1.13.2014

Station Identification 2014



I decided to do one of these because I’ve seen people like Warren Ellis and Greg Rucka do them, and I think they’re way cool. I’ve also been doing a lot more work away from Thirteen Minutes, so I thought it might be time to run everything down in one place that I can easily point people to.

Hi. I’m Justin Giampaoli. I’m a writer.

Thirteen Minutes has been my home base for conversational comic book reviews since it began in 2005. At the time, I just wasn’t seeing the types of reviews that I wanted to read. For years, you had a choice between the low-brow humor of the mostly mundane mainstream in Wizard Magazine, or the sometimes haughty erudition of the often obscure art comics in The Comics Journal. My reading habits were somewhere in between, and I’m glad there are now intelligent and accessible coverage options in that space. The line between mainstream and indie is ever blurring, both creatively and critically. My weekly coverage at Thirteen Minutes has been nominated four years in a row, winning an award for Best Web-Site in 2011. I also enjoy putting together annual “best of” lists, so look for that in December.

You can follow me @ThirteenMinutes on Twitter.

With very few exceptions, I’m primarily interested in Creator Owned Comics. I capitalized that on purpose. I hope you don’t think that’s pretentious. There’s a Creator Owned Renaissance happening, a distinct movement. I think we’ve reached a tipping point where Creator Owned Comics occupy the majority of the mind share, and are making great strides in capturing market share. I believe in following creators, and not characters, properties, or companies. I no longer financially support Marvel or DC books unless they’re Creator Owned Comics. You can see most of the titles I’m currently reading listed up in the top banner, that’s about as mainstream as I get. I’ve been told by people I trust that I have a thing for dystopian speculative fiction. Maybe this has to do with all of the crisis management experience I’ve had in my career. There’s certainly great dramatic tension created when things break. I like other stuff too, but you can definitely see that post-apocalyptic thread in my diet of Wasteland, The Massive, Danger Club, Lazarus, or East of West.

I also have a strong interest in mini-comics and small press publishing. It is my fervent belief that if you’re into comics at all, then names like Sparkplug Comic Books, Grimalkin Press, Domino Books, Hic & Hoc Publications, or Uncivilized Books should not be foreign to you. In the indie space, I was the Senior Reviewer at Poopsheet Foundation from 2009 to 2014, clocking in 521 reviews at that site alone during that 5-year period. I still love mini-comics and would be happy to review yours if you’d like to send it to me. I prefer print comics over digital comics. I think holding the tangible object in your hands is an endemic part of the reading experience. I self-published a few of my own books, including The Mercy Killing with artist Tim Goodyear, Silicon Valley Blues with artist Tim Goodyear, and Blood Orange with artist Grant Lee.

I’m a Contributing Writer at Comics Bulletin. There’s a talented group of writers operating out of the CB enclave, including Jason Sacks, Keith Silva, and Daniel Elkin. They graciously keep asking me to participate, even though I feel a little bit like Jimi Hendrix trying to jam with The Beatles whenever I do. Writing with them makes me a better writer because it exercises different muscles.

I’m a Guest Contributor at Fanboy Comics, which is headed up by the energetic duo of Barbra Dillon and Bryant Dillon. They’re a dynamic group based in LA who have successfully harnessed a hybrid model which blends multimedia pop culture coverage, a strong con presence, and a small press publishing house with a burgeoning line of impressive original graphic novels.

I’ve done freelance work-for-hire projects at DC Comics/Vertigo and Dark Horse. I wrote the introduction to DMZ Volume 12: The Five Nations of New York by Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli. I also edited and re-mastered interviews from my LIVE FROM THE DMZ site to be included in the new Deluxe Edition Hardcovers. DMZ: Book One is out this month, collecting the first 12 issues of the series, an extended behind-the-scenes conversation between me and Brian Wood, and tons of bonus art material. You get all that for $29.99. You should buy it. There will be 5 books in total over the next couple years, collecting all 72 issues of this contemporary classic. Over at Dark Horse, I contributed backmatter to Brian Wood’s socially-aware action-adventure series The Massive. I love doing this kind of work. It’s something I hope to do more of. Call me.

I’m an advocate for strong retailing. It can make or break the process of generating sustainable readership. The retailer is the true customer in the direct market, so please fill out your Previews Order Form in order to ensure that you’re voting with your wallet where it’s actually being counted. I work signings and events at my retail sponsor Yesteryear Comics. They won the San Diego A-List Award for Best Comics Shop in 2013. Their customer service is unparalleled in the region. I believe in the symbiotic relationship that can be fostered between retailers, creators, and critics. I like getting to know creators at in-store signings (shout out to Joshua Dysart, Ed Brisson, Johnnie Christmas, and Ken Kristensen, to name a few). If you’re a creator interested in doing an in-store signing in Southern California, I hope to talk to you soon. Call me.

As for the day job, when I got out of college, I worked in law enforcement at the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). After that, I worked at a Fortune 100 company called Cisco, the high tech giant headquartered in Silicon Valley, for 11 years in a variety of management roles in the corporate security department, including Corporate Investigations, Executive Protection, Security Operations, Environmental Health & Safety, and Emergency Response & Crisis Management. I have a BS in Criminal Justice Administration from San Jose State University, and an MS in Emergency Management from Boston University. I’m currently the Director of Security at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

I grew up on an almond farm in California’s San Joaquin Valley, but spent the majority of my adult life in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve travelled all over the world, but now live in San Diego. My politics lean toward the liberal left. I enjoy commentary about media criticism and social justice, so I pay attention to coverage from people like Bill Maher, Jeremy Scahill, and Rania Khalek, usually following whatever links they point me to. I speak a lot of Spanish, a little Italian, and I’m into food, travel, and old BMWs. When I’m not reading comics, I’m hanging out with my wife and kids at the beach.

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