I’ve been writing about comics since the early days of the internet revolution in the mid-1990s. I had read comics forever, and the internet provided an opportunity to make public my examinations of the best graphic novels and my appreciation for underrated titles. These were the days in which online comics information was scant; it was a different world. As my personal website went through various incarnations, so too did my writing on comics. A version of the Continuity Pages — annotated catalogues of comics organized by continuity instead of title and number — did not take long to develop. They went through several incarnations before finding a home on PersianCaesar.com, my first website with its own domain.
The comics section of that site, including The Continuity Pages and a few articles, quickly became the site’s main attraction. While my other writing garnered an ever-increasing number of visitors, I simply knew how to promote online comics material better. In 2002, my friend Matt Martin sent me review samples with the desire to write for my site or its messageboard. I didn’t know what to do with them, since the site was explicitly my own and was not meant to accommodate others’ writing.
I thought the two of us would make a good base for a new site, taking as its bulk my pre-existing online writing on comics. Matt would handle reviews and I would write a column called Sequential Culture that would examine with serious intent some fairly important issues in comics. This was the genesis of ContinuityPages.com.
That site did very well. I continued to write for it, adding to The Continuity Pages and writing new annotations and the like. Visits consistently climbed. Bryan Miller joined the team in 2003 as a second reviewer, I launched a news feature, and Jeff Chon joined in 2004 to write detailed exegesis of graphic novels. In addition to The Continuity Pages, we had columns, reviews, news, articles, annotations, chronologies, and interviews.
And therein lay the problem. The Continuity Pages were still the largest section, but even its size would inevitably be eclipsed as the other sections grew. ContinuityPages.com no longer made sense: the website’s title seemed to be saying “The Continuity Pages and Some Other Stuff” and this was not the identity the site was taking. Some readers expressed confusion. We had become an umbrella comics site with a more sophisticated edge, and our statistics showed that we were entering the big leagues of online comics sites. We had outgrown our moniker.
And so we are here at the launch of Sequart.com. I won’t even go into the countless hours of recoding that this move required. The title comes from “The Sequart Manifesto,” in which I argued that the medium of comics needs a new name: not composed in clunky fashion of other words, without the negative connotations of most existing names, nor connoting a particular form our medium takes. “Sequart” was derived from Will Eisner’s “sequential art” but morphed into an autonomous and punchy term for a medium that could be taken on its own terms. I’d created the term years before in my own unpublished writing. As a title for a website, it was short and no more confusing than many others out there.
We don’t make money yet — although we’d like to be able to pay people in the future. We do this out of love. If you think we’re not dedicated, take a look around this site and think about how all of this is the product of a total of four people. It’s been nearly ten years, over 300 unique pages, and more hours of work — and more visitors — than we can count.
With its new, umbrella identity, I invite you to contribute to Sequart.com. You can submit articles, annotations, and interviews through the “Submit” area of out “About” section, available through our menu new bar. If you have published, online or in print, articles or interviews for which you hold the copyright, I encourage you to consider submitting these too to the site.
The other way that you can contribute is through spreading the word. Mention us on messageboards all over the internet: if you frequent them, drop a line about us. Tell your friends at the comic shop. If you have a website, add a link to us. Order a T-shirt: it starts conversations about comics. Donate if you can. And drop us a line to tell us how we’re doing: if you like a columnist, tell him so. You can do all this through our “About” section. Let’s make Sequart.com a success — a site by comics-lovers for comics-lovers, run by a small number of friends for a large number of fellow lovers of our under-appreciated medium.
And thanks. We can’t do anything without you. Thanks, a million times, thanks.