"Name Withheld" needs to find another letter column
January 10, 2013 9:28 AM   Subscribe

The Comics Buyers Guide was founded in 1971 by Alan Light, morphing over the decades (not in the least due to postal regulations requiring a certain amount of editorial content) into the most widely read industry newsletter, highly influential in its heyday under the editorial guidance of Don and Maggie Thompson in the eighties and early nineties. Now its run has come to an end as it will stop publishing with its March 2013 issue.

Some responses from those involved with the magazine: Maggie Thompson, Mark Evanier, Tony Isabella, Heidi MacDonald.

Though never as controversial or critical as e.g. The Comics Journal, its letterpage did play host to some spirited debate, not in the least with the infamous "Name Withheld" letter Erik Larsen sent in complaining about comics writers, not too long before the coming of Image.
posted by MartinWisse (16 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:34 AM on January 10, 2013

Although we liked to complain about it, that thing was a lifeline when I was reading it during the mid-1980's. I actually started corresponding (by mail) with some folks based on common interests we saw in classified ads, ended up joining an APA, and going to some really cool private parties at the San Diego con in the 1980's. Made some friends I still have today, thanks CBG.

Best Buyers' Guide cover ever.
posted by marxchivist at 10:00 AM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

Here's some photos of the old days from Alan Light's flickr page.
posted by marxchivist at 10:02 AM on January 10, 2013

Wow. This is like someone announcing that "the dictionary" will no longer be published.

posted by Splunge at 10:30 AM on January 10, 2013

I am totally, utterly biased because she is my best friend's mom, but Maggie Thompson is the best thing that ever happened, and if you ever get a chance to run into her anywhere under any circumstances, do not miss it.

This is so sad.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 10:37 AM on January 10, 2013

I have been reading CBG since I was a teenager. Wow.
posted by wittgenstein at 10:51 AM on January 10, 2013

I must admit that I thought CBG had migrated to the web -- and then quietly folded -- some years ago. In fact...I never even thought to check. *hangs head*
posted by wenestvedt at 11:16 AM on January 10, 2013

When I was into comics in high school I lived and breathed CBG. My high school library even started carrying it for a while.

posted by no relation at 12:02 PM on January 10, 2013

I read CBG for years and loved it; it was a great alternative to Wizard and similar nonsense rags. I got out of comics a few years ago and cancelled my subscription, then just last month I noticed CBG was available for the Kindle, so I got the trial issue, read it, decided I wasn't that interested anymore, and cancelled my digital subscription... so I'm going to assume their closing was my fault. :(

I still have a pile of back issues, and I really miss the days when they were weekly.

posted by Wrongshanks at 12:20 PM on January 10, 2013

I read this in an age (the 90s) when magazines were still amazing. CBG. Dungeon and Dragon magazines. The UK PC Format and PC Gamer.

(I would actually pay good cash money for either back issues or decent scans of PC Format and PC Gamer from the 90s.)

It's sad to see them all go, but, well, it's not like I've been falling over myself to give them any business. I hope the people who work there are able to find good jobs - any jobs - in this tough market.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 1:58 PM on January 10, 2013


I remember writing a 12-year old fanboy letter to Alan Light sometime in the early-mid 70s, and getting a very nice, patient reply to my silly questions, back when CBG was still TBG.
posted by El Brendano at 2:17 PM on January 10, 2013

I was always more a Comics Journal guy more than a CBG guy (although I had little patience for their endless feuds), but there was one CBG column by someone whose name I can't quite recall, after William Shatner's infamous "Get a life" SNL sketch, saying, folks, he has a point. I clipped it out and carried it in my wallet for years.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:11 PM on January 10, 2013


I hate to admit it, but I pretty much stopped reading CBG after the move from tabloid newspaper format to magazine... there was just something so satisfying about spreading that paper out on a table at a diner and eating breakfast or lunch, while reading it from Letter Page to Classifieds. We advertised our first (very local) comic convention in the CBG, back when that would actually draw 10-20 more people from outside of our area. CBG was like the hometown newspaper of comic fandom. Guess that's not needed any more, sadly.

Best of luck to everyone involved.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 4:52 PM on January 10, 2013

Current subscribers to the magazine will receive a two-for-one conversion to CBG sister publication Antique Trader: a biweekly that has served the antiques and collectibles community since 1957. (

That 25 Handy Words That Simply Don’t Exist In English post suddenly needs a 26th word to describe the WTFness that will greet paid subscribers on this news.


These niche publications dying makes me very sad. I'm not even sure if I've read a copy, either.
posted by Mezentian at 5:24 PM on January 10, 2013

Wow. I just real Name Withheld.
Three things stuck out at me:
1. Tripod still exists.
2. Mike, you ignorant slut. probably is the best built in derail ever. I will start all my Metafilter responses with that immediately when I don't want people to read what I write because it's just a winning opening gambit. (I assume banning would follow in... hours or minutes).
3. Erik apparently thought that Shatterstar and Feral were great characters (and Cable, but ... Cable!).

If memory serves my first impressions of Shatterstar was that he as just a bad-arsed up Longshot clone with dual-bladed swords, and Feral was like Wolfbane with all the heart removed and replaced with Wild Child, who was a Wolverine/Sabretooth clone if ever there was one.
posted by Mezentian at 7:52 PM on January 10, 2013

Well, Larson is correct in a very narrow sense in that, while the arc has swung back toward writers in mainstream comics, most of the favorable non-genre attention has been toward writer-artists such as Clowes, Ware, Tomine, Beaton, etc. But, of course, Erik Larson isn't on that list; even though Savage Dragon has its diehard fans, it's not much to show for two decades or so of complete creative freedom.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:55 AM on January 11, 2013

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