The Final HANGOUT: One Last Time

Goodbye from the Hangout.

I’ve been putting off writing this, because the more I thought about it, the bigger it got. Sort of like an episode of the Hangout – despite our best intentions, they always ran long, and we never started on time.

The Hangout is Jessica’s baby. She messaged two strangers on Twitter one day, asked us to talk comics on a Google Hangout, and it went from there. Not a one of us expected it to go as long or as far as it did. We’ve been privileged to talk to our heroes, to the people defining the present generation of comics, and to the people who will be wowing you down the road. And when Jessica could no longer work the Hangout into her *very finite* spare time, she entrusted Karen and I to nurture her baby without her.

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t last long. The great challenge of the Hangout has always been meshing our schedules. Kids get older, careers change, grad school happens. Of course, Jessica, Karen, and I always felt that our different ages – and stages of life – were part of what made our discussions so unique. We each had perspectives to bring to the table, and we like to think life is more interesting when everyone isn’t in lock-step. Though, the longer we knew each other, the more our tastes rubbed off on each other. That’s been great too, though my wallet doesn’t appreciate it.

For myself, I don’t think I’d be the person I am now if not for the Hangout. I was struggling with anxiety, especially around public speaking, which was impacting my job. Our show gave me an avenue to practice, and it felt safer not being able to see my audience. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself, and was often afraid to speak up or assert my opinions. The Hangout changed that. I was also feeling isolated, as I got older and had less in common with my college friends, and the Hangout introduced me to so many amazing people. People I love and adore, and have had the good fortune to meet in person and share drinks and laughs and stories.

The Hangout gave me sisters, and many brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, mentors, and a niece and nephew or two. Our intrepid producer Scott often teases me at conventions because we can’t walk into the bar without seeing at least three people we know.

I should take a moment here to thank Scott, so much, for allowing himself to be absorbed into the Hangout family. I took over the living room each week to broadcast, and he would watch every episode in the basement, flagging any nasty trolls on Youtube and delivering questions from twitter while we were live on air. He’s also carried our stuff around cons like a pack mule, taken pictures, and occasionally stepped in to co-host (especially if Green Lantern was involved). Thanks for the support, babe. You’re the best.

The Hangout wouldn’t be what it is without the people who tuned in either – whether from the start, or just for a particular creator. Thank you, every one of you, who ever watched us.

We had so much fun, guys. We wanted to focus on the positive, on the stuff we loved, rather than complain for an hour. I think we did that. We occasionally had beef to discuss, but I think we always did so in a thoughtful, measured way. The Hangout made me love comics as a medium in a much more robust way. It made me learn about the process of making them, about all the people involved, about art and coloring and lettering and editing and flatting, about the risks people take and what happens when you fail.

We’ve watched some of our early guests grow into superstars. We are so proud of them. We have watched friends transition into professional comics, living their dreams.
Best of all, as I said earlier, we got to talk to some of the best, most talented people in this business. Thank you to each of them: Kelly Sue DeConnick, Cullen Bunn, Greg Rucka, Jerry & Penelope Gaylord, Chris Sebela, Declan Shalvey, Sean Murphy, Scott Snyder, Matt Wilson, Clayton Cowles, Will Sliney, Erica Henderson, Antony Johnston, Marguerite Bennett, Magdalene Visaggio, Heather Antos, Van Jensen, Robert Venditti, Chip Zdarsky, Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Kevin Wada, Alison Sampson, Erica Schultz, Frank Barbiere, Ryan Ferrier, Joey Esposito, Mairghread Scott, Terry Moore, Adam Knave, Katy Rex, Steve Orlando, Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl, Becky Cloonan, Taylor Esposito, Joe Caramagna, Jacob Semahn, Kelly Thompson, Jeremy Holt, Sean Williams, Jeremy Haun, Chandra Free, Aaron Kuder, Jason Latour, Michael Lark, Joe Keatinge, Chris Dingess, Matt Roberts, Jesse Young, Leila del Duca, Alex de Campi, James Tynion IV, Amy Chu, Justin Jordan, Eric Esquivel, and Jeff Parker.

Special thanks to those of you who brought your pets on with you. Devo, Monster Truck, Anakin, Buffy Shalvaire, so many others – you are always in our hearts. Buddy, Rory, and Ink (RIP) were happy to share us with you.

Thank you to Victory Comics – Jeff Weaver, Josh Talley, Gareth Hoskins, and Sama in particular – for the love, support, special orders, and discounts.

Thank you to Comicosity, for giving us a home and promoting us so well. Aaron and Matt, we will love you always.

And finally, thank you to our friends, the ones who have encouraged us, who have shared our links, who have always been there with questions to ask and told random people to come on our show. You know who you are, and I’m not going to get myself in trouble again by trying to name you all like I did on the air. We did 128 episodes, and I wish we could do 128 more.

Thank you to Jessica and Karen, so much, I love you both.

The Hangout is dead, long live the Hangout! Now go read some comics.

Alison Baker
July 5, 2016