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That’s a wrap.

November 17th, 2014 by |

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.
davidb.


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.

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30 comments to “That’s a wrap.”

  1. I can’t say it’s entirely unexpected, but I can say I’m sorry to hear it, as this has been one of my favorite places to visit, and some of my favorite writings about comics ever. But I’m grateful to have been able to read as much of 4thletter! as I did.


  2. Those Civil War and Ultimates edits led me to this site, and my shared love of What If?s, Thunderbolts, and Street Fighter kept me coming back.

    Thanks, guys.


  3. Y’all have been a near daily part of my blog reading for years, and I’m sorry to see the site go.

    It’s been real. You guys are awesome. See you in the funny pages.


  4. I’ve enjoyed this site a lot, in part because all the contributors brought something different, but they were all entertaining. So I’m sorry to see it end, but I understand the reasons why. Best of luck to both of you in the future.


  5. I’m going to remember 4thletter! fondly; you folks did a lot of great work, and I hope to see more from all of you in the future.


  6. We’re all a long way from making jokes about Kim Kaphwan, and it was always my pleasure to know you guys. David, you’ve worked hard and you’ve earned every bit of respect you’ve gotten along the way. You absolutely have mine. Gavok, you’ve been the funniest guy I know for nearly two decades now (yes, the UVR chat room was that long ago), and I don’t expect that to change any time soon. You should both be proud of all the great work you’ve done here, and I know that you’re only leaving it behind to do greater things in the future. I can’t wait to see them.


  7. I’m not surprised but I’m still a little bad sad to see you guys closing down…


  8. You guys changed the way I think about comics and life in general. Cheers.


  9. I know I touched on it already via my final Week in Panels post, but a big thank you to you both.

    And not just for hosting Week in Panels and letting me fill in once Gavok decided he needed a break from it, but for the site in general. It’s a been a lot of fun reading stuff here while it lasted, and I’m glad I discovered it when I did.


  10. 4thletter will always be the pinnacle of starting to read articles about comics for me, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of what you all will write in the future. Bummed to see that kickass header go though.


  11. Goodbye, boys.


  12. Hey guys, thanks for everything. Your site was the first serious comic blog I ever followed. You taught me that you didn’t have to be stupid to be fun, and you didn’t have to be a wet blanket when being serious. You taught me that it was possible, even necessary, to be critical of things you love, and that it didn’t diminish that love one bit. Gavin, your writing is the platonic ideal of Deep Cuts Comics Writing for me. A giant series about every issue of What If? Close readings of Malibu’s Street Fighter series? It’s absolutely great, and while I agree that David is clearly the breakout star of this blog, you’re no slouch yourself. Be proud of your work, man!


  13. It’s been said before, saying it again: Brothers over others.

    Thanks for the ride David.


  14. Thanks y’all. Happy trails.


  15. This was a great, great site. Thank you for doing it.


  16. sad to see it go. but glad i had a chance to visit. all the best.


  17. Over the past two years, 4thLetter! has been part of my essential morning reading. Even if there was nothing new I knew I could go through the archives and find some quality reading. I’m sad to see this go, but I’m excited for wherever you guys go.

    David, you are my favorite essayist writing in the blogosphere. I’ve learned so much about comics, art theory, social commentary, the changing face of fandom, race and above all rap from your works. Your words have educated me and inspired me. There was one post you made a while back, about finding space in your life to write for yourself, not just professionally. That really stuck with me, because I’ve put my words in service to The Man exclusively these past two years. It inspired me to really knuckle down and carve out time to write just for me.

    Good luck on everything going forward. I’ll be reading.


  18. When I felt unwelcome as a woman (then girl) everywhere else in the comics blogosphere…I felt safe here. Even though this wasn’t a girl-centric comics site, the respect was clear.

    Thank you for everything. Thank you for teaching me to think in new ways. Gavin, thank you for making me laugh. David, it feels me with such joy to know you work at Image now. It honestly makes me feel happier and safer reading Image titles. Happy trails and good luck.


  19. I don’t even remember how I first came across 4thletter but it was sometime back in early 06. I was just a dumb highschool freshman who had stumbled into comics a year or so prior and found out they were, like, totally not for kids anymore, maaaaan. Of course I wasn’t at all literate in the artform at the time, I just liked seeing the costumed punchmans beat each other up and yell dramatic stuff, and if there was some psuedointellectual window dressing that I could point to to make them seem more intelligent then hey, all the better right? Before I found 4thletter I honest to god had no idea that comics that weren’t big 2 tights n fights or shonen action manga even existed. For years until the flow of updates slowed to a trickle I devoured everything posted on here and absorbed it, not always getting it 100% but always coming away with some new title to check out I’d never have heard of or a new way of appreciating the artwork or a new angle from which to examine the writing or sometimes just a good laugh when I really needed one.

    If not for this site I’d probably always have viewed comics solely as disposable entertainment and who-would-win fodder, and never have developed any sort of meaningful appreciation of them. That’s not even touching on everything the writing on this site illuminated to a dumb high school kid about race relations, music, old-ass fighting games, so much stuff. This is the first time I’ve ever commented on the site since I don’t usually like to say stuff on the internet for fear of sounding hell of dumb but I couldn’t let this occasion pass without comment. To me 4thletter has always been and will always be the best comics site on the net.

    David, Gavin, whatever you guys do from here on out, I’m in for the ride without question. It sounds corny as hell but y’all’s writing has made my life better and hopefully made me a better person in a lot of intangible ways and I think the same is probably true for a lot of folks who read this site.

    I’ll wrap this up seeing as I’m really not good at being concise and I don’t want this to be the longest comment on this post ’cause who the hell am I, anyway, but you’ve both made a lifelong fan in me, I wish you both the best of luck and I’ll be eagerly awaiting whatever works you guys produce next.


  20. I figured this would happen sooner or later, but it’s still sad to see happen. I hope the site’s at least kept available so people can go back and read the old posts because there’s a lot of good content here.


  21. Thanks, guys.


  22. […] The 4th Letter Blog, mainly run by David Brothers, with help from Gavin Jasper, is closing up shop. Brothers now has a busy job with Image Comics, and it had fallen into silence, so it’s no […]


  23. Thank you so much for doing all this excellent stuff! You guys are all amazing, and I can’t wait to read more from you all in other arenas.


  24. @Hoatzin: I pointed out the reference to David. He responded, “haha, that motherfucker. he’s a good dude.”


  25. That’s all, folks!


  26. wait….What ! I just found this blog about a month ago, man!


  27. I really appreciated everyone’s writing over the years. I’m still going to have the site bookmarked for re-reads, especially the Black History Month articles.

    Much love!


  28. Man I’m going to miss this site. Most of all I’m going to miss the mishmash of wrestling/comics/Rap I usually get to see 2 combine but never all three.
    Figure this place close out on a massive comic edit to bookend things.
    thanks for writing, and at least I now know what the 4th letter is, it’s The N.


  29. You guys built up a great website. I’ll miss it. Thanks for the thought-provoking and entertaining words.


  30. Sad to see the blog is closing, guys. I am a big fan– even though I stopped commenting a while ago (I yakked too much, sometimes :P ), I still checked out 4thletter! all the time. You guys wrote a ton of great pieces and I am going to miss those unique, unfiltered perspectives you brought to comics. Best of luck in everything– hope the blog stays up for a while as a source of good re-readin’