Ray’s Reviews: A Comics Buyer’s Guide Coda

42 years/1,699 issues (plus extras)

Rated: Essential

$ … worth every cent

No longer available

Grade: 4 stars (out of 4)

Shortly before the rest of the digital world, I and other contributors to Comics Buyer’s Guide received notice from CBG Editor Brent Frankenhoff regarding today’s announcement from F+W Media that it was closing the magazine’s doors after 42 years. As a longtime writer and former associate editor for the magazine, I’d like to say a few words on its departure. Along with this, I encourage you to read Maggie Thompson‘s wonderful online monthly column “Maggie’s World,” the first installment of which appeared yesterday; I also highly recommend John Jackson Miller‘s fine commentary about the closure of CBG at his excellent blog and website Comichron: The Comics Chronicles.

That said, here are humble closing thoughts from one of the Ringos to the John, Paul, and George of Maggie, Brent, and John. (I know — John is George. What more can I say.) Over the years, there were many Ringos, including those I had the pleasure of working with: Joyce Greenholdt, James Mishler, and Nate Melby, along with the other staff that contributed to the success of CBG during my tenure there, among them fellow associate editor Jason Winter and graphic designer Shawn Williams. They were an excelsior bunch to work with and I still miss hanging out with them in the CBG cubicle-land.

As those who edited my writing can tell you, I prefer a storyteller style (aka stream of consciousness, aka hair-pullingly aggravating from an editor standpoint). My purpose here is simply to offer my thoughts about CBG in my own way. For those of you wondering about the fate of “Ray’s Reviews,” at this time I have no idea where it’ll go from here, and – to be frank – that’s not what this entry is about.

And finally, before I digress into the meat of this column, it may seem odd for me to post it at CBGXtra.com, the home of CBG which is even now heading toward its future as an archival resource. To me, doing this is fitting, and not only because CBG has been the only comics-publishing home I’ve known. Now, about those thoughts …

I had the honor of writing for CBG for the last decade or so, originally and concludingly as a freelance reviewer. In between, from 2004 to 2008, I served as a full-time CBG associate editor. (I still get chills at the coolness of that thought.) People regularly asked me if I enjoyed what I did for a living at CBG (and Scrye, among other sister publications), to which I always emphatically said it was a dream job. My own mother told me that when family and friends asked her what my job entailed, she would tell them that I read comics and played games for a living. There was much more to it than that, to be sure, but she was correct in part, and it was a good life.

During my years on staff, I made countless friends throughout the industry and am happy that I’ve stayed in touch with many of them. My Facebook friends are all people with whom I’ve had contact, and almost all of them on multiple occasions, be it for interviews, hanging out at comics’ conventions, or what have you. When I left CBG in May 2008, these relationships changed and many of them faded, but I’m ever thankful for all of them. I regret that I was too late to the show to personally know so many others, including of course my predecessors at CBG.

I’m most thankful to Maggie and Brent, though John — in an apparent inexplicable fit of lunacy — hired me, and I was fortunate to work under him for a time. Maggie is and always will be a legend in the industry, and nothing I write here can add to that, so I’ll just say that she made coming to work each day worthwhile and is a fount of intelligence and information — and not just regarding comics — who deserves the utmost respect. So, too, do I value Brent’s contribution to my professional life; along with Maggie and numerous others, he has consistently and impressively personified the blood, sweat, tears, and valiant love required to publish a magazine about comics. While I’ve continued to read, geek out over, review, and otherwise appreciate the joy that is comics, I can only wish them the best of luck and hope they stay involved in comics for the long run, because comicdom would be a far lesser place without either of them.

Today is a sad day, a bad day, and one that won’t be forgotten. Like so many other things in life, this is another crying-shame, life-altering event that we loathe to see happen. Fortunately, CBG and its creators and fans during the last 42 years have built a legacy that will endure. I will always miss CBG, but I look forward to watching where comicdom goes from here.


Ray Sidman is a former associate editor and was a longtime reviewer for Comics Buyer’s Guide. You can read more Ray’s Reviews here.

(Image (c)2011 F+W Media)

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About Ray Sidman

Ray Sidman has been an avid comics collector for the last quarter century. As part of his freelancing "job," he continues to collect and read several dozen comics every month, and also reviews DVDs during his spare time. For his real life, he teaches university English and technical college communication courses. His first and foremost love is his family, including three children who share his love for comics and games.
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