Come on in. You can throw your coat on the bed in there if you like. Hey, look at you! Somebody’s been working out. You look good; very together, very 2006. You’ve kind of got a Tony Robbins thing going on. I like that sweater.
Listen, get yourself some chicken wings and a drink in the kitchen – try the rum punch, it’s killer. I have to start this thing.
Welcome to The Dave’s Long Box 1st Anniversary Spectacular, wherein we take a wacky walk together down memory lane… and I’m holding your hand the entire time and breathing heavily.
I know, it’s a little creepy. I’m not saying it won’t be uncomfortable, but join me on this psychedelic journey into narcissistic nostalgia, won’t you?
Dave’s Long Box launched a year ago today with a few modest, awkwardly written posts, evolving into the arrogant, awkwardly written blog you see before you. Prior to March 2005 I had just been lurking in the comics blogosphere, phantom-like, always reading and never participating, interacting. I felt like Patrick Swayze in Ghost. I had been working on a fiction blog called The Velvet Marauder – “It’s like Bridget Jones’ Diary, but with a super-powered vigilante” – but had yet to wade into the big scary world of blogging for reals.
But wade I did, and I kind of liked it. It was good writing exercise, and it was fun. People seemed to be digging my shit, which always helps. Then I got mentioned in Newsweek magazine and BAM! I had to kick it up a notch, Emeril-style, baby! Or something, I don’t know.
I was inspired by two of my favorite blogs: Graeme MacMillan’s late Fanboy Rampage and Neilalien, which happily is still going strong. I appreciated the sheer amount of content and the “audience participation” in Fanboy Rampage, and the fact that Neilalien’s site had a unique theme and focus: all things Dr. Strange. Dave’s Long Box is nothing like either blog, but I like to think that I have adopted lessons learned from both. I knew that I wanted my blog to have a theme (I review my old comics, you laugh and cry), to encourage reader input and discussion, and that it would be updated regularly.
The other overriding theme or mission or whatever of Dave’s Long Box is that I wanted to set a certain tone of civility and accountability. I decided I would put my full name out there and that I would at least make an effort to be respectful of my readers and of the people who make the comic books that I love and/or hate. I even wrote a little mission statement – more of a memo, really - On Being Mean, which outlines my blogging philosophy. I have violated the principles outlined in that post several times, so I just go back and edit the original mission statement so I don’t look like a complete asshole.
Starting out, one of the things I decided I would do was have theme weeks and recurring features to help give Dave’s Long Box some sense of structure and identity. I started off with No Profanity Week, which was sponsored by wrestling superstar Ric Flair.
That seemed to go over well, so I kept going. Boob War Week was a big hit and still pulls in the Google traffic to this day. Everybody likes boobs, apparently. Who knew? I was kind of fond of Kobra Week myself, which focused on the DC super-villain Kobra and how damn cool he is.
The most popular theme week seemed to be the F*@% Yeah Files, which explore some of the most kick-ass, moving, and flat-out awesome scenes in comic book history – stuff that is so cool it literally compels you to exclaim, “FUCK YEAH!” You know, like when Flash rescues the flight attendant who gets sucked out of an airliner at 10,000 feet.
The F*@% Yeah Files even spawned a movie version. I veered off course for a week and explored some of my favorite F*@% Yeah moments in film. “Khaaaan!”
Another popular post was Airwolf: The Adjective. I can’t remember who and I’m too lazy too search for it, but a DLB reader mentioned the concept of the word “Airwolf” as a universally positive adjective, and I just ran with it. I’ve been credited elsewhere for the Airwolf idea, but I didn’t think it up – that distinction goes to the very funny Ernie Cline, who did a spoken-word piece called “Airwolf” back in 2000. I’m just happy to do my part in helping to seed the pop cultural landscape with Airwolf: The Adjective.
It’s funny the shit that brings in traffic.
People love cats; go figure.
I have some personal favorite posts, of course, as well as posts that just make me wince and tempt me to delete them. Nobody would notice if I just got rid of that horrible piece about Hawkman, would they?
One of my favorite and/or most enjoyable posts was a two-part dissection of Thor #499, a comic so horrible that one post could not contain its suckitude. This comic is a classic and hilarious example of poor quality control and mis-communication between writer and artist, and spotlights the phenomenon known as “the de-nudifying effect” or “editorial swimwear,” when racy art is clumsily covered up by the editors.
I was also fond of the post Workforce Management the Kobra Way, which explores Kobra’s techniques for effectively leading an army of henchmen. It involves lots of strangling.
A personal favorite of mine is the S.H.I.E.L.D. Career Power Seminar, which was an honest-to-God real presentation I did at work on Halloween.
S.H.I.E.L.D. Career Power was basically a recruiting pitch for potential S.H.I.E.L.D. agents conducted by Col. Nick Fury (me), complete with PowerPoint slides. I worked very hard on the whole thing and it went over really well with my co-workers, even if most people thought I was supposed to be Snake Plissken. The shit I have to put up with...
Another post that I think turned out OK was Street Fighter: The Musical, a take-down of the wretched comic book adaptation of the equally wretched Street Fighter movie. The post has the lines, “This comic book is so awful that writing (...) about it merely prolongs its existence... Talking about it is like watering an ugly, ugly flower” and “… so bad that I want to burn it, but I’m afraid that the toxic smoke from the fire will ruin a sunset or poison something beautiful, like a butterfly.” Man, I crack myself up.
I may be funny infrequently, but I am often DEAD WRONG.
Take this entry about Karkas in my recurring feature, Lame-ass Villains.
I built the entire post around the fact that Karkas has no opposable thumbs. He doesn’t, really! Look it up if you don’t believe me! Be that as it may, the humor of the whole piece is sort of undermined by the picture of Karkas with an opposable thumb.
That’s the Ol’ Dave Campbell Eye for Detail in action right there.
Another cock-up was my review for Alpha Flight #121, in which I incorrectly said that artist Craig Brasfield was responsible for this blatant swipe of some John Byrne art. I learned that it was the book’s editor who slapped the Byrne art into the comic, not Brasfield, so I had to go back and set the record straight. My bad.
OK, I shouldn’t have had that last gin and tonic. Daddy’s starting to get a headache, kids, so I better wrap this up. Did you like the chicken wings?
I want to thank everybody who has visited Dave’s Long Box over the past year, and in particular everyone who took the time to comment or send me an email shout-out. I really appreciate everyone’s support and hope that we can all continue to hang out together over the next 365 days.
A big what-up goes out to my fellow comic bloggers as well – there are a lot of people blogging out there who are doing really great work; funny, thoughtful, inspiring, challenging writing that helps Move Comics Forward. Except for that one asshole.*
Not to get all corny and shit, but I’m proud to be even indirectly associated with a lot of the fine folks out there behind their keyboards. I tip my proverbial 40-ouncer in your honor.
So, onwards and upwards! Let’s join hands once again in a non-sexual way and march together into a Golden Future of Online Comic Book Commentary.
As my man Casey Kasem says, “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars!”