Another Year Older: Major Spoilers Turns Four

by

Today marks the fourth birthday of Major Spoilers. Another year older, another year wiser, and another year full of reasons to give thanks for all we’ve been given.

FOUR YEARS AGO TODAY

Four years ago today, I was bored out of my mind.  I had just finished my first training DVD, wasn’t teaching any summer courses, and had more time on my hands than I knew what to do with. My wonder wife had come on board as a recent comic book convert and our recent tours of comic book conventions around the country seemed to foster my urge to do something new. Something different, yet something very familiar with what I had done in the past.

With access to the tools, the software, and the server space needed to host a budding website, Major Spoilers was born in the matter of a few hours.  Over the years, we’ve made some fantastic contacts with some of the coolest people in the comic book industry and our cup is running over.  Along the way, my life has become quite a bit more complicated, I’ve had a wonderful addition to the family in the form of my awesome son, and I’ve been promoted at my regular job.  Yet as busy as I am, I enjoy spending as much time working on the Major Spoilers Experience and keeping it going for each and every one of you.

THE WEBSITE

One of the great things about running the website (for me) is the ability to write and write and write every day.  In previous jobs I would to crank out on average 500,000 words a year.  With Major Spoilers, I’m easily double that amount, and the more one writes the better one becomes with the craft.

And there’s a good reason I’m writing so much – the interest in comic books and pop culture is at an all time high, and my e-mail box is flooded each day with news and review copies that are begging to be covered.  It’s gotten to the point that we are becoming even more selective on the types of stories we’re running on the site, and are looking each and every day for more original content we can write for you, our wonderful readers.

And while we try to cover all the big issues and titles that arrive at our door, we’re super excited to cover smaller books that strike our fancy.  A big thank you needs to go out to all our public relations contacts in the industry for sending us all the news and reviews we can handle. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next year when we kick things up another notch.

We had a few set backs over the past year, that always send me to dark places. Even though the Major Spoilers site moved to a dedicated server, there were still moments when the site would go up and down.  Those moments are always the result of higher than normal traffic, which is both good and bad.  It’s great because there are more readers to Major Spoilers than ever before, and upsetting because the site kept going down right when we are on a roll.

The most catastrophic moment of the year came in May when we had a hard drive failure on the server, and because our hosting company was saving our nightly backup on the same hard drive, the site ended up going down for three days, and we suffered a major loss of three months worth of heavy duty work.

As with any tragedy, we have to move on, and several hundred dollars later, we’re back and running, with a backup plan that shouldn’t fail us moving forward. Let’s hope we don’t have to deal with anything like that again, but if we do, we’re prepared.

For those that are wondering about past articles, we’re trying to add those back in as soon as we can, but if you need/want something sooner, just fire me an e-mail and we’ll see what we can do to make your experience on the site a productive one.

THE MAJOR SPOILERS PODCAST

When the Major Spoilers Podcast launched just over two years ago, I didn’t know how important it would become to the throngs of listeners who download the show each week.  I’m always concerned about the length of the show, and when we started having too much stuff to talk about in a single show, we started to experiment with additional issues, which has evolved to the Major Spoilers weekend edition.

I really look forward to sitting down and recording a show with Rodrigo and Matthew each week.  We’ve all become closer friends over the last year, and often a two hour recording session turns into a four hour marathon of goofing around and chatting up between recordings. It’s great fun, and one that has become a natural part of my week.

Skrull Bryan continues to exert his subtle influence on the show with his mellow tones leading us into and out of the show, and if next year happens like I want it to, we’ll be seeing more of Skrull Bryan on the site.  Thanks Bry for all you do!

Another small but important player on the Major Spoilers Podcast is our good friend Dr. Peter Coogan, the director of the Institute for Comics Studies.  Dr. Coogan continues as a regular guest on the show, and it has been a real pleasure learning from him about the comic book industry. We know you dig having Dr. Coogan on the show, and we enjoy having him on too, which is why you will continue to hear more from him in the future.

CRITICAL HIT: A MAJOR SPOILERS DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS PODCAST

When Rodrigo suggested we record an entire encounter complete with a group of people I had never had interactions with, I was a bit concerned we were going to bite off more than we could chew.  My year long education in the ways of Dungeons and Dragons has been a fun one, and becoming friends with Rob, D&D Brian, and Alex (the random voice you’ll sometimes hear in the background of the shows) has been wonderful.

Critical Hit joined the Frogpants Network this year, and has quickly become the most popular part of the Major Spoilers Experience. From the thousands of emails we receive, to the custom made miniatures we received last week keeps us going each time we sit down to record.

MAJOR SPOILERS ADVENTURES

OtterDisaster has been a long time friend of Matthew, Skrull Bryan, and myself, and when he started creating a web comic about the adventures of the Major Spoilers Crew, I knew we had to make it a regular feature of the site.  Over the last year Bruce has offered up hilarious one-shots, epic arcs, and new characters that have become part of our daily conversations in the Major Spoilers Manor.

Thanks Bruce for creating something I look forward to each and every Friday!  If there’s one thing that brings a smile to my face on Fridays, it’s the Major Spoilers Adventures.

NEW FACES/OLD FACES

I’ve said it time and time again, but I really owe a great deal of thanks to  Matthew and Rodrigo for everything they do.  These two have helped the site and me, more than you might know. Whether it is the rapid exchange of e-mails during the late hours of a holiday weekend, or the conference calls over a beer at mid-night, Matthew and Rodrigo are two dedicated members of the Major Spoilers family, and without their wisdom, thought provoking dialogue, and great content, the site would have folded a long time ago.

Matthew continues to amaze, humor, and annoy the heck out of me with his well thought out opinions, while Rodrigo keeps a watchful eye on the Major Spoilers forum to keep order amidst the chaos.  When he’s not working to keep the forums flowing, Rodrigo is that calm voice in the storm that has offered a tremendous amount of advice over the year that has kept Major Spoilers from literally blowing up.  Thank you both for being awesome.

The year saw a plethora of new faces join the Major Spoilers Crew, and each has contributed in a unique way.  If it isn’t Sam, with his look at pop culture’s movie past, it’s Brian G and Scott Hunter with their reviews and perspectives on titles the rest of us may not even get a chance to read in our already busy weeks.  Then there’s Victoria – currently our only female member of the staff – who has amazed me with her take on cosplay and her ability to get fans excited about her passions.

Stacy B was the first “outsider” that joined the Major Spoilers Crew and worked his tail off.  Stacy stepped away for a while, before coming back again last year to offer up even more awesome work.  Sadly, Stacy B has opted to step away once again to spend more time with his family.  Matthew and I both know how important spending time with family is, and I want to wish him the best.  Thanks Stacy for being a part of the Major Spoilers experience once again!

THE BEST FOR LAST – THE WONDERFUL FANTASTIC YOU!

Even with the fantastic help of Matthew, Rodrigo, SkrullBryan, Brian G. D&D Brian, Rob, Victoria, Stacy B, Scott, and Sam, Major Spoilers would not be the site it is today without all of our fans and super-fans from around the world.

I’m not sure everyone is aware of how special each and every one of you are to me.  There are now hundreds of other comic book sites, publisher blogs, and fan based sites, and for you to take time out of your day to make Major Spoilers one of your stops is one of the high points of my day.  (You’ll have to follow me on Twitter for my daily High/Low Moments of the Day)

Without your feedback, suggestions, comments, and passion for comics, we wouldn’t have the drive and desire to do better each and every day.  And looking back over the last 365 days, seeing how much you have added to the site gives all of us at Major Spoilers a warm and fuzzy feeling.  The Major Spoilers Fans and Superfans are the regulars that make visiting the site each day enjoyable.  It’s like stopping off at your favorite pub and seeing those familiar faces scattered around the room, even if you don’t know them personally.

Those of you that work hard to promote the site are wonderful.  Those that contribute to the site in a meaningful way are fantastic. Those that have made a donation to the Major Spoilers Experience help us keep going.  And those of you that get a kick out of our work are welcome all the time.  All the kind words I have received from each of you are special to me, and keep me going on days when things get dark and troubled.

I can’t thank you enough for being a part of the Major Spoilers Experience.

THINGS TO COME

Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers estimates that it takes 10,000 hours for something to become successful.  That roughly equates to five years of intensive work on a project, goal, or skill.  We’re now entering that fateful year, and while I really believe Major Spoilers is a wonderful place, I think we can do better.  We can make this Major Spoilers Experience better for everyone.

  • More original content for both the site and Major Spoilers Podcast
  • Season three of Critical Hit is just around the corner
  • More video content
  • New features
  • A Major Spoilers meet and greet?
  • More additions to the Major Spoilers Family
  • And a few more surprises we’re keeping close to the chest

It’s been another great year. I want Major Spoilers to grow, and I know you do too.  Please help out by telling all your friends, that stranger standing next to you in your local comic book shop, and your co-workers about the site. Heck, talk to that cute girl sitting next to you in class about the site. You’d be surprised at how many hot girls dig comics.

If you have comments, suggestions, or ideas, I’m always willing to listen to what you have to say.

Again, I feel honored to have you as a part of the Major Spoilers Experience.  From the bottom of my heart, I can’t thank you enough for making this site what it is today.

Here’s to Year Five and more great things to come!

Cheers
Stephen Schleicher
Executive Producer
Major Spoilers