Today, Sequart celebrates its 17th birthday.
Thank you to everyone who has made this possible — from our contributors to our readers, from the comics professionals who have embraced our projects to the fans who have enjoyed and shared our work online. It has meant more than you can ever know that you have shared this dream of treating comics seriously — and creating work that educates the world about comics’ merit.
Now’s a good time to review where we’ve been — and where we’re going.
1996: as an undergraduate upset over scholarly rejection of comic books as a legitimate form of art, every bit as vital and deserving of respect as novels or film, I begin writing analytic articles about comics. The nascent internet provides a perfect venue. I learn HTML and post my work online on my personal website. In the coming years, the Continuity Pages — a series of introductory articles, each with an index of comics by continuity and not simply by title — garners considerable traffic.
For its first six years of life, what would become Sequart grows into a large amount of resources, from articles to indexes, on my personal website.
August 2002: reviewer Matt Martin joins the staff as the first of many other writers. For the occasion, my library of comics analysis and resources moves to its own website, ContinuityPages.com, named for its most popular feature. Sequart still isn’t named Sequart, but it has its own website and identity for the first time.
Late 2003: Mike Phillips e-mails me, impressed with the site and interested in helping any way he can. Over the next couple years, he makes himself indispensable, rising to the position of Editor-in-Chief in 2005.
April 2004: with reviews and articles by various authors now eclipsing the Continuity Pages, I relaunch the site as Sequart.com, taking the new name from my 2003 essay “The Sequart Manifesto.” Sequart is finally Sequart, although it’s known as Sequart.com.
Summer 2004: realizing the site, still in static HTML, can’t grow and compete without better programming, I teach myself PHP. Over the next few years, more and more sections of the site are redesigned or debut.
September 2005: Sequart’s first book, my own study of Batman Begins, is released in time for the film’s DVD release. The book line is initially called Sequart.com Books.
February 2006: after a few minor convention appearances, Sequart has a table at the first New York Comic-Con, beginning regular convention presences that continues to this day.
May 2007: Sequart.com (then in its tenth year) becomes Sequart Research & Literacy Organization, in recognition of its non-profit mission to promote comics as a legitimate art. It’s the outcome of a slow and natural evolution.
January 2008: Sequart adopts its second and current logo.
July 2008: the second edition of Timothy Callahan’s Grant Morrison: The Early Years becomes the first Sequart book to appear in Diamond’s Previews catalog. A few months later, the book is distributed to comic-book stores.
November 2008: after months of brief crashes caused by high traffic, Sequart.org crashes permanently. It’s the biggest setback in Sequart history. And it comes at the worst time, while work on books and Sequart’s first movie occupies huge amounts of time (and just one month after I’ve moved, in the midst of a personal crisis).
October 2010: Sequart’s first documentary film, Patrick Meaney’s Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods, is released. For the occasion, Sequart’s website returns, albeit in stripped-down form focusing on the organization’s books and movies.
December 2010: Sequart.org begins publishing new online content for the first time since the crash two years earlier.
11 July 2011: Sequart.org shifts to daily content, made possible by Cody Walker‘s work as webmaster. It hasn’t missed a weekday since.
Aug 2011: Sequart’s second documentary film, Patrick Meaney’s Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts, is released.
November 2011: Sequart’s book line (then consisting of eight titles) get new, cheaper editions. In the coming months, the entire book line is rolled out in the Kindle format.
August 2012: in recognition of mobile technologies, Sequart.org debuts a slimmed-down mobile edition.
November 2012: Sequart debuts its “singles” line of shorter books on various subjects, beginning with a book on Batman: The Killing Joke.
20 May 2013: Sequart.org debuts its first themed week, focused on Star Trek and followed the week later by a plethora of content for Sci-Fi Week. A short book on Jack Kirby’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is published simultaneously with the conclusion of Sci-Fi Week.
June 2013: After years of work, the Continuity Pages return in a new and improved form. Plans call for them to continue to grow as a project until they eclipse their older incarnation.
June 2013: With films on Image Comics, Chris Claremont’s X-Men, and Fredric Wertham in their final stages, Sequart announces that it’s producing a documentary film on Neil Gaiman.
August 2013: Sequart releases Shot in the Face, its book on Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson’s Transmetropolitan. It’s Sequart’s 16th book overall, including 12 books and four singles.
Today: Sequart turns 17. It’s got more books, movies, and themed weeks in the works than ever before.
While it’s nice to celebrate how much Sequart has grown, it’s important to keep in mind Sequart’s goal: to advance comics as a legitimate form of art. Whether it’s through our online articles, our books, or our movies, we hope that everything we do stirs thought and analysis about comics, helping to create a community of critical and historical understanding for comics that can one day rival that of any medium. And we hope that every single thing we do can be appreciated by comics fans but also act as an ambassador for comics, so that it can be shown to outsiders as an illustration of why comics matter and are a vital medium deserving of respect and understanding.
Whether you’re a Sequart contributor, a regular reader, or if you’ve only shared something on a social network here and there, we deeply appreciate everything you’ve done to spread the word about Sequart and about comics’ worth. Sequart is a labor of love, and none of this would have been possible without all the love and support we’ve received. Thank you so, so much!
It’s been a wild 17 years. And the future looks brighter than ever before.