Thursday, January 10, 2013

The End of an Era

   Cliff told me yesterday that The Comics Buyers Guide is ceasing publication after four decades. This gave me one of those "Aww gee" moments, as CBG holds a special place in Comic Book fandom and for me an even more special place in my career as a writer.
   If you're not familiar with CBG, it originally started back in 1971 as a tabloid newspaper for comic book collectors called the Buyer's Guide to Comics Fandom. Not long after I discovered the paper in the early 1980s, the original publisher, Alan Light, sold the tabloid to Krause Publications who installed Don and Maggie Thompson as the editors. In those pre-internet days CBG was the primary source of news and information about comic books as well as being a place where you could find advertisements from stores and other collectors for comics, books, videos, and all those things fans love.
   A couple of years after I first subscribed, CBG also became the first place to actually buy my writing. My first professional sale was to The Comics Buyers Guide. It happened like this. I was attending the Chicago Comics Con and Cliff Biggers, Ward Batty and some other friends and I had gone to dinner with Don and Maggie. Somehow it came up that I was a karate instructor and Don started quizzing me on various martial arts related subjects. Apparently he liked my answers to his questions because he asked me if I'd like to write a column about fighting and violence in comic books. I said I would and for the next three years I wrote a couple of columns a month for CBG. I still have the stub from my first check from Krause. That column would lead to me becoming a comic book writer a little while later, but that's a story for another time.
   I'm not the only one who got his start with CBG. Many writers broke in through those pages before going on to other things. And many writers who were already pros contributed articles and columns to the paper as well. As I said, back in the day, it was THE place for comics fans.
   What it boils down to is that there never was anything else quite like CBG and there will never be again. An era has ended, folks.

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