Hello. The guys in the back told me this thing was on.
I first started covering comics in the early noughties when comics industry announcements breaking the internet in half was a thing. The announcement I’m making today won’t break the internet in half but has to be made nonetheless:
Effective today, I’m stepping away from Broken Frontier as the site’s Creative Director to fully concentrate on my creative writing career.
After over 14 years of covering comics, I’m going to focus on thinking up worlds, plots and characters and putting words into their mouths. Some of those words will make sense and the ones that won’t we’ll put between < > and have an excellent editor rephrase to legible English. But god knows what editors really do, right?
14 years. Wow. In 2002, the year I launched BF, I was a woefully young 19, embarking on my second year in college, ready for dorm room life and as god would have it: without much beyond a handful of pennies to spend on comics.
So, I concocted this shrewd idea of learning to code myself and launch a comics review website so I could ask publishers to please send me their newest comics and I’d review them in return. Most of them did, especially the independent and smaller publishers. Pretty soon, I was swimming in more comics than I had time to read. And talking to creators like Jeph Loeb and Brian K. Vaughan and… mission accomplished.
Well, no. Because to really make this work, it couldn’t be just me, so I started recruiting others to join in on the fun. I found them on message boards across the web – yes, those were also a thing back then – and pretty soon, I had assembled a team of people who were as passionate about comics as I was. But then I had to give up my secret identity.
Because these were still the relatively early years of the public internet and people used avatars instead of real pics, I covered up my youthfulness and international whereabouts behind a punchy Alex Maleev Daredevil.
I remember being very reluctant to unveil my age to my fellow staffers back then because most of them were well into their 20s, 30s or 40s. You know, they were like much, much older than me and real actual grown-ups and I surely thought they would abandon ship when they found out I was a wee little lad from Belgium telling them what to do.
But when they begged to know more and I lifted my horned mask, one of them shouted ‘You ambitious sob!’ and I knew everything was going to be all right. Because hard work and passion always get you places.
Running this site took me to Wizard World back when they still meant something, NYCC and, of course, San Diego Comic-Con. I’ve got fond memories from having drinks and dinners with creators and publishers, some of which are no longer in this business. From Geoff Johns recognizing me (Me? Me! From afar! Yay! I was going places for sure.) outside of Hall H at SDCC to my elevator talk with Mike Richardson that had my co-travellers in awe.
Running this website gave me the wonderful opportunity to help upstart creators and publishers find exposure and readership. Rumor has it that way back when our coverage even helped stave off a certain book’s cancellation.
But top of the bill among all the stuff I experienced was working together with and guiding a ton of people (and hopefully inspiring some of them too) whose names I can’t all list. Some of them stuck with us for not even a few weeks, others stayed for years, several became good friends. A number even best.
Some of them, like Graeme McMillan (he who now does journalism for Wired and The Hollywood Reporter), Cullen Bunn (he who now writes those best-selling comics) and Josh Fialkov (he who now writes for el television) even took some of their earliest steps in this industry right here.
The thing I’ve always felt most proud of is the vibrant, collaborative atmosphere we’ve always had here behind the scenes. From Eric Lindberg, Chris Hunter, Mike and Angie Bullock, Dave Baxter, Kris Bather to Tom Murphy, Richard Boom, Bart Croonenborghs (french fries!), Jason Wilkins, Tyler Chin-Tanner (#bfanthology, #sallys2010) and every woman and man in between that’s made this place what it is today: THANK YOU. It’s a real shame I never got to meet more of you in the flesh.
14 years is a long time. And I’m starting to sound like an old man. Which according to my two children I probably am. So I guess I best wrap this up turning my attention to the odd man out from the list of people above. The man who joined the site in 2006 — yes, I when I was still young and he already very, very old — and who during all those years since transformed himself from the fine connoisseur of all things DC to the raging man with the megaphone screaming lofty words about all things indie, alt and creator-owned.
I am talking of course about the perennial pub-crawler, the mad hatter, but above all the genteel genius that is Andy Oliver, to whom I now officially hand over the reins.
I’m not ashamed to say
my eyes are a bit wet while typing these words, you fine dandy
So before I go, allow me to put it this way:
If you wreck this place I’ll haunt you until fish liquid is your favorite drink.
Ah, who am I kidding? You’re already doing a fantastic job.
Ok. World, let’s find out which other frontiers are waiting for me.
Onwards and upwards,
January 30, 2017