Too Many Long Boxes!

End of Summer
by editor I forgot my name

Discussed this month: Michael does his own Elongated Man story AND solves a wacky mystery of his own! PLUS, what Michael's been doing on top of all that.

I'd like to thank David R. Black for doing 98% of the work on this issue. Yours truly has been working on a script and, not having the writing speed or practice of Chuck Dixon, it takes me a while. (Having Spider Solitaire on my computer doesn't help!)

"Script, you say? What's this script, Michael?"

It's an Elongated Man story that I'm doing for a group-published fanzine. We're a group of writers and artists...wanna-be pros, all...who hang out at Chuck Dixon's message board and meet every year for WizardWorld Con in Chicago. We plan to have enough copies to hand out to Chuck and whatever other pros (editors, we hope) may want one, as well as to share some at the private annual gathering in the evening.

It's hardly a by-the-book way to get a job in the comic book industry...but then again, who's to say it can't work? One thing I've learned in the three+ years of interviewing pros for Fanzing is that everyone breaks in differently. For an industry with almost a century of history, there's no established "career track" to follow. Getting in as an intern or an assistant editor is no guarantee that you'll go anywhere.

Sure, artists have something of a usual way in: display good art in your portfolio and get noticed. But writers? It's very hard to get in as a writer, and every writer has a different way in. Tony Isabella just called up DC and asked for a job. Dan Curtis Johnson landed "Chase" by teaming up with two rising star artists and asking to do a project together. Others like Dixon and Ostrander start with smaller companies and work their way in.

A lot of different stories, and no one sure way to get noticed (or any one thing NOT to do). So who's to say that getting an entertaining story into their hands won't work?

Anyway, my challenge was to come up with a good story that only takes 8 pages. Goodness, even the old Elongated Man back-ups in Detective were 10 pages! I had a good story, but packing it into 8 pages effectively, without looking cramped...THAT was tough!

You all know that Fanzing has had problems for many months with bandwidth drains. I once thought 10 gigabytes was more than enough for our audience, but for the last five months we have gone at least one gig over that. I've paid for the overage out of my own back pocket, figuring that it must just mean we're drawing a larger audience.

Analyzing the statistics for our visits, I saw that most of the drain came from the Fanzing Cineplex. Again, if that's drawing in more visitors, it's worth it, right?

So imagine my surprise when, as I looked into the specific stats for the first time, I saw that one file was downloaded much more than any other file! I then knew that someone must be linking to it externally. We finally tracked down the bandwidth pirate; a well-meaning Superman web site that thought he was doing us a favor by spreading the file to more people.

Well, publicity is nice...but not when it doesn't actually lead people to our site and costs us money. So, just in case anyone is wondering: OFF-SITE LINKS ARE NOT PERMITTED!

(There is one obvious exception: Anyone is allowed to link to our banner graphic! We'll even give you the coding to put it on your web site.)

I can't believe how much bandwidth this site was siphoning off! I've looked at the number of requests, and it may account for over half the month's total bandwidth.

The bad news is that I spent the last four months paying the cost of entertaining visitors to another web site. The good news is that, with this siphoning gone, we should now be well below the maximum in the coming months...and that means I can now put up the wallpapers and desktop themes that I was holding back for fear of going into debt when they were downloaded!

"What else has kept you busy, Michael?" I hear you ask.

I've finally begun the construction of the Fanzing Speed-Commerce I've always wanted. It isn't quite ready for an official debut; I have more work to do on some of the pages, as well as a redesign of the entry page. BUT I'm happy to say that I've put in many hours of work, as have David R. Black, Tim Lee and Fred Sadek, and the result will be a shopping section that will be the envy of all comic fans.


First off, it is my intention to have the most authoritative listing of DC Comics books around. You'll be able to browse through the listings of books and then check to see if they're available from at least three bookstores: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Chapters of Canada. We will strive to keep the listings current to whatever new books debut from DC every month. We'll also list old books that are out of print or out of stock, as these stores allow you to look for used copies as well.

In addition to all DC Comics and affiliated companies such as Piranha Press, Wildstorm and ABC, we will have sections devoted to other comic companies: Marvel, Dark Horse, Independents, Asterix, Pogo, etc. The only differences will be that these won't have cover pictures and we don't have the same commitment to keeping these updated.

Now that my script is done and this issue of Fanzing is out, I'll be spending the next week finishing up the pages. You can see them as a work in progress right now. Some pages like Archives, Starman and Hitman are complete.

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This column is © 2001 Michael Hutchison.
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Updated 7/27/2010