Talkbacker: A History lesson

Disclaimer: The following views and opinions of this editorial-Eye in the Sky, expressed therein does not reflect the.....oh, fuck that shit, it does!!

Disclaimer: What has been posted here is based on my personal experience with the sites and best of my knowledge, facts. (Not rumors or speculations!) If there are any concerns or corrections need, please contact the PN editorial staffer below..

It's often funny how time flies..

It was only five years ago around this time around the 3rd quarter of 2013, Harry Knowles of the once beloved Pop Culture site-Aint it Cool News, started a fundraiser for his proposed TV Series, which  I  guess, a show about reviews and maybe, just maybe celebrity interviews should the project gain momentum. It was infamously known as "Kickback".

After he received plenty of donations from those who constantly visited and commented at AICN, there was only one episode produced and "that's all folks"!
It so happens that Knowles wasn't consistent with keeping the series going. This resulted in a serious  backlash from his financial backers, who questioned not only where were the other remaining eps, but suspected squandering of the donations.

The backlash was swift and unforgiving! Many began to  bail out of AICN looking for a new spot to discuss movies, read reviews and of course "cool news" like upcoming films and such.

From out of this mass exodus, two individuals-Finn and Mr.X, developed their own pop culture sites respectively and decided to merge in order to collect a more streamlined readership, thus began whose namesake originated from AICN forums, often reffered to as "Talkbacks".

While some remained steadfast loyal to Harry's fledgling site, many has flocked to the new kid on the block.Call it an act of rebellion or mere morbid curiosity, I felt encouraged to contribute what articles or ideas that could further big up the site.It was great to compete and collaborate among various talented individuals be they writers, artists or podcasters. We were practically Rock Stars for a minute since Talkbacker was riding high during its infancy. We even had our own jingle back then;
"Everybody has something to say, Talkbacker.."

Many of us talkbackers who fled AICN like Bop, Rose, Asimovlives,  Dan, Creepy and so forth jumped at the opportunity to post articles and other cool material. We sorta stood out among the other sites.
Tikkenan posted current news while providing editorial assistance, Cane the Sutter wrote about comics and niche videogames, Bop tackled movies that were either overlooked or guilty pleasures to many,   Rare English Rose was known her love for Downton Abbey and X-Men, I am Better often reviewed  a few obscured films from the 90's as well as collaborating, when it came to a few joint articles as well as Dee, who the best to my knowledge, wrote about Chop Socky cinema and foreign horror schlock or whatever you might call it.. 
What became a bunch of site posters, were contributors who would write and publish whatever pop culture based article or even a Podcast (like Shut Up Kids) they were most passionate about.

Shut Up Kids or SUK for short, was one of the top headliners for TB. NSFW!

As a matter of !!FACT!!, the Podcast which at the time consisted of three hosts,  had a slow start until I suggested that two of our contributors-Asimovlives and Bop to appear on the SUK podcast.
As a result, their audience skyrocketed as more listeners became aware of the talented trio.
Now as for me, I specialize in handling retrospectives, op ed pieces, (Like this one you're reading now.)  film reviews, Anime, Videogames and my favorite, satirical bits ripe with social commentary under the guise of my two feline, fiendish friends.  Needless to say, I was  a fucking swiss army knife contributor and not to mention, the very first to dabble with Photoshop when promoting my articles.

TB was more than just a place to drop articles or podcasts, hell we even had a hangout forum where the locals would drop in anytime of the day to just shoot the shit. Fondly referred to as "The Dojo".

And the something called "Fests" which I never cared for. The social forums were more like a minor distraction from going put in the real world to enjoy personal interaction.In my opinion, of course.
TB was like a dysfunctional family and for a moment, most of us got along OK with the exception of one or three asinine upstarts.

Masthead collages for our joint article: Anti Heroes of Television and Cinema.

A Satirical file card I created based on  1980's The Exterminator

One of my first attempts at Photoshop back then.

My 1st published article foreshadowed Hasbro's Cinematic Universe.

However, nothing lasts forever or as that old saying goes; all that is gold, does not glitter!
Talkbacker after a period of say, six months, had ran afoul with its share of drama and infighting between collaborators, readers and even the editorial staff! It was practically, Lord of the fucking Flies toward the sites end of it's life cycle! A filed lawsuit and creative differences between the top brass, led to several departures and eventually, the House of Cards that was Talkbacker, collapsed...wait, more like imploded!💥💥
Cues "House of the Rising Sun" song.

Sky and Ollie's 1st satirical based Movie review!

The Talkbacker, Pulp Epic exodus eventually became a Supernaughts exodus.

Sometime afterwards, one of the founders of  Talkbacker, had developed a new contributor based Pop Culture site called "Pulp Epic".It was pretty much the same as the former site but with tighter regulations especially when it came to use of profanity or explicit nudity, sex that sort of thing.
Of course, there was infighting behind the scenes between various contributors, most notably, me vs a certain individual who I often suspected for being jealous, untrustworthy and not to mention, contradictory. He wasn't the first and he sure as shit wasn't the last as history with SN and Pop Axis has shown. What became of the "brotherhood" was practically, a battle royale!

Based on my first Podcast collaboration.

Dissatisfaction of tight regulations at Pulp Epic, had led to more departures due to creative differences. As a result, three of the contributors, created a competitor site known as "The Supernaughts".Most jumped the sinking ship and headed over to SN, (I prefer to call it "SN" because "Supernaughts" as a title, sounds too pretentious, let alone lacking  any nuance.

Me and a fellow contributor, Puck Propaganda was the last holdouts at Talkbacker and eventually signed up at Supernaughts. For the most part, I was welcomed and had fun dropping my stuff there.

Masthead for collaboration article: Heroes of Black Cinema. 

SN was like another new beginning, and without a doubt, the longest stint I have participated in.
You had more podcasts, collaborative articles, different ideas even kick ass Halloween segments.
(Well, with the exception of my bad attempt at singing of course.🤣)
Then came the 2016 Presidential Election and outspoken bastid that I am, I had no problem calling out white supremacists, whether its within the entertainment field or society in general to the extent that shit got uglier when the Commander-In-Thief, Donald J. Trump took office, whenever I was in the middle of a pissing contest with certain Alt-Reich apologists, or totally dismiss butthurt individuals from the site be they contributors or readers, like  bloated stinking fugly drunkards, they would reply with their typical sophomoric posts. And guess what, deja vu all over again!
Might as well have stayed at AICN and slugged it out with the talkbackers there, at least they never pretended to by under the guise of a "friend" while trying to sully your reputation.

For the most part, certain "moderators"  at SN were useless and would not take disciplinary action towards any troublemakers. This became a conflict of interest since I knew where they stood. 

"Those hoes aint loyal"!

Eventually, the founders well, most of them abandoned Supernaughts and despite my articles getting plenty of views, I was not granted mod status nor have I asked for it. But what's funny is how the site went tits up after many had given donations pledges in order to keep the site afloat.
Some to this very day, believe that the last remaining founder had ran off with the money.

Then in November 2017 came this ill conceived idea of pulling feeds from various sites and blogs into one hub. It was called Pop Axis and that lasted for a good two months. Especially after the mods there were more fixated with harassing either the contributors or old acquaintances as opposed to creating new content.

After they were exposed, Pop Axis was no more.Now everyone is doing their own thing which in retrospect, I should have been working on my site, being my own boss. In hindsight, what became of Pop Axis' demise, was a blessing in disguise!

Most ties have been severed with the exception of a few stragglers remaining at dojo forums, but I'm content and at peace. Talkbacker, like its founder Finn had once said, it was an experiment. Albeit a fun ride but eventually, the wheels had to fall off at some time.

There were some proud moments but the cynic in me saw this opportunity as a learning lesson that I will pass on to anyone who's willing to adhere to my slice of advice:

If you have an original  idea of what would make for a good site, while having complete creative control and of course, freedom to publish whatever the hell you wish and at any time of the day!

 As the great Adam Warlock once said; "Rule yourselves"!   Or as i would say, Be your own boss!!!

That being said, without Talkbacker, there may not have been other DIY sites like Infamous, Nerdbong, Movies and Stuff, The Man who saved Movies, Badsoundingsentences, Pop Axis, The Supernaughts, F Goblin, Morlocks, S Dojo, Last Outpost or even this lowly blog.

Happy 5th and thanks for the memories, TB!


Puck Propaganda
Mr. X
Abe L.
Scott C.

Special Thanks:

Dan M.
Sam F.
Sky & Ollie
Stefan P. 
Carlos S.
Jack Random
Martin W.
Steve K.
Creepythinman (M.I.A.)

and of course....
Bop n Ruuuuuummmmbbllleeee!

Bonus! Popcast retrospective of AICN and of course,  the now defunct but legendary

NOTE: As much as I would love to have posted examples of other TB contributors, the material you see here, were the only stuff accessible. Jus sayin.

COMING SOON: TB Reloaded! My favorite articles from Talkbacker and remastered!


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