We lost another brother from the geek blogging community before Christmas and I'm embarrassed to admit I've only just discovered this.
Brian Keith Snell, known simply as Snell to most of us, posted his last blog entry for Slay, Monstrobot Of The Deep, on December 19, but it appears this was an automated post as he had died of natural causes on December 15.
His local paper, The Kalamazoo Gazette, ran an obituary on December 23, from which I quote this section:
Brian Keith Snell, 54, of Kalamazoo, passed away unexpectedly on December 15, 2018. He was born in Plattsburgh, New York on January 12, 1964 to Michael and Janice (Warwick) Snell. Brian was a 1982 graduate from Portage Northern High School. During his time there, he was a champion member of the debate and forensics team. He eventually came back to Portage Northern where he was an assistant coach for the debate and forensics team for many years. It was a very important part of his life, and he mentored and made an impact on the lives of many students. Brian was a Chicago Cubs and University of Michigan football fan. He was also an avid collector of comic books.For me, Slay, Monstrobot Of The Deep was one of the finest comic book commentary sites, where Snell would be the first to pop the balloon of pomposity, mixing his snark about the current state of comic books with an erudite love for the medium.
His wit and knowledge will be missed.
In his honour, I reprint below, in its entirely, the Six Of The Best interview I conducted with Brian back in July 2016:
Six Of The Best has been running for months now and I realised I had yet to interview anyone who ran a dedicated comic book blog... and really there was only one site I could think of in this field to profile first: Snell's hilarious, informative, eye-opening, and unique Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep!!
(1) How long have you been blogging, and how’d you get into it in the first place?
As of this month it will be nine years.
In all honesty, I just sort of fell into the blogging. I'd become increasingly aware that it probably wasn't appropriate to tie up the comments section of others peoples' blogs/websites with my thoughts/rants, even as I found that I had more and more to say about what I saw as some disturbing trends in comics, especially at The Big Two. Well, Blogger was (and is) free, so why the heck not, I told myself.
Plus, I had always told myself I would write something with the title Slay, Monstrobot Of The Deep someday - an insanely great throwaway line from a Master Of Kung Fu comic book.
(2) What do you blog about, and how frequently do you post?
Comics, comics, and more comics. Sure, once in a great while I'll delve briefly into something else, such as TV or movies... but that's almost always comics-related, in some way.
Barring illness or natural disaster, I will always have at least one post a day, frequently more. Mondays have somehow become "Manic Monday" (thank you, Prince and the Bangles), and I'll do three (usually shorter) posts that day.
I have a completely arbitrary goal of doing at least 40 posts per month, just to push myself to keep the frequency a tiny bit higher.
|Master of Kung Fu #75 - featuring Monstrobot|
(3) How does your blog stand out from all the rest?
I love comic books. To pieces. To the death. I have a completely unattainable goal to read every comic book ever.
And I hope that love comes through, despite my perpetual snarkiness and occasional descent into rants. You can't get that worked up about something unless you love it, right?
I do have some very particular positions on what I think the roles of heroes should be, and what part comic books play in presenting them, which was pretty clear from my first posts onward.
I try to look at all eras of comic books, and most genres. Yes, all too often I come back to Silver/Bronze/Modern Age super-hero books, because that's what I grew up with. But I make an active effort to delve much more deeply than that, because I honestly believe that most of comic books throughout history have something of interest - historically, socially, artistically.
I'll let others make judgements as to quality of my small-town puppet-show of a blog.
(4) What’s the best (and worst) thing about blogging?
The absolute best thing about blogging is that it both serves as a creative outlet that I never knew that I needed, and as a form of discipline in my personal life. The "deadline pressure" of doing at least one post per day keeps me focused in a way that I think has been very helpful in other areas of my life. Special added bonus: the blog gives me ample self-justification to buy and read more comic books!!
The worst thing? Really, I love it, so there's not too much "worst." Occasional losing sleep as I desperately pore over my collection, seeking a cure to creative constipation. Beating myself up when I find typos/spelling errors/grammatical mistakes after publishing. Learning to ignore the rare troll is very hard for me. But I spend a lot of time doing this for free, so I must not have many "worsts."
|Where else could you discover Hitler's feelings on kittens |
(... and that he wasn't a good person)?
- from Blackhawk #254 (1983)
(5) Do you have any self-imposed rules (or guidelines) for your blog?
Aside from my self-imposed frequency requirements, not many. Whatever strikes my fancy on a given day.
I do try to research my posts. A few errors early on taught me all too well how unreliable my memory can be, so if I say X happened in Revengers #789 or Q drew Mighty Ant-Man #0 or W created the Feardom Fighters, I'm going to a) actually read the book, if I own it, and/or b) roll up by sleeves and look up the info on GCD or Don Markstein's Toonpedia or Public Domain Super-Heroes or (gasp) Wikipedia. Not a week goes by where I don't prevent myself from publishing something erroneous by actual looking it up rather than relying on fading memory.
I also try to keep things from getting personal. I may deplore the work writer Y is doing on book J, but I try to keep any wise-ass limited to the work itself, and not say that J is personally inept or deserves to be fired. Occasionally I have done a poor job of maintaining that line, or at least of expressing it properly, and I own that, while working to be better. Slay Monstrobot should be a fun place, even when ranting.
(6) Name one blog everyone should be reading (other than your own).
This is going to sound like log-rolling (blog-rolling?) after he praised my humble efforts in your interview, but Siskoid's Blog Of Geekery is my must-read every day.
He mentioned that we're "blog-brothers," in that our tastes and comic-reading histories have eerie similarities. But his blog is quite different than mine. His daily reviews of genre entertainment are something I wouldn't have the patience/time to do - and he never misses a day. He almost always does two posts a day, eclipsing my output. And he usually takes a far more literary/analytical approach than I do in my writing. And, despite English not being his first language, he's a better writer than I am by a fair margin.
Suffice it to say, his blog is the one I read while eating my cereal every morning.
|Snell publishes a regular feature profiling The Best Cover You've Never Seen|