This is a tale of war. We recommend you play the Braveheart theme in the background. — Ed.
What really happened on that fateful day? It all started with an A.V. Club staff editorial. The subject was whether comic book movies had “jumped the shark,” and much like the metaphorical saltwater beasts in question, those who gathered to read this document were eccentric yet civil when unprovoked. A spirited discussion sprang up to determine which comic book adaptation was the worst of all time. Had those involved known what the answer would cost, however, the speculation might have ended then and there.
Gardenhoes, a well-regarded member of the community, addressed the growing crowd, pleading a case for The Green Lantern. Meanwhile, Superman IV, a “truly horrendous piece of garbage”, was also gaining traction, owing to the consensus-building efforts of King Tardis Touch. Such sporty back-and-forth was common among the people of A.V. Club, and all parties were reportedly of good cheer. Eventually the Green Lantern splinter group was silenced, and it seemed as though an agreement had been reached. Unfortunately, nothing was what it seemed that day, for at that very moment, the group was greeted by an unexpected visitor.
The stranger turned out to be Tobias Is Queen Mary, an emissary from Ain’t It Cool News. It’s uncertain what force had compelled him to travel beyond borders into the A.V. Club territories, but upon arriving he submitted Daredevil as the worst superhero movie ever made. “Daredevil raped my childhood,” he argued.
“With all due respect,” Gardenhoes promptly wrote back, “I am glad your childhood was raped. Furthermore, I hope your adulthood is molested too.”
Tobias Is Queen Mary is the first known casualty of the Blog Commenter War of 2011, despondently slinking off the internet into a DVR stash of Bait Car episodes, leaving only the anthropomorphic ice cream cone of his avatar as evidence that he’d fought at all. At the same time, others from Ain’t It Cool News heard tell of what had happened, and rushed over to avenge their compatriot. A torrent of spambot comments about skin-care flooded in at the same time, which everyone agreed was pretty goddamn annoying. Nobody could have predicted what happened next, though.
Somehow, news of the battle spread to Le Tigre, a commenter on Jezebel, and she joined the angry rabble at the A.V. Club. “What about Elektra?” she demanded of those assembled. “What about Catwoman or Supergirl, for fuck’s sake?” The response came swift and mercilessly, stunning Le Tigre with its speed: “Tits or GTFO.” It was widely assumed that the message was intended to be ironic, with a pending clause that if Le Tigre was “down with it,” the request would retroactively revert to sincerity.
As others from Jezebel flocked to Le Tigre’s aid, a group of commenters from Salon staged a coordinated attack. “I DON’T HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT THIS, BUT IT SEEMS LIKE I PROBABLY SHOULD?” wrote Stefon, striking a blow for every confused person with a head full of steam on the internet. The Salon crew organized and mounted a strong campaign for Hulk, but InfiniteChest soon pointed out that although the last 25 minutes were “a total shitshow,” the rest of the movie was “pretty chill.” Almost everybody involved agreed, and Hulk was soon dropped from contention. “Um, hello, possessive apostrophe much?” GoGoGadgetRage pointed out, but it remains unclear even to this day exactly what he meant.
A plot was later uncovered by The Huffington Post, exposing an extended branch of The Huffington Post’s own Entertainment Page, whose commenters had annexed off sections of Slate. The HuffPo faction had planned to shanghai Slate commenters into voting for their preferred choice (Adam West’s Batman), but they did not go along willingly, and the two groups fought it out amongst themselves. Meanwhile, the Videogum faithful planned out a surgical strike involving waves of two-man teams deriding The Dark Knight. Upon arrival, however, the first of these waves was summarily blasted as “fake,” “gay” and “morose.” The situation had begun to spin out of control.
It wasn’t long before even more sites got involved. Rampant talk about Emo Tobey Maguire in Spiderman 3 prompted a surge from a volatile brood of Something Awful trolls, who shocked everyone by forging a temporary alliance with the trolls from Fark. Together they began sprinkling .gifs of Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze all over A.V. Club, trying to sway the public toward Batman & Robin.
“You have a point,” King Tardis Touch acknowledged in a fiery comment thread. “But at the same time, you are more wrong about this than anyone has ever been about anything ever, and also I hate you.” Just as the Mr. Freeze .gifs began to balloon in frequency, the sleeping giant finally awoke.
It wasn’t immediately obvious what was happening when the 4chan attacks began. Perhaps the outsiders assumed that A.V. Clubbers were posting all the pornographic images themselves. With lightning speed, though, the sheer number of flash-animated penises onscreen proliferated beyond control. The image swept the whole site in a viral, phallic mushroom cloud. It was a silent weapon for a quiet war, and there was no escape.
When the dust settled, all parties quickly arrived at an armistice. Anything to make all the penises go away. The Reconstruction occurred instantly when 4chan’s agents removed the dickbomb, and the Ghost Rider treaty of 2011 was ratified into law. “This!” Gardenhoes commented beneath the treaty, effectively ending the war as quickly as it started. This, indeed.
Illustration edited from xkcd’s online community map