about CBG. I was talking about the general order of things. My statement applies just as well to the gaming community that I participate in as it does to comics; it applies to politics, it applies to blogging, it applies to many, many spheres of activity.

    — 14 July 2005 at 4:36 pm (Permalink)

  25. David Fiore says:

    I touted the big CBG relaunch on Motime (even though I haven’t been doing much blogging of late) because I was pleased by the confidence-building effect it had had upon a few of my favourite bloggers… also, I enjoy Tom Spurgeon (although I still hate his Stan Lee biography), but I don’t think that the site is “pushing comics forward” (to be fair, I don’t even understand what that means)… anyway–I know I would’ve been even more excited if Alan had exerted himself to deliver a comparable morale-boost to some of the female comics bloggers out there (Metrokitty?–she could do a weekly feature on the best-designed covers or something… It’d be awesome! Lizzybeth? I’m losing track of the sphere, so don’t rely upon me!), and I think that’s the only point that anyone here was trying to make…


    — 14 July 2005 at 5:07 pm (Permalink)

  26. Steven says:

    First, I’m nodding my head in agreement with Rose and Teresa. (And not because I’m a toady, promise.) I’m looking back at this entire discussion, since Heidi’s first comment to now, and I’m scratching my head in nonplusment at the, um, vehemence of the defensiveness from the CBG camp. If you want praise, I could point you back up to where Rose mentioned her favorite article on CBG or where she said she appreciated that CBG encourages people to write in-depth analyses of comics; maybe for some reason you think she’s being disengenuous.

    This conversation seems to be coming to an end, but, at the risk of belaboring a point—inter-web site interaction is not at all weird or even uncommon. The World Wide Web, as a hypertext system, is designed to maximize connections between web documents. The division of the public web into distinct web sites is an organizational convenience, but the apparent barriers between sites is largely arbitrary. One of the obvious—and very common, especially among blogs—uses of hyperlinks is to aid discussions that take place across several web sites. Fewer hyperlinks between discussions on different web sites make them look more isolated; more hyperlinks make them look more interactive. As Rose notes, her link to and writing about the blog posts and CBG articles forms only half an interaction with the writers of those posts and articles; a full interaction would require that those writers link back to Rose’s post. Creating backlinks manually is time-consuming and prone to neglect, which is why there are now automated backlinking technologies such as TrackBack and Pingback. There are also web sites such as Technorati dedicated to tracking interaction between web sites. You’ve probably seen these technologies at use on blogs you read.

    None of this is advice on what I think CBG ought to be doing; it’s just some information that I hope will be useful to anybody who wants to know more about discussion and interaction between web sites.

    — 14 July 2005 at 5:17 pm (Permalink)

  27. Johnny B says:

    So, kids, what have we learned?

    I really don’t have much else to add other than I’m hearing you about the “not knowing which week is which” thing in my column…I’ll try to add the week from now on.

    — 14 July 2005 at 6:37 pm (Permalink)

  28. Guy LeCharles Gonzalez says:

    I’d say we’ve learned that the two main CBG guys think way too highly of themselves and can’t take constructive criticism; and like their buddy Larry Young, they prefer an antagonistic approach to marketing and a slash-and-burn approach when “defending” themselves. Ironic that, while I do enjoy reading several of their new contributors, I don’t particularly enjoy reading them under the CBG banner.

    As for the tagline “Pushing Comix Forward,” I’ve always wondered what exactly that little bit of hyperbole was supposed to mean. At least Young’s “Making Comics Better” tagline references a mission that is supported by action, the fact that he is actively publishing work that can claim to achieve said mission. CBG’s basically just a bunch of the usual suspects talking about comics, not a particularly potent recipe for “pushing comics forward.” Excepting Shawn Hoke’s SIZE MATTERS and Rob Vollmar’s INTERNATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, there’s little they’re doing that’s different from the slew of other comics sites and blogs out there.

    In the end, who really cares, though? It’s their sandbox, let ‘em play in it.

    — 14 July 2005 at 8:16 pm (Permalink)

  29. Erin Schadt says:

    I haven’t read all the posts to this comment thread, but I just wanted to throw in my two cents. I am a female comics blogger — a gay one no less — and I was approached by Alan to be a regular contributor to the CBG. Sadly, I’m just too swamped with other commitments (i.e., loads of overtime) to contribute, as is probably apparent by the lack of posts currently on my own blog. So, in Alan’s defense, it’s not completely fair to assume that just because there is only one woman contributor currently on CBG that he didn’t approach other women to do so or has some exclusionary agenda. Thanks!

    — 14 July 2005 at 11:07 pm (Permalink)

  30. Rose says:

    Thanks for stopping by. I know I never assumed that ADD hadn’t made an effort to recruit women and I don’t think others implied that either. For one thing, he said so almost a month ago the first time this issue came up, so I don’t think it’s even a question here. Maybe there are those out there who thinks CBG has an explicit exclusionary agenda, but I don’t think we’ve heard from any of them here.

    But on that note, if we’ve gotten to the point where people who haven’t followed the discussion are posting clarifications to issues that were never raised, I think it’s safe to say that relevant comments are still welcome but that maybe this thing has run its course.

    — 15 July 2005 at 12:50 am (Permalink)

  31. Kitty says:

    Rose, chiming in about your first paragraph there - I feel like the question of “Where are the female bloggers?” has come up several times before, and it always seems a bit surprising to me. I’m with you in that I can name a fair number of female comics bloggers. Maybe the question is “Where are the big name female bloggers?” Like Johanna and Heidi - their blogs are very visible, frequently updated, and discussed/linked on other blogs.

    And a note to David - the best designed covers idea is _awesome_. I might end up ganking that from you if you don’t mind! It’s a subject that’s definitely crossed my mind many times.

    — 15 July 2005 at 3:52 am (Permalink)

  32. David Fiore says:

    gank away, my friend!

    — 15 July 2005 at 4:56 am (Permalink)

  33. Joe Rice says:

    I’m a contributer to CBG and I was pretty much staying out of this. On top of that, this discussion is clearly dying down. But I want to raise a point. I’ve got no editorial stake in the site and I’m pretty much the idiot stepbrother of the contributers. But Rose, and company, you must realize that phrases like “especially given the way contributing editor Chris Allen discusses, views and interacts with real-life women” are REALLY frickin’ loaded and will bring out a personal response, either by Chris himself or by people that consider him a friend. Critique the site and the staff and the makeup thereof all you want, but do NOT act surprised and hurt when someone else takes offense at such a statement.

    You’ve stated again and again that you didn’t mean to come off as accusatory towards CBG, but at some point, you need to realize that to some folks you did. I rarely think I’m a big huge jerk, but when five or six people email me and say, “Hey, your column/blog/song/dance makes you look like a big jerk,” I need to look at it. Maybe they’re sensitive assholes, so very sure if their mental superiority that any disagreement or disparity of opinion is to be seen as a grand insult to WHAT IS RIGHT. But maybe they have a point and I worded things poorly, or, even, got caught thinking less of someone for a silly reason.

    As for the connectivity thing, I can’t think of many things less interesting than goddam comic blogs linking to each other over the same shit over and over again (which is about 47% of blog posts these days). Say what you have to say, let people think about it, challenge it, talk about it, but don’t create some artistic circle jerk where everyone’s saying how great Johnny Bacardi’s latest article was (even if it was great (yeah right, Kentuckians can’t write)).

    I guess the point of what I’m saying, Rose, is that you went after a site, and one person pretty particularly. Your shock at the response is misplaced. Imply a man is misogynist and you’re probably going to get a, “What the hell? No I’m not!” response.

    — 15 July 2005 at 7:57 am (Permalink)

  34. Rose says:

    Hey, Joe.

    I’m not going to claim I thought I was being all sweetness and light here. I do have concerns about CBG and, like I’ve said, about the way Chris talks about his personal life, particularly in the amount of detail used. I still think an unprofessional response from the folks behind the Galaxy isn’t the best way for them to get people to take them seriously, and I certainly don’t as much as I did even when I wrote the post. Did I expect a negative response? Sure. Did I debate whether or not to include the line about Chris’s blog? Very much so. I could have been nicer about it, but I think the responses would have been just as patronizing, if not as angry.

    And I don’t think all the blogs need to link to every one of Johnny B’s posts, but honestly they do already. The CBG blog updates and pings to show up on the Weblog Updates List even though people who write for other sites don’t have to send out reminders that their weekly columns come out on the same day every week. ADD often writes something for his ADD Blog too. And then the contributor will usually have a link from his blog and I’ve definitely seen other contributors linking to whatever the day’s offerings are, and all of this is part of what I consider hype, whatever the good intentions of everyone involved. I don’t care if no blogger ever writes about anything written on CBG again, but it bothers me that the site structure means it will be hard for them to do so if they want to. That’s all I was going for with interconnectivity was ease of use and consistent linking, not literal interaction between the writers.

    I do think talking about sexism, even casual sexism, gets people upset, but after the way some of the women in this thread have been treated, I don’t regret talking about sexism. I never called Chris Allen a misogynist and probably should have been clearer about what my complaint was (to his credit, Steven suggested I do that rather than leave an obliqe reference) when I mentioned his blog, but I don’t think I was totally out of line in my complaint or my right to complain. And I do think people who read the post I link to would have some thoughts about women-as-subjects vs. women-as-objects, which I thought made the point for me.

    But I never, never called anybody a misogynist, and it’s interesting to see who thinks I did. I think there’s a big difference between actively hating and undermining women and just having on blinders or being so caught up in your own things that you don’t see life from a feminist perspective or don’t want to. Since I’ve gotten negative responses every time I’ve talked about feminism and sexism in the real world rather than in comics here on the blog, and I honestly don’t think it’s just me, although your opinion may differ. I don’t know. It’s not my job to point out sexism in the comics blogosphere, but I see it and I would like to think that others see it too. I don’t think there’s anything sexist about CBG not finding lots of women who meet their standards and have the free time to join, but I absolutely do think it’s sexist to dismiss women who question the wisdom of that setup, which is what happened when Heidi raised the issue and again in the last few days. That’s the response that shocks me, because it betrays such an unwillingness to listen to others from people you’d assume would care what their consumers think. I’m not saying any of the reaction arises from bias or hatred, but I think by this point there’s a certain willful blindness involved, and I guess now that I know that I don’t have to mention it anymore.

    — 15 July 2005 at 10:12 am (Permalink)

  35. Steven says:

    Can we give up on the thing about how interconnectivity leads inevitably to people talking about the same things over and over and over again? Critics of comics blogs inevitably note this as the downfall of blogs, and it’s sillier every time. Show me an example of bloggers having a discussion across several web sites that’s made more dull by its inter-site nature, and I’ll show you twenty bloggers linking to the same blog posts and news stories with very little or no commentary, without seeming to realize they’re boring and redundant. Then I’ll show you fifty bloggers republishing the same press releases and posting the same lists of comics they’re going to buy this week with very little or no commentary, without seeming to realize they’re being boring and redundant. Maybe there a little more interconnectivity between comics blogs, if comics bloggers paid more attention to each other, the comics blogosphere would be a lot less boring. Or—maybe you don’t realize that when I say interconnectivity, I mean interconnectivity plus discussion. And that when I say discussion, I mean discussion among people who know how to argue reasonably well.

    The really ironic thing is that the people who make this argument never acknowledge that it’s the eighth, ninth, tenth time comics bloggers have heard it. Do you not care? Maybe that’s the problem; people don’t care what’s going on elsewhere on the web. (Then why are they publishing on the web? Only to get more exposure? What a waste of hypertext.) Or maybe—the argument is often propose by folks who don’t like it when bloggers write unacceptable things about those folks’ web sites. Perhaps you’re afraid of bloggers writing about you without your knowledge; that problem, of course, would be solved by better interconnectivity, using helpful technologies such as I linked to already. (These technologies are not in wide use in blog communities dominated by Blogger, since Blogger hasn’t implemented them. Haloscan does have a free TrackBack service.) Or maybe you just don’t approve of people writing about you in places you can’t control, in which case I guess that’s too bad for you. I’m not accusing you of anything; I’m only speculating; I honestly couldn’t begin to determine conclusively why you argue as you do.

    — 15 July 2005 at 12:47 pm (Permalink)

  36. Shane says:

    First of all I respect both ADD and Rose for the different roles they take online and their views. Now that that’s out of the way, ADD and Chris come off as awfully defensive, but Rose’s tone in the post helps put them there. There are ways to bring things up and discuss things without looking like an attack. Criticism includes pointing out the flaws and highlights of a certain work. I really don’t think the line “(especially given the way contributing editor Chris Allen discusses, views and interacts with real-life women)” was needed and no matter whether it reads as a personal attack on Chris or not, it wasn’t needed or contribute to the overall discussion about the lack of women bloggers in high profile roles or the critique of CBG that the post turned into.

    I think the problem here is tone. In the overall post, even though I don’t think it was meant as an attack against CBG it had the overall feel of being one because of that one line. The tone of the post changed with that one line from being a helpful critique on the mainly technological and organizational lackings of CBG to being about Chris talking about women. The rest of the post didn’t matter anymore. Controversy stands out and that’s why this stood out.

    I think that’s why ADD responded well to my comments on a lot of the same problems with the site on Fanboy Rampage and why he didn’t respond so well here. Yes, the site could use a lot of work to be all it could be. I think it’s progressing in the content department, but falling behind in the ease of navigation and organization of the site. I really think behind it all ADD wants to make the site better. I just think 1) he doesn’t have the knowledge about the technology to impliment those changes 2) he doesn’t have as much time to make those changes as he’d like to have 3) the site hasn’t been around that long really. That doesn’t mean that when presented what others feel is a problem he doesn’t listen. You brought up a lot of very valid points about the site. Present them well and people will listen. As a web designer I have to tell people their sites as they currently are, well…kinda suck. The thing is I do it in a way where they’ll actually listen to me. For everything that is wrong with their site, I tell them ways they can make it better.

    As far as women comic bloggers go, I’d say the number of women comic bloggers or columnists is proportional to the amount of women in the audience for these types of things, but I’ll talk more about that later.

    — 15 July 2005 at 2:47 pm (Permalink)

  37. Elayne Riggs says:

    Well, truth to tell, I didn’t really name a lot of names other than Laura and Heidi because I wanted the guy who asked me to search for himself, and I suspected it was a facetious question anyway because he’s done this sort of thing before (I think he was playing on the “where are all the women liberal political bloggers?” debate). I have an overall “where all the women are” list on my Bloglines subscriptions but since, for whatever reason, I’m more involved at present with political blogging than cultural blogging I can’t keep up with the comics bloggers, and I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch off my own list; feel free to send me more URLs (with RSS feeds please) so I can add them! Obviously I’ll be adding you. :)

    — 15 July 2005 at 3:21 pm (Permalink)

  38. Christopher Allen says:


    I have to make this brief as I’m on my way out, but I have to say I’m disappointed that after the hours of debate on this subject (or cluster of subjects, most relating to CBG and then one about how I objectify women and its importance to female contributors I will likely never even see), which included admissions from myself and other contributors that you have some ideas that might be put in motion as time permits, you write all this off as an “unwillingness to listen”. I know I’ve addressed all your points, time and again, including that about revealing personal detail in my blog, and whether I’ve agreed with you or not, clearly I’ve been willing to listen. I’m sorry you feel this way, but clearly it’s a sign that I need reply no more to this.

    — 15 July 2005 at 3:45 pm (Permalink)

  39. Jon W. Hastings says:


    I’m a little confused. You write:

    “I don????????t think there????????s anything sexist about CBG not finding lots of women who meet their standards and have the free time to join, but I absolutely do think it????????s sexist to dismiss women who question the wisdom of that setup, which is what happened when Heidi raised the issue and again in the last few days.”

    Okay, so if you don’t think the CBG setup is sexist, doesn’t it make sense to dismiss claims of its sexism?

    All the best,

    — 15 July 2005 at 3:59 pm (Permalink)

  40. Steven says:

    Um, I think Rose is probably too busy at work to comment now, but… I don’t speak for her, obviously, but I have been talking to her over e-mail. I just wanted to point out, since I guess people haven’t noticed, that Rose clarified what she meant by her final sentence about Christopher, and Chris replied directly to that. Since then, Joe decided to keep hounding her over that sentence, completely ignoring the exchange between Rose and Chris. If he thinks repetitive complaining adds anything to a problem of clarity that seems to have been resolved between the two people directly involved, that’s his problem. Other than that one sentence, nobody has credibly pointed out anything in Rose’s or anybody else’s statements that suggests accusations of misogyny. Considering the number of people who have agreed with the questions and criticisms raised by Heidi MacDonald, Rose and others, I don’t know why ADD, Joe and other people think they’re too absurd even to consider. I can only point at Teresa and Rose and shake my head in continued nonplusment. With all due respect, Shane, I think your well-meaning attempt to mediate is misplaced.

    (Since you posted your comment, Chris, I should note that I realize you listened and continued to debate, and that my understanding is that, if you and Rose never came to agreement, she at least was able to clarify her statements successfully. Rose will have to elaborate on her own thoughts sometime later.)

    — 15 July 2005 at 4:41 pm (Permalink)

  41. Shane says:

    I’m not in a hurry for Rose to respond. I understand she has a life outside of this blog.

    I was not trying to mediate just offering my thoughts. This is, after all, what the comments are for is it not?

    I was simply pointing out that a point can be lost if not presented in the right way. Which it wasn’t here. I was commenting on the post, not the comments. I believe Chris came off as overly defensive in the comments and I’m not defending him. Nor am I attacking Rose either. I do think both parties are at fault for not self-editing themselves before speaking in a public forum. I think that’s a problem with a lot of online discussion though. On the one hand it brings a lot of honesty and raw emotion to play, which can be good. On the other hand it brings a lot of honesty and raw emotion into play, which can be bad.

    That’s all I was saying..

    — 15 July 2005 at 4:52 pm (Permalink)

  42. ADD says:

    “Considering the number of people who have agreed with the questions and criticisms raised by Heidi MacDonald, Rose and others, I don????????t know why ADD, Joe and other people think they????????re too absurd even to consider.”

    Considering the women who I have had personal interaction with who have commented on this very thread as to their experience with me and CBG, your comments are truly laughable. Hate to break it to both of you like this, but not only is your agenda showing, but you’ve painted a big red target on its ass.

    My final word on this: Every qualified writer about comics that I enjjoy and am aware of has been invited sometime in the past five years to join Comic Book Galaxy. The door remains wide open once you’ve been invited, unless you personally do something to make me not want to work with you. The literally dozens of great commentators past and present who have been a part of the site are a testament to that fact. The one woman who probably wouldn’t want to return, Johanna, left over issues having absolutely nothing to do with sex, sexism, misogny, feminism, or the price of tea in China.

    Rose made some dead-on comments on issues of navigation and functionality, and I thank her for them. If she had made them without innuendo and insinuation, perhaps they would have been more recognized by the people — total strangers to me, in some cases — who have accurately painted this entire discussion as tainted and virtually worthless.

    Have a great weekend, everyone. Go out and get some sunshine. There is literally nothing you could be doing that would not be more productive than wasting your time on this passive-aggressive wankfest.

    — 15 July 2005 at 5:42 pm (Permalink)

  43. Steven says:

    Our agenda! I can’t imagine what you think that is, but—why, your third paragraph seems to imply that you think we’re jealous because we’re not important enough to be invited to your tea party. Or who knows what you think. Oh my god, this is always my favorite part when people like you try to argue with somebody smarter than they—try to win the argument by revealing our seething jealousy or whatever agenda you think would be so embarrassing for us. You’ll probably laugh at me for wasting my time on this—well, now it’s just an aggressive wankfest, I guess. Your laughter will be as deluded as your pathetic fantasy that you can hurt us with empty insinuations about agendas. At least Chris Allen had the guts to have a conversation.

    — 15 July 2005 at 6:09 pm (Permalink)

  44. Johnny B says:

    I think I liked this thread better when everybody was talking about linking to my posts…

    — 15 July 2005 at 6:55 pm (Permalink)

  45. Joe Rice says:

    What the hell? I’m hounding people now? Jesus, Steven, I entered this conversation with the intention of trying to show you and Rose why someone might get upset after reading what Rose wrote. Yeah, Rose and Chris went over it, and that’s great. I wasn’t planting a flag saying “THIS IS WRONNNNNGGG!!!” I was just trying to put to rest some of the “why are people being defensive?” questions. People got defensive because the post read as accusation and innuendo. You guys say that was a misreading and that’s fine. That doesn’t change the fact that SOME people got upset because of how they read the post. That was my point. Now you’re misreading what I wrote, so we come full circle.

    I will say things like “your third paragraph seems to imply that you think we????????re jealous because we????????re not important enough to be invited to your tea party” seem pretty intent on reading into what Alan is saying and your “smarter than you” statement is pretty telling. You want to start basically calling names, then this discussion really is through.

    — 15 July 2005 at 7:01 pm (Permalink)

  46. Erin Schadt says:

    …. But on that note, if we????????ve gotten to the point where people who haven????????t followed the discussion are posting clarifications to issues that were never raised, I think it????????s safe to say that relevant comments are still welcome but that maybe this thing has run its course. ….

    I apologize if I got off track, I just wanted to comment on what I felt was the spirit/tone of a good portion of your original post and some of the comments. And, for the record, I was following the discussion, I merely meant I didn’t read every single word of every single comment. Again, I apologize if my comment was so far off track.

    — 15 July 2005 at 7:18 pm (Permalink)

  47. Gail Simone says:

    I’ll confess I’m ignorant of some of the players, here, but I think the new CBG is a worthwhile effort made by sincere people. I’m looking forward to seeing the site evolve, and if that includes some great female writers, all the better.

    Best wishes,


    — 15 July 2005 at 8:47 pm (Permalink)

  48. Peiratikos says:

    Open Letter to the Comics Internet

    On the comics internet and its suckiness.

    — 20 July 2005 at 1:51 am (Permalink)