Near Mint Memories: One Year Later

This edition of NMM is co-written by John Babos and Chris Delloiacono


When NMM was launched one year ago this week, on August 7, 2003, we had no idea if we’d have one year’s worth of interesting columns to write. Twelve months later, column founders Chris Delloicono and John Babos are still committed to bringing readers their unique takes, both informative (hopefully) and opinionated (guaranteed), on comics’ yesteryear.

We were clear from the beginning about what we hoped to do. In that first NMM column we came out an said that:

The idea behind this new column is a simple one – its intended to be a weekly exploration of the road traveled with an eye towards the journey ahead – a passionate perspective on comic books.

Many of us share a deep appreciation for time’s past and modernity. Comic books and super-heroes share a rich and vibrant history – whether we’re talking about the 1940s or the 1980s or even today.

My fellow columnists, Chris Delloiacono and Nick Piers, and I will share our Near Mint Memories with you, weekly – sometimes individually, sometimes together – always enthusiastically.

Enjoy the journey.


There’s been many changes and experiments over the last year. One of those changes was pretty huge. One of the founders of NMM, Nick Piers, left the column as a regular contributor last winter. However, Chris and John remained and steered a pretty steady ship over the last year.

The experiments? Well, our first was the Roundtable. The concept was simple. In addition to delivering columns by individual contributors, we thought it would be cool to pull together other 411 Comics staffers and talk about topics in the spirit of NMMs. The first (and only) Roundtable topic was on the dreaded “C” word: Continuity – the strength or bane of the comics business depending on where you stand on it.

While the Roundtable concept was an intriguing one, it turned out to be a logistical nightmare. Its just hard for many of us 411 staffers to balance our “paying careers / jobs”, girlfriend(s), family, friends and the many “real world” happenings with our 411 responsibilities. After all, we 411 contributors are volunteers. We’re fans like you. We write our columns and reviews because we have a love and appreciation for the medium. We do this because we want to not because we have to. However, getting more than one 411 staffer together on AIM for an online chat to be transcribed and posted was daunting. Each staffer has their own columns for you to enjoy and their attention needs to be on their babies. So, after only one Roundtable, we closed that chapter in NMM lore.

However, where one experiment proved unsuccessful, another thrived. Our first multi-part NMM series generated quite the feedback and spawned others. Topics ranged from that first 3-part Crisis serial to a Hawkman 2-parter to a 4-part look at some key Silver Age properties from Marvel and DC to a Mike Grell multi-parter looking at his Green Arrow and Warlord runs. (Look for the third and final part of the Grell-retrospective, centering on Jon Sable, very soon into Year 2 of NMM.)

In addition to these experiments, Chris and John have delivered many solo columns on topics ranging from the Golden Age roots of the DCU to Spider-Man’s black costume to holiday gift ideas to so many others.

The amazing part about Near Mint Memories has been the outpouring by fans – the fan letters have just been phenomenal. While there is frequent fan input concerning reviews, it has been nothing like the words of wisdom from our readers. Some of the most memorable comments were from readers intrigued by our columns to go out and hunt down a particular issue or run that we touted. The knowledge that you inspired others is one of the greatest rewards that a writer can hope for.

If the column has been successful its because you, the readers and comics fans, tuned in and enjoyed our work.

THANK YOU on behalf of Chris and John for making twelve months worth of NMMs a memorable run.


As many of you know, 411 is undergoing change. As reported on the Midnight News 411 co-founder Widro is moving on and starting his own multi-genre cross-fandom site called Inside Pulse, allowing 411 co-founder Ashish to be 411’s top dogg.

As part of Widro’s new Inside Pulse venture, The Nexus will also be launched. Our Co-EIC Ben Morse has been fond of calling it “I can’t believe it’s not 411.” Nothing more can be true. We’re simply talking about a name change. Look at it as rebranding! The entire staff, and all of the columns will just have a new URL. That’s it!

So, why do you need to know this?

Well, when we said all of the columns, we meant it. The Nexus will be the new home for Near Mint Memories and Chris and John.

411Mania has been a great home. John and Chris both joined the site in March of 2003. There’s plenty of great Memories, in the past. None of that’s going to change. But there will be plenty of new Memories in the future.

While 411Mania as a whole has been an awesome place to be, 411Comics turned into a family affair with contributors bonding in a way that many us didn’t expect. We’re friends. We’re family. The outpouring of support from the entire team at 411 in this new endeavour has been unbelievable. When the situation became clear there seemed to be no doubt in anyone’s mind that remaining together was the only option.

United We Stand, Divided We Fall!

Ben Morse and Daron Kappauff, the 2 chief architects of the Comics portion of 411Mania, are going with Widro to launch the new Inside Pulse site. They will be at the helm of the new comics-focused sister site The Nexus.

Daron and Ben are our friends. They’ve earned our trust and loyalty. They are kindred spirits and we couldn’t think of two better people to work with on a topic we all love: comics.

Daron, even with his Dark Overlord tendencies, in particular has been a great brother to Chris and John. He’s always been fiercely supportive of our column, and stuck with us through a somewhat-lean summer of output.

We hope that our loyal NMM and 411Comics readers and friends follow us to The Nexus, a part of the new Inside Pulse venture.

It may seem like we’re hitting you over the head with this move…Well, we are. This is a cosmetic change, but one that the readers need to be informed about. In a few weeks any distractions that are happening now will be forgotten.

In the weeks, months, and, dare we say, years ahead, we have a few surprises in store for you on the NMM front. A few positive changes and some awesome topics to start our second year.

We hope you enjoy the next year of NMMs and thank you for making our first year a success.

Hope to see you get caught in The Nexus next Thursday.

Thanks for the Memories. Let’s go make some more!

Things don’t fall apart. Things hold. Lines connect in thin ways that last and last and lives become generations made out of pictures and words just kept. – Lucille Clifton

This edition of NMM is co-written by Chris Delloiacono and John Babos.