Dear readers, listeners, and contributors,
Today I wanted to write a letter to you to tell you a little more about myself, this site, and its future. There’s really no good place to start to talk about the site other than how much my life has been changed by its mere existence. The idea for Superior Spider-Talk started out as a bit of a fantasy; I had never created a website before, edited the work of others, or really engaged all that much in the comics fan community prior to starting it.
Yet, I found myself reading and consuming comic book content on the Internet at a rapid pace, searching for a community of fans with an unabashed love of comics similar to my own, specifically in regards to Spider-Man. I have to admit that I was discouraged by what I found. I’m sure it will come as no surprise to anyone, but the Internet can be an ugly, disappointing place that is particularly susceptible to cynicism and negativity if given the slightest prompting. In the superhero comics world these attributes have spawned a culture full of unhealthy attitudes: a close-minded approach to the medium, a sort of militant nostalgia, a policing of ideas, and a directly hostile culture towards creators (even resulting in death threats and daily attacks on their character).
This wasn’t the comic fan community that I dreamed of or the one I shared with my friends in my youth: pouring over our comics, reading Wizard religiously for any sort of tidbit about who these creators were, writing letters to Marvel, and ultimately creating our own fan-comics out of our own sheer passion for the characters.
SuperiorSpiderTalk.com and the Amazing Spider-Talk podcast were meant to be a reflection of my love for comics and the quiet majority of comic fans who still loved them and their creators, without the death threats or bitter cynicism/sexism/misogyny. I figured both creations would feature incredibly well-written content, fresh ideas, open-eyed nostalgia, and passionate discussions galore, and maybe even attract some readers/listeners to join in. I knew I couldn’t do it alone and I count my blessings every day that I found a group of writers, artists, and podcasters that wanted to join me on this endeavor.
I’m proud to say that I feel like we’ve lived up to my wildest dreams. There’s not a piece our site that I don’t think reflects those goals, and it has been my distinct pleasure to edit every single one of them, all 1400 articles to date!
Our contributors have worked largely for free, purely out of passion for the character and the joy of writing, and quickly have become a family. Some came in early to the site, including my podcast collaborator Mark Ginocchio, fresh off the end of his chase at Chasing Amazing. Mark has quickly become one of my best friends on this silly planet, appeared in my wedding, and supported what’s one of the highlights of my week: recording our podcast. If anything has resulted from all this Spider-Man insanity, it was the opportunity to make such a reliable friend and Annuals-combatant like Mark.
Others joined at the beginning and made the site their own, as well as used it as a springboard for some truly creative content. Tyler Barlass launched Spanning Spectacular (an ongoing series about the history of Spectacular Spider-Man), Brian Jacobs started as a critic and eventually launched our brother/sister podcast The Ultimate Spin, Kyle Chrise created Spectacular Spider-Snark (our weekly comic series featuring stupendous artists like Nick Cagnetti), Zeke Ward created the oft-forgotten, but much beloved Weekly Bugle (stuffed full of his wonderful witticisms), and Cain Winstead created the Superior $ales Talk (the most in-depth analysis of Spider-Man comics sales on the Interwebs!). They’ve all become good friends and companions during late-night phone calls and Skype sessions, discussing not just Spider-Man, but life, love, and all the struggles that come with them.
This isn’t to forget all of our amazing critics and features writers like Brad Brown, Caleb Hennington, Doug Zawisza, Eric Wilson, Jaleh Najafali, Levi Hunt, Matt Nord, Mike Dillon, Russ McDonald, Tony Wren Goodwyn, and Ty Duggan. Each one put countless hours into their reviews and changed the way that I viewed the entire Marvel line, not to mention that several have become good friends. I’ve had the distinct pleasure of meeting Jaleh in person for a wonderful day exploring Los Angeles and Tony Goodwyn is one of my go-to conversationalists on all things pop culture. That’s not to mention that Kyle Chrise and I have shared many convention trips together, passing out flyers, conducting interviews, and laughing over his cosplay comedy events. The guy even helped my wife and I move to our new apartment!
If I only made good friends from this site that’d be enough for a lifetime, but that’s hardly the case. It changed me in ways I doubt I’ll ever be able to quantify. First, there’s the joys that come with creating something from absolutely nothing, no funds, no support, no connections, just pure passion and joy. Everything you see on the site sprang forth from the mere desire to create something. It’s a feeling I’ll always treasure, no matter what happens going forward.
The site and podcast likely inspired my departure from teaching and move to Los Angeles to chase down my dreams as a film critic and professor. It’s amazing how the success of one thing can empower the rest of your life. In that time, I’ve met and married my wife, gotten a Master’s degree from UCLA, worked as an editor at CBR, worked as a comics editor at EMET Comics, become a professional film critic who writes for The Hollywood Reporter (see my Spider-Man pieces), Village Voice, LA Weekly, attended the Los Angeles Film Critics Awards dinner, rebooted the podcast several times, and ultimately become a teacher again, this time teaching film and comics professionally.
It seems like things have come full circle, back to teaching again… but really, the past four years have only solidified my passions and proven to me that I could do anything I set my eyes on. But sometimes our desires change, the things we want to achieve shift, and that’s where I find myself writing this letter to you now…
While there are certainly still things I’d love to do in the world of professional comics, I feel like this site has been my support long enough that it is time to let it become something else. That’s not to say that this site is ending, as many of you might have suspected after reading this far into this letter, but it will be changing in significant ways.
For years we’ve been publishing about seven articles a week of heavily word-based content, meanwhile readers have moved largely away from written content to audio and video-based web content. That’s where we’d like to head on this site, moving away from the constant stream of content to a curated future full of more interactive content in the form of new podcasts, videos, and strongly-worded editorial columns. I’m going to be reaching out to my contributors to see who wants to join us on this particular journey, unsure of how it will shake out, but excited to see if anything does. The bottom line is: the work on the site was too good to not have it be read and enjoyed by a larger audience and I want to find that audience where they already are.
Meanwhile, some things will remain the same. The Amazing Spider-Talk podcast will continue in its new format, Mark and I will continue to write reviews of new issues of Amazing Spider-Man, and I’ll continue to chime in every once in a while with an interesting editorial on Spider-Man, Marvel, and comics in general. I hope some other writers will continue to write for the site if they have a great idea on a hot topic, but again I’m hoping that these ideas can take the form of what we do best: interactive content like podcasts and videos.
Running a site like Superior Spider-Talk can take anywhere from ten to forty hours of work each week, with problems always cropping up at the worst time (vacations, weddings, trips, work), and I’ve savored every minute of the hard work that made this site possible. But now, with my new job and new focus on life, I’m hoping to take my time and interests into new places, while remaining faithful to my undying passion towards the Spider-Man fan community we’ve built.One of my main goals has always been to create my own content, not just content that comments on the work of others. I got my feet wet working in editorial for Emet Comics, but I think I’m ready to do so much more. Additionally, I want to put more time and energy into our most popular feature, Amazing Spider-Talk, and make it into the show I’ve always dreamed I’d be producing.
I’m equally excited to continue work on my first-ever graphic novel called Entropy (follow us on Facebook) and I hope to have it out by the end of next year for you all to read. Entropy is a space adventure comic series about the journey of two women to a hostile planet that holds humanity’s only hope for survival. Oh, did I mention that those women are clones of Michelle Obama and Amelia Earhart? It’s a crazy and exciting project unlike anything I’ve ever tackled before and I suspect that anyone who is a fan of my work will find something to love about this new book.
I’ve written over 700 articles for Superior Spider-Talk and spent more hours working on it than I’m sure I’d be willing share publically (just ask my greatest supporter, my wife). I consider it one of my greatest creations and I’m so glad that so many people came with me on this journey. It’s a journey that’s not over, just changing. I hope everyone will continue to visit this site as it morphs into something new and adds new features, podcasts, etc. in the coming years. None of this would have happened in a vacuum, it relied on faithful contributors, devoted fans, and the work of talented creators who give us something to talk about. So, thank you for everything and I hope you’ll accept these changes and continue to follow me and my staff into whatever we cook up next, especially if you want to join our changing team.
TLDR: SuperiorSpiderTalk.com is changing. We are moving away from mountains of written content to embrace new mediums and becoming an altogether more personal, focused, and curated site for ideas about Spider-Man, Marvel, and comics in general. The reviews of Amazing Spider-Man and the Amazing Spider-Talk podcast will continue as they always have but the other reviews are going away, at least in their current format. Our editor (Dan Gvozden) is stepping back in terms of his time commitment to the site to push the site and himself forward in other avenues. Things are changing and evolving in ways that we hope are positive for the site and community.