Saturday, August 1, 2009

TYL Retrospective - The Weekly Crisis Two Years Later

One year is a long time, especially when it comes to making regular posts and deadlines for an online blog. Two years is, well, a whole year longer! In the Weekly Crisis's sophomore year, there have been numerous changes to the blog, from minor tweeks to the blog's template to the downtime back in January to the addition of Matt, Eric and, later, Ryan to the blog.

In honour of the two year anniversary, I've decided to put together a quick timeline of events that have changed the Weekly Crisis over the past year, along with my own annotations, ranging from new features, like a trade paperback review column and our monthly solicit annotations, to side projects, like the free magazine download, TMC - The Monthly Crisis, and so on.

I hope you enjoy the trip down memory lane. It helped remind me of the reasons why I love writing this blog and I can't believe how much the site has changed in the past year.

The Weekly Crisis - A Year in Review

August 1st-5th, 2008 - The Weekly Crisis - One Year Later

Can't start a year in review without starting at the beginning and what a start this was. Last August saw a week long series of contests that saw readers walk away with trades such as The Dark Knight Returns, Black Adam: The Dark Age, Watchmen and more. For some still relevant posts, you can check out the OYL - A Year of Changes post to see how the blog's look has evolved over time or see last year's year in review post.

Mid-December, 2008 to February 1st, 2009 - Kirk Goes AWOL

Things with the blog, while not particularly noteworthy, were going well for most of 2008 post-OYL, but, much like DC's attempt at a OYL storyline, I ran into some problems around about near the end of December, which saw no updates to the blog for a little over a month due to personal reasons on my part. It's definitely the low point of blogging for me and a combination of taking on too much work, and that's what it was becoming at that point, with the blog as well as outside factors. Not wanting to post a stream of excuses for no updates or admit the blog was finished (which I was afraid it was on more than one occasion during this period), I left the blog lay fallow until...

February 2nd, 2009 - I'm Alive!

With the blog practically on life support, I came back in February rejuvinated and with a renewed focus. Thankfully, as soon as I started updating again, traffic immediately spiked back up to near previous levels and, as of this post, are higher than they've ever been.

February 8th, 2009 - TMC - The Monthly Crisis

Along with my return to posting, I unveiled a secret project I had been working on prior to the downtime - TMC - The Monthly Crisis. It was to be a free, downloadable magazine to showcase my picks for the Best of 2008 comic book awards, but got sidetracked due to the downtime. As I hadn't done a Best of 2008 post yet, I decided to expand the fake magazine a bit, going on to add Final Crisis annotations, a year in review and some back dated reviews of comics I didn't get a chance to review at the time. While the magazine is too much work for me to do on a regular basis, I've continued it in name as a monthly review post that gathers links to posts and reviews from the past month here at the Weekly Crisis and caps it off with a fake magazine cover for good measure.

March 8th, 2009 - Introducing Matt Ampersand & Eric Rupe

To go with my return to blogging, I vowed never to let that kind of downtime happen again. As such, I reduced my own workload significantly and began pursuing several bloggers who's writing I really enjoyed. There were three people on my short list and, of those three, two, Eric and Matt, were more than happy to come on board while the third, Ryan, would hold out for several months before finally coming on board.

Both Eric and Matt made immediate impacts on the blog with their writing. Eric took up a weekly editorial column and diversified our reviews with a trade paperback review column. Meanwhile, Matt was busy doing random opinion and editorial pieces as well as participating and helping out on any and all group related projects, such as primers or the Cover of the Week column. If neither of these two had accepted my offer, I'm not even sure the blog would have lasted to this two year anniversary nor be anywhere near as successful as it has become in the time since they've joined.

March 10th, 2009 - First Reader Question

While, technically, I asked the first reader question in my first year when I asked people what they thought DC was doing wrong, it didn't really become a staple of the blog until March 10th, 2009, when I asked everyone what their most valuable comic was. People reacted incredibly well to the simple reader question post, seeing over 40 comments in the span of a day or two, and it's been a semi-regular feature, showing up every couple of weeks, ever since.

March 12th-13th, 2009 - Trade Waiting - Jonathan Hickman's The Nightly News & A Collection of Random Thoughts Vol 1

While I mentioned Eric joined the blog on March 8th, his first major contribution didn't come until March 12th in the form of the weekly Trade Waiting trade paperback review column. It was the logical progression of my short lived and now-defunct Crisis of Faith column and Eric provided a lot of diversity to my own reviews, which featured mostly the weekly offerings from Marvel and DC with the odd indie book thrown in for good measure. Along with a different set of tastes and opinions, his reviews covered works from Vertigo, Wildstorm, Red 5 and more, as well as older trade stories from the big two.

A day later, Eric would debut his other weekly feature - Eric's Soapbox - A Collection of Random Thoughts, which spotlights Eric's thoughts and opinions on everything and anything comic related, from prices to current events to creators and everything in between.

March 14th, 2009 - Cover of the Week - Immortal Iron Fist #23

Capping off a week of new features, the Cover of the Week, which had been appearing off and on in the Moments of the Week, split off into its own regular weekend feature on March 14th.

March 27th, 2009 - Thoughts on Solicitations for June 2009

At the end of March, Matt, Eric and I put together the first Thoughts on Solicitations post, which would go on to become a regular monthly post where we all get together and go through the solicits for upcoming comics. It's shocking how the formatting has changed and improved since the first time we got together for these and this helped spark later round table-like posts.

March 30th, 2009 - War of Kings Primer

The War of Kings Primer was the first attempt at a primer for us and was a huge success, driving lots of traffic and links to the blog from various sites. While I had proposed the primer, if Matt hadn't take the initiative and started working on it on the private test blog, I doubt we'd ever see it or the eventual Blackest Night primer we recently put together. This was also a personal favourite of mine as it was a lot of fun collaborating with someone on a post and getting input from both Matt and Eric for something new like this.

April 30th, 2009 - The Multiversity - Grant Morrison, Watchmen 2, All Star Captain Marvel & More!

What's a random news post doing in this retrospective? Well, to be honest, it seems I was the only one still reading Wizard and quoted a few passages from their Grant Morrison interview detailing the plans for The Multiversity and giving my thoughts on the news. This post was actually the highest traffic post on record for the blog and was linked to by dozens of blogs, big and small, ranging from being on CBR's front page as a Robot 6 link to even on the New York Time's website. While the Weekly Crisis isn't primarily a news blog, this post and the traffic generated led to me doing more and more news related posts.

May 11th, 2009 - Don't Miss My Guest Post on CBR's Robot 6!

While the Weekly Crisis accepts and runs guests posts on occasion, I've only done a handful myself, the most noteworthy being this May 11th guest spot at Robot 6 for their What Are You Reading? column.

May 29th, 2009 - Ryan the Iowan's Comic Book Review Power Rankings

Back when I asked Matt and Eric to join the blog, I also solicited Ryan Schrodt, a fellow reviewer I had met and spoken to on occasion at the Newsarama boards, back before their redesign and selling to Imaginova. He wrote his own weekly reviews there and had been doing it for several years straight. I always enjoyed his reviews, even on the rare occasion I didn't agree with every one of them, and this prompted me to invite him to the blog. He respectfully declined the first time I asked, but I made it clear he was more than welcome to join at any time and, as luck would have it, he contacted me in early May and made his debut on the blog on May 29th and the blog is all the better because of it.

June 7th, 2009 - Bought/Thought - Batman and Robin #1

June 7th saw the debut of the Bought/Thought column, which is a collection of snippets from other reviewers' reviews of certain high profile books. In addition, I ask people following me on Twitter what they thought of the book and spotlight as many of those in the Bought/Thought feature, too.

July 15th, 2009 - Blackest Night #1 Review

What? A random review in the retrospective? Why, yes, yes it is. Why, exactly? Well, that would be because this was the first time I had altered my review format and went with an image and spoiler heavy review of a comic and, due to positive reader response and demand for more like this post, I've made it a semi-regular feature where I'll spotlight high profile or noteworthy books in a special review format, such as the recent Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #5 review.


I hope you've all enjoyed this timeline and my thoughts on the events of the past year. It's hard to believe the number of changes that have occured in the past year, let alone since I first launched the site, and I didn't even go into the numerous cosmetic and functionality based changes that have been tweaked in this time.

This year has been hectic and had its highs and lows that nearly saw me give up on the site a few times during those dark days at the start of the new year, but I'm glad I stuck with it and I owe it to you readers for all the kind words, comments and acknowledgement over the past year as well as the help and contributions of Matt, Eric and Ryan, who were kind enough to join me here at the Weekly Crisis. And that's why I'm hosting the current round of Two Years Later contests - to reward you guys for the past year and continued support for the years to come.

Feel free to let me know what you think of the past year here at the Weekly Crisis - what you liked, what changes you were around for, any columns or features you would like to see a return of, what worked, what didn't, anything major you think I should have featured on the list of major events for my timeline, etc.

Thanks for reading and you can look forward to another year of comic book news, previews, reviews and more!

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Matt Ampersand said...

Man, it seems like it was just yesterday I was trying to win some free stuff in the One Year Later contest. Time flies!

Here's to many more years!

Sebastian said...

I wasn't around for the last OYL, since I started reading this a month or two before Kirk went AWOL (hilarious) so a bunch of the older older stuff was new to me. Kudos for making that Manhunter trade a prize. That was very cool. Also, re-reading those moments-of-the-week posts reminded me that I should get some Catwoman trades. Except that the first chunk of Pfeifer's run isn't collected. Just as well, since I have all of the Bru stuff in singles. Lastly, that magazine was pretty cool. I'm really glad that there is more reader input, too, in regards to posts. That's not something you get at a lot of the other comic blogger sites. Stay awesome, kids.

Anonymous said...

Kirk I m in the developing world so not even in contention for a prize but how do you decide what books to give away as prizes ?

Methinks it would have been better instead of Final Crisis and other popular bo0oks you could have given away another alternative book that is excellent and not so well known.

Matt Ampersand said...

Anonymous, we all talked about it between ourselves, and we tried to get a mix of mainstream appeal, critical acclaim, and some level of obscurity (as in, not Marvel or DC).

The Final Crisis hardcover, which doesn't fall within that last category, was decided upon to give a little extra oomph to the contest and get more people interested in the giveaways. As for the other books, I don't think they are really that popular.

about me! said...

I know that I'd love to get the Final Crisis HC as a prize. I loved the series but haven't had the income to buy the trade.
I can't believe I've been following the site for almost two years. Since I stumbled upon it looking for a good review site, it has stayed in my bookmark bar right next to gmail and facebook.
Congrats all, can't wait for 3 years later!

Matthew said...

Happy anniversary, Weekly Crisis! He's to the next two years, and hopefully not being written out of continuity by the next crisis.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

I am pretty new to this site, got here through @el_matt's twitter feed, and I must say I love it. It is my second comic news source to check, CBR being the other.
You guys do a great job, and if you need any help (he asks with his hat in his hand) feel free to give me a call up. Or else, keep writing and I'll keep reading.

Christine said...

Congrats on a great milestone and on a work well done! I follow this blog diligently and you guys are really an inspiration for me in my own blogging. I know how much work it is, and that it sometimes feels like a real job that takes many hours every week. This site is always fun, has a great design and a positive vibe. Keep up the good work, and I'll keep coming back! :)

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