Regretfully, I must announce that KinderComics is on indefinite hiatus. I'm not sure what this means, exactly, but I do know that I will post few if any reviews here from now until the end of the academic year (so, June 2022), and nothing big. Worse, I can't be sure that I'll be returning even after that. As an academic, meaning a teacher first, scholar second, and critic third, my yearly cycle is keyed to the traditional school calendar, which for me equals August through May. During those months my hands are full, and these days I feel an ever-greater pressure to devote summers to the scholarly projects and teaching prep that I cannot get done during the other nine to ten months. I know that something, some things rather, have to give, and, sigh, KinderComics seems to be one of those.
For the past three and a half, going on four, years, this site has been my pride and joy. I've enjoyed writing here, and putting myself to work thinking about some great comics. Yet I know this site has never been able to sustain real momentum, not enough for KinderComics to become a known and trusted source for reviews; that has been a source of regret. I haven't been able to get out in front of new book releases, to be timely as reviewers tend to be. And I've never been able to expand this site beyond reviews to interviews and longer features as hoped; again, regrets. So, not once but repeatedly, I've been forced to admit that this is an extracurricular pursuit of mine, squeezed in between the other aspects of my working life.
I should admit that something else is going on too. I'm writing this through a fog of bereavement, as both my mother, Ella Jane Ellington Hatfield, and my father, Jerry Hatfield, have passed since midsummer. I've experienced their deaths as sudden shocks to the system; I seemed to have been turned upside down and inside out. I find myself wanting, needing, more time than I have. I feel a need to refocus. Since I have several long-range projects in the works (here's one), and since there ought to be more to life than sprinting to catch up on my comics reading, I need to take a break, somewhere. Here, I'm afraid.
The thing is, writing reviews is my favorite form of writing. I like the elasticity of it, the freedom of writing less formally and at different lengths. I love concentrated encounters with works of art that interest me, and I like the more or less constant practice of writing for a blog. Also, I like staying in the swim when it comes to comics, especially young readers' comics. That matters to me. KinderComics was created to satisfy all those itches. So, to press the Pause button on it, with the thought I may never be able to unPause it, that's a blow. But I'll continue writing occasional criticism for the excellent SOLRAD: The Online Literary Magazine for Comics, and I hope for The Comics Journal too, my two favorite platforms for online comics criticism. Those trusted online magazines have been an outlet for me, and I can write for them without spending much time on social media trying to draw eyes to my work; I look forward to continuing with them when I can. Readers, I hope you'll look for my work there, and thanks for listening.
If I get back to writing here, I'll sound the trumpets! In the meantime, this site is staying up for the foreseeable future. If you see something here that sparks your thinking, and you want to reach out, use the Contact form, above! I'd be glad to chat.
PS. Back in September, I described Sas Milledge's comic book miniseries-in-progress Mamo as "a warmly humanistic, implicitly queer-positive, inclusive fantasy" and "an aesthetic delight." Now that it's done, I can strike the "implicitly" from the above, and can also affirm that the finished story is just as strong as I hoped it would be. Highly recommended; I bet there will be a trade collection soon! Milledge is one of the great talents I've learned about thanks to KinderComics (good god, Kat Leyh, Jen Wang, Rumi Hara, Jerry Craft, Molly Knox Ostertag, Chad Sell...). I'll look out for whatever she does next.