Fifteen Years of ASM – A Look Back

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July 12, 1999 — that graphic you see above was revealed to online Transformers fandom for the first time, heralding a new online magazine about those toys that could alter their states from robot to vehicles and beasts, an internet-only fanzine that promised debate about a wide variety of subjects that would take a new look at the Transformers mythos:

“I can sum up Altered States Magazine‘s focus: OPINIONS. This very well be my fanzine, but I want it to be a forum for your ideas, your essays, your opinions….

“Future issues of Altered States Magazine may deal with themes like heroism, morality, and religion. A lot will depend on how you interact with us.”

Boy, was I deluded or what? The magazine never really took off.  My idea for bimonthly issues quickly unraveled, and for a while we only did Toy Fair coverage.  Hardly an ongoing magazine dealing with weighty issues.

But we soldiered on, introducing reviews, Q&As, feature articles.  Toy Fair coverage soon had Transformers as only a small portion of the toys covered (and I still stand by our 15 years of coverage as some of the best a small site with no budget could do).  We introduced reviews of TV shows, and we shortened our name to ASM because I was sick of the full name (although we still get called “Altered States Magazine” frequently).

Some years ago I realized that I couldn’t hand-code the site anymore and I introduced the “Geekly Rewind” blog.  I thought it would complement the larger articles; instead, WordPress made it easy to just do everything there.  “Geekly Rewind” never took off as a concept, so the site once again becamse just ASM.

ASM has always been a labor of love.  We took advertising very sparingly (and got burned on one deal).  We’ve made lots of friends and met lots of great people.  Over the course of these fifteen years, we’ve had lots of people work on and for the site, and I certainly hope I don’t miss any of them in this list:

Rogue Z, Daniel, Amy, Doug, Matt G., Ant, Matt K., Chris K., Gary, Greg, Joe — without you, we wouldn’t have had content on the site.  Thank you so much for putting words onto screen and taking pictures and doing everything you’ve done.

Thank you to our industry friends, especially those at Hasbro; Justin, Joe and the crew at Hunter PR (that includes Danny, former member of the Hunter Bearded Triumverate); Aub and the folks at Dark Horse; Rosalind and those at IDW; Allison and the people at Funko; Hunter and the group at Valiant Comics; Jerry at WizardWorld; Lance at ReedPop; and all those from the former Palisades Toys.  And to those whom we see at Toy Fair every year?  You rock, too!

Finally, a sincere thanks to you, the reader.  The ride here has been bumpy at times, or stalled, or fast and furious.  But we kept moving on, and I and the staff thank you for being there.

As I look towards the past, I can’t help but look towards the future.  Fifteen years ago, I was a single guy with a growing collection, lots of free time and money, and a whole lot of ideas.  Now, I’m married with a kid, and that takes up most of my time.  But I still have lots of ideas, and I hope that I’ll be able to put some of them in place in the future.  I don’t know what the coming months or years will bring, but I hope that I will still be here, with my own little corner of the Internet, writing about the things that interest me and you.

So, tomorrow is ASM’s 15th Birthday.  Thanks to everyone out there who’s read, contributed, shared, liked, tweeted, and visited.  You’re the reason I do it.  Thanks.