As things with Silver Bullet Comics started to settle down and fade away, I found myself at a loss for what to do next. I had just spent the last year and a half working from home on a comic news website. I was bringing in some money doing lettering, of course, but not enough to sustain myself at the time. So I had to do something.
Luckily, a friend and former colleague brought an idea to mind and pushed me in that direction: my own comic news website!
I don't remember exactly how long after I SBC shut down that all this happened, but I know it wasn't too terribly long. I was still with SBC through Christmas of the year it shut down, but come the new year I'd never hear from the former owner again. I was, however, in contact with the woman that brought me into SBC in the first place. She had left not long after I was there because of her own investment and all the issues with SBC. We'll call her "JG" for the purposes of this column.
She had been warning me for a while about the practices of the SBC owner, but I was kind of caught in the middle, hearing two completely different stories, not sure which to believe. I was more inclined to believe JG, but the owner was paying me, after all, and pleaded with me his case time and time again. I'm a good guy, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. In this case, it ended up biting me in the long run, but I think I handled things the best way I could given the circumstances.
So anyway, JG comes to me one day and plants the suggestion that I should just start my own site. In her words, I practically ran SBC myself and did a darn good job of it, so why not? And that's what I said to myself: Why not?
We began talking over the particulars and everything, and I realized to do it at the level we wanted to do it, I couldn't afford it considering I had just lost my job. JG offered to back me financially to start the site, provided I was involved 100% running and managing it. I didn't even have to think about that, I said "Let's do it!"
We reached out to some of the writers from SBC, and they were ALL more than happy to join us in this new endeavor. In fact, I had only been shown this much support in a venture one time before, when I left a comic company and many of the creators were loyal to me. It was the same here. Apparently, I had made an impression running SBC, and they all looked forward to working with JG and I on this new site idea.
After we had the staff in place, we started brainstorming names. There were a LOT of duds, let me tell ya. I don't remember a single one of the names we batted around, though I can tell you probably 90% had the word "Comic" in it with some type of alliteration (like "Comic Cove" for example, and actually, that might have been one of them!). Nothing was clicking, though. I think one we considered was some form of "Comic Experience" but all the variations in spelling and word combos we could come up with were taken as far as domain names go. So we went back to the drawing board.
I don't recall whether it was JG, myself or someone else (because we had about 9 people in the naming loop) that finally came up with the name we would eventually settle on, but it just seemed to click.
The name was "Absolute Edition" playing off the DC Comics hardcover omnibus collections they put out from time to time (like "Sandman: Absolute Edition HC"). Sure, there was the chance people would think it was a DC-centric site, but it just seemed to fit. We were thinking of ourselves as the end-all-be-all of comic news sites. The "Absolute Edition."
With the name decided, my graphic skills went to work coming up with logo designs. I believe it was JG that suggested the "Inside Edition" play on the logo, only reversed. If you're not familiar, here's the "Inside Edition" logo:
We decided to do something similar, only reversed. Sadly, a hard drive crash wiped all images I had created for this new site out completely. But this facsimile I just created for the purposes of this column is basically what we were thinking design wise:
It may or may not have had that extra box around it, and it may or may not have been exactly like that at all. In fact, part of me thinks "edition" might have been white text on a black background. I really don't recall.
The point is it was designed to be an inverse version of the "Inside Edition" logo, although, admittedly, not as flashy. But whether it was said or not, in my mind, I was thinking "if the name evokes DC, then the logo design will evoke Marvel." So then people would get the feel of both major companies when coming to the site.
I had also designed the entire layout of the site, and we were starting to talk to web designers. Again, sadly, all my designs for the site are gone, but it was a neat layout that many sites have adapted. This was before CBR and Newsarama had their makeovers. It was before CR had theirs too. We had looked at various sites and taken elements we liked, and then tweaked things to fit our vision. Had we been able to launch the site, we would have been the innovator and the others would have followed suit. Or at least it would have appeared that way.
But alas, the site would never come to be thanks to a job offer I received. But we'll have to save that for next time.
Next Week: The job that cost me a dream, but led me to something even better.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!