As most of you probably know already, online editor Dirk Deppey has been let go by Fantagraphics.
Dirk promises some final thoughts tomorrow, and his twitter feed indicates the parting was extremely amicable. Personally, I think Dirk’s weblog, Journalista, is one of the few things tcj.com has managed to get right, both before last year’s redesign and after. Dirk’s been one of the most intelligent and idiosyncratic voices in the blogosphere. His weblog has been the anchor for tcj.com; the one consistent editorial presence on a site where management rarely puts in an appearance. I fear that without him the site will lose any semblance of a rudder.
But time will tell for that, I suppose. More importantly, this seems as good a time as any to acknowledge my debt to Mr. Deppey. Six years ago I was starting to try to get work as a freelancer, and sent an unsolicited article to TCJ. It sat there for months…until Dirk took over the editorship at the magazine and contacted me. I’d already placed the essay elsewhere, but he let me pitch a couple other ideas. Then he went to bat for the piece I produced when other folks at the magazine found it uncomfortably incendiary.
When I started this blog over at blogger, Dirk was far and away the most consistent supporter of the site. Tom Spurgeon, bless his heart, helped as well, but Dirk basically posted links to everything I wrote. This blog, and the audience and friends I’ve found through it, wouldn’t exist without him.
Some folks would probably count that as a mark against Dirk. Maybe so — but I know that I was not the only blogger who Dirk found and propped up. There are many other writers in the blogosphere who have had similar experiences. Dirk was tireless in locating new writers, and generous in sharing his audience with them. I’m eternally grateful to him for that.
Most of his readers probably think of Dirk primarily as an industry analyst. I always enjoyed his work in that regard, but I have to say I felt that in some way the analysis and the link-blogging were a waste of his talents. Because of his commitment to Journalista, Dirk rarely wrote long-form criticism — which is a shame, because he is probably one of the two or three best writers on comics around. His incredible, endless, delirious essay about Chobits, Love Hina, and biological determinism was perhaps the high point of his epochal shojo issue of TCJ. His 10,000 word essay on boy’s love and being a bottom is probably the best thing tcj.com published all year, and just a fantastic piece in any context. I selfishly hope that with Journalista done he might find time to write more critical and/or personal pieces in that vein.
So I’ll look forward to Dirk’s final Journalista tomorrow, and hope he keeps writing, either for tcj or somewhere else, either on comics or on other topics. Thank you, Dirk. Hope to see you soon.
Update: Dirk’s farewell column is now up. Characteristically, he put it at the end, so scroll down past the day’s links.