So Hey, I Got a Tumblr

This weekend, I decided to finally hop on the hottest internet trend of 2008 and I got myself a Tumblr, where I intend to compile links and pictures that I find interesting: Twenty Percent Cooler.

“But Chris,” you’re saying because you are the kind of person who objects verbally to things you read on the Internet, “You already have a perfectly serviceable blog! I am looking at it right now!” And that is a true statement, and I’ve spent the last four years making this site your go-to stop for Chris Sims and Chris Sims Accessories. But here’s the thing: Actually posting things on the ISB is a pain.

WARNING: Whining and Sausage-Making follows!

Because I’m super-obsessive about how things look on this site (not that you could tell from looking at it, I know), I code every blog post by hand, and because I don’t trust WordPress to do exactly what I want with my images, I futz with them in PhotoShop and upload them manually via FTP. So even a short linky post (like most of the things I’ve been doing here since I started working fulltime for ComicsAlliance) require me to pop open my text file of useful HTML pieces that I use over and over again and either upload the image that I’ve already uploaded once to CA or remember what its name is if it’s something I’ve previously uploaded (“AHISBLogo.jpg” is one I usually have to type in twice a week, for instance). So if I see a picture I like on the Internet and want to put it up here like I did with Evel Knievel’s ten speed, that’s two additional programs I have to run, plus any resizing and image futzery I have to do in PhotoShop.

I know, I know, I’m whining about having to drag a picture into an FTP client and cut and paste from Notepad. The first-worldest of first world problems. But it’s still more of a pain than it should be to just link to something I wrote, which is probably why I only tend to link to one of the posts I do at CA every day, rather than two. Meanwhile, Twitter and Tumblr make it much easier. Which is partly because I don’t really care if the images on Tumblr aren’t properly aligned or if the spacing is slightly off.

Now, the easy solution would just be to stop caring so much rather than starting fresh with a new platform, but at the same time, I’m always going to care more about than I should. this is what I’ve spent every night working with since 2005 in some form or another. But the hassle of linking to things really isn’t adding much other than just padding out the archives.

Which brings me to The Tumblr Dilemma. I’m considering moving all my linking, self-hype, quick images, pictures of pretty girls, pictures of Pokemon, pictures of pretty girls dressed as Pokemon, short jokes and all over to Tumblr, and then using The-ISB for announcements of grave import or the occasional actual writing. I know some of you have fond memories of when I’d do that, and I still have pictures of New York from last October that I haven’t put up. That way, the ISB gets to be your stop for actual pertinent Chris Sims content, while I still get to link to all my work.

So, peanut gallery: Thoughts?

The Somewhat Dubious “Best” of the Letter Columns



Today at ComicsAlliance, I’m reacting to the news that DC’s going to be bringing back letter columns (offsetting one of the two pages of story they’re cutting out of their comics) by pointing out the absolute heights of discourse that have appeared in lettercols over the years, starting with the charming missive above!

I owe a lot to my friends for pitching in with these (Mike, Andrew and Bully have covered a lot of this stuff before and provided a wealth of ’em), so go check ’em out and learn that while the comics might’ve changed, the fans never, ever do. Plus, as an added bonus, a reminder that Ebony White from The Spirit was straight up racist.

And as a bonus, here’s one sent over by Andrew that I couldn’t fit into the actual piece, because it’s totally awesome. I’d forgotten about this, but back in the day, the letters to Metamorpho were answered in-character by Rex “Metamorpho” Mason himself. And as I’ve said before, he was a straight-up pimp:



Further evidence that Metamorpho was the greatest book of its time.

Women In Comics!

One of the bigger pieces of news to come out of the Comics Blogger Internet this year was that after three years of aggregating posts, Ragnell and Kalinara have left When Fangirls Attack, and turned the reins over to a new crew.

That’s common knowledge, but what you might not know is that that before Rags rejected me for being, and I quote, “a hateful misogynist who serves only to give me something to loathe in this world,” I actually threw my hat in the ring to take WFA over myself. It’s probably just as well that I didn’t get it, as I already have my hands full with the ISB and the Action Age, and really, I have no interest in combing LiveJournal for Feminist critiques of West Coast Avengers. No, my interest lies solely with the domain name.

I mean really: “Women In Comics” is a name that could lend itself to a lot of things, and while my first thought was just to use it as a repository for commissioned fetish art–you know, the girls of the Legion barefoot, Red Sonja doing her taxes, Catwoman brushing her teeth, stuff like that–but the more I think about it, the more I think that a bunch of definitive profiles of female characters would be best.

Sadly, it doesn’t look like that’ll happen, but since I already had a few ready to go on the chance I got the job, I thought I’d share them on the ISB tonight. Enjoy!


This Is Phoenix


She’s died and come back to life like eight times because seriously, dudes fuckin’ love redheads. Take note, Irish girls: You are functionally immortal.


This Is Manhunter


She balances her career as an attorney and raising her son Ramsey with her activities as a ruthless vigilante, but her series was sadly canceled before she could face off against her opposite number, the MILF Hunter.


This Is Emma Frost, the White Queen

Her costume is basically a tube top and a pair of skin-tight low-rise vinyl pants, but it used to be just panties and a corset. Who says there’s no feminist progress in comics?


This Is Mary Jane Watson

She used to be Spider-Man’s wife, but in current continuity, she was just his live-in girlfriend for a while. Also in current continuity, nobody knows Spider-Man’s secret identity, not even the girl he used to live with, which makes Mary Jane Watson the dumbest human being alive.


This Is Psylocke

“Yo dogg I heard you like English accents, so we put a British girl in your Ninja so you can still be classy while you’re stabbin’ people with swords.”


This Is Wonder Woman

Despite what you may have heard, she has only ever been good like three times in seventy years. In the family of comics, she’s like the crazy grandmother that sometimes says really super racist stuff at Thanksgiving dinner, but she’s been around a while and nobody really knows what to do with her so you just have to put up with it.


This Is Tigra

She used to be a non-powered vigilante, but is now a sassy, bikini-clad catgirl who is currently pregnant with a litter of aliens. Believe it or not, she actually pre-dates the Internet and didn’t just originate in fan-fiction.


This Is Batgirl

You’re welcome.

Happy Birthday, Mike Sterling!

For those of you who missed the announcement, today is Mike Sterling’s fortieth birthday!



That’s right, folks: forty years. But thanks to two decades in comics retail, he doesn’t look a day over Died Three Weeks Ago.

And yes, you read that correctly: The man’s worked in a comic book store for half his life. I’ve worked in one for five years, and every time I see that guy it’s like a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. I just want to run out, buy a goose, and remind myself that it’s not too late: I don’t have to go down that path of beard growth and POG sales.

Of course, unless you’re one of the many transients that worships Mike as the Hobo King of Orange County, you probably know him best from Progressive Ruin, one of the most popular comics blogs on the Internet. Which, when you get right down to it, is sort of like eating the most nutritious meal at the food court.

He’s been doing the blog daily for six years, and in that time, it’s become the first stop of the day for people who want to hear what a guy who thinks the art form peaked with Nancy and Sluggo thinks about the industry, a readership that surprised everyone by totaling over six people. He’s known for being informative, witty and even-handed (especially compared to the rest of the drunken, loudmouthed hotheads of the comics blogger Internet), but let’s take a look at what he’s actually been doing over there.

Mike Sterling devoted a week of daily updates to Joel Schumaker’s Batman & Robin and did a week where he responded to actual, honest-to-God fans of Rob Liefeld. Every time Previews comes out, he spends that Wednesday night staying up late and driving himself crazy with Coast to Coast AM, going through the entire catalog to highlight allegedly erotic statues from Japan.

Folks, that’s not a website. It’s a cry for help.

Incidentally, Mike’s “End of Civilization” posts started because of his shock at the Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Stake” prop, which was essentially a hundred dollar piece of wood. Because when it comes to figuring out which collectibles cross the line, you can definitely trust a forty year-old man who owns a pair of Swamp Thing slippers.



But he keeps at it every day and he’s somehow managed to become one of the most respected and admired voices on the comics Internet, and someone that for the past few years, I’ve been proud to call my friend. Happy Birthday, Mikester! And here’s to many more!

Karen Ellis

As some of you may have heard, Karen Ellis, creator of the webcomic Planet Karen, has recently lost virtually everything she owns in a fire.

This is, needless to say, a pretty horrible thing to happen to someone, and if you can spare anything at all, I’d encourage you to head over to her site and donate via the button in the sidebar.

Carla and Lance Hoffman

If you’re a regular on the comics blog circuit, then you’ve probably heard this already, but in case you haven’t, Blog@Newsarama contributor Carla Hoffman and her husband Lance were badly burned and lost their house during the recent wildfires that swept through California.

To be totally honest, I don’t know Carla (although those that do have never had anything but nice things to say about her and Lance), but I do know that that’s the kind of tragedy that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, and that nobody should have to go through it without help. To that end, the Lance and Carla Burn Fund has been set up at the Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, and if you can, I’d urge you to help out with a contribution. Kevin has the details on where to send a check or money order, and I wish the Hoffmans a speedy recovery.