4thletter! turns ten next year; this post is the last post on the site for the foreseeable future. It’s been limping along for a couple of years, and it’s always better to call it than stick around after you fall off.
Over the course of 4l!’s run, I got to write alongside Thomas Wilde, DB “Hoatzin” Cooper, and Esther Inglis-Arkell. I got to have fun with the Funnybook Babylon gang, Chris Eckert and Pedro Tejeda and Joe Mastantuano and Jamaal Thomas. I got to terrorize comic conventions with Cheryl Lynn Eaton. Tucker Stone and Sean Witzke are fellow members of the Class of ’05, and they’re two of the best folks around. Graeme McMillan & Jeff Lester, Joe McCulloch, Los Mindless Ones, the Blog@/Robot6/Great Curve crew, Brigid Alverson & Deb Aoki bka the dynamic duo of manga blogging, Tom Spurgeon…
4thletter! got me blogger beef, creator beef, editor beef, publisher beef, marketer beef, and, of all things, rapper beef.
I did what I wanted to do, how I wanted to do it, and folk seemed to feel it. I did it alongside friends.
This dumb site gave me a chance to write alongside Gavin Jasper, the funniest guy on the internet, continuing a friendship that started because of video games and fanfic. I love that guy. I can see site stats on our dashboard—he’s got the top 19 posts on the site for all-time. He owns the top 50. He runs 4thletter!. Gavin’s one of the best writers and guys around. You’re a fool if you’re sleeping on him.
Gavin: thank you.
Thanks for reading.
Well. I guess the writing was on the wall.
I still remember when David asked me to join his site. We had known each other for a few years online and one of the forums we frequented was Higher Voltage, a now-defunct site dedicated to fighting games. There was a comics thread and around that time, I was getting back into comics for the first time in six or seven years. I had a soft spot for the 90’s Venom anti-hero comics and I decided to read through the entire run. I remember there being a website called “Life of Reilly” that was dedicated to the history of the Scarlet Spider and going through the whole Clone Saga in great detail. To go with that, I started writing posts called “Life of Brock,” which was about talking up the various Venom issues as I went through them. I got about halfway through before losing steam, but people seemed to dig it.
David was moving his “guerilla_grodd” Livejournal into a blog and recruited me to help out, saying I could use it as a home for Life of Brock and write about whatever. I took him up on the offer because I grew to absolutely love writing. I had no plans to be a writer or anything. I was just a dude in college with a lot of time on his hands who really, really loved giving himself massive writing assignments. I wrote a 200-page Word document about the plot of the Mortal Kombat for GameFAQs at one point. Just because!
I mainly just fucked around on the old site. I seem to remember one of my earliest posts was about writing a weird fan-fiction-y thing about trying to make narrative sense of all the Marvel vs. Capcom games. Like explaining Akuma showing up in X-Men: Children of the Atom and why Anita from DarkStalkers was in the Saturn version of Marvel Super Heroes. Really, most of my stuff was garbage.
It was my love for self-imposed writing projects that led to me doing the Top 100 What If Countdown back in 2007. Seemed like a fun diversion. Then it changed when I saw the traffic. I always figured we got maybe a couple dozen people visiting 4thletter a day. Instead, it was in the hundreds. People actually gave a damn about what I was writing. That gave me a real shot in the arm and I started putting more effort in my writings. We started going from hundreds to thousands and it was a major thrill, causing me to compete against myself to see what kind of harebrained article idea I could do next.
But of course, it’s all about David. While my articles are high-concept clickbait, David’s always been the heart of the site, even if it wasn’t already his and wasn’t named after him. David was quality and I could never compete with that no matter how funny my jokes supposedly are (note: I have to add “supposedly” so I don’t sound like a dick). One of the things that always irked me is when he would do some thoughtful post on race and people in the comments or on another site would misread his tone and label him as some kind of angry black man, constantly looking to find stuff to be angry black about. Nothing can be further from the truth. I know David. I love David. David is — and will ALWAYS be — my friend. He may be passionate, but he is far from being just some angry dude. I’ve known him for well over a decade and the maddest he ever got at me was, I shit you not, me telling him that the actor who played Mad Dog in Raid: Redemption shows up in the sequel in a different role. He got annoyed because he didn’t want any spoilers and that counted.
David’s given me a stage to showcase my creativity and for that I will always be thankful to him. I’ve offered to help chip in for the site and he’s never taken me up on it. Instead, he’s just let me do my thing, never censoring me or telling me what I couldn’t write. Over the past ten years, I’ve written a lot of stuff that I’m incredibly proud of. The What If Countdown, Ultimate Edit (and thanks to Nick Zachariasen for making that happen), This Week in Panels, the Top 200 Fighting Game Endings, We Care a Lot, Darkseid Minus New Gods and so many other things. Maybe I’m a poor man’s [insert popular internet comedy writer here], but I made people laugh and put people in a good mood now and then. That’s all I could ask for.
It could only last so long, I suppose. The articles I’ve written here have led to my hiring at Den of Geek US and that’s where my focus is. As much as I hated to discover, when it comes down to writing something that will get me paid and writing something similar that will just be for fun, I need to go with the dollars. My 4thletter writing has dwindled to nothing and when David suggested pulling the plug, I didn’t even blink. Still, thanks to Michael Stangeland for helping keep This Week in Panels afloat in these final months.
While I’m thanking the revolving door of “third guys” at 4thletter, I’d like to thank the original third guy, Thomas Wilde. I’ve known him longer than even David and he was really the first dude to ever see any potential in my writing. He gave me a lot of good advice over the years and I don’t think I’d be here if it weren’t for him. Thanks to Hoatzin, who was always the raddest, most awesome dude and Esther, who… okay, I honestly didn’t know Esther all that well. But she did get me a Christmas present one time and David vouches for her, so she’s good people.
Follow me on Twitter if you don’t already and if you can stand it. You’ll see me constantly posting links to my new home at Den of Geek. Other than that, it’s been a blast and I thank every single one of you who read anything we’ve written and enjoyed it. I did something right.
Been real, Brothers. Been real.