Secret Origin of a Column

I’m not sure how I connected with Rik Offenberger. I host a podcast, The Fantastic Comic Fan, among other things, and somehow, I taped Rik for one of his G-Man Kickstarter back in January. At the same time, my life went a little sideways, and I wasn’t able to get his taping (and a few others) out as timely as I wanted. I even put the podcast on hold until things got a little more… less interesting.

I thought I might have burned a bridge or two— the podcast is something I take seriously. I dislike NOT honoring my word. I did reach out over the summer. Rik and I not only taped the latest Kickstarter, but since then, I have had Rik on a few times to talk comic books.

Rik is fantastic! He’s knowledgeable and has a unique, distinctive viewpoint. That’s what I want with the podcast—lots of unique voices talking about fantastic comic books. One of the aims of the podcast is to help fans find new reads or rediscover comics they’d forgotten how cool they were in the first place.

Doing a column for First Comic News has been on the backburner going back to January. I don’t see it as a way to promote my podcast exactly, but sometimes there will be some crossover. The mission, if you like, is to encourage fans to explore and read more digital comic books. I believe digital comics have a place different than reading comics you get at your comic shop.

In some cases, digital offers you the only way to read comic books that are hard to find or so expensive you wouldn’t read them even if you had them in your collection! I can go onto MU and read the entire original run of the Fantastic Four—over 400 issues from the Silver Age to the Bronze Age.

There are lots of platforms to read comics for free or nearly free–and I don’t mean the pirate sites that are all over the internet. Some platforms, like the DC’s unlimited service, put comics on the service one month after they hit comic shops, and for some books, it is the same day. Every Archie Comic that comes out each week is there on ComiXology Unlimited.

No, it isn’t about reading for free. Comics are expensive, and there are lots of them! There are some comics I like, but not enough to want to purchase them. That’s the case with some of the Dawn of DC books. I read some books I normally wouldn’t because they pop up on the app.
Another reason I like digital comic books and the various platforms is that I can go to someone who is new to comics or just saw the latest Marvel Universe project and hand them my tablet with: “Here! Read this!” And, maybe… just maybe… they get interested in comics, and the next stop is their local comic shop. With the podcast and even this column– I want to help new and die-hard fans find a new way to read and discover fantastic reads.

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