What iFanboy Means To Me

With the departure of Ron Richards and the ascension of Paul Montgomery, this week seemed primed to pull out the sappy and pontificate on how I found iFanboy, how I was brought into the fold, and just what this silly little website means to me moving forward.

I must have stumbled upon iFanboy around 2007. I was working on a research paper and noticed that the journal Nature, aka one of the “Big Two” when it comes to science publishing, had a podcast. The podcast was… OK. To be completely honest I jumped ship when they changed hosts. It was still the early days of podcasting, many of the more major media outlets had yet to figure out the format. But I digress…

If memory serves I had just quit working at my local comic shop. I had another job in a science lab and felt stretched too thin. I was taking a boatload of classes and my roommate had just left to study abroad, so I needed some background noise to get me through the long lonely nights of study. Having been bitten by the science podcasting bug, I decided to see if there were any comic’s shows to whet my appetite.

You can see the magic!

You can see the magic!

I’m not trying to blow smoke, but of all the shows I tried it was clear that iFanboy had the magic I was looking for. While many of my memories of this era may seem fuzzy, one of the more distinct recollections is doubling over in my kitchen table with laughter while trying to study thanks to Josh, Conor, and Ron. I went through the “Hunter” saga, the heat of a summer long past, and the luxuries afforded only to “rich people” (possibly my favorite inside joke to this day).

For one of their anniversary shows, a guy wrote in asking how to proceed with a girl he liked in his comic shop. I was convinced that this guy was writing about the shop I’d been working in, and I had witnesses his failed attempt to ask said girl out. My shop had a habit of hiring mostly women, keeping me as the lone male to lift heavy things and deal with the true creepers. (I’m not saying this was right, but I wasn’t the one running the shop.)

I wrote into the guys about this encounter and Ron read my e-mail on air with palpable gusto. I may have even stood up in the lab because I didn’t know what to do with myself while Ron et al. spoke directly at me through my headphones. This may sound incredibly weird to you unless you’ve been in a similar position in which case my tale is probably all too familiar.

Sometime later the trinity were congregating at WonderCon, the show closest to where I was living, and thus I endeavored to go and meet them. It was after the end of the DC Nation panel, the one where people ask awkward questions and DiDio and crew mock them in front of a large crowd. The guys were gracious and welcoming; truly their strong suit if you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting them. We were, to my own amazement, fast friends and soon thereafter Ron ended up moving to SF. Not saying it was for me, but the timing is suspicious if nothing else.

I don't any pictures of me and Ron, so here's one of me and an emu. Close enough, right?

I don’t any pictures of me and Ron, so here’s one of me and an emu. Close enough, right?

Time passed, I felt like I could call each of the iFanboys friends, and through them I had endeavored to dip my own toe into running a website and podcast. My first attempt failed, my second attempt, Science… sort of, has done better. And I swear to you, neither would have even  left the planning stage without Ron Richard’s help. He mentored me through what were probably some of the most basic and asinine questions imaginable, but always with courtesy and grace. I am one of the more successful science podcasters and it is not a stretch to say that Ron is directly responsible for helping get me and my crew to that place.

After a few months of doing my own show, Ron asked if I wanted to meet up for dinner. He suggested a sushi place near his apartment (even though he didn’t eat sushi) and it was there that he told me about iFanboy’s upcoming expansion thanks to being acquired by Graphicly and asked if I’d be interested in joining the team. To say I’d been anticipating that moment for some time would be an understatement. It was there we hatched the idea of doing a ‘science of comics’ style column, which has yielded opportunities to meet creators, attend conventions, and even write for Marvel.com.

I’m now part of the animation brain trust, an occasional guest on Fuzzy Typewriter, and Josh and I often talk about bikes. While I consider all of iFanboy my comics’ family, Ron is one of maybe three people who are directly responsible for bringing me into this mess that is comics (I blame Conor for my current relationship, but that’s another story entirely). While I know he won’t be going away, he will be sorely missed all the same. The title of this column may be “What iFanboy Means To Me,” but it is hard to separate the site from the sideburns, so I guess I just needed to be put this all out there.

All that being said, my heart soars for Paul as he ascends into the ranks of the trinity. I have told him privately but here is again publicly: You rock, you deserve this, and the iFanboys have chosen wisely to promote you as they have.

This is about as much emotion as I’m capable of so I’ll just end it here. When it comes to comics, iFanboy is my home and while Ron leaves a gaping hole I know this space will remain as the place for me to come back to, to commune with those who “get it.” While I’ll miss him here, Ron will make comics better from the other side of the aisle, and I’ll be staying right here and doing my thing just like he asked me to do all those years ago.

 


Ryan Haupt is a cold-hearted scientist incapable of emotions. Hear him sound dead inside on the podcast Science… sort of.

Comments

  1. I was just thinking about some of the ongoing jokes on the show from years ago (who can forget “MAYHEM!”), and I’d almost forgotten about “Hunter.” It’s amazing when I think about the sheer number of hours I’ve listened to the show and all the inside jokes as a result.

    I said it in a comment earlier, but I’ll say it again, it’s amazing that I’m actually going to miss Ron, considering I only met him for a bout 30 seconds and I’m sure he wouldn’t remember, but I’m definitely going to. I know how good Paul will be, which softens the blow. iFanboy has done an excellent job of putting together a great team.

    I tried to think of the funniest thing I’ve ever heard on the podcast, and it’s definitely either Rustyautoparts or Josh pretending to be Eddie Vedder shopping for micronauts comics for Neil Young.

  2. It was really late in that photo, and I hadn’t slept prior to a cross country flight. I just want that known.

  3. As a married father of two whose wife isn’t into comics, has kids who are too young for what I read, doesn’t have any personal friends who reads comics, and is always looking for new books to try, iFanboy is the PERFECT outlet.

    When I first discovered podcasts in general, I downloaded almost a dozen related to comics to find one or two to listen to on the drive to and from work. There were long ones (2 hours? WTF?!) and short ones, ones devoted just to trade releases and some that barely scratched the surface on new weeklies. Some whose hosts stayed strictly to talking about the characters and story-nothing about the books as “products”, some whose hosts talk about the weather, vacation, their kids, etc. for up to 15 minutes before they start, and there was one where a host asked a co-host to discuss a book, and that co-host said he hadn’t read it yet!

    In the end, iFanboy stands far ahead of the crowd. In 30 or so minutes, I get honest, smart reviews of particular stand-outs and why (very important), get the gist of stories without hearing a character’s 20-minute history, hear about a new book or two, and get a glimpse into books’ artists and writers work. All from a trio of guys who knew each other long before they created the podcast (i think that makes a difference), they like comics, appreciate them as art and entertainment, and get to the point. Unlike these comments.

    That being said, yes, there are a few good ones out there (particularly Comicvine, with the occasional James Robinson appearance, a fascinating writer to listen to), and to each his own, right? But if they gave an Eisner away for best podcast, I’d vote for iFanboy.

    • Yes! I think you just described what this site means to a lot of us. . IFanboy really kept me into comics when I came back after a 15 year absence.

  4. Thanks Ryan, this was a fitting tribute. And comics readers love origin stories, so thanks for that as well.

  5. I wanna say that one of the first times I met Ryan in person was also during a Wondercon. I seem to recall the pirate-themed Tiki Bar tour hosted by Isotope and iFanboy? I think? I specifically remember trudging up the hills of San Francisco, going from one bar to the next, with Jon Stump, Ryan, and (comics artist) Dave Johnson, who was regaling us with tales of working in comics and animation…

    Good times.

  6. PymSlap PymSlap (@alaska_nebraska) says:

    Long live the Animation Brain Trust! I saw DKR Pt. 2 last night, and I can’t wait for the Special Edition Podcast.

  7. Aahh Hunter! Nothing beats Bad Room MAte Black Panther though.

    I came to the podcast about 8 years ago, that can’t possibly be right can it? It must be wrong I’m just not old enough.

    I’d gotten back into comics on the back of British reprints of Ultimate Spider-Man and was getting into podcasts after a change in job increased my commute from ten minutes to an hour. the two thing collided with iFanboy and I’ve been enjoying it ever since.

    If it wasn’t for iFanboy I’d almost certainly be out of comics these days, and I’d be a lot better off financially (you guys make me spend my money and my LCS thanks you). But I’d also not be laughing as much on that commute, I’d have nobody to talk to about comics and I’d be just a little bit less happy.

    Since I started listening I’ve gotten married, moved house and become a father twice. I still think I;ve gotten something wrong and it can’t be eight years.

  8. I’m surprised we haven’t seen ‘RICHARDS!’ come back since this announcement. It’s so apt because it’s Paul telling Ron to go away….Maybe it’s too mean in retrospect. But we seem to be having just as much fun teasing a bit before we all weep like babies.

  9. Great article, Ryan. Especially with the parting of Ron from the community, I imagine your hope for this article was to get us to thinking about just what it is exactly that makes iFanboy great to us. This site means a lot to me. I’m now able to speak more fluently my native tongue — a troubled task, I assure you. Here, I have bettered my knowledge of comics and the creators who make them great! I’ve managed which of the books I’m looking forward to most and was entertained along the way… What more can you ask for? But maybe most importantly, iFanboy has been a constant for me in my ever changing life. I’ve never met them, but I can tell you honestly just how much Conor, Josh, and Ron mean to me. It’s sad to see Ron go, but I’m more than happy for him! Congrats, Ron!

  10. Thanks a bunch Ryan, I love these kinds of personal stories about you guys. I feel like this is the kind of thing that really, really separates iFanboy from other comic sites and most other podcasts – personality. I think it’s such a huge reason that so many are broken up about Ron leaving. I’d love to hear more behind-the-scenes stuff from the iFanboy boys and gals!

  11. What iFanboy means to me?

    I learned more about comics through this site and it’s subsequent podcasts than from my entire career as a comics collector. The wealth of knowledge found among these great people is invaluable. That’s the first half.

    The second thing I learned from this site is celebration. It may seem trite but in a world where you become famous by hating and trashing on some pop-culture icon or subject, it’s really refreshing to hear a bunch of people who talk about why they love comics instead of “This comic sucks….and here’s why!”. Every single person working for iFanboy LOVES comics and they won’t hesitate to tell you why but what you won’t find here is the muck and drudgery about the industry or medium as a whole. As Conner had to correct me when I called into the Voice Mail one week “We want to talk about comics we like” (I might be paraphrasing here, forgive me), that concept seemed so foreign to me at the time because I was so used to wannabe internet “celebrities” doing nothing but shoveling shit on the art form for a little personal attention.

    Basically what keeps me coming back to this site is valuable information to guide my eyes when looking for reading material and for that general “warm, fuzzy” feeling when it comes to the visual storytelling medium.

    That’s what iFanboy means to me.