Happy Anniversary, everyone!
One year ago on April 2, Comic Book Resources re-launched with the design you see today, helping to usher in a new era for CBR. While the re-launch was a dramatic change in presentation, the majority of feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive. Re-launching a Web site can be a nerve-wracking experience, but seeing how happily our readers embraced the new design was incredibly gratifying.
With the re-launch, CBR retained our regular columnists and features, but we also added a number of new items like our REVIEWS section, which has become very popular and quoted often by publishers and creators alike. We also added an upgraded COMICS SHOP LOCATOR, which we have some big plans for this year. There's also our constantly updated PREVIEWS section, giving you advance looks at upcoming comics.
Launching with new technology, an improved look and some added features is nice, but that wasn’t enough for us here at CBR! Over the past year, we’ve made a number of additional improvements to the site that have become very popular. For instance, we introduced three new columns – Brian Hibbs’ TILTING AT WINDMILLS, Jud Meyers’ RETALES and CBR Reviewer Timothy Callahan joined the columnists ranks with his WHEN WORDS COLLIDE.
Most auspiciously, we launched CBR TV, our new video platform that debuted at Comic-Con International in San Diego last summer. CBR TV is where you can find exclusive interviews with some of your favorite comics creators as well as the latest video game, TV and film trailers and featurettes.
Just two short months after the re-launch of the CBR Web site, we began construction on a video studio in our Hollywood headquarters on Melrose and La Brea, above Golden Apple Comics. This studio is where we’ve conducted many of the CBR TV interviews, but it also serves as our office, where the CBR staff can get together and work on all the content you see each day.
(Let me tell you, after 13 years of running the site out of a home office, it’s nice to get out of the home on a regular basis! Later this month, I’ll share with you a STUDIO TOUR of our new space and a look at its construction.)
Let’s not forget our most recent addition to CBR, the comics news blog ROBOT 6, which joined our long running blog COMICS SHOULD BE GOOD. The pair of blogs has really proven to be a great 1-2 punch, with regular commentary and news items, adding to the already in-depth coverage on the main CBR site.
Naturally, there have been other minor tweaks to the site design to help bring greater attention to our many features, but there have been even more improvements to the back-end that you’ll never see. These are the kind of improvements that make the lives of CBR’s editors a lot easier when maintaining a site that publishes as much content as it does every day.
The redesign and re-launch of the new CBR was a massive undertaking that took almost a year to complete. When I began that project, I had no idea it would take so long. I figured, “Oh, we’ll get this thing done in three to six months.”
It took almost a year. When you’re re-launching a site that saw its last redesign nine years earlier, that was put together somewhat piecemeal, there’s a lot of work required to transfer of all our legacy data and ensure everything runs smoothly on the big day. Something I’ve learned running this site for almost 14 years is you just don’t rush anything into production. First you get feedback on your designs and evaluate what people have been saying and try to make the best choices with that information. Then there’s the quality assurance that must be done to guarantee the site runs as it was programmed to. Finally, there was the stress testing of the site and servers to make sure that once the new CBR launched, it didn’t crash hard! Thankfully, the extra time and effort yielded one of the smoothest re-launches I’ve ever been a part of or witnessed on the Web.
It seems that all of this hard work has paid off. I was recently told that CBR has been nominated for a 2009 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award in the category of Best Comics-Related Journalism/Periodical. Just to be nominated is a huge honor and I’m sincerely humbled. The official announcement should be going out later this week.
While it’s nice to take a moment and raise a glass on a special occasion like this, there’s no time to celebrate, as we have more exciting new features we’ll be adding to the CBR. Wait, did I say exciting? Let me just say one thing we’re working on right now will really excite a lot of comics fans. I hope to be able to tell you more about that in the coming weeks here on CBR.
Thanks to everyone who’s supported CBR over the last year – publishers, creators, the wonderful writing staff, editors, designers and programmers, and most of all, you! Seriously, all of this work would mean nothing if CBR’s dedicated readers weren’t along for the ride. Thank you.
So, please stay with CBR to see what sort of things we come up with in the second year of the site’s latest incarnation. I’m quite confident you’ll be pleased.