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4l! is sitting pretty

August 3rd, 2010 Posted by david brothers

July was 4thletter!’s best month, hits-wise, in the history of months. I’m honestly really happy about it, because we didn’t cover any of the San Diego Comic-con news cycle, we didn’t have any of those snarky posts that get a lot of hits (“This popular book you like sucks and you’re stupid for liking it!”), we didn’t ride any waves of outrage-based blogging… I don’t think I even called anything racist or any other bloggers stupid and y’all know how much I love to do that.

No, we had our best month by just writing about stuff we like, regardless of when it came out, and you folks dug it. That’s pretty awesome.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned.

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5years of 4thletter!

March 24th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

March 25th, 2005: I started doing 4thletter! with a Blogger backend. Months later, after getting bored with Blogger, I relaunched with WordPress in a form very close to what 4thletter! is now.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do specifically for the anniversary, but I do have a couple things I’m gonna post today. Most importantly, though, I want to say thanks to Gavin, Esther, Thomas, and Paul for writing. Thanks to you all for reading.

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Light redesign for the site!

March 8th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

I’ve done a few background-type redesigns on the site over the past year or so– widening the post box, changing the way the headers work, fonts, etc etc. My secret guru/consultant in that has been David Cole of Sleepover. He does webdesign professionally, and he’s the guy I go to with dumb questions like “Is this how CSS works?” and “Hang on, is this hard to do?”

He did me the favor of doing some minor web work, or so he says, on the site over the weekend. He’s the reason why each post, the sidebar, the headers, and the navigation are their own separate elements now. There are some other background things you probably won’t notice– cleaning up functions, straightening out some navigation stuff, blah blah blah. I went in behind him and added in a few dozen headers (some of which Gav mailed to me, oh, eight months ago or so). I’ll be doing some sidebar work over the next week, too.

Anyway, he did me a solid and I wanted to publicly thank him. Check out Sleepover, take a peek at what he does to show off, and if you’re in the market for some web design work… give Sleepover a shout. If he’ll do stuff for my piddly little comics blog, he’ll definitely make your corporate site prettified.

Thanks David!

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Dude, You’re Getting a Dell Dracula!

September 8th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Back before DC and Marvel were the two big forces in the world of comics, Dell Comics appeared to be the #1 team. It’s no wonder, considering they got to sell comics with such properties as the Disney and Warner Brothers cartoons characters. Preexisting properties seemed to be their forte, as in the 60’s, they released comic one-shots that retold the films of famous movie monsters, such as Dracula, The Wolfman and Frankenstein.

What’s notable is that those came out during the early days of the Comics Code Authority, which proceeded to lay down ground rules on the comic companies to pussify every one of their titles. This meant the lack of horror aspects, including how vampires and their like were not allowed to see print. Dell decided that they wanted no part of the CCA, even though lots of sellers refused to carry comics that weren’t approved.

Dell didn’t want the CCA regulating them and insisted to the public that they could damn well regulate themselves, so don’t worry about it. I think the pressure on the CCA mentality is one of the things that pushed them towards today’s topic. That, along with their need for original content and how the superhero comics were really taking over the market.

The company decided to take their monster properties and turn them into superheroes. It doesn’t sound too crazy. Morbius the Living Vampire has been a Marvel staple for years and enjoyed some time as the hero in his own series. Similarly, Marvel released comics for heroes Werewolf by Night and Monster of Frankenstein. More recently, DC introduced the Hellboy-esque Frankenstein, who shows that even in the present there’s still much you can do with the old Mary Shelly creation.

That’s… not exactly what Dell was going for here.

There was a castle on fire and a man jumping out of a test tube and I killed a man with a trident.

I’ll admit that this entire article is thanks to Brian Cronin, whose article on the CCA and their opinion on vampires led me to first seeing that cover. From there I knew that I had to own this, read this and tell you all about it. Blame him!

I mean, look at that cover! The ridiculous outfit! The off-center belt! The fact that Dracula is jumping out of a test tube held by Dracula! Sorry to say, despite the cover’s claim, there’s no point where they tell us the secret to his power of appearing in two places at the same time.

Read the rest of this entry �

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Your bi-weekly Fourcast!

May 26th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

In case you missed it yesterday, the first Fourcast went live on Memorial Day. Check it out here.

Here’s the details if you want to keep listening:
-Podcast RSS feed
-Main 4l! RSS feed
-iTunes subscription

Sound good? We’ll be back in two weeks with more. If you’ve got comments, criticism, or suggestions, leave them on the post proper or drop us an email or a message on twitter.

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Call me the Weatherman, ’cause I’ve got a Fourcast

May 22nd, 2009 Posted by david brothers

So, say if we wanted to start a 4l! podcast. What would you folks like to hear us talk about? Any segments you’d love to hear? Want to hear us read viewer mail? Want to send us viewer mail?

Let us know. Email me if you’re shy!

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Four years and running…

April 12th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

I had a weird realization at some point last week, I think it was. I started writing about comics a little over four years ago on livejournal, in January 2005, and moved to blogger and my own URL on March 25. I drafted Gav and another friend to help write and we puttered along until September ’05, where we petered out. In November, I moved the blog to WordPress, losing the blogger posts in the process, and relaunched. Check the rhyme. Once we got going, we kept going. I’m not even remotely happy with my old posts, but that’s just me. Four years later and a couple roster changes later and we’ve got a great crew, varied tastes, and writers I would read even if this weren’t my blog.

4l! has a new logo now, courtesy of my friend Adam Rosenlund. I asked, he delivered, and I left impressed. We’re reworking the headers to fit the new logo, too. Rather than doing a cool comics scene or something super dialogue heavy, we’re going to post ones that are just great examples of comics art. The four we have up for this week are pretty easy. There’s a cool Reed Richards panel, a Venom bit for Gav, a Batgirl for Esther, and a Peter Parker for me. We’ll keep it moving with these, so that there’s always something new for you to see up top.

I’m thinking of new things for 4l! for 2009. I already have some things in the works, but give me time. If you absolutely can’t get enough of us, you can follow me on Twitter for a daily dose of disrespect and music references.

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4thletter is… dead characters. (Blue Beetle Talk)

December 31st, 2006 Posted by david brothers

Sorry, just a bit of sarcasm there. Seriously guys, I know you love Hawkeye/Beetle/Spoiler/The Aquarian/New Warriors/JLI, but no one actually has a vendetta against these characters. Do you know why companies kill them? They kill them because you love them. They know that every character, from Skin to Ronnie Raymond to Doug Ramsey to Bill Foster, is someone’s favorite, except Wyatt Wingfoot, of course. This is especially true on the internet. Killing a character, or hinting that you will kill one, is a surefire sales and word-of-mouth bump. That’s why they do it. They’ll get a rise out of you each and every time.

It’s okay to be upset, but not to the point that you’re throwing out ad hominems and death threats at writers.

Just… be real about it. It’s just comics, dog, it’s not that serious. It sucks, yeah, but that’s life, right? It’s cool to come up with scenarios to bring them back to life or critique why they died, just have some perspective.

Anyway, Blue Beetle.

Like a lot of the DCU, I first encountered Ted Kord in the pages of the Death of Superman. He, along with Booster Gold, were part of the JL(A?) that went up against Doomsday before Superman. I had no idea that those two were the jokey-jokesters that they apparently were in JLI. I thought that they were just two heroes with cool costumes, but that’s possibly because I’ve always thought of goggles as being kind of cool. (Don’t tell anyone I told you that.) Plus, geez, they went up against the guy who killed Superman!

I thought that Blue Beetle was pretty cool, and then promptly forgot about him and the rest of that Justice League until probably about the time that Formerly Known as the Justice League hit. That was good stuff, so I became a mild fan. Countdown hit after a while and bam, Beetle was dead.

And the internet knew the sound of a billion angry keyboards, epithets and incensed forum posts a-typing.

I thought that the Beetle parts of Countdown, save for the bits where Bats and J’onn were jerks to him, did a good job of showing that he was a hero. I particularly liked the bit where Beetle realized that he had a choice between doing wrong and living or remaining a hero and dying.

“My name is Ted Kord. I am the second man to call himself the Blue Beetle. I tell myself there will be a third. And I hope whoever he or she may be, they do better at it than I have.”

He realizes that he can’t stop what’s happening, not even remotely. Lord’s plan is going to take effect, and it’s “Join me or die time.” Beetle’s response?

“Rot in Hell, Max.”

That, lads and ladies, is a true hero. Defiant to the end and ready to spit in a villain’s face.

He was right about there being a new Beetle, too.

The new Beetle is Jaime Reyes. (It’s not Jay-me, by the way. It’s pronounced more like High-may. Sorry, I’m a stickler for Spanish.) He’s the brainchild of Keith Giffen, John Rogers, and Cully Hamner. He’s from El Paso, Texas, and got the Scarab that gave Dan Garret, the first Beetle, his powers.

I really, really like Jaime. He’s quite a believable teenager, thanks in no small part to some smart dialogue from the writers. Jaime was missing for a year thanks to the events of Infinite Crisis, unbeknownst to him. While he was gone, his family came apart. His father was shot, but not killed, and his mother turned into a wreck. When he got back, the very first thing he did was reveal his powers to his understandably freaked-out family.

Yes. That is excellent and it was so nice to see. Jaime is still a teenager, still in high school. He isn’t super smart, or agile, or whatever. Shoot, he doesn’t even know how to fight. But, he understands that family is one of the most important things in a person’s life. He trusts them enough to give them his secret. His best friends, too.

After that, Jaime is almost a traditional Marvel hero. He’s inexperienced, flawed, and honestly, he doesn’t even want to be a hero. He didn’t ask for this, and he definitely didn’t ask for the JLA to take him into space and leave him there. He’s been dealt a raw deal, but he’s going to deal with it as best he can.

I like Jaime. I think that he’s a worthy successor and his book is a lot of fun. It sucks that Ted had to die to make way for him, but that’s comics. You can either embrace the illusion of change and hold onto your favorite characters until they stagnate, or you can embrace actual change and watch your favorite characters grow old, die, retire, or whatever, only to be replaced by new and improved versions or, heaven forbid, actually new characters!

It’s just comics, baby. Love them or leave them. Bad stories are a given in any medium. Whether it’s War Games or Onslaught, something out there is going to rub you the wrong way. Enjoy the good stories, ignore the rest. Just don’t be afraid to try something new.

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4thletter is… drama.

December 21st, 2006 Posted by david brothers

No text or essays for this one. I just really, really like the gif.

Want to know the quickest way to have all your blogging time sucked away? Work retail during Christmas and write about video games during the fourth quarter of the year, a.k.a. “The time every single freaking game in the entire world comes out all at once and you have to play most of them!”

More later, probably! I am currently enjoying a day off. I recently figured out how to access every single post from the original incarnation of 4l, which Gavok and I started back in March, 2005! Let’s see if anyone notices when we celebrate a two year blogiversary (such an awful word) four months after we had our one year! I think I’ll put up one of my earliest posts from the site. I just need a good name for the feature. Something faux old timey.

I’ve got a ComicSpace. Add a brothers, will you?

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