I was skimming through Bill Hollbrook's Kevin and Kell site and found an old link to the Compuserve Comics and Anime forum. That brought back some great memories.
Back in 1994, I was just getting started in comics (not that I ever got very far in comics, but that's a different story), and I was just migrating from Prodigy to Compuserve because that's where anyone who was anyone in comics hung out. Damn, looking back on that now, I can say I used to hobnob with Peter David, Warren Ellis, John Byrne, Bob Ingersoll, Tony Isabella, Rob Davis, Jim Valentino, Joe Monks, Bernie Wrightson, Dave Olbrich and a host of others I'm certain I'll remember as soon as I finish this entry. I got to see a number of people get started in the industry too like Sean McKeever and Paul Storie. Good guys and gals.
Plus, I had the opportunity to meet and visit with a number of retailers like Gib Bickel of the Laughing Ogre in Columbus OH, the late Lee Tenant of Chicago, and Brian Hibbs in San Francisco. There was a lot of wisdom available for a new comic writer/publisher available if you were willing to listen.
The Wednesday Evening Chat was fast, furious and a hell of a lot of fun. I made a lot of good friends and it was fun to have the Compuserve get-togethers at ChicagoCon and Dragon*Con.
I also got introduced into the wonderful world of Anime and Manga there. I remember the people who got the Japanese versions of Pokemon and such and played the games, giving us a walk through while they translated from the Japanese. It was fun to get to see what a game would be like long before it ever reached America. Plus, this was the height of fan-subs and getting copies of anime videos direct from Japan . . . series that still to this day have never been translated into English.
Then, things changed. DC began requiring their people to post on AOL more, then people began setting up their own web sites with their own message boards and the group began to scatter. There are places out on the net where writers hang out now, there was something about the dynamics of the Comics Forum that is almost impossible to replicate these days.
Well, after seeing the link on Bill's site, I decided to see what was going on back in my old stomping grounds. I really wish I hadn't. AOL (who bought out Compuserve) dumped the forums out onto the web, cutting out a lot of the old users who did most of their stuff off-line using readers. There are about six people keeping the forum alive these days.
It's true, you can never go home again. But, still, tonight, I'll raise a glass to Doug Pratt, Chris Swett and the Comics and Anime Forums. Gentlemen, you fought the good fight and gave this old guy a whole lot of entertainment. I can't thank you enough for that.