This week’s Heroes & Villains column begins just like any other…with me not knowing what I’m doing. It’s become my main move, my schtick, my leitmotif (if you want to get fancy with it) and its wearing a bit thin. The way things go in any kind of longterm endeavor is that you run the risk of repeating yourself or constantly searching for new ways to keep it fresh.
To begin, I’ll share as favorite personal anecdote of mine from all the way back in my college days. Back then I kept a pretty full schedule, full-time work, full-time school, and a curiously active social calendar. Not only was a burning the candle at both ends but I had taken the wax drippings and reforged them into a new multi-ended candle which I kept burning at all times. As is the way with things, something had to give.
In one of the countless literature classes I was taking I was assigned some forgotten dense and dusty tome to do a “close reading” of for a term paper. I’ve been meaning to dig the paper out of my records so I could site chapter and verse of what I had to read, but in keeping with the spirt of the point I’m eventually going to make you’ll be getting the Cliff’s Notes of the Cliff’s Notes.
To that end, this may have actually been one of the handful of times I sunk to using Cliff’s Notes during college and even then I couldn’t be bothered to read the entire thing. This was a time before the internet collectively existed in our pants and you could buy these tiny yellow books that gave all the high points on myriad of subjects if you were too lazy to read the book. I blew through it, completed the term paper, and handed it in on time all while meeting the minimum word count.
A week went by, I got the paper back and had managed a “B” or “B-” for my trouble. Not too shabby, I must confess. But written under the respectable grade was a note from my professor and it’s something that still haunts me: “You can do better than this.”
It’s an extremely rare feeling to be seen and understood by someone. It’s entirely something else to know that you’ve been made. Sure, I was sitting in an auditorium at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan in the United States on the planet Earth…but at that moment all of that dropped away and I was less than nothing.
At that moment the fix was in. My professor knew I was bullshitting him and took the opportunity to completely level me. I’m sure someone reading will wonder what the big deal was. After all I did get a “B” on the assignment which is better than average, right? No reason to be brought low by that, yeah?
You can do better than this.
That brings us up to right now. To put out any immediate fires, Heroes & Villains isn’t going anywhere but it is going to be changing. I don’t feel that I’ve been doing my best work recently and, to me, that feels like I’m doing a tremendous disservice to the creators of the books I’m fortunate enough to be sent to review. Don’t worry, I still love comics and I still believe that indie books are where it’s at but BBP! has a lot of comics coverage and I don’t quite feel like I’m bringing the heat like I used to. Especially compared to the Murderers’ Row of writers who are currently doing it to it each and every week.
Where does that leave me? I’ve been doing this weekly column pretty consistently for four years now and, truthfully, I love the work and antagonizing EiC Andy Burns to outright quit doing it forever. I’m still going to be doing my Figure Friday column fortnightly and working behind the scenes on the BBP! Instagram page (@biffbampop if you’re so inclined to follow). I’ll be taking a brief, but indeterminate, amount of time to figure out what’s next and what Heroes & Villains should be going forward. Maybe I’ll be back on my bullshit after cooling my heels for a bit!
So, in closing, Heroes & Villains IS changing but NOT going away. I’m still going to do it do you, but maybe I’ll do it differently? Maybe I’ll not do it as often? Maybe I’ll do it on a different day? Maybe while wearing a fake mustache on top of my REAL mustache? Sky’s the limit.
PS: I’d be remiss in my duties if I didn’t point out that you can still get all the desired comics coverage on this site by reading From The House of Ideas (Tuesdays), The Wednesday Run (can’t remember the day), and Read This Book (Saturdays).