Thursday, January 29, 2009

I'm at a crossroads...

When I began "Stanley Stories" as a primitive website in 2000, John Stanley's work was almost entirely unreprinted. Only the flawed but essential Little Lulu Library had been issued, and that was 15 years prior.

In 2009, we will see the publication of several new volumes of John Stanley comics--from Drawn + Quarterly's series of Stanley's 1960s work, to Dark Horse's continuation of the Lulu reprints (and, just announced, the run of Stanley's companion title Tubby) to the upcoming Toon Treasury, a thick hardcover book of great "kid's comics" from the 1930s to the '60s, including a substantial section on John Stanley, to which I contributed input.

All this reprinting is wonderful. It restores John Stanley's largely-unread work to a mass audience. I'm all for it.

What does it mean for the future of this blog?

I've gone out of my way to avoid posting any stories that already exist in an in-print, available edition.

With D+Q reprinting Dunc 'n' Loo, Nancy, Melvin Monster and Thirteen Going on Eighteen, and DH finishing the Stanley run of the Marge-based titles, that doesn't leave much wiggle room for me.

I'd like to get your honest feedback:

Would you rather I avoid this material, as it will be available in book form within the next few years?

Shall I restrain myself only to the material that will obviously never be reprinted (the Walter Lantz-based material, etc.)?

Or should I comment on stories without "reprinting" them here, and creating a redundancy with the soon-to-be-published books? As I understand it, none of these books will offer anything substantial in the way of introductions or critical commentary.

At least 60% of what I've posted on this blog, so far, will be in those books.

I enjoy working in this blog, and I feel that, in many cases, I am the first person to ever offer critical analysis of this work. Is that enough to sustain your interest as a reader?

Thanks. I await your input. I'm a worry-wart, so I may be fretting over nothing at all.


UPDATE: Wow! Thanks for your comments! I feel utterly reassured!
Look for a new post with a couple of Stanley stories this weekend...


John Glenn Taylor said...

I personally think you should post any and all John Stanley stories that you wish, along with your always insightful commentary. Surely, existing John Stanley fans will seek out the printed versions irregardless as to what you post here, but this site is a valuable resource for people who are new to his works or cannot afford to seek ourt the printed versions. I suspect those books will experience greater sales BECAUSE you increase people's awareness of John Stanley here. Something else to consider: 30 years from now these publications you speak of will be long out of print, but this site may still serve as a valuable repository of knowledge about Mr. Stanley.

Chris Riesbeck said...

I read your blog for the combination of Stanley's stories and your commentary. Take this as an opportunity to write about the stories you like to write about, and no longer feel it has to be something rescued from obscurity.

Marc Burkhardt said...

I'd still like to read critical analysis of John Stanley. I've just discovered his work (or rediscovered, because I read a lot as a kid without knowing who did it) and it's nice to learn more info from an expert source.

Keep up the great work!

Prof. Grewbeard said...

"I enjoy working in this blog, and I feel that, in many cases, I am the first person to ever offer critical analysis of this work. Is that enough to sustain your interest as a reader?"

personally, yes.

Gabriel said...

I'm a follower of this blog for your critical commentaries on Stanley's works better than the stories you scan. I mean, on Internet there' lots of comics or stories written and drawn by Stanley you can download (even complete series). Of course, you have posted some gems impossible to find on the Net such as the first issue of O.G. Whiz (thanks for that). If I were you I'd continue with the critic analysis of the stories, supported with images of the stories when you believe that them are necessaries to make your explanation clearer. Your work is necessary, man!!
Otherwise, Is it possible you add once in a while Stanley's biographical information or pieces of interviews or quotes or some such a thing? This is quite hard to find.
Your work is a great thing for me. Keep on it!

Pappy said...

I don't really see a problem with posting the comics themselves, because the books and electronic versions on a website are two different things. Same stories, sure, but presented differently. If someone is interested enough in the printed version to buy it, then posting a story or two from the original comics that is duplicated in the book shouldn't present you with any ethical issues. By commenting on the stories--and showing them, making sure we can see for ourselves what you're talking about--you are giving us a dimension that the books can't. As much as I like the Dark Horse Lulu reprints they give me absolutely no insights into the creator of the stories, no context in which to read them for anything beyond their entertainment value. You do that.

I hope I do too in my own way on my Pappy's blog.

You can also look at it this way: The book publishers could see your blog as teasers, free advertising, for their books.

In other words, keep on keepin' on. I love to see the old Stanley stuff, and I really enjoy your intelligent and well thought out insights.

Unknown said...

Post any and all JS stories you want to, as Taylor said. Lots of us cannot afford the books.

Michael Brown said...

A way to look at it is to figure out what the purpose of your blog is.

If the purpose is to just reprint Stanley stuff, then you are repeating what's already out there (but, who knows, maybe have it be seen by people who might have missed the books).

If the purpose is to expose us to Stanley's stuff AND add some great analysis and commentary, then you're not repeating what's out there, but adding to it.

(plus, are all the reprinting going on getting ALL of his stuff???)

Keith418 said...

Where was the announcement about DH, or anyone else, reprinting "Tubby"? I have not seen it. I also want to know if they really are going to continue doing the LLs - since they stopped doing the series and only have one scheduled for release so far this year.

Can you give us more details?

Baloo said...

I love it. Keep it up. The more Little Lulu the better.

Michael Brown said...

I, also, would like to know more about this announcement of Tubby reprints. I see nothing at Dark Horse's website about it.

Am not that concerned about the restarted LL reprints from them. The 'first' of these comes out in April, and their list of upcoming releases doesn't go far enough in advance to show the next one, as I figure they will do about 3 a year.