by Jarrod Jones. Happy New Year from your pals at DoomRocket!
My annual “catch-up” piece is going to be a tougher one for me to get through this year. Let’s give this a shot.
2020 was one helluva decade to get through, but we made it—stronger, more resilient, noticably more attractive, etc. etc. Unforgiving pandemic and rampant social upheaval notwithstanding it was still a glorious year for comics, as our annual YEAR IN REVIEW feature series attested this past month, which felt (again, despite everything) like DoomRocket got to close out the year on a high note.
Now here comes the tough part.
As longtime DoomRocket readers know we down-shifted our coverage last year to a one-week-per-month format, which turned out to be a terrific way to work on a comics blog while also churning out a semi-weekly comics podcast while also (for myself and my fellow DR contributors) working on other projects, on life, on ourselves. It wasn’t the best way to cover every facet of the comics industry or even to stay competitive with our esteemed comic site contemporaries, but it ended up working for us. (In fact, I feel the writing we put out this year was among the best comics writing published in 2020, but obviously I have a tremendous bias so do with that what you will.) And while I would absolutely love nothing more than to continue the great work DoomRocket has accomplished over these past 7 years (8 years this coming July), I made the incredibly difficult decision back in October to begin work on closing down DoomRocket in 2021.
(“Closing down” might be too final a way to put it. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Stay with me here; news is coming.)
Each member of 2020’s DoomRocket team—Molly Jane (MJ) Kremer, Arpad Okay, Clyde Hall, Kate Kowalski, Brandy Dykhuizen, and Micky Rivera—worked with me to make sure our run ended strong, and I feel we absolutely pulled that off. From the lyrical insights of Arpad’s REQUIRED READING to the monthly group love-ins that were our “Best Covers” feature UNDERCOVER; from Kate’s impactful mastery of THE DOOMROCKET REVIEW to Clyde’s undaunted and consistently extraordinary contributions to the same; from the astounding return of venerated DR vets Brandy and Micky to MJ just being an amazing co-host and producer of CASUAL WEDNESDAYS… it’s incredibly humbling to know this crew had my back during such a tumultuous year.
I have always been incredibly lucky with the caliber of writers who have chosen to jump on the DoomRocket train over the years. Before I shifted the site’s focus to comics we ran the pop culture gamut, and at one point the DR team was huge: there was the film arm of DoomRocket that I lovingly called ANTI-MONITOR and ran with writers Matt Fleming, Zak Rye, Kyle King, Matthew C. Brown, Elford Alley, Kelly Baron, and Tavi Veraldi; we had a killer tv recap series in TUBE ROCKET that featured MJ, Brandy, and writers Jason Gibner, Shay Revolver, Brad Sun, and Courtney Ryan; and DoomRocket even tried our hand at video game coverage with LOAD FILE, featuring writers Ian Boone (who helped me launch LF), Scott Southard, Tommy Robbins, and Kyle Holmer (who was also responsible for a lot of the terrific banners and graphics you saw over the years, and who had patience enough to teach me, finally, how to make graphics myself). Those were truly halcyon days, and every member contributed in their own way to make the experience that much more special.
But it was comics, always comics, that was our foundation. (I blame MJ, who one day turned and said to me, “why don’t you just write about comics?” and changed the game forever and ever. So I did, and soon found I couldn’t stop.) As DoomRocket’s comics coverage grew, so did our team: seemingly, miraculously out of nowhere Arpad jumped onboard (and has been a part of the team ever since), as did Stefania Rudd (who lovingly managed our all-ages comics feature, BOOKS FOR BABES, for over two years); then (in non-sequential order) came and went a cadre of wonderful writers such as Gavin Rehfeldt, Andrew Stevens, Brad Sun, Don Alsafi, Matthew C. Brown, Courtney Ryan, Brandy Dykhuizen, Brendan Hodgdon, Micky Rivera, Clyde Hall, Sara Mitchell, Kate Kowalski, and Lauren Fernandes, all to whom I owe a substantial debt.
I also have to thank the inimitable Jenn Chen for pushing me to launch a blog in the first place, and my inestimable sysadmin Travis Schaffner for his generosity, patience, and kindness over the better part of a decade as I worked in earnest to actually figure out how to make all of this happen.
Now, the proper DoomRocket Update.
While my unbelievable team has now moved on to other things, there are still a few embers burning in the DoomRocket furnace. For starters, CASUAL WEDNESDAYS lives on. MJ & I will still be kicking out episodes of your favorite comics podcast 3 times a month—as opposed to our oft-foiled attempts to maintain a weekly schedule. That means: more news, more reviews, more Read-Thrus, more Top 5 Most Anticipated Issues, more solicits episodes, more from our kitten buds Cooper & Audrey, more of everything listeners have come to love from our podcast is forthcoming—and, I’m happy to report, all of it will still be published on DoomRocket.com.
Yes, despite everything you just read, the site lives on. I am calling this an “extended hiatus” instead of “the end”; I can’t imagine I’ll be able to continue not interviewing my favorite creators on my own terms, or writing down my thoughts on a comic I just read whenever the mood should strike me, or working with a team of exciting voices who love this medium just as much as I do. One thing I discovered about myself when I looked back on almost 8 years of doing this comics-writin’ thing is that I actually love it—I may have been really bad at it at first, made a number of really dumb mistakes, overlooked obvious things that seasoned bloggers would consider inconceivable, but I learned from each gaffe, misstep, and blunder and I feel I’m a better writer and editor because of it. And, I am thrilled to note, there’s still so, so much more to learn. So many new ways to grow.
I don’t know what form DoomRocket might take in this strange future laid out in front of us, but I know it’s going to be fun figuring it out. I hope each and every one of you will be there, when those embers catch the wind and DoomRocket rages once more.
So. If you’re reading this, thank you. If you’ve read DoomRocket at all over these past few years, thank you. If you ever spent some time listening to our podcast, or shared a link, or told a friend about DoomRocket, thank you. If we have ever accidentally made your day, if we ever directed you to a creator or a comic that you ended up loving, if we ever promoted your project, if we ever contributed in any way to make your comics experience a better one, I want you to know from the bottom of my heart:
It was our pleasure.