Saturday, February 6, 2010

An Ode To The Boss Lady

As the news has rather quietly begun to spread around the industry, I just heard last night that one of my first good friends in comics, Jen Contino has quit her job running after over eight years of running's comic news feed, The Pulse.

According to the article by Heidi MacDonald at The Beat...

"Only the other day, a thread on asked Has Jen Contino left THE PULSE? noting that the prolific writer of Comicon’s Pulse newssite had been missing in action on the site, Facebook, and Twitter for quite a while. An email to’s owner Rick Veitch confirmed that Contino and the Pulse had indeed parted ways. In an email, Veitch blamed the tight economy for internet advertising for the move, as some advertisers had failed to pay their bills, and advertising for the site could no longer support Contino’s salary. He added that a statement was forthcoming.

Contino launched the Pulse in July 2002 — along with this writer, to make full disclosure. It was also the first home of this very blog, and the only reason it’s called the Beat is because Veitch thought it would be a good fit for the name The Pulse.

In 2002 Newsarama (which had recently left Comicon) and CBR were the only sites covering comics news, and the Pulse initially broke out of the gate as one of the leading news sites in the comics news field, with in-depth coverage of the exciting Jemas years at Marvel, the Miracleman trial and other big stories of the time. However, as the internet, the comics internet, and Nerdtopia grew and grew and big media moved into the space, it was pretty obvious that the Pulse was dropping off many people’s radar — their stories had ceased to get linked to or quoted much, with a few exceptions.

The problems at The Pulse reflect some of the problems in the wider economy and internet. It’s notable that one of Comicon/the Pulse’s biggest advertisers was formerly Gemstone, the publishing arm of Steve Geppi’s Diamond empire. Gemstone itself has had a lot of financial problems and debts, as has Geppi, although it is not believed they directly affect Diamond’s financials. However, the idea that Gemstone wasn’t paying their bills for an internet advertising campaign just adds to the picture of troubling times for all.

As for Contino, she has confirmed she is no longer working at the Pulse, but had no further comment."

A similar article can be found by Rich Johnston at

This really sucks on a personal level for me to hear. Jen Contino is and has been a very upstanding lady, as well as one of my very first real supporters within the comics industry as I've struggled to break in. We've not talked as much as we used too in the last few months and while I've noticed the content of The Pulse slipping, I don't really think that can be blamed on Jen so much. Up until the recent stopping point, she'd kept a pretty steady stream of content on the site. I don't want to speculate on why or how things came to this, with Jen being owed so much back pay because while I have my theories, I don't want to stir up trouble for anyone on pure theory. I've followed Jen and her site since back before I even knew her personally back in the early '00's. As much as sites like Newsarama, CBR, and Bleeding Cool have risen to prominence today, Jen was running her site extremely well for a very, very long period of time without pandering and shilling too much for the big two. She even had Warren Ellis writing columns for her at one point or another. She clearly knows what she's doing. Even in the latter days of The Pulse, she worked pretty hard to keep the ship afloat and was a big supporter of indie, small press, and up and coming comic guys like myself.

Back around '06 or '07, Jen and I got to know each other and she began showing an interest in my book Love Buzz, (Now published by Oni Press after all these years. *plug plug*) and she asked me if I was interested in running a column for the site to interview other indie and small press creators and give their work a bigger forum to show off on. Through that column, I made a lot of the friends and buisness contacts I've made to get me to where I am now, and I owe it all to Jen. If not for her support, I'd have most likely given up on comics years ago and gotten a "real" job. I'll forever be in her debt and I know she'll eventually land on her feet in whatever she does from here. I just wish like hell there was something I could do to for her that would come anywhere near repaying for her support.

She's a tough lady though. I know she'll land on her feet.