Now I'm fairly sure you've heard of 'Rotten Tomatoes', right? You know, the movie aggregator site which compares movie to movie, actor to actor, and all of that jazz. Well, comic book fans, your four colour counterpart has finally arrived on the internet. Kubla Comics is it's name, and comparing comic books is it's game. Here, when you have the time, please check out this interview I had with Kubla's head-honcho, Ken, whilst aggregating Frank Miller with a watering can and a pair of pliers. 

SuperHeroStuff-Shop Now

1) What are your own origins, Ken? Plus what path did you take in life to get to where you are today?   I love the idea that I have an 'origin'. I wish I could tell you that my home planet was destroyed and I was sent to Earth to fight for justice, or that I was bathed in experimental radioactive isotopes granting me extraordinary powers of time and space, but... no... no such luck.

Japan Poster
Although I did like to put on cardboard armor when I was a kid and joust with the other neighborhood kids.

Still, the mundane reality is that I was born and raised in the great woodland known as Maine, went to school in the slightly less-wooded New York City, and then spent the following years traveling all over the world. 

A year in Japan, and couple months in Thailand, about 75 countries in all. (At one point, I was shooting a Kalashnikov in Yemen -- at rocks, not people -- and asked myself, "how the **** did I get here?").  When I was done traveling and attacking rocks, I spent the next few years in Boston and California satisfying my creative yen as a fiction writer, game designer, and web entrepreneur. I'm settled in the Boston area now, and my most recent endeavor is the one I'm the most excited about: Kubla Comics!

2) How did ‘Kubla Comics’ come about?   Kubla Comics came about at a time when I was looking for my next thing. I had just shuttered my last company, after we had gotten shelled by the bad economy, and was thinking about what I wanted to work on next. My daughter had just been born, and one night, when I was changing her diaper, in my sleepless delirium, it occurred to me that there wasn't a review aggregator for comic books. I thought of how cool that would be, and how much I would use a service like that. The next morning I jumped on the phone with a friend who's a developer and we got to work. 

Rotten Tomatoes
3) In your own words how would you describe this site?   The one-line pitch is: "Kubla Comics is the Rotten Tomatoes of comic books". The long answer is: "Kubla Comics is a place to discover comics: what's getting good reviews, what's getting bad reviews, what comics / artists / writers / publishers / reviewers haven't you heard of before that Kubla Comics can help you find". And soon, Kubla Comics will be a community where comic fans can share their thoughts and opinions, can pick and choose their favorite comics / creators / etc. to track and get reports on, and can read funny, insightful, and informative articles plus webcomics. 

4) If this site was a piece of music what would it be and why?   How about an old school Kubla Comics mix tape? Side A - Before Kubla Comics: "Help!" by the Beatles; "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2; and  "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" by The Smiths. Whilst on Side B - After Kubla Comics: "Just What I Needed" by The Cars, "Just Like Heaven" by The Cure, and "Just Can't Get Enough" by Depeche Mode.

Uncanny X-Men #165
5) What was the first comic book you ever read? And do you still read mainstream comic books today?   Comics entered my life through a huge stack of books handed down to me by my older brothers. And what a stack it was -- Archie, Richie Rich, Sgt. Rock, Justice League of America, Batman, Superman, Avengers, Spectacular Spider-Man, Iron Man, Creepy and on and on -- it was like a greatest hits of late '60's to late '70's comics. 

So, there's no one comic that hooked me, it was more like a sledgehammer of comic awesomeness. But there definitely was a moment when I became an active collector, and that was when I got my first comic subscription in the mail. And one of the first comics I remember getting in the mailbox was 'Uncanny X-Men #165' with the brilliant cover by Paul Smith of Storm transforming into a cockroach... I mean... Brood. Those Claremont / Smith issues rocked my little world and made me a fan for life. 

As for going to a store and buying a comic, this wasn't the first, but I very distinctly remember cross-country skiing across a frozen lake in Maine so my best friend and I could buy comic books off a rack at a general store. As I spun the rack, the canary yellow cover of 'Alpha Flight #1' jumped out at me. I had no idea who these strange characters were pushing aside Captain America and Spider-Man, but I knew I wasn't leaving that store without it.

Morgan Freeman As GodAs for mainstream comics, yes, I still read a ton. Mostly Marvel. But a respectable amount of DC too. One of the reasons I started Kubla Comics was so that I could find out what good Indie books are out there. I've always been able to stay on top of the big Two, but I've found it's much harder to keep track of all the amazing small publisher stuff. 

6) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote ‘Kubla’, who would you choose, and again, why?   Kubla Comics celebrity spokesperson would be Morgan Freeman in full-on, ultimate authority, voice-of-God mode. He's the man that tells you we've got you covered. Plus, he was Easy Reader on Electric Company, starring alongside word-balloon Spider-Man. Omnipotent deity, literacy advocate, and he hangs out with Spidey...he's the perfect spokesman for Kubla. 

7) How easy is it for somebody to submit a review to your site? And what are the procedures for doing this?   We track reviews by review site, so if someone finds a review site that they don't think we're tracking, they just have to let us know about it. Email and tell us which site we're missing. We'll check the site out, and, if it passes muster, add it to our collection schedule. (Passing muster, by the way, means vetting the site to make sure the reviews are well-written and thought out).  If someone feels we missed a review about a single issue or graphic novel, again, they can just email us and let us know about it. 

Marvel Cosplays
8) Do you have any amusing stories you can tell us about your site?   My designer didn't know what social media we were going to go with, so he put a link to OkCupid on the site as a placeholder. In the frantic back and forth of final tweaking, the site was live for a few days before we realized that we had an online dating service as one of the ways we encouraged people to share Kubla Comics.

My wife and his girlfriend didn't find it quite as amusing as we did. Ha!

9) If your site had a motto what would it be?   Our tagline is: "the ruler of all comic book reviews" with the word 'ruler' meaning both leader and measurer. Our motto? I would say it's something like: "Support the best comics from the best creators".  We feel pretty strongly that Kubla Comics helps you do that.

Wow! Thanks for that, Ken. I bet my bottom dollar that most of my readers will check out Kubla Comics,  plus follow you on Facebook & Twitter too. So go on, pal. what are you waiting for? A monkey eating goldfish? Skat. Skat. Skat. Ha!

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