PopCult’s State of the Blog 2021 (January – June)

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Looking back

2020 was a bitch of a year, and that is an understatement. One of the least exciting U.S. presidential elections managed to bring out more voters than ever before. The guy we wanted to win did but there isn’t much jubilation as the American economy appears to be on the verge of a major collapse. If that wasn’t bad enough, a pandemic rages through the country while the newly approved vaccine trickles out at a rate that experts say will take us a decade to administer to 80% of the population. The summer saw an eruption of civil unrest over police brutality and deeply entrenched systemic racism. All of this is still roiling on as the U.S government now refuses to help out its citizens while COVID kills, leave people with permanent health problems, and destroys multiple industries. So let’s look at how my blog did!

In 2020, PopCult had a total of 15,959 views. This was a 29% increase in views from 2019, the largest annual jump I’ve had in years.

In this past year I had 11,750 visit to PopCult, which is a 32% increase from the 2019. This is by far the biggest jump I’ve ever had in this metric.

But the biggest jump came in Like on my posts with 1,111 total. That marks a 101% percent increase from 2019 in reader engagement. The number of comments was pretty much the same so I really want to see what I can do to increase that number in 2021.

I’d love to pick the brain of someone who has good strategies about promoting their blog. I’m always reticent to be too self-promotional but this year seems like the time to shrug that off and try to get PopCult out there as much as I can.

I started a streak of 1,000+ views per month in March that is still continuing into the start of the New Year. It was one of the few positives of the pandemic. November was my most viewed month on the blog with 1,707 views. That is the second-highest month since I started the blog in 2008. Here are my top 20 posts of 2020 based on the number of views.

  1. Comic Book Review – Miracleman: The Golden Age & The Silver Age
  2. Movie Review – First Cow
  3. Comic Book Review – Legion of Super-Heroes: Five Years Later Omnibus
  4. Movie Review – Cooties
  5. Comic Book Review – Justice League International Omnibus Volume 2
  6. Comic Book Review – The Flash by Geoff Johns Omnibus Volume 1
  7. Comic Book Review – Wonder Woman: The Last True Hero
  8. Movie Review – Southland Tales (The Cannes Cut)
  9. Comic Book Review – Wonder Woman by George Perez Omnibus Volume 3
  10. Comic Book Review – Stargirl by Geoff Johns
  11. Comic Book Review – The Power of Shazam! Book One: In the Beginning…
  12. Movie Review – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
  13. How I Read a Poem: The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats Part 1
  14. Superhero Spotlight – Plastic Man
  15. Comic Book Review – Seven to Eternity Volumes 1 & 2
  16. Comic Book Review – X-Statix: The Complete Collection Volume 1
  17. Movie Review – Day of the Locust
  18. Movie Review – The Personal History of David Copperfield
  19. Comic Book Review – Venom: War of the Realms
  20. Comic Book Review – New Teen Titans Omnibus Volume 4

Looking Ahead

Everything for the coming year, especially the deeper we get into it is tenuous. I recently resigned from my teaching position as our district was ending all virtual teaching and pushing every teacher back into the classroom. My state, and this county, in particular, have some of the highest COVID-19 rates in the country. During work hours people wore their masks, but just before work and especially after dismissal, the masks would come off and people would behave as if there was no pandemic. I know at least two of my now former colleagues were straight-up anti-Maskers & COVID deniers. 

There’s literally no reason to open our schools up in person but they are dead set on it so I had to walk away. I don’t like to leave a job without another one waiting for me but this was an emergency situation. So, because I am unemployed as of this writing I have to say that, depending on my job/financial situation I don’t know if all of this will happen but I am sure as hell going to try.

We kick the year off in January with a look at Alfred Hitchcock’s films from 1954 through 1965 in what I am calling his “Masterpiece Decade” and you’ll see that first post later today. We follow that up with reviews of the three films of Australian director Ray Lawrence (Bliss, Lantana, Jindabyne), someone I think is incredibly underrated because he isn’t so prolific. All month I’ll be presenting a series that looks at the Best of Amazing Stories, the classic 1980s science fiction/fantasy anthology produced by Steven Spielberg. We’ll also begin episode by episode reviews of Disney+’s new WandaVision series. On the comics side of things, I’ll be reviewing Phil Jimenez‘s run on Wonder Woman, kick off my look back at the post-Crisis Superman, and pour through the massive JLA by Grant Morrison Omnibus.

February is headlined by 20th Century Scorsese, looking at every film in the 20th century from Martin Scorsese from Mean Streets to Bringing Out the Dead. Following alongside will be the Best of Batman: The Animated Series, a show I am so excited to revisit. On the comics side of things, I continue reading through Geoff John’s Flash series, kick-off Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman run, look back at the recent Hawkman ongoing, and delve into John Byrne’s bizarre & wonderful Generations omnibus.

We slow things down a bit in March with Seasons, a series looking at the work of Japanese director Yasujirō Ozu. With that, we delve into John Huston’s films in a series called Little Lives. For television, I’ll be watching and reviewing The Queen’s Gambit which I missed in 2020. Comic book reviews will include a review of Superman by Grant Morrison, the next part in the post-Crisis Superman retrospective, the second of Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman collections, and a double-feature of what’s been happening in Donny Cates’s Venom run.

By the time we get to April, I don’t have as much nailed but that will begin to develop as we get closer. I do know I want to feature Breaking Traditions: The Films of Norman Jewison, an extremely prolific and eclectic filmmaker. I’m still working out what I want to focus on in Television for this month. However, on the comics side of things, I’ll be reading the final volume in Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman run but will start filling in more of the gaps as we get closer.

For May I have two big and very different film series that I want to run concurrently. The first is The Light Finds My Eyes, a series that looks at Ingmar Bergman’s best movies. The second is Muppets in May that is a full survey of the entire Muppet film franchise. In terms of television and comics, I don’t have anything yet planned for May but am sure that will come together as we get closer.

June will be my 40th birthday so I think it’s a good time to Flashback to 1981 and look at some well-known as well as obscure films from that year. That month I will also be unveiling my Top 40 Favorite Films of all-time list in a four-part series.

All of this is very dependent on my employment and living situation. My wife and I are good financially for three months or so if I can’t find work but after that things would get dicey. I’m currently applying to a variety of jobs while holding out for something in the realm of teaching because that is my passion. 2020 was a year of constant change & upheaval so I am bracing myself for a 2021 that will probably more of the same but hopefully some return to normalcy.

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