I don't know when I took over the front page of the Outhouse as its editor in chief. Really, I don't. I know that it started with reviews. Then I was interviewing people. And then I was suggesting features, and then planning features, and then coordinating articles for the site. And, then one day, I woke up and I realized that I sort of "ran" the place. Jude did all the hard work (and wrote most of the articles), but I somehow got the "glory" and the title.
I was the one who accidentally spearheaded the infamous "News Initiative", which turned the front page into the snarky, sarcastic site you see today. I came up with the idea for the infamous "Has DC Done Something Stupid Today" counter, which dramatically increased the site's traffic. It was supposed to be a joke, but it turned into something else for a while, and then it got stale and old. Professor Puffinbottoms and Vlad the Unpaid Intern were my ideas too. There's probably a few other jokes or gags I'm forgetting, but whatever.
For a while, I thought running a comic book site was really cool. I got to meet a bunch of great writers about comics. Folks like Jude, RU, our wonderful reviewers, and Steve Morris, and Zainab Ahktar, and Tom Spurgeon, and Heidi MacDonald, and Rich Johnston, and Graeme McMillan, and Albert Ching, and Megan Purdy and Ardo Omar and the wonderful folks over at Women Write about Comics, and the Comics Therapy gang, and a bunch of other neat folk I'm forgetting about. People actually seemed to give a shit about my opinion (or at least pretended to, because they wanted their work to be featured on the site). I got to see other people talk about my site, sometimes laughing, sometimes yelling, but usually helping me learn a little bit about what we were doing wrong and what we were doing right. And I made mistakes, mistakes that earned us justifiable ire and probably cost us a chance to do something really cool and be a unique part of the comic book industry. But I was okay with that, for a while.
So, I don't know exactly when I became the editor in chief of the Outhouse, but I do know when I wanted to hang up the hat and move on to different things. At a local comics event here in town, I met one of my online acquaintances who contributed articles for another site. That site's writers loved to talk crap about the Outhouse from time to time, which bugged me, but that's what people do online. When I jokingly brought it up, he replied that "Yeah, those guys would probably pay me good money to kill you."
On some level, I knew he was making a stupid joke, the sort of joke that would probably slip by my notice on our site from time to time. But, on another level, that was probably the most terrifying thing someone's ever said to me. And, that's when it wasn't fun for me anymore.
I think online discourse is a weird, wonderful thing. Sometimes, though, I think people get too caught up with being assholes to each other and too concerned trying to win online battles to really feel compassion and empathy to one another. I think that compassion is something that the world needs a lot more of, and that's something that I need to be better about online. When you start tossing out words like "hate" on such a regular basis, you become filled with it. And I think a life filled with hate isn't a very good one to live. With me, the snarkiness on here is supposed to be goofy and a way to make a point. But I'm not sure if our readers always get that, and I know the folks who "hate" us sure don't. But hey, negativity begets negativity, so what should I expect other than half-jokes that some randos on the East Coast want to see me dead?
The writing's been on the wall for me for a while. Changes in my personal life has severely reduced my ability to really manage the site, and Jude's been doing most of the heavy lifting since the beginning, anyways. And lately, the anxiety of worrying about all the bickering (justified or otherwise) has outweighed the fun aspects, like using our site's Twitter account to make snarky, goofy comments at work or writing Arrow Annotations or Flash Facts (don't ask me what I'm going to do with those, because I really don't know).
I'm proud of what I accomplished with the Outhouse. I really am. I love all the people I met because of the site, and it means so much to me that I had an outlet to write my not all that interesting thoughts about comics for years. And I even love the folks who hate the Outhouse, because they helped me learn a bunch about myself and occasionally opened my eyes to what a giant numbnut I am. I know that most of them are fantastic people, and I'm sorry that we ended up on the wrong side of things. And, most of all, I love comics. Probably not the comics you're reading, but that's okay too.
Anywho, you probably haven't seen the last of me. I'm on Facebook, and Reddit, and I'll probably still goof around on the Outhouse Twitter from time to time for as long as Jude lets me. I've got a pretty big 2016 comics thing planned for those who live in Ohio and/or like writing about comics, and a pretty big 2015 personal thing planned (baby CBR Yacht is going to raise himself, after all).
So, TL;DR: Be cool to each other. You're all swell and I'm out.