*That doesn't sound right, but god help me it is.

I was 22 years old when I started this site. You could actually count the comics internet back then, as in 'rattle off the sites.' I had my bookmarks list filled with favorites. Sometimes I left comments on Comicon and the Comics Journal board. The name 'Jog' was older than that. I'd been reading comics seriously again for just over two years. I was between school terms, and I'd just written a long, rambling post at TCJ on Dan Clowes' use of color in Eightball #23. Alan David Doane was asking for essays on that issue, so I expanded the post and sent it to him. Eventually I'd write stuff for him, and for Dirk Deppey, the guy who moderated the Journal's board.

But right then, at that time, I posted that thing on my own, new site. After a quick post on which new comics I'd gotten that week, of course, a feature that quickly mutated into a weekly deal on which new comics looked good coming up. Some things never change. That first post also contained reviews of a new Grant Morrison comic, DC Comics Presents: Mystery in Space #1, and a new Garth Ennis comic, The Punisher MAX #9. Ditto. "Guilty pleasure city," I wrote of the latter. I'd get better.

After that came the first proper review; it's sloppy, nearly aimless, and the third paragraph is 572 words long. The title, fittingly was "Endless Rambling - OUR PURPOSE STANDS REVEALED!" My craft has improved, but I think the ideal remains, eh?

Given history's benefit, I can now see I arrived near the end of a wave of internet writers on comics, emphasis on the internet - folks awash in the simplicity and accessibility of online publication, and bound to stand alone within a loose community. And the ideal was publication, at my end; I never saw the internet as a diary, or an 'answer' to print, or a revolution in short-format communication. The virtue for me was anyone could use it, for their purposes, and that the created work could exist before millions, not as an audience but as a potential, hanging within reach of the omnivorous and the curious, beyond print's binding and the smothered access of economics and physical distribution.

There were limits, sure -- internet access, searchability, etc. -- but they seemed small to me then, and it seemed enough to make things that would exist and hover, a blink from corporeality in a billion places.

I used to update every day, but I don't anymore. Can you believe they make you work for money after you graduate?! And moreover, the comics internet is different; how much is '5' in online years? Today I write for two sites besides this one; the first is a large group blog, and the second is a 'formal' website to which I file a proper column on a fixed schedule. Both of those kinds of sites existed on the comics internet five years ago, I know, but now they're far more dominant. Voices kept coming and coming; the community grew from a small town where everyone sort of knew one another to a modest city wherein citizens of like-minded dispositions hang around together and hit their favorite spots. Some people can give you a rough map, but few have memorized the phone book. Consolidation was inevitable, I guess.

The writing got a lot better, though. Maybe half a decade's build just does that, but I think there was some drive, some extra push in the conversation to go a little higher, to meet good works with better commentary as the world seemed to expand, the bookstores and the manga, and the press and the movies. A while ago Dick Hyacinth asked for the Best Of recent years, and I told him 2005 was a deathmatch between Epileptic and Black Hole for most acclaimed among the outlets I'd known, and then Tom Spurgeon told me it was a futile comparison because the state of coverage just three years later was so considerably different. He was right.

At least I know I got better. First it was writing and publishing every day that helped me, then writing every day and publishing when I was ready. It's hard to take the internet too seriously, I know, but I also know I did a lot of writing in school and I do more writing at work, and when I get home I write too, and it refines my impressions so that it blooms into my voice, aloud, and all of that is of my person. So funny as it sounds, I think this site made me a better person. I know it.

And thank you for reading; I couldn't have burned off this youth with anyone better.