Thursday, May 16, 2013

Happy Birthday, Nilbog's Storybook Land!/The Origin of The Nilbog

It was one year ago today to the minute that I made my very first post on this website. Since then, I've had over 200 posts and a handful of readers. I think it's been long enough. It is time I shared with you the origin of this website.

Really, it's the Nostalgia Critic's fault first and foremost.

I graduated from Rhode Island College in 2010 with a BA in Theatre Performance and absolutely no idea what the hell I was going to do with it. I was really getting into the Nostalgia Critic at the time, and I noticed that Channel Awesome was hiring. I thought, "I can do this."

Even though I had no video equipment.

But that didn't deter me. I thought up a few ideas of what I could do. At first, I wanted to do a World of Warcraft-themed video series. I was already doing a WoW-related comic AND column for the RIC Anchor Newspaper, and I figured it would be a simple transition. That's when I came up with the handle "The Nilbog." It's Goblin spelled backwards, you see. First, it would reference Goblins as my favorite playable race in WoW. Second, it's an obscure reference to a horrible movie I've never actually seen but heard about ceaselessly entitled "Troll 2."

"Troll 2", for those uninitiated, was a sequel to a cheesy horror flick called "Troll." This sequel had nothing to do with either the movie it supposedly sequeled, nor to the titular creature. Odds are, it was a completely unrelated film that got slapped with the title for some reason. In any case, it was about a group of Goblins who turn people into vegetables so they can eat them because they're vegetarians...yeah, you can understand why this became a cult classic. The town where they lived was called "Nilbog", leading to a "Redrum" - esque reveal later in the movie.

Since I never saw this movie and have no ties to it, why did I think the name would be good? Because I thought it would earn me geek cred. Ahh, how naive I was.

However, it was becoming pretty clear that, as a casual player, WoW may not be the best subject for a weekly comedy video. Besides, everyone was doing movies, games, music. What niche could I fill?

Then it hit me. Nobody was doing video BOOK reviews! Well, Linkara did comics, but I'd do actual novels! That's where "Storybook Land" came in.

Inspired by the "Stimpy's Storybook Land" episodes of the Ren & Stimpy show, my shtick would be starting my reviews as if I was reading the audience a bedtime story, only to be physically tortured by the awful words on whatever page I was reading that week. I could see it all: funny gags, original illustrations and screenshots of the page where clips would normally go. It was genius.

And it would give me an excuse to catch up on some literature.

I planned out five episodes and began work on the first, and this is where the trouble started. To read through the book, make notes, then write a script based on it was taking far, far too long. It took me a good six months to actually finish that first draft of that first script, and even then I wasn't completely happy with it. Add in the fact that I still had no equipment, and nobody to draw the kinds of illustrations I was looking for.

And to top it all off, I had started with my now-wife's favorite book, "Flowers in the Attic." Oh, I hated it, and it provided great fodder for a comically negative review, but this was the point where I was just starting to really get back into Star Wars for the first time in years, and the thought of ragging on something that meant a great deal to someone else, even if I didn't like it, just didn't feel right to me anymore.

The final nail in the coffin was when Channel Awesome announced its hiring freeze, meaning there wasn't even the steady paycheck in it for me anymore. Nilbog's Storybook Land, the book review show, was officially dead.

Months passed, I looked elsewhere for work, got married. I also started to read a lot of the blogs centered around the Star Wars Prequel Appreciation Society. The more I read, the more ideas I had, the more I wanted my own soapbox to help spread the pro-I-III message.

But it wouldn't just be about Clone Wars-era Star Wars. It would be about the Galactic Civil War as well. And not just Star Wars, other movies. Batman, Gremlins, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Disney, Jurassic Park. Books, Video Games, Music. All the crap that I love and can just geek out about. Celebrating and building up as opposed to tearing down. That's the kind of site I wanted. So, I took the e-mail I had created for the webseries, used it to create a "Blogger" account, and thus Nilbog's Storybook Land, the Blog of General Geekery, was born.

And, well, if you're reading this, then you know the rest of the story.


  1. What got you into Nostalgia Critic? How did you discover channel awesome?

    1. I forget what review I saw first, but someone was watching him in my college newsroom and I was hooked. Of course, I can't watch a lot of the old negative reviews anymore simply because I disagree with the close-mindedness (although, when all is said and done Doug is much better about that than anyone else I've seen. Not enough, but...)

    2. Yeah. Some reviews I think he made for the sake of bitch in about stuff. While his newer stuff got better, I LOATHE his Sailor Moon review. He only watched the DIC dub and made the show out to be overly sexual when it's not! It bugs me cuz he associates some of Japan's problems with sexuality with Japan to SM which has NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT. I hate when people assume that all a nine is sexist and perverted it's not fair!

      Aside from that, I love his reviews nonetheless. I found him through TV Tropes in high school on a getting crap past the radar page.