Robot 6

AOL pulls plug on ComicsAlliance

comics allianceROBOT 6 has confirmed rumors circulating this weekend at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo that parent company AOL has shut down the comics news site ComicsAlliance. The move came Friday amid the abrupt closings of AOL Music and several music news and video sites.

Launched in its current form in August 2009 by Laura Hudson (AOL had briefly operated a lower-profile comics blog with that name), ComicsAlliance featured a mix of news, humor and commentary and a staff of contributors that most recently included the likes of Caleb Goellner, Chris Sims, Andy Khouri and David Brothers. Hudson left the site in June 2012, to be replaced as editor-in-chief by former Vertigo editor Joe Hughes.

A three-time Eisner Award nominee, ComicsAlliance posted no new content over the weekend, even as C2E2 and Stumptown Comics Fest were unfolding, leading early credence to rumors that it had been closed. This morning, the site published only a link round-up that had been written Friday; the weekly “War Rocket Ajax” podcast, which typically appears on Mondays at ComicsAlliance, was instead posted at Sims’ personal website.

(Kiel Phegley contributed to this report)

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83 Comments

This blows so hard. I loved that site.

Well that’s a shame–I liked a lot of their material. Perhaps Chris could start up over here…

Damn. That was a solid site that provided great comments and features on all forms of comics. Damn.

Sudden, unexpected, and a damned shame. CA is/was one of my regular reading spots for comics news and reviews and other interesting stuff. I’m a bit aghast, especially since there was little to no warning given.

Grrrrrrrrrr.

A shame, indeed. I didn’t often agree with the opinions of reviewers and commentators there, but I appreciated that they were more than just a publicity machine; they posted some of the more thoughtful criticism and analysis on mainstream comics, and I’m sorry to see them go.

That said, most of the main movers have their own blogs where I’m sure they’ll continue to do good work.

Pfft. That totally sucks. :(

A true pity… I really loved the site. First letsbefriendsagain goes on “hiatus” and now this. Did they give a reason why?

That is a damn shame. My best to Chris Sims and the rest of the Comics Alliance writers and staff. Hopefully we’ll see more from all of the in the future in one form or another, either on their own or as a group.

Man, that is a real shame. They did a good job of covering a wide range of comics, not just the big stuff.

Comics Alliance was too amazing of a voice for comics to be shut down by corporate cuts. The brand may be gone (for now), but the site curated a line up of some of the best writers on the medium I’ve ever read. They’re not going anywhere.

As a comic book reader, their perspective was always hugely appreciated. Of course, I didn’t always agree with them, but they always made me think, always left me even more enthusiastic.

I can also speak from personal experience that their support in my first year as a full-time writer was genuinely life changing. Their initial enthusiasm for Glory in particular lit the spark of that book’s great reception and helped ensured Ross and I could tell our full story. Everyone there — from Laura to now Joe, Chris, Andy, Josh, Caleb, Brothers, Bethany and contributors such as Sean Witzke — made comics a better place and I have no doubt they’ll continue to do so in the future.

I can’t wait for what’s next.

Well crap…that was one of my favorite comics sites! =o(

AOL? Really? That’s still a thing? What is this 1997?

Man, this is the worst. Comics Alliance is basically the only site I check every day. Such a shame.

Curses! One of my favorite sites as well.

A real loss for the comic industry. ComicsAlliance provided a mix of fun and insightful commentary and always seemed to fall on the “right” side of controversies that popped up. More importantly, they amassed a wellspring of talent that whose work we’ll be reading for years to come.

All the best to the ComicsAlliance crew and here’s to hoping they end up on their feet soon. If my site had any money, I’d hire them all in a heartbeat.

This makes me incredibly sad. Browsing ComicsAlliance was part of my daily routine. Where will I get my get my comic book related news now?!

FUUUUUUUUUU-

That definitely sucks.

I was wondering why there was no new content today. Would have been nice to have some kind of indication or warning that the site would be no more.

Such a shame, I was quite fond of CA. Though not likely, I hope it comes back in another incarnation. :(

What? That was my favorite comic site!

Two things that made my Fridays were The Best Art Ever (This Week) and Ask Chris. Comics Alliance was a site with news and opinion that I trusted and was entertained by. Good luck to all the contributors; they are some really talented people and deserve to be heard somewhere.

Crap. I was never a fan of CA, but I hate to see people lose their jobs. >_< Especially knowing it was due to AOL policy and not their own fault.

Man, I loved reading CA. This site is good, and I’ve been with it for many years, but it’s just not CA.

I hate saying this on another site, but Comics Alliance was pretty much the best thing out there, for what it was. Great mix of all aspects of the industry, willing to look past the PR and actually comments on some of the social ills afflicting comics publishing and comic fandom… it was about the closest thing to AMAZING HEROES I had seen on the comics internet.

Fortunately, I have faith that the many great contributors there will find other avenues to continue the work they did at CA.

Comic alliance gave good reviews of my comic, I usually check it several times everyday its really a shame …..

Stephen Conway

April 29, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Well, this really is the anti-craic. CA was the first comics site I regularly checked out and it is a shame that its shutting down. I hope the writers and editors set up elsewhere and continue their quality comics coverage in the future.

Do your own thing, and nobody can shut you down.

Marc Bernardin

April 29, 2013 at 1:41 pm

The gang over at ComicsAlliance was doing fantastic work, the kind of journalism that is all too rare in the comics space. They’ll be missed…

Man, that sucks. Comics Alliance was by far my favorite comics site. I’m a massive fan of Sims, Brothers, Andy Khouri and all the other guys who I’ve come to think of as synonymous with comics and comics discussion. I hope they all find a new space to keep sharing their work with us.

CA provided a good alternative to CBR, one that wasn’t nearly as beholden to Marvel and DC. Hopefully the staff can put something new together.

does stink. One of my regular daily stops.
Do feel the site could easily restructure as its own entity w/ out AOL support.

No! That’s my favorite comics site! No offense intended, CBR.

I’m sad to see it go, but I really felt the site took a major dive in quality after Laura Hudson left, even if I rarely agreed with her.

To echo a few, it seems like Laura leaving really took it’s toll on the site. It was one of a few that I would visit often each day and I’ll definitely miss it.

Martin Sargent

April 29, 2013 at 3:28 pm

A sudden spike in Marvel Hentai and Cheesecake articles over at Wired.com is suddenly explained by the number of ex-Comics Alliance staff working there.

RIP(?) to a good comics site.

Comics Alliance was one the top 3 sites for me to hit if I wanted my daily comics news stop to be not as beholden to posting Big Two/Next Three p.r. releases about upcoming projects as “exclusive” articles or (surprise, surprise!) positive-skewing previews of them—- and instead regularly devoted web inches on non-Mainstream/superhero Comics news coverage, examinations on older/overlooked comicbook issues and runs, and op/ed commentaries from their great NON-comicsfandom-normative staff of writers.

I suppose AOL’s financial sponsorship gave CA the leeway to be that “independent” with their brand of web
Comic Journalism, that they didn’t have to be a comics site funded by [looking around] Big Two sidebanner ads, click-baiting New DC defenders by exposing the latest DiDio/Harras editorial mess, nor be compelled to be REED Pop’s own embedded online cheerleader… But now CA’s gone, disappeared to the electronic dustbin of web history .

(I think I’ll miss the monthly masochistic trip down the latest Funky Winkerbean/Crankshaft strips the most, though.) .

Comics Alliance often seemed like one of those sites less beholden to the publishers, but while still being extremely professional. Losing them…even if temporary…is quite a blow.

I agree with ya, Nas. CA was a regular visit for me every week and it sucks to see it go.

Comics Alliance was a controversy for controversy’s sake linkbait website full of faux-outrage and armchair slacktavism. Almost like an ultra-liberal version of Fox News.

Don’t worry though, I’m sure there will always be a home for OMGZ THIS SI SO RACIST/SEXIST/ETC. and “THIS MOVIE IS SO CRAPPY IT’S GOOD” articles elsewhere on the web.

Not to mention Deviantart searches masquerading as content, and Chris Sims’ tiresomely repetitive and predictable office bore-style enthusiasm for anything with even the vaguest sniff of ‘wacky’ about it.

Who will dissect the cruel world of Tom Batiuk for me now? Or show me awesome things like the Batman car seat? Or break down terrible superhero movies?

AOL, you have made yourself a powerless enemy today. I mean, powerFUL. Yeah. PowerFUL.

And is anyone *really* surprised by this news? Corporations aren’t PAYING people for this sort of work anymore. Not now they’ve realised there’s an endless supply of clueless fuckwits out there who’ll do this stuff for nothing, because other clueless fuckwits are encouraging them to give their labour/work away for free, because it’ll be ‘exposure’ that will help them get the high-paying jobs that don’t exist anymore because corporations are just hiring all the clueless fuckwits who’ll etc.

This is now the *second* time that AOL’s killed Comics Alliance, no less. (I was briefly a writer for the first incarnation headed up by John Anderson and Chris Dooley.) *sigh* Goodbye again, Comics Alliance, and I hope we see some of your regular contributors elsewhere before too long.

“Who will dissect the cruel world of Tom Batiuk for me now? Or show me awesome things like the Batman car seat? Or break down terrible superhero movies?”

Oh yes, websites doing bad MST3K impersonations. We don’t have NEARLY enough of THOSE.

James Crankyman

April 29, 2013 at 5:29 pm

I knew we’d get some haters in here eventually. The most common complaint from conservative comics fans was how CA was filled with “libtard slackster hipster sheeple” who would get angry about little “non-issues”, such as Homophobe Superior Orson Scott Card writing Superman, the anti-gay sentiment over Alan Scott’s New 52 reboot, the “liberal agenda” behind Miles Morales as Spider-Man, the distinct lack of African-American and female creators in comics… you know, the little stuff.

It’s not like any of that was important or anything. Because we want to only hear about big boy comics! Right, Christian?

I’m glad that you’re happy that this site that so offended your delicate sensibilities got taken down. Now we can get back to bitching at each other about Marvel vs DC or was Hal Jordan better than John Stewart! You know, typical fanboy crap pandering that most of the other sites do.

James Crankyman

April 29, 2013 at 5:40 pm

R.D.,

Dude. Ratchet the hate-throttle back a bit. Bowels are senstive and important things; don’t blow one in your relentless cynicism of CA.

Shame to see it go.

Shame to see what CA became during the New 52 loss as well. Valid criticisms were lost in “a one page villain says ‘scream like a girl’ and that’s worse than cancer aids”

::Insert clip of Ralph Damn scream from first TMNT movie::

WTF AOL? Whyy? I loved the comic movie reviews. Weekly cosplay. I’m going to miss it. :(

I enjoyed visiting ComicsAlliance, and it was part of my daily comic site viewing. But over time I too saw a lot of what I would call “trying to drum-up controversy” on issues that I didn’t think were big deals at all. And I’d find myself rolling me eyes when I saw these types of articles. To me it seemed the site more and more weighed-in on the side of liberal issues.

I don’t like controversial or ‘gotcha’ articles. I just want to have fun reading a comic site.

I don’t understand what the big deal is, or why they were Eisner nominees either.
the site wasn’t very good, it just posted “nerdy” stuff and occasionally commented on comics (mostly making fun of them, or stating how amazing indie books are compared to corporate ones).

Good Riddance I say. We need to start trimming the fat with all these crappy “news” sites. Hopefully Newsarama and its terrible top 10 lists are next.

“Now we can get back to bitching at each other about Marvel vs DC or was Hal Jordan better than John Stewart! You know, typical fanboy crap pandering that most of the other sites do.”

Yeah. To hell with those idiots who actually want to discuss comics. We want all racism/sexism talk, all the time. If those intolerant haters disagree, we must purge them for daring to dissent.

James Crankyman

April 29, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Again, there are many sites that do that already, VDM. It’s not like there’s a shortage. But Comics Alliance, while having some of that element, tended to focus more on the fringes of comicdom, with intelligent and well-thought-out articles, and that is kind of rare.

It’s not easy for a comics site to deal with the more controversial issues. There’s some smart stuff here on CBR, but they don’t tend to risk a lot. Comics Alliance had balls to tackle some of those. If you didn’t want to read that, no one was holding your fingers down on the keys to type in the url.

Man, what an enormous bummer. Comics Alliance was a daily visit for me, and it was always turning up things I never expected. Gonna miss it.

Damn! I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue

I find it ironic that the people cheering this, because the site promoted ‘lockstep thinking’ are the ones happy about the loss of a dissenting voice.
Imagine how happy they’d be if ALL the news outlets they disagreed with were silenced.

‘S a funny ol’ world.

My art was featured on that site last week.
HOLY CRAP! I REALLY AM BAD LUCK!!!

I am in serious mourning right now. I love ComicsAlliance! :(

FirstBossCutman

April 29, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Fuck all y’all that have anything bad to say about ComicsAlliance. The site was great, the stories were always thought-provoking, and I frequently disagreed with them on a regular basis. They made me come around on some issues too, like the thing about Orson Scott Card. I didn’t think it was a big deal until ComicsAlliance did their series of interviews on the subject matter. Articles like Ask Chris and David Brothers’ thing (can’t remember what it was called) always had me thinking and I enjoyed them every time they popped up. All this shit about indie comics or them trying to “drum up controversy” is a load of bullshit and I honestly don’t see where it’s coming from. They showed a light on stuff that I would have otherwise not heard of, like Grant Morrison’s Happy, does that mean they bias “indie” comics over the Marvel or DC ones? I really don’t get how that’s a bad thing. This is a damn travesty and now, I don’t know where to go for comicbook news.

Great, so now we’re stuck with “Pressreleasarama” and “Marvel/DCComicbookresources” where all I can look forward to is cut and paste crap from the former and sychophantic drivel like the Bobbie Chase ‘interviews’ from the latter.

“But Comics Alliance, while having some of that element, tended to focus more on the fringes of comicdom, with intelligent and well-thought-out articles, and that is kind of rare.”

Yes, That’s why the top 3 commented articles are: 1) some flagrant racebaiting based on one interpretation of an X-Men issue (yes, the X-men are racist now), a story about how terrible a video game adaptation book is and another on the same video game and why it isn’t good because it isn’t ‘OMGZ WACKY” enough. It’s so tired.

Which isn’t to say they didn’t cover these “fringe” elements – whatever that means, but that clearly wasn’t the site’s bread and butter. It was navel gazing befitting of a Tumblr entry at best, borderline slanderous yellow journalism at worst. I hope the 1-3 people working there who didn’t contribute to this unnecessary ‘outrage of the week’ formula the very best though.

I have to admit, I was increasingly bored with CA, as it felt like a lot of borrowed content to me. I check CBR and Newsarama a few times a day and usually checked CA at the end of the evening when they’d finished posting all of their articles for the day. By that point, I didn’t see a lot of “new” articles that hadn’t appeared elsewhere on the internet–it was mostly commentary on stuff that I’d already read elsewhere. The movie reviews and Funky Winkerbean trashing, while funny at first, eventually felt like two guys sitting around going, “Hyuck, remember how dumb this was?”

The only thing I really checked was their weekly “Best Cosplay” feature, and even then, I realized that they were just lifting content from two online cosplay forums which I could have checked myself. It reminded me of a Stewie Griffin quote: “I took a bunch of pictures. You can see ‘em on my MySpace page, along with my favorite songs and movies and things that other people have created but that I use to express my individualism.”

Well CBR, I think you know what y’all need to do: hire every person you can from Comics Alliance.

@Brian

ComicsAlliance had REAL opinions on the industry, never taking sides. CBR is just Marvel’s mouthpiece, never criticizing them, but always slamming DC.

I don’t see how the ComicsAlliance staff could work on a site like CBR.

FirstBossCutman said pretty much everything I wanted to say. I feel like a boring mid-boss from a later stage.

How is it that so many DC fans see CBR (or pick your comics site) as a Marvel mouthpiece, while Marvel fans view it as a DC mouthpiece? It’s one of life’s great mysteries …

Man that really blows! I was wondering why they had no updates. That site was so good and I LOVE Best art ever (this week)

That’s a shame. ComicsAlliance was a steady source for information we used on our comic book news show, “Comic Con Carne”.

I’m not crying over it. A friend of mine always tried to get me into it, but it seemed like every article I read had some left wing slant to it. “Spiderman’s New Costume And Why It Puts Women In The Fridge” kind of stuff and I’m like “Whaaa?” I don’t know. Maybe it was a good site but I didn’t see it.

ComicsAlliance had REAL opinions on the industry, never taking sides.

This isn’t true and you know it.

Comics Alliance was such a special comic book site, the only one I’d been visiting on a daily basis since 2009. It helped me sustain and even reinvigorate my love for comics in a society where comics are more often than not just an afterthought. I challenge Joe Hughes, Sims, Caleb, Andy Khouri, Davids Uzumeri and Brothers, Matt Wilson, Betty Felon, and all the other contributors to bring their unique voice on comics and all things geek elsewhere, possibly on a web domain of their own devoid of corporate control. They’re not the comics news site we need, but the one we deserve.

“How is it that so many DC fans see CBR (or pick your comics site) as a Marvel mouthpiece, while Marvel fans view it as a DC mouthpiece?”

I think people just notice stuff that makes them angry more than they notice stuff that they agree with or stuff that they don’t care about. As a result, even 50/50 coverage of the big two, if you have an us vs. them mentality, feels like you’re seeing disproportionate coverage for the other team.

Anyway, back to the topic on hand, I’ll miss ComicsAlliance – not for the news, but for the analysis that went beyond press releases and panel transcripts. There’s a place for those, but there’s a lot of value in digging deeper and thinking about things as well, and that’s what I appreciated most about them.

James Crankyman

April 30, 2013 at 3:47 pm

@Christian:

Some of it is pure fanboy debate, but despite what you think of the “M-word” debate, it’s hardly designed to be race-baiting. That’s an incident that was covered by a number of different sites. But this is hardly something that we’ll agree on.

Any article regarding analysis of comics could easily be a Tumblr post, so I don’t see how that’s relevant either. But whatever.

I was always highly amused by all the people whining like little babies about CA having an “indie bias”. What, because they talked about comics that weren’t published by Marvel or DC once in a while? The site was literally exploding for enthusiasm for superhero comics, but I guess because it was leavened with critical thinking, it was “hipster elitism”.

Man If the people saying that ever went to the Comics Journal’s website, their heads would pop like overfull balloons.

So long, Comics Alliance. I’ll pour a 40 out for you.

Scott McCarthy

May 1, 2013 at 3:26 am

I was a fan of the site due to being a fan of the old Comics Foundry Magazine and Laura Hudson’s connection to both…a true shame.

Everyone that was on Comics Alliance should just go over to:

http://www.comiccollectorsguide.com

and continue what they were doing. Screw Aol.

How much does Comic Collector’s Guide pay?

I do love how even though the site is gone, the butthurt few whose intolerance was called out come here to (surprise!) complain about CA.

I imagine them decades from now still venting their spleens about it.

I will miss the site. It’s a shame the bad business decisions of AOL led to this.

Wait, really….swearing in the other comments and mine is awaiting moderation??

The good thing about anyone claiming CA had a “liberal agenda”: it allows me to ignore anything they type beyond that comment.

I was wondering if something had gone wrong and now I know. Something has gone terribly wrong. Comics Alliance has been an amazing source of information and a great fountain of inspiration for my own website. I am very sad to see it being taken out.

Is there any place left on the Internet that does mainstream comics coverage that doesn’t pander to anti-feminists, anti-intellectuals, etc.?

I agree with everyone else. This was my favorite blog site & hub for all things geekery.

Any suggestions for a rebound? =D

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