Now we are two. No, not me. I'm not two! I'm almost six-and-eleven-twelfths. No, today is an important day not only because thirty years ago the coolest movie in the universe premiered, inadvertently spawning an entire growth industry where it was okay to reclaim the term "stormtrooper" as something that was fun to dress up as rather than getting you banned from the B'nai Brith for expressing your fascination with. (As Randal Graves might say, we're takin' that term back!) Anyway. Two years ago this little stuffed bull sat down at a computer keyboard and hesitantly hunt-and-pecked the words Amazing Spider-Man #520 and other comics of the week! Yes, folks, today is the second anniversary of Bully Says: Comics Oughta Be Fun! (Warning: this is a somewhat indulgent self-congratulatory post, so if you don't care for that kind of horn-tooting, even with real horns, you may of course feel free to skip to the bottom for your special bonus: the secret origin of Bully!)
Why did I start blogging? Well, each week after I read my comics I wanted to talk to somebody about them, or even give my excited opinion. But when no one around me is paying attention to my little squeaks, who will? Why, the internet, of course! Especially inspired by a cool and fun scene in Amazing Spider-Man where Aunt May faced down Wolverine, I started my first blog entry. Now don't get all pedantic on me and note that my Blogger profile says I joined in September 2005. The first several months of my blog were actually laboriously hand-coded in HTML and posted on my own domain, LittleStuffedBull.com. (That site still exists but it's basically been abandoned as far as new content is concerned. I keep thinking about moving the whole blog hosting over to it. One'a these days...) It didn't take more than a handful of entries on and off through the summer of 2005 to realize that coding manually was a pain in my little bean-filled butt, and also that I was blogging to an audience of exactly one: me. At the same time I began discovering the comics blogosphere and realized there actually were web tools to make it easy to blog. I signed on with Blogspot/Blogger and I haven't looked back once. Well, a few times when I've stepped in some mud, but there you go.
Two years later I am astonished at the joy and fun I get out of doing this, and the great comments and feedback I get on what I like to call my little puppet-town cowblog. I've only met a handful of my fellow bloggers and commentators in person, but through your writings in comments and your own blogs, I feel like I know you all very well. And while I know you ought not to pay attention to your blog traffic, it warms my little red satin stuffed heart when I see people actually do wanna come by and gawk at what I read. I once made a joke (and not all that long ago!) that I was blogging daily to an audience of thirty-seven. Well, the number's gone up significantly since then, and it's you all I have to thank for it. I 'specially wanna thank Kevin for a great deal of laughter, help, and sharing his illegal Pet Shop Boys MP3s with me, and Laura for a great deal of moral support and inspiration.
On blogiversaries it seems to be traditional to sometimes look back. If you read back far enough in the big barn of Bully's backlog you'll often see a blogger struggling to find his niche and his voice. Early entries were infrequent, scattered, sometimes unfocused. (Witness one entry simply for the purpose of scolding a Brooklyn eatery for their bad pancakes). In my first year of blogging there were some months I only blogged once or twice. I don't feel that I really hit my stride until the start of my second yearand even then, what with taking most of June 2006 off for a mental break, it was a little late coming. I decided to post daily in the summer of 2006, and aside from a few planned (and a handful of unplanned) exceptions I've hit with a blog entry (sometimes two or more) on most days of the year since then. Please pardon the self-indulgence (after all, if you can't celebrate yourself on your blogiversary, what can you celebrate?)but here's a rundown of my favorites to date (more or less in chronological order), and I hope you like/liked them too:
- Eternal sunshine of the little stuffed mind: commentary on All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #2. I do believe this is the first post I made that got linked to from another blog (thanks, Ragnell!), sending me on the coasting path of the thrills you get from an external link.
- Ben Grimm Totally Rocks!: the first installment of a feature focusing on my favorite superhero. I thought I would probably run this idea into the ground pretty fast but I'm surprised sometimes how infrequently I do it. Incidentally, I first posted this as "Ben Grimm Totally Rules." It took me about 24 hours to realize how much more appropriate the word "rocks" would be. The wonders of Blogger made it much easier to fix than the old hand-coding method!
- Magnum Force: the first of my long-form comics overviews, lookin' at a British Annual comic of one of my favorite TV shows ever, Magnum, P.I.. I'm still giggling at my own Michael Caine and Brian Michael Bendis jokes there.
- Leggo Mjolnir!: although not named as such, the first real "Ten of a Kind."
- Ditko in the eighties, or: "The Tipping Point of Mister Benjamin J. Grimm": A lot of times I am inspired by another blogger's posts and I start to respond at length in their comments before realizing that I'm actually writing a blog post of my own. Here's one that grew out of a comment I started to post on BeaucoupKevin about Ditko's eighties Marvel work and whether or not the Thing is a good tipper.
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Flash: I was very happy with the way this essay came out: a review of the Chinese movie The Promise...and how it felt to me like a Barry Allen Elseworlds story.
- Can robots pick up Thor's hammer?: Why yes. Yes, they can.
- The World's Greatest Comics Magazine Logo: a lengthy illustrated history of my love affair with the Fantastic Four cover logo.
- Who's in your league?: You can't force a meme. The ones that work just happen. I was surprised at the eager responses I got when I posted my choices for a modern-day League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
- Ten of a Kind: Look at My Butt!: I do think this may be my favorite "Ten of a Kind," ever. And yes, there will definitely be a sequel some day.
- Dr. Doom: Party Animal: one of my favorite posts ever helped me sharpen my love of scanning old panels out of Marvel Essentials and captioning them with wacky comments.
- A Visit from Doctor Doom: in which Victor von Doom took over my blog for a weekend. He renamed it, did "Ten of a Kind" and "Sam Scratch," wrote some reviews, walked down Yancy Street, and had a run-in with a beloved children's book character. And oh yes: Doom loves Lorelei.
- "You get what everyone gets, you get a lifetime.": Rendered moot by later events, but at the tail end of these weekly reviews is a little short story about the final fate of a favorite hero.
- The fearful symmetry of Star Wars: At last, a chance to expound my "symmetrical opening and closing scenes" theory about Star Wars.
- The Man in the Iron Mask: I was wrong, dead wrong. But it woulda been fun, wouldn't it have?
- The Unsettling Slang of Mister Clint Barton: First in a series (and not just restricted to Clint, either). If the Thing is the heralded hero of this blog, then Hawkeye is its focus of derisive giggles.
- Math: Every now and then I shut up and let the pictures do the talkin'.
- Go, Tony, Go!: I'll buy Iron Man as a womanizer, not as a traitor and murderer.
- The Little Things: one of my favorite moments from the Superman animated cartoon.
- War without End: I wonder if anybody clicked on the photo to get the full effect?
- Bully's Fantastic Christmas: part one of a twelve-part serial story inspired by those counting-down to Christmas comic strips of yesteryear. I can't draw, so I wrote one instead.
- A trip to London: an index to the several dozen posts on my Christmas 2006 holiday in London. I'm especially pleased to have captured the memory of quite possibly one of the most perfect days of my life.
- Crisis on Infinite Small Worlds After All: Man, is the Disney Multiverse ever freakin' weird.
- Colorforms: I was really, really happy how well this one came out. Quite possibly my favorite post, ever.
- Book 'Em, Spidey!: part one of a series I really oughta get back to: examining the Spidey storyline of Peter's Webs book tour.
- GIANT GREEN STAR WARS RABBIT!: 'Nuff said.
- The Multiple Crimes of Henry Mitchell: Why Dennis isn't the biggest menace after all.
- Roughhousing: A Civil War #7 Parable.
- The Mighty Clor: Part 1 of 5. One of those things I was sure someone else was gonna do before I got a chance to do it. I do hope everybody sang along at the end.
- Do You Yahoo?: I'm told I made someone cry with this one.
- Let's Cook with Cap!: I really need to make this a regular feature.
- Breakfast at Forbidden Planet: Every time I go in there I wonder if the FP-NYC employees saw this.
- James T. Quack: Captain Kirk = Scrooge McDuck.
- The Story of Easter...as told by cover book covers with bunnies on them.
- The fault, cursed Richards...: The comic book that made me love Doctor Doom.
- A Wodehouse a Week: The first entry of my newest project. Two years to go...
- Everybody does laundry sometimes: But I refuse to pose with tentacles.
- Giant Green Star Wars Rabbit: The Special Edition: Hey, I remember this one as if it were yesterday.
Whew! What a long, fuzzy trip it's been. I've had a lot of fun doing all of these and I hope to have even more fun in Year Three and beyond.
Oh, and a little bonus for reading this self-indulgent post so far...
("Who he is and how he came to be")
Ready for it?...
...I came from a catalogue.
To be precise, that's not me. You may note the name "Trixie"that's my Mama Bull in her early years as a catalogue model (sheesh, Mom, put some clothes on!). But I am, as they say, "cut from the same cloth." Literally! I was discovered in the now-closed Manhattan store Little Ricky's and taken home to live in Brooklyn with my best pal John. It is, as Clarence the Angel has been heard to observe, a wonderful life. And I've very happy to have shared these past two years with all of you. I'm looking forward to many more, and although I don't know what's ahead of me on the long and winding road, I can say one thing for a certainty...
...it's gonna be fun!