Hey, it’s our one-year anniversary!

On 1 October, 2016, the Atomic Junk Shop opened for business, so we figured we’d celebrate one year in operation. It’s been a lot of fun!

In case you didn’t know, some of us wrote for Comics Should Be Good, which underwent a bit of a change when Comic Book Resources was revamped. We didn’t feel very much at home over there anymore, so we decided to strike out on our own. The community at CSBG was excellent, and the comments were almost always brilliant, with commenters offering not only their own takes on the posts but also adding to the collective knowledge of all of us. It really was a nice place on the internet, where very rarely did people get out of control, and everyone was almost always polite. When that went away, a few of us decided to stop posting there. Greg Hatcher reached out to me and Jim MacQuarrie and asked if we wanted to put together a new blog Jim MacQuarrie reached out to Greg Hatcher and said it would be keen to put together their own blog, and Greg asked me to join (see the comments for Jim’s correction of my mistake about the founding of the blog!). We asked a few people we knew, and the Atomic Junk Shop was born!

We’ve had a good time this past year, and we hope you have too. We don’t have the traffic yet that CSBG had, but that took a while, too, and we think we’re building a nice community here, too. I love comments, and we have a bunch of knowledgeable readers who are always willing to engage in conversations, and we hope this little corner of the pop culture internet is a good place to visit. We want to be here a long time, because there are always fascinating things to write about and discuss! So we hope that you help spread the word about us, as some of you have already (and thanks for that!). If you read something you like here, tweet about it, post about it on Facebook, even extol us on Musical.ly! And I’d like to invite everyone to leave a comment here, especially if you’ve been lurking. Hey, we love readers, so if you don’t like commenting, that’s fine, but we also want to hear from you!

So we’re a year old. We couldn’t have done it without our readers, of course, and our group of fine writers. I don’t know if you guys listen to Al Kennedy’s podcast “House to Astonish,” but it’s always interesting. Greg Hatcher, of course, is our pop culture guru, and he’s a fine writer and a hell of a nice guy. Jim MacQuarrie is a terrific writer, too, and he handles most of the behind-the-scenes stuff (like, 99% of it), so you’re reading this because of him! Our resident comedian (I’m serious!) is John Trumbull, who will thank you not to confuse him with the Revolutionary War painter. Spencer Keane, one of our slightly younger writers, is our video game, animation, and toy expert. Our other younger writer, Toni Adams, brings an interesting perspective to pop culture stuff that we old dudes sometimes miss. Travis is, well, Travis. And, of course, there’s this guy. We’ve had a few other writing for us – Le Messor has written one article for us, and we hope it’s the first of many, we recently had a guest post by old-school CSBGer Pol Rua, and we had a nice Wonder Woman post from Sarah Beach. We hope to have more, too. We have a good group, with a lot of different opinions and outlooks, which I think makes this a pretty neat place to visit.

So thanks for the last year, everyone. We hope you like it here and stick with us. We’re just getting started!

44 Comments

  1. Eric van Schaik

    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ALL OF THE GANG.

    It took me a while to find you guys again after leaving CBR, but I’m glad did.
    Your my favorite writer of the group Greg but I like reading the other posts as well.
    Hope to read from all of you for many many years.

    Greetings from The Netherlands
    Eric

  2. Tim Dennie

    I remember I was heartbroken (well, confused, and then heartbroken) when CSBG switched over to flat CBR, not the least of which because I remembered when the same thing destroyed the Anime On DVD community in a flash (which pretty directly killed my engagement with anime in general). I remember I looked up Greg and Greg on Twitter to see what was up, but that was still before the junk shop. It was just luck, while searching for one of Hatcher’s old articles (either DC sword and sorcery comics of the 70s or pulp heroes of the 70s, I forget which) that I ended up here. Which I’m glad I did, because sites like this keep me engaged while the sludge pool that is DC/Marvel keeps trying to push me out. (Works AJS has directly lead me to include: Heart in a Box, Princess Ugg, Afterlife with Archie/Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Gotham by Midnight, and Murder Book).

    So happy anniversary, and thank you for being a place where every other article isn’t “10 reasons why Curt Swan’s/Grant Morrison’s/John Byrne’s Superman will always be the REAL Superman!”

    Tim

  3. Pol Rua

    Congratulations! The Atomic Junk Shop is something all of you should be super-proud of. It’s thoughtful, entertaining and always fascinating.
    One thing I’ve noticed with a lot of sites like this is a really high ‘noise’ to ‘signal’ ratio, and it’s great to have a site like this which is so dense with great content without all the associated nonsense that so often gets in the way.

  4. Peter

    Thanks for the great site! I hope it continues to grow in readership and great content. I enjoy that you guys are trying to foster a lively comments section when so many other places (CBR, the AV Club…) seem to be discouraging it.

    1. Greg Burgas

      Peter: Thanks for the nice words! I saw that the AV Club switched over their comments, which seems to have slowed them down, and that’s too bad. We love comments, so we’re not planning on changing things any time soon!

  5. Corrin Radd

    Congrats! I found the site only recently but visit often. I celebrated your anniversary by going to Cartoon Crossroads Columbus where I saw speak and/or met Chris Ware, Peter Bagge, Jeff Smith, Evan Dorkin, Nate Powell, John Porcellino, Chris Sprouse, Kevin Huizenga, Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky, Kyle Baker, Noah Van Sciver, etc.

  6. M-Wolverine

    Wow, it seems like it’s been around a lot longer than a year. Just seems normal to check it out.

    I wish there was some way we could find a few more of the old posters from CBR. A lot of them were great, and would fit in fine around here. I don’t even think looking around there would help, because no one posts there anymore as far as I can tell the rare time I peek in. Posts that would have gotten 75-100 comments get like 5 now. (I wonder if people there realized conversations generated clicks….)

    1. Greg Burgas

      M-Wolverine: Yeah, we tried to contact as many as we could, but some we just couldn’t find. It would be nice if a lot of them found us, because they would fit in just fine around here!

      frasersherman: That was the worst thing ever, and I think that might have angered some people almost as much as the format change! I’m glad I found the “wayback machine” on Google, because the comments are still intact, but I don’t think you can get to every single post that way.

        1. M-Wolverine

          Yeah, Rene and LouReedRichards come to mind. Rene I think was the one I tried to email, because besides liking him I had his email because when the site was giving out everyone else’s email when you tried to log in his popped up. But it was a Brazil email and I don’t think it worked. It might have just been a non-functional email for logging into site purposes.

  7. Minor quibble, but my ego is involved, so here goes:

    “Greg Hatcher reached out to me and Jim MacQuarrie and asked if we wanted to put together a new blog. ”

    What actually happened was, every comics site in the world reached out to Greg and asked him to come write for them for free… excuse me, “for exposure.” I send him a note and said “there’s working for free, and there’s working for yourself,” and suggested that owning your own site and content is a far better way to go than giving it away for somebody else to profit from, and offered to build and host the site with as many other writers as we could get.

    Fortunately Greg liked the idea and rounded up a great team.

      1. Hey, I know I was fourth, and few things have delighted me more than when Burgas suggested me to the other two and Hatcher gave me a rousing vote of approval.

        What? No, it’s dusty in here. That’s why my eyes are watering.

        Stop looking at me!

        Ahem.

        No wonder they wanted me.

        And I will lay claim to being the one who pushed for a vigorous comment section, since that’s what led me to sticking around at the old place for all those years. Glad to have all of you around, and people who haven’t commented, feel free!

  8. Jeff Nettleton

    I want to thank Greg Hatcher and Travis for reaching out to alert me to the launch. The loss of CSBG pretty much killed my reason for going to CBR. I dabbled a bit in the message boards; but, the bulk of it wasn’t quite my crowd. The Classic Comics Forum turned out to be more my scene, so I went there. Between there and here, I am in comic heaven.

    With my move now complete, I hope to be one of those contributors in the second year, once I get everything put together. Then I can get a dose of my own opinionated medicine! 🙂

  9. yoda510

    I read all the time, but I used to log in once a year and give Greg crap about his end of the year rant. You know, you shouldn’t have an end of the year list until the year is completely over, so by the time Greg gets his posted no one cares anymore. But hey, a 1 year anniversary deserves an extra post. I am sure this has been quite an undertaking for everyone involved, so congrats on one year.

  10. Alaric

    Congratulations on the anniversary! I may not post here as often as I used to at CSBG (and I didn’t post there quite as often as some people, either), but I’m still a regular reader (I frequently mean to post a comment on one thing or another, but somehow I don’t get around to it). The articles here are, as others have said, always thoughtful and interesting, as well as being on remarkably varied topics, and I appreciate that they’re always written clearly as personal opinions, not attempts to set the writer’s point of view in stone as some sort of absolute truth (unlike far too much on the Internet and elsewhere). Here’s hoping for many more years to come.

  11. Simon

    Happy birthday, Astoria Junk Shop!

    (You’d have to ask Travis or read JAKA’S STORY.)

    – “On 1 October, 2016”

    Logical date formats (DMY or YMD) are better, but shouldn’t you follow the site’s “October 1” style? When in Rome…

    – “We don’t have the traffic yet that CSBG had”

    * Did you send a new press release? At worst, it may trigger a second friendly plug from The Outhouse, The Beat, and Comics Alliance. (Making the PR short and funny would increase its chances. Or including links to sample articles with mass appeal.)

    * Contact “link bloggers”? (Ala Comics A.M.) They may plug an AJS item more easily in their news roundups. (Such as Chris Casos’s COMICS DUNGEON NEWSLETTER at Comics Dungeon, Joe Gordon’s STUFF (& POSSIBLY NONSENSE) at Forbidden Planet, GP’s AROUND THE TUBES at Graphic Policy, Tom Spurgeon’s WEEK IN REVIEW at The Comics Reporter, certainly more.)

    * Add AJS to the UPDATE-A-TRON? @ http://comicweblog.blogspot.com/ (Dropping a request on-site or contacting BobH via this related post.)

    * Have each comics review be its own page? This would make them listable @ http://comicbookroundup.com/ for inbound traffic.

    (Thanks for reading this, Greg!)

    * Does the site send pingbacks when you link to an article? There are no internal or external pingbacks visible from AJS. (Letting others know you linked to them can bring a little traffic.) Actually, does the site even accepts pingbacks? There are none visible on AJS, even when a WordPress blogger links to your articles.

    * Increase the RSS window? Currently, an article’s comment feed only exposes the last 10 comments. So, if 10+N comments are posted inside of a few hours under a hot article, RSS readers will miss N comments. (On CBR this was set to 20 comments, on The Outhouse it’s 30 articles.)

    * Shrink the background image? That “bendaydots-2.png” is almost 1 MB. Couldn’t it be a much smaller image set as “background-repeat: repeat;” wallpaper? (Bandwith, bandwith, bandwith.)

    * Add a 16px variant of the favicon? (The current one, shrunken to this size, looks like an iceberg.)

    (Thanks for reading that, Watson!)

    1. Greg Burgas

      Simon: I always do DMY for my dates, so I didn’t even think about matching it up with the site’s. Oh well!

      You know Comics Alliance is dead, right? So sad. 🙁

      All of the things you mention are interesting, but I don’t know how to do them, except the update-a-tron (which I always liked). The blog stuff is Jim’s domain. If he reads this, maybe he’ll do it, and if not, I’ll bring it up to him.

      Thanks for reading, sir! We appreciate all your fun comments!

      1. Simon

        @Greg: Apparently, someone warned you to maybe Wayback-archive your fav Comics Alliance posts before they may vanish — a someone who six months later had plumb forgot about that shutdown. …D’oh!

        Also forgot to list Philippe Leblanc’s new monthly linkblog SMALL PRESS & INDIE COMICS GALORE at The Beat — but posting there’s apparently possible again, so you have been reported, sir, of that you can be sure, for possible inclusion in the November installment. (Though you may still wanna contact Hidee MacDee for her weekly KIBBLES ‘N’ BITS roundup?)

        Too bad you don’t know how to make each comics review its own page — CBRU is allegedly a nice little traffic earner that even CBR’s reviewers used. (And it’s just more practical, for instance to link to previous reviews.)

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