Giant Robots Fighting God: The Secret History
Peter Tatara - June 14, 2006
What is Giant Robots Fighting God? How did it begin? Are the robots nuclear powered? Does my girlfriend really love me? How do I get out ketchup stains? Do they make microwavable pie? All this and more is revealed below. As for whether or not we're telling the truth, the smart money's on not believing a single word.
There were once five friends who went to high school together in the late 1990's in Albany, NY. It'd be safe to call 'em all geeks, nerds, or dweebs. It wouldn't be safe to call 'em all virgins because one or two were actually pretty familiar with female genitalia. Nonetheless, the five were social misfits who for some reason banded together. When not talking about how much they hated the school's faculty (sans the wicked cool AP English teacher), they went on and on (and on) about Star Wars, Babylon 5, and other admittedly geeky stuff.
I haven't yet mentioned that all five were editors of their school's newspaper because I thought it would be taken as a given; however, I should mention that they were not only the editors -- they were the entire staff. And they lacked a single cent of funding.
As such, one day, they decided that rather than mathematically proving why the Whitestar would fucking own the Enterprise in a fight... again, they'd do something productive. The friends became determined to make a zine (an underground magazine popular with nerds in the late 20th century), but instead of making a physical publication, they wanted to do something on that newfangled internet -- they wanted to make a webzine (an internet magazine popular with nerds in the early 21st century).
It was a revolutionary idea. Not only would a webzine be cheaper than a zine printed out on actual paper but, hell, the thing would be able to be read by despondent, introverted adolescents the world over. Of course, the thing needed a name. A lot of titles were tossed around. The Harlan Ellison Show. Pretty, Pretty Podme. PatriciaTallman.com. A lot of them sucked. Then, as a joke, Dairy Farmers for Quebec's Independence was posited. It didn't suck as much.
The High School Years
DFFQI's members -- John Paige, Mike Keegan, Nick Carpenter, Stephen Pause, and Peter Tatara -- spent the better part of their high school careers writing for one of the world's first webzines. Their coverage was expansive and up-to-the-minute. They covered music, movies, television, games, and events. They interviewed the voice of Lion-o. They filed reports from the start of Albany's Star Wars: Episode I line. They got author J. Michael Straczynski to block their e-mails.
Nothing they did changed the world, but what were you up to in high school? DFFQI was an outlet and an experiment. It was a webzine before webzines. It was a blog before blogs. It was something made from nothing, and for a few, brief, glorious years, it reigned as a must-read website for Peter Tatara's parents (and presumedly a handful of other people, too) every single day. Then it fell apart.
Eventually, DFFQI's members graduated high school. Some went to college. Some went out into the workforce. Regardless of where they went, they became different. They lived life. Their attention less on their website, they traveled the world, tried a plethora of illicit substances, crashed cars, got arrested, and got close to getting engaged. The five friends spoke less and less, and eventually DFFQI faded away. Its purpose was served, and the people who made it had moved on. No longer children, its creators put their toys away.
All five of DFFQI's writers reunited on the occasion of the premiere of Star Wars: Episode III. The social dynamic was different. Each had grown into something he wasn't before. Where once the five friends were children, now they were men. Or could at least grow facial hair. Yet, despite their changes, they very quickly rediscovered the kinship that brought them together almost a decade ago. Their chat over microbrews quickly turned back to high school and to DFFQI. Before the night was through, a plan was hatched to relaunch the little lady. Before the month was through, the plan was forgotten. Sure, DFFQI was fun, but I work for a living now. I'm tired when I get home at night. All I want to do is orally pleasure my girlfriend then go to sleep. Let's put DFFQI on the back burner.
The Reunion, Part II
Almost a year to the day of the premiere of Star Wars: Episode III, something was again stirring from the ashes of DFFQI. While the original relaunch was something spurred on by vanity (and Quackenbush Blondes), the new rumblings were a lot more pragmatic. DFFQI's writers had gone on since the days of high school to write volumes, make music, and even direct films. They had worked with numerous others in any number of capacities on any number of projects. Yet, with all their work, there was no place for them to put their work.
Talks became more than talks, and the five old friends along with their new friends set out to make something different. Of course, the thing needed a name. It was decided while the new site would have DFFQI's spirit, it wouldn't have DFFQI's name. The moniker retired, a lot of new titles were tossed around. Buuwuup. Blue Dot. The Fattest Angel. A lot of them sucked. Then, as a joke, Giant Robots Fighting God was posited. It didn't suck as much.
(In actuality, the name Giant Robots Fighting God was decided upon through a byzantine, multistage, democratic election. Any complaints regarding the results should be sent to the Ancient Greeks as they invented the blasted system. Of course, to complain to the Ancient Greeks, you'd need a time machine. And should you invent a time machine, I'll give you $5 to let me borrow it for an evening. Please replace this sentence with a joke about eating dinner with Hitler.)
So, what exactly does Giant Robots Fighting God mean? Is it an acidic social commentary on the role of modern science replacing that of traditional religion? Nah. Instead, it's a nod to Xenogears, a role playing game released by Squaresoft for the Sony PlayStation in 1998. This obscure game is, as you may have guessed, about giant robots fighting God. I never said we weren't geeks anymore.
After all that, here we are. But where is here? What is here? A webzine. A blog. A digital performance space. A showcase of individual and collaborate words, pictures, videos, and sounds. There's no simple definition for Giant Robots Fighting God -- it is anything and everything its collective of contributors make it. Housing fiction, journalism, recipes, reviews, and out-of-focus photographs, Giant Robots Fighting God runs the gamut from quirky to bizarre and experimental to avant garde. Sit back. Pour yourself a drink. Click around.
Discover something new on every page.