It’s not always easy to keep up with news in and around the comics community, as I found out from a nice note sent to me by Rik Offenberger a couple of days ago. He was just asking about me and if I’m working on something that could use a little promotion. Most curious was his return email address @firstcomicsnews.com. As connected as I seem to think I am, I hadn’t heard of it before, so I looked it up and went to have a see.

First Comics News is a new comics community news, reviews and commentary site produced by Rik and a cast of volunteers who are working hard and doing a very nice job of putting together a new web environment for the comics world. The site was launched at the onset of 2010, sports an easy to navigate architecture, and is chock-full of publications and events content.

Rick Offenberger is the visionary behind the longest running web based comics news email list-serve group at Yahoo, Super Hero News, which began as a member-driven news agency more than a decade ago when such platforms were still in infancy. Running since 1998, Super Hero News emerged then as what seemed like a novelty tool for comics professionals. The self-sustaining member list and activity grew over the years and led the way for countless news sites and forums thriving in the comics. Today, Super Hero News remains one of the central “insider” platforms for delivering news releases by creators, reporters and publishers to the comics press community.

Rik went on to produce The Mighty Crusaders Network web site complex, building it brick by brick as a historical archive of the Archie Comics‘ original incarnation as MLJ Magazine‘s pantheon of heroes, including The Shield, Comet, Black Hood among many others, who began emerging on the comics scene as early as 1942. There is no better place on the web to explore the rich history of this essential family of heroes whose long standing evolution and presence remain an underpinning of the comics mythology. The site includes wings for new incarnations of Red Circle Comics, Continuity Comics and Malibu Comics’ The Protectors.

Rik resurfaced as a comics journalist himself conducting interviews with creators for Jason Brice’s Silver Bullet Comic Books news site, now Comics Bulletin, and Matt Brady’s Newsarama. One such interview with myself remains a good record for the spirit and thrust under which our site complex evolved in its early stages. We kept in touch over the years as Rik became Public Relations Coordinator of Archie Comics. It was this excellent coupling of Rik’s PR savvy and publisher of the timeless teenage properties that catapulted Archie and company back into the spotlight of comics activity in recent years.

First Comics News is a labor of love for Rik and his enthusiastic staff which includes a wide range of familiar contributors to the medium. A quick glimpse at the array of content shows that the site stands tall alongside leading industry news sites and promises to uphold Rik’s own remarkable record for advancing the comics press. First Comics News is born out of the same quirky love for the medium that began as a small infection many decades ago and has grown to a full-scale epidemic, with little hope for anyone to escape it. May it live long and prosper.