At first, we didn’t know what we were getting into. Then when we were in, we didn’t know what to do. Then we didn’t know how to not do it, and then it was gone.
The first epoch of iFanboy has passed, to the chagrin of very few people. I think we’re all perfectly aware, that the experiment as we had planned it was a failure. But the overall experience; it became something other than what we had planned and served as an anchor in our lives, which is why it lives again, for no good reason, other than that it must.
About 3 years ago, we came up with the idea to do a comics website. There were a bunch, but the dot-com boom hadn’t blown out yet, and there were fantasies about being the toast of the Internet town, and getting to be inside that which we were previously outside. We figured there would be lots of material in our little heads and the world to fuel a frequently undated website, that people couldn’t help but like. With our personal charm and amusing viewpoints, iFanboy was sure to be a required stop for comics fans on the web.
And we’d do it different too. We weren’t exactly sure how it would be different, but it would be. We’d bring fans inside, and we’d be the same as them, and when we could, we’d try to make the comics experience more than just reading a good story and speculating on what would happen, or what was a good idea. We’d make it a lynchpin in a community that gave us comics to bond over, but that would make us real friends we’d never met before.
My god, it was going to be beautiful.
But things didn’t quite go that way.
After a very inauspicious beginning, involving much bad will and taunting, the spark just never caught on. There were never more than 3 or 4 regular visitors, and we always knew half of them. Not even our friends, who all read comics and sent flurries of emails among the group showed up with any regularity. The idea that we would create a community a diverse minded people faded away, and over the first year or so, it became obvious that things weren’t what we’d wanted them to be. We ran out of stuff we wanted to say, partially because there weren’t many people listening, and it takes a vain person indeed to keep spouting off when there’s no one to listen but themselves and their mother.
However, we had just a couple of tiny things that pushed us on. There was one person who became a regular, posting every day, and I’m not sure if they are a aware or not, but iFanboy probably owes it’s continuing existence to you. All it takes is a spark of interest to see that we can affect somebody, and that was all it took to keep going.
The most important reason iFanboy pushed on however, was that it had become the center point of a friendship. This isn’t to say that the creators of iFanboy wouldn’t be friends without it, but I guarantee we’re better friends because of it. As our lives progressed and regressed (the latter, sadly, far too often), we changed, and the geography between us got no smaller. Not that friends need an excuse, but when we had no idea what to talk about, we always had iFanboy to keep us glued to one another. That is why iFanboy is important to me. That is why comics became important to me. There were comics before, but without people to connect to between those comics, the fun wasn’t the same. This website served to amplify the connections between those of use making it happen, and while we had originally wanted to connect with others, and give others a chance to connect with new people, it made us closer. That made the work and arguments worth it.
Sounds sappy enough to choke on, doesn’t it?
Sometimes real life gets sappy.
There are other benefits of iFanboy too. I’ve met and conversed with some talented people, and gotten to share with others. We’ve all gotten strange emails and insults, and comments, and praise and threats, and solicitations, and anything else you can think of through the site. Occasionally, someone would write and say how great it was and how happy they were to find a great place where comics were treated the way they should be treated, and then we never heard from them again. And with this second era of iFanboy, I don’t expect things will change much.
All I know is that we were given a chance to quit, and none of us took it. Therefore, you’ll have to put up with us a bit longer. We’re clearly less concerned with being the new Newsarama or anything like that. We’re just going to put things on the site when we feel like it and let it grow organically like that. You can still count on the Pick of the Week, and the web log when something interesting happens. (I still can’t tell if there are less interesting things happening now, or if I’m just less interested in them.) We’re still going to go to San Diego and report on what we see there, and on occasion, we’ll bring you other things that interest us.
And you should all know that the offer’s still good to anyone who wants to contribute to the site. We’ll listen to what you have to say, and if we’re interested, we’ll give you a place to say it.
It should be a lot of fun. And if you don’t think so, we’ll probably keep doing it anyway.