Comics Disassembled: Ten Things of Note from the Past Week in Comics, Led by A Comic Site Ending Its Run

We’re back with another edition of Comics Disassembled, and this week’s look at ten things I liked or didn’t like from the week of comics comes with a bit of sad news that I have a personal connection to. Let’s get to it.

1. Multiversity Comics, Ending Its Run

The well-respected comic site Multiversity Comics announced that they’ll be closing their doors for good at the end of this month, ending a run that started 15 years ago this month. It’s sad news, especially for a site that’s been a staple of the comics internet since it first launched in May 2009. It’s also understandable, though, as most realized when the folks in charge of Multiversity shared their rationale when they made the announcement. The three main reasons they cited were:

  1. A “precipitous decline in staff,” and a lack of writers to help fill that void
  2. Surging costs when it comes to paying for the site, creating a situation where advertising no longer covered the bulk of those costs
  3. Exhaustion amongst leadership and really everyone involved

As someone who runs his own site, I know the third one all too well. That’s a constant feeling when you’re trying to operate at any level. It’s even more so when you’re a site like Multiversity, one that does its level best to cover anything and everything comic-related, and to do that as well as possible. That’s a lot of responsibility. Lacking the staff to cover it while the whole endeavor becomes increasingly expensive makes it even harder. So, while this is a decision that I’m sure they did not take lightly, it is a very understandable move, as I mentioned before.

That whole team rocks, though, and they’ve done amazing things for a long time. They will absolutely be missed because they do good work. You could really tell how much their pending loss was going to be felt based on the response, as a tremendous number of creators and industry figures lamented the news on social media and beyond. It’s true. It will be a real loss. That said, I wanted to give special credit to Multiversity’s Senior Editor Brian Salvatore, a staple of the site for the majority of its existence and the person who has run things for nearly a decade. Brian’s a wonderful person, and someone who does incredible work, all fueled by passion and the desire to do right by people. If every website had someone like Brian behind the scenes, the entirety of the internet would be a much better place.

I know all too well. I worked with Brian back when I was one of the folks who wrote for Multiversity. I believe my title was Associate Editor, but let me assure you that this was a title that existed in name only. The vast majority of my work was writing as well as some overall decision-making, with very little editing. Brian and other editors — like site founder Matthew Meylikhov — did the bulk of the editing and staff management, and they’re the reason the site was as good as it was while I was there, deservedly earning an Eisner Award nomination back in 2014. I was lucky to be a part of the site for as long as I was, and I can assure you SKTCHD wouldn’t be what it is today without those experiences. I’m actually going to make one final appearance on Multiversity, as I’ll have a piece for the site in its final week, and I am really looking forward to putting it together as a remembrance of what made it such a special place.

I have one final note on this subject, though. Thanks to rising costs, changes to search engines, the destruction of social media, and any number of other factors, it is becoming increasingly difficult to run a site that manages to break even in this day and age, let alone turn a real profit. Most of the survivors are proving to be the most well-funded entities, or at least they survive until those who fund them decide to break them without a single thought. People lament the quality of websites these days, both in comics and beyond, but truly speaking, it’s a miracle when a site like Multiversity is as good as it is for as long as it is around. It takes a lot of hard work and comes with very little compensation or support, with most of the public sentiment around comic sites being about how they’re failing rather than the ways they are succeeding. That’s a tough place to be. I’d love to say that I see a path to this trend being reversed, but short of those who love comic sites doing what they can to directly support them, it’s going to be tough sledding.

So, with that in mind, here’s a reminder: If you love a website, do what you can to support it, even if that’s just sharing favorite articles on social media. It makes a difference, even if it’s just in the hearts and minds of those who do the work.

That said, that is not me saying you should do that for what I do. Keep that to yourself, people!

2. Graeme McMillan, Elevating

With Deputy Editor Tiffany Babb departing, it seemed likely that the comics and pop culture site Popverse would make a move to fill a similar role in response, and do so fairly quickly. It turns out that theory was sound, and wonderfully, delightfully, and — most importantly — correctly, they looked inward to find that person. Popverse Staff Writer and veteran of the comics journalism arts Graeme McMillan has been promoted to become the site’s Editor. That’s an excellent hire both for Popverse as a site and the overall comics journalism space. I’ve been lucky enough to witness Graeme in action — you haven’t seen anyone work until you’ve seen him liveblog a convention panel — and he’s known as one of the best in the business for a reason.

More than that, as covered in the first point, it’s a hard world out there for folks looking to write about comics, or really anything. Money is short, and full-time positions are rare. Keeping another one on the table and it going to someone with a long history of doing excellent work is an ideal result. Congrats to Graeme, the whole Popverse team, and readers, because that’s a big win for everyone.

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