The Sad Decline of Comixtalk

O Comixtalk, how art thou fallen, light of the morning.

Comixtalk started life as Comixpedia, an online magazine dedicated to “comics in the digital age”. As such, it strove for the same level of in-depth interviews and analysis of comics as a medium that you would expect of a print magazine, with some names you’ve probably heard of contributing columns. Before there was Websnark, Comixpedia strove to be the site of record for the webcomics community, taking the medium as seriously as it deserved to be taken and serving as the backbone of the growing community.

Or, so I’ve gotten the impression from its entry on the current Comixpedia, old Websnark posts, and its own flashbacks. By the time I encountered Comixtalk in 2009, it had largely abandoned the more “magazine”-like aspects of its format, instead serving as a news blog, rehosting and rebroadcasting blog posts from all over the webcomics community with Xaviar Xerexes’ own posts as the backbone. Supposedly, only the best, most important posts found their way onto the front page, but while I found the “webcomic blog aggregator” format useful enough to add to my RSS reader – it often exposed me to interesting things or topics I’m not sure I would have ever encountered otherwise – there sometimes seemed to be so little rhyme or reason to what posts made the front page, and the workload implied for Xerexes seemed to be so great, that I reached the conclusion that certain blogs were simply given a rubber stamp to have all their posts put on the front page automatically. As such, I planned to wait until I had reached the point that my own posts had achieved the same status, and then write a post detailing my issues with Comixtalk, that would then be reposted to the Comixtalk front page. You see, the plan was totally brilliant.

As it turned out, I only had one post posted to the Comixtalk front page before Xerexes ended the blog aggregator format late in the year, citing high server bills. And now? Now it’s basically a poor man’s Fleen. And while it lacks some of the cutesy names Fleen sometimes indulges in, it doesn’t update nearly as often.

Oh, for a while Xerexes tried to put up an update every day, but right now you tend to get lucky if you get two full-fledged updates a month. And when you do get them, or other posts, they’re basically Xerexes putting up some big piece of webcomics news or something he found somewhere on the Internet relating to webcomics and often giving some sort of personal opinion on them. It’s really become just another personal blog talking about webcomics, at best a bulletin board for various happenings Xerexes comes across somehow. Even if I was interested in any of the news he posts about, it updates too rarely and is too mixed with more frivolous matters for any of it to draw me in. It barely even makes enough of a sustained impression on me for me to get invested in it, and that’s not a good thing. It’s moderately interesting if you’re interested in Xerexes’ rarely-posted opinions, but if you’re looking for a reliable, comprehensive source of news (or even opinion on it) from around the webcomics community? You’re best off looking elsewhere.

That’s a bit of a shame. Comixtalk used to be the one must-go place for webcomics aficianados like myself for smart opinion about webcomics, and to see it reduced to the state it’s in is quite disappointing. My impression is Fleen now has a bit of a monopoly on reliably reporting and pontificating on webcomics news, but I’m not sure it’s as reliable about that as it could be. Admittedly I’m probably a bit hesitant about wholeheartedly embracing Fleen as a result of my documented fondness of the old Floating Lightbulb blog, but the fact that Comixtalk doesn’t provide anything you can’t get at Fleen (with a few occasional exceptions)? Or that the closest I can think of that any other blog does to what Fleen does is occasional news posts at review blogs like the Webcomic Overlook?

Clearly, I’m not the only part of the webcomics community that has slipped tremendously since 2009.

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