Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

‘We’ve got five years, what a surprise’

Well, what do you know, today is our fifth anniversary! Five years of the Atomic Junk Shop, which is pretty cool, if you ask me. I’m not sure if it’s a “surprise,” as David Bowie once warbled, but we’re pretty glad to have gotten this far. No plans to stop, either, so you might be stuck with us for the foreseeable future. Every year, I do an anniversary post, and I just write about our many talented writers. This year, we thought we’d do something different, and any writers who are available to chime in with their favorite posts, plus ones by other writers that they dig. In case you missed any that have come up over the past five years, you can check out ones our excellent group of writers recommend! (Or you can just click on their names to see all their work!)

Edo Bosnar

Honestly, I don’t think any of the stuff I’ve posted here matches the quality of the material produced by my esteemed colleagues, but I guess there’s a few posts that are worth highlighting. I still think one of my best is is one of the earliest I wrote, about the first indie comic book I ever read. I enjoyed writing it, and it ended up eliciting a trickle of interesting responses months afterward. I’m also pretty proud of the piece I posted about the Covid Chronicles web comic, which featured interviews with its creators, Ethan Sacks (script) and Dalibor Talajić (art). Among other things, since I had stopped working at my part-time job at Croatian Radio as of the end of 2017, it was nice doing a bit of ‘journalistic’ work again. Otherwise, though, I like it when posts at this site get a ton of responses and spark lively discussions in the comment threads. Only a few of mine ever managed to do that, and my personal favorites among those are the one about ‘TV Elseworlds’ and the one about the pros and cons of the Holodeck on Star Trek.

My favorite post by another AJS contributor? I’m gonna go with one of Greg Hatcher’s ‘Real Things’ columns posted late last year.

Greg Burgas

Of course, everything I write for this blog is a precious jewel, and you should appreciate all of it, but I do like a few things a bit more than others. Generally I’m proudest of my Comics You Should Own columns, because I really enjoy diving deep into various comics, and I think I do a pretty good job of it, and they’re a bit more interesting than just straight reviews (not that I don’t dig those, but they’re not as deep). I’ve been reprinting a lot of them from the olden days, but since we’ve moved over here, my personal favorites are the ones I wrote about The Winter Men, The Wild Storm, The Wicked + The Divine, and Westward. I don’t write too often about the “culture,” meaning “What’s the meaning of all of this?!?!?” because a controversy today becomes nothing in the future, and some hawt taeks from years ago start to look a little silly after some years have passed. I do think my column “The Insidious Lure of Nostalgia” is still, sadly, relevant, but maybe I’m wrong (and it’s only been a few years, too – maybe it will be far less relevant in another five or ten years). I also have a soft spot for my 50th birthday post, but that’s just me.

As for my favorite post by another writer … dang, that’s tough. I really do enjoy reading this blog when I’m not writing the posts, and we have a pretty cool, eclectic bunch here, so it’s hard picking one favorite. I’m going to avoid Greg Hatcher’s stuff, because I assume a lot of people will pick one of his columns (he is, after all, the best writer we have). So I looked through everyone else’s posts, and dang, we have some cool writing here. We really ought to have a bigger audience! Anyway, I still dig Jim’s column about breakfast cereals and cults is fascinating. Who knew? So that’s the one I pick as my favorite by someone else, but honestly, I could have picked any of a few dozen choices! [I was the first person to write, so I assumed more people would pick a column by Greg, but you can still check them out if you click on his name!]

Jim MacQuarrie

I think I might be the one who writes about “the culture” more than anyone else here, at least lately, but I also think that the topics I’ve chosen are not likely to go away anytime soon, more’s the pity. I mean, incels are only getting worse, and my ‘Of Red Pills and Fandom‘ post has only gotten more relevant. I’m hopeful that eventually ‘Masculinity in the Movies‘ WILL become a silly artifact of its time, because the post-millennials are pretty great and they are not having the BS anymore. I guess I’m something of a freak of my generation, because I love the Zoomers and post-millennials and the changes they’re pushing for. Call me “woke” if you must, sneer at me for being an “SJW,” I’m okay with that, because as I said in my “Fandom, Entitlement, and the Alt-Right‘ post, that’s kinda the point of superhero comics, idnit?

So yeah, for the past five years, Atomic Junk Shop has given me a platform to rant about societal ills, and I’m proud of those posts, but which posts are my favorites? I really liked the “Hell Plaza Multiplex” posts, but the posts I think I’ve shared the most are “Who Are You Calling a Boomer?” and “The Captains Marvel“. The ones I’m post proud of, I think, might be my story about Dick York (Bewitched‘s Darren), and my memorials for musician Thom Moore and my friend Wally Oden.

Oh, and now that I’m no longer employed by a certain rodent, it’s probably okay to admit that I wrote our review of Captain Marvel under a pseudonym, Pat Fletcher (Patrick is my middle name, and fletchers make arrows). It was a contractual obligation.

As for posts by my fellow Junk Shop members, I think my favorites have to be the many varied Roundtables, like this one, Reboots and Retcons, this one, Who is Dr. Strange Anyway?, this memorial for Harlan Ellison, and our post about Stuff We Don’t Get.

Travis Pelkie

I would have picked “we’ve got five years, my brain hurts a lot” for the Bowie title quote, but that’s just me.

All I know is that I’m extremely grateful to have even been asked to be involved, let alone still be here in some form five years later.  I have to thank the Gregs, Burgas for asking me back at CSBG to co-write the Flippin’ Through Previews posts and then recommending me to come along after Jim and Greg Hatcher (ahem) hatched the plans for the Atomic Junk Shop, and then Hatcher for agreeing that I should come along, and then for his kind words a few years later, when we cleared up that although one of my email addresses is similar to someone else’s screen name, I was not in fact one of the moderators at the old place, and Hatcher said something to the effect that it made sense to him now, as I was funnier than that person.  Getting praised by someone whose work you really admire a lot is very ego-boosting!

Dialogue: "But not you. Uh, we couldn't survive... without you, Greg, and... also Greg?" - Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine'
I’ve been waiting for somewhere to use this bit of dialogue from Brooklyn Nine-Nine (episode 6.7 “The Honeypot”).
Hope you can read it!

I’m not sure how good any of my columns are, although I like to think that, especially in the first couple years, I came up with a lot of clever titles, like “That’s What Friends Are For, to Read the Comics They’re Buying For You”, about when I was picking up comics at the comics shop for a friend and read them instead of reading my own.  I‘d say my favorite column might be this one, though, in response to our pal Buttler (Sam).

I always like to look at everything the rest of the gang publishes, but to keep it to one in particular, I’ll say a John Trumbull column about Munch Week, since my girlfriend and I went back to the beginning of Law and Order: SVU and I started digging Munch as a character.  Plus, John is awesome (as are we all here.  As are we all.)

Our other writers couldn’t get to this, so I’ll just point them out. Greg Hatcher is still dealing with medical issues, but it seems like, from his wife’s updates, that he’s very slowly getting better, so maybe it won’t be too long before he will be well enough to be writing for us again. Send him good thoughts! Mik Bennett always has interesting things to say about Christian representation in pop culture. Corinna Lawson hasn’t posted too much, and she said in our Slack that she wasn’t sure she had been here long enough to add anything. Her posts so far have been pretty keen, though. Fraser Sherman has been doing some nice work for us, as well, but he may have missed the announcement that we were doing this, because we just brought it up yesterday. And John Trumbull claimed he would contribute, but you just can’t trust those dudes named after Revolutionary War-era painters, can you? Our other contributors over the past five years have been Al Kennedy, Matt, Spencer Keane, Toni Adams, Pol Rua, Sarah Beach, Watson, and Patrick (who, as Jim pointed out above, was him). Despite not posting much over the years, I don’t think there’s a weak spot in any of their work.

We enjoy blogging, which is why we keep doing it. I really like reading this blog, as the writers always come at things from interesting angles, and they make me consider things I hadn’t thought of and bring stuff to my attention that I might not have known about. It has been a fun and interesting five years, and we hope to do it as long as we have an audience. We appreciate you guys a whole heck of a lot, obviously, and we hope you enjoy reading the blog as much as we do creating it. We like comments, too, so say hello! If you’re a lurker, now is the perfect time to say “hi,” and if you’re a regular commenter, now’s the perfect time to tell us how you’re doing. Here’s to another five years … and more!


  1. conrad1970

    Wow 5 years already, it’s scary how fast the years go by.
    One question I’d like to ask, is Greg Hatcher doing ok? I can’t remember the last time he posted anything. Really hope he and his wife are alright and if not please send him my best wishes.

    1. Greg Burgas

      conrad: You gotta read more closely, sir! 🙂 I mentioned that he’s doing better, but it’s slow going and his wife doesn’t know how long he’s still going to be hospitalized. It seems like they took forever to figure out what was wrong with him, so they’re going very slowly to make sure they actually have figured it out. I’m sure he will eventually give us an update, but it might take a while, unfortunately.

  2. tomfitz1

    Burgas: I agree with T.P. – I don’t think we could survive AJS without the two Gregs (and T.P., of course).

    Congrats on AJS’ 5th year!

    May we all survive another 5 years of AJS!!! 😉

  3. Alaric

    I don’t comment here nearly as often as I should (or as I mean to), but thank you all for five years of wonderful, insightful, thoughtful, interesting, thought-provoking, and fun posts.

  4. Terrible-D

    Five years already!? Man, I still remember how crushed I felt when the old place changed course, and I thought the majority of writers would be scattered to the winds, or even possibly not continue writing. If only you could have brought your former overlord along. He is literally the only reason I end up back there.
    Anyways, congratulations on another year. Hopefully we all get to enjoy many more together.

    1. Greg Burgas

      I’m glad we were able to bring a few people over from the old blog, and I’m very happy that we’re still able to do this. It’s fun for me, and I always try to make it fun for everyone!

      I don’t know if you know this, but Jim has some longstanding feud with Brian (I don’t know what it is, because it’s none of my business!), so he did not want us to even reach out to Brian when we started this. Brian seems to be doing okay, so it all worked out.

      1. It’s not a feud, because a feud goes two ways. He’s too self-centered and narcissistic to even understand why I hate his guts or why the shitty things he did to me were shitty.

        He’s not welcome here, and if he creates an account to comment here it will be immediately deleted and blocked, because I can be as much of an asshole moderator as he is.

        1. Greg Burgas

          Ha! One day we’re going to get you up to Seattle for dinner with Greg and Julie and my wife, and we’ll get you good and drunk and you’ll tell us all about it! 🙂

  5. Ryan Sargent

    Hi! I’ve been following many of you since the before times at The Old Place. I was thrilled when you all found your new home here at Atomic Junk Shop. Congratulations on five years! Here’s to many more, and thanks for all the great posts.

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