Comic Vine turns four years old today. Where were you on December 6, 2006? It's hard to believe it's only been four years. I still remember when Ethan and Dave came to me with the idea of starting the ultimate comic book site. I was busy teaching AP Statistics, Precalculus and Algebra to high school students but there was no way I could not be part of this venture. While Ethan and Dave kept themselves busy writing the code and setting the design for the site, I spent my time writing bios and finding as many images I could for comic book characters.
Backing up a bit, when Ethan and Dave approached me with the idea, there was a slight catch. We wouldn't just be Ethan, Dave and Tony on the site. Our hook was everyone would have a superhero persona. We would all have a superhero identity. We each had to come up with a name and costume before the site launched. This was when Dave and Ethan went to the boys section at Target to create their costumed identities of Captain Cascader and Red L.A.M.P. I simply went to a thrift store and bought a black suit to create my G-Man persona (some of my students had called me G-Man and I was also slightly inspired by Mike Allred's G-Men From Hell).
== TEASER ==
It was also in October of 2006 that I first met artist Darick Robertson and asked him if he could draw a picture of me in a black suit and sunglasses, swinging from a vine with a stack of comics in my hand. Thus G-Man From Heck was fully born.
We spent the next few months cranking out as much as we could. I mostly worked from home and my classroom but sometimes visited Ethan and Dave in their...swanky office in Berkeley. Ethan insisted on playing Meatloaf and Regina Spektor over and over and I remember listening to My Chemical Romance's The Black Parade on my headphones to try to drown out the repetitive playlist in the office. It was fun and exciting just writing bio after bio. Ethan would tell me not to go too in depth because we had to leave something for the users to work on and it would be better to have more with less.
Finally the day came for launch. Immediately people managed to stumble onto our little site. The community started growing. Wiki edits started pouring in (this was before we had moderators like fesak and Shatterstar, both who have been around since the beginning). Soon others like Buckshot, The Human Stain, NiteFly, Prodigal Son and Fourpower became frequent visitors. We didn't have News, Videos or Reviews back then. It was just wiki-pages and the forums.
Looking back at the four years, it almost brings a tear to my eye. I am so proud of what this site has become. I quit my teaching job of many years to be here full time. I never thought I'd be doing videos, podcasts, convention coverage and working with people like Sara, Joey, Mat, Tom and Erik in spreading the word of comic books.
And of course there is the community. In the months before we launched, I visited other comic related sites. Some were enjoyable and I continued to visit them after we launched. Others were sad with all the negativity and hostility the members had toward each other. The Comic Vine community is the best I've worked with and I wouldn't trade you guys for anything. The success of these past four years can easily be attributed to all of you. We wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for you guys. Thanks to everyone who has ever visited Comic Vine and helped make us what we are today. I look forward to see what will happen in the next four years and beyond!
As an added treat, here are some early screen shots and a never before seen logo that Dave managed to dig up to share with everyone. We definitely have come a long way.
First, check out what the editing pages used to look like:
It's so warm and inviting, how could you not want to spend hours writing about your favorite characters on this page?
I mentioned the forums played a huge role on the site (as they continue to do so today). There has been some changes over the years but more importantly, look at the tabs at the top.
Do you remember what the actual character pages used to look like? Have you ever wondered how much of an evolution they've gone through?
Forums used to be at the bottom of each page. As the pages continued to get larger and larger, it became clear that they were getting overlooked at the bottom. We also condensed the issue appearances to the top of the page to make it more accessible. Hero tags is something we never really used and soon abandoned.
Who knows what changes and additions the next four years will bring. Let's all take time to celebrate the past four years.