I Am Here…. Now

Hello, my name is Joe McCulloch, and, as of today, I am the editor of this site with Tucker Stone. Some of you may not know who I am, and I congratulate you on a life well-lived. Others may remember a weekly column I wrote for six years, which I concluded in roughly the same mindset as Julianne Moore at the end of Safe. Since then, in the past four years, I've written a few pieces for this site: a pair of reviews of self-published comics I really liked; two interviews about small-press manga artists; a few pieces on 'commercial' manga that were actually about the situation of commercial manga artists, at least in my mind; an obituary; some conceptual art comics writing; and a piece on a comic from the writer of Beef Bros which anticipated this site's acclaimed outlay of Beef Bros coverage - it is wonderful to set the trends.

I have also been working in a behind-the-scenes role on this website since last April, doing proofreading, grammar checks, formatting, writing some of the little texts that go below the pictures on the front page; I was paid for this work, which very much instilled in me a sense of responsibility separate from my work as an occasional contributor. Writers count on you -- they rely on you -- when you do work such as this. With Tucker, I will now be working in an editorial capacity, directly with writers; soliciting works, etc. You can contact me at joe [at] tcj [dot] com, for all your email needs.

You are maybe wondering about my ideas for this site. In fact, I am the first of a few changes coming soon - not this week, or next week, but soon. These are ideas that preceded me, but I think they're pretty exciting, and I hope you'll all enjoy them. In a wider sense, though, I am interested in using the independent nature of TCJ, which is not reliant on access to monied cultural actors, to counteract the dominance of capitalistic 'success' in too much of the media discussion online. Perhaps it is because there are so many opinions out there -- and, to be clear, I would have been nothing if not for the latitude online discussion afforded people with no qualifications; I am wholly a creature of online -- but I have found that a lot of the talk about art recently starts from the false 'objective' basis of wide exposure and monetary success as the solemnization of what is worth talking about. If something is big, and successful, it must be discussed, because that is where the eyes go. That is where you discuss the effect on culture. That is how you build the audience to make the money. Success ensures success, so that anyone who starts ahead is assured to remain there. What an independent website can do, is offer a dedicated source for deeper thinking. The Comics Journal has been around since the 1970s; we do not need to be the introduction to comics. What we ought to be, is a place from which this vast and troubled terrain is surveyed with a sense of questioning the maps drawn by those most adept at mass appeal, because the danger today is that mass appeal is read as the sole means of getting anywhere. This does not benefit anybody that does not fall into those few categories that comics can readily award.

Of course, these are just words. I pray you will stick around to see what we do. I thank all of our writers - Clark Burscough, I want you to know I love and value you; I want to say that in public. I thank Tucker, and Kristy Valenti, our editorial coordinator, and Dr. Rachel Miller, of our print edition. Thanks to Gary Groth, for having me. And thank you, for your attention. I'll be back in this space next week, unless I die.

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All art in this post is from a 1987 episode of Section Chief Shima Kōsaku, created by Kenshi Hirokane (translated here by Wayne Lammers) - a comic about a managerial type adept at the art of ingratiation.