Just A Few Thousand Words On Nick Martin's Departure

Illustration: Jim Cooke (G/O Media), Screenshot: Marvel

Marvel Knower, very long blog writer, and friend to all Nick Martin is leaving Splinter (and G/O Media). We’re sending him off with a little taste of his own medicine: a blog about him that is way too long.


Paul Blest, News Editor at Splinter

I have lived in North Carolina for almost four years now. In my time living here, I’ve met exactly one person who I’m confident knows more about North Carolina and its politics than Nick Martin, and that guy is nearly seventy years old. In fact, my first interaction with Nick was him asking me if I wanted to do a podcast about North Carolina that we could pitch for GMG. We even did a sample episode and sent it to our editors. I assume, at this point, that Univision will not be commissioning it as a series.

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I’ll let the people who’ve spent more time with Nick than one week in December 2018 dunk on him more than I can, and just say that I will miss his 4,000 word blogs that he drops at 4:30 pm, and that I look forward to seeing all of the cool shit he does under the watchful mentorship of [redacted].

Aleksander Chan, Editor in Chief of Splinter

As a manager, Nick presented an interesting challenge: What do you with an employee who never follows directions on assignments (ahem, “Nick, why is this blog 10,000 words?”) but basically always sticks the landing? You just..let him, is what I’ve learned. Because even though Nick will write way, way, way too much about everything, no matter what, no matter how many times you have politely asked or instructed him not to, it’ll be worth it. I will miss him and editing his absolutely depraved Marvel movie blogs dearly, but I am so excited to see him write thousands (millions even!) of words in more places.

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Kiran Chitanvis, Senior Producer at Deadspin

One time we asked Nick Martin to walk and talk at the same time. This is what happened. It was never posted.

Jorge Corona, Creative Producer at Deadspin

Nick, dreaded, drawly, and the featured buddy in our strangest video ever, you will be missed.

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Jack Crosbie, Contributor at Splinter

Nick Martin... what is there to say. He’s a great person to get tacos with and sometimes his writing is so good it makes me physically angry. I’m incredibly glad I go to sit across/ adjacent to him for the better part of a year even though he once mildly implied that I had stolen his chair (I did not). Theoretically I’d love to see a Marvel movie with him one day but seeing as he watches nearly every one at a midnight showing and I am an adult, I’m not sure that it’s going to happen.

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Megan Greenwell, Editor in Chief of Deadspin

Has Nick Martin ever told you he went to Duke? Did you know Zion Williamson also went to Duke and helped the Blue Devils barely win a second-round NCAA game over a team you’ve never heard of with one tall guy? Nick Martin can tell you all about that, because Nick Martin loves to talk about Duke. He’s also scarily smart, a deeply insightful writer from whom I have learned very much, a lovely person, and funny as hell, but none of that outweighs the Duke thing imo. (He also is obsessed with movies about characters 3-year-olds dress up as for Halloween, but we will not even validate that by discussing it here!) [Redacted], a word of advice: Don’t ever let him write about college athletics or comic-book movies. Goodbye, Nick, we will miss a small handful of truly wonderful things about you, but man will I not miss you talking about J.J. Redick in Slack.

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Billy Haisley, News Editor at Deadspin

It was just yesterday, when attempting to catalogue the parade of horrors endured by all of us who have worked at this shambling zombie (though still (for now) unkilled!) of a company for any appreciable amount of time, that I realized something about Nick Martin: he is the bringer of the curse.

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At Deadspin, we have noticed with dark amusement over the past several years the consistent phenomenon we call the new hire curse. Not long after we welcome a new Deadspin Idiot into the fold, that new person’s hiring is almost without fail accompanied by a crisis. One new person starts, and a racist wrestler backed by a hateful, vampiric billionaire leg-drops the company out of existence. Another one starts, and the company announces layoffs. Yet another one starts, and our old new corporate overlords tell us all they are going to try to pawn the sites off to some new new corporate overlords. You could ask anyone who has come to work at Deadspin over the past five-ish years and they could immediately point to theirs, and if they can’t it’s only because there were too many different crises for any single one to stand out.

So there we were yesterday, the collective rage over what new Deadspinner Kelsey McKinney will certainly consider her inaugural crisis subsiding just enough to slip in some gallows humor, thinking about the curse’s past. It was then, trying to trace back the curse’s origin, that I realized the curse as we know it today began with Nick.

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Nick’s crisis was in some ways the worst of them all. Back in the summer of 2015—still the halcyon days of Gawker Media—Nick was a callow college student taking his first baby steps in the professional journalism world as Deadspin’s intern. It is a testament to Nick’s talent and determination, as well has his weed-aided, permanently chill demeanor that he didn’t run back to Duke and immediately change his major to archeology or something after the carnage he witnessed that summer.

Gawker had published maybe its most controversial post ever, the blowback from which led to the higher-ups taking the post down, the head of the editorial department resigning, and in some ways helped create the conditions which allowed for the eventual murder of Gawker. It was a wild, extended period of unprecedented drama and existential dread, and it has lived on in varying forms, seemingly triggered by new Deadspin hires, ever since.

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Nick is a fantastic writer and, in spite of what his alma mater would seem to imply, a great guy. He manages to churn out good, smart, important blogs with regularity, all while smoking metric tons of weed. His trajectory and work is proof of what a company committed to finding, nurturing, and trusting young writers can produce. He is one of the good ones. And if his leaving whatever we’re calling Gawker Media these days spells the end of the curse that’s been plaguing this place since he got here, good fucking riddance.

Katherine Krueger, Managing Editor at Splinter

I’ve literally never met anyone like Nick, someone who delights in making what I think should be a 300-word blog into a 1500-word epic. His enthusiasm for the DC Comics Cinematic Universe (DCCCU) is unmatched, and he has always been semi-kind about fielding my questions about like, the Hulk’s love interest or whatever. But for real: stealing him from Deadspin was one of the best hiring decisions our rusted-out clunker of a site has ever made. Now, because of cosmic justice, he’s been stolen again. Nick’s gonna write books, he’s going to write thoughtful, nuanced magazine cover stories, and I promise I’ll at least open the tab on every single one of them.

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Tom Ley, Features Editor at Deadspin

Nick Martin is probably one of the, like, four people who have ever worked at Gawker Media and Zombie Gawker Media who is a truly pleasant and calming presence. He arrived at this company as an intern during a great cataclysm, and has seen various disasters unfold on a seemingly weekly basis since then. He kept his head through it all, and in the process became one of the finest journalists we have.

He’s also a big stupid nerd who saw each Avengers movie like 19 times. Pathetic!

Drew Magary, Columnist at Deadspin

Nick a pathetic Dookie who talks like he just drank a gallon of liquefied quaaludes. He should be blended into a Cook Out shake and left to melt in the sun.

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Jack Mirkinson, Deputy Editor at Splinter

I could say something waspish about some of Nick’s many wrong opinions on various issues, but, having demolished one of them on this site already, I don’t believe in kicking a man when he’s down. Anyway, we all make mistakes, and when you produce work that is as sweeping, daring, revelatory, and moving as Nick’s, you deserve a little slack. Nick is a great journalist. More importantly, he’s a mensch, and we will miss him.

Diana Moskovitz, Senior Editor at Deadspin

I really don’t have anything bad to say about Nick. He was a perfectly responsible, hard-working, and talented employee. It’s a shame he went to Duke.

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Giri Nathan, Staff Writer at Deadspin

He can whip up 20,000 words of gripping political reportage, but the next day he will post 40,000 on a single preposition Thanos uttered in a trailer. He can sky 40 inches to swat your shot, but on the other end of the floor he will carom an open layup off the glass at 180 mph. He can present as a deeply affable and thoughtful dude, but he is also enthusiastic about Duke University. Such is the duality of Nick Martin.

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Hamilton Nolan, Senior Writer at Splinter

We were all happy and relieved when Nick brought his thoughtful, sensitive, and insightful writing style to Splinter from Deadspin, a den of drunken “frat bros” who could hardly be expected to appreciate it. Now, we are all saddened that Nick is leaving us, in an effort to get as far away from Deadspin as possible. Simply being in the same company as Deadspin proved to be too much for someone of Nick’s thoroughly respectable temperament. Farewell Nick—we will defeat Deadspin in your honor.

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Luis Paez-Pumar, Staff Writer at Deadspin

I knew Nick over Slack for months before finally meeting him, without even knowing that I had. We had a softball game for the vaunted G/O Media team, and there was a tall dude who I definitely had seen around the office but had not spoken to since starting at Deadspin back in December. He was very nice, and we had some light banter about the game. It was only the next day when I realized that, holy shit, that was the dreaded Nick Martin. But that seemed fitting for Nick, who would lurk the hellhole that is the Deadspin “pop culture” Slack channel only to pop in with a good joke or a questionable Marvel take. And boy were there a lot of both of those. His Infinity War and Endgame posts were all unhinged in their own special way, one that even I, a fellow MCU nerd, had to bow down to while also questioning his sanity. And even though we disagree about the value of Infinity War as a movie, I know I will miss all of our dumb Slacks about his running viewcount for the movie (last we checked in, it was at 20-25 in a year; never doubt his powerfully broken brain).

Also, Duke can eat shit.

Barry Petchesky, Deputy Editor at Deadspin

For reasons known only to god, I have edited a collective 46,000 words from Nick on the last two Avengers movies. Making it worse, that was just two posts. At the time of the second one, he didn’t even work for my website anymore. The man’s unwell, is what I’m trying to convey here, and I am less well for having worked with him.

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If obsession and eclecticism are key traits in great writers, Nick is perhaps the greatest writer of all. He is equally capable of a sobering, immaculately researched multi-part series on the political history of Cabarrus County, North Carolina, as he is on staking out and defending for years the position that Boss Baby is a good and even important movie for adults. It remains unclear how chemically enhanced that latter stance is, and how much is Nick’s innate perversity. As an editor it’s not my job to care.

I wish Nick and his problem shitter of a cat well, and am confident that he’ll thrive in his new job at [redacted]. I am using this roast less as a chance to say goodbye, because he’s actually a cool guy who I’ll enjoy hanging out with outside of our work relationship, and more as a warning to his next editor.

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David Roth, Editor-at-large at Deadspin

The first time I really remember working with Nick was on a video in which The Deadspin Idiots ate various big-chain pizzas and rated them. Over the course of what wound up being a 90-minute shoot that resulted in a decently funny Deadspin Idiots video, five of us sampled increasingly cold pizzas from Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Little Caesar’s, Papa John’s. There are a number of notable things about the video—some extremely smooth jazz transitions, how profoundly jowly and uncertain I seem—but Nick is inarguably its star. Not just because of how frequently and passionately he reiterates how important pepperoni are to him, which is the part that viewers could see, but because he routinely devoured more than one slice of the ghastly room-temp pizzas congealing in front of us. Even the ones he did not like, he took down. It was clear to me, then, who my new co-worker was: a man of principle, yes, but also quite possibly some sort of defective escaped cyborg, one whose priorities and broader approach would be nearly indecipherable to regular humans.

This initial impression was confirmed again and again during the course of our time together, even after he left Deadspin for Splinter. It was clear that whatever Nick WAS, and whatever he was playing at, he was very good at it. His long stories on North Carolina’s political history, which I edited from an airbnb in Minneapolis during Super Bowl week in 2018, were brilliant and comprehensive—but at what cost in pepperoni? What was it led this being, whoever and whatever he was, to spend 13 hours of his life watching the same B+ Marvel movie multiple times over the course of a single weekend? There was something powerful at work, here, and I was not alone in surmising that it was almost certainly sinister; how pleasant and patient and kind this entity seemed from one interaction to the next seemed, more and more, to be part of whatever game it was playing with us. I never figured it out, but it’s not really my problem anymore. I’d warn the good people at [redacted] about it, but that’s not really my problem, either. Whatever Nick is here for, whatever he is finally getting at, whatever all those innumerable pepperoni died for, I absolutely hope he gets it.

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Patrick Redford, Staff Writer at Deadspin

Nick Martin is nine feet tall, has the honey-soaked voice of an angel, and is nice as pie, but he will wrestle you if you slander the Duke Men’s Basketball Team. Tread lightly.

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Rafi Schwartz, Senior Writer at Splinter

Nick Martin loves Marvel movies. I know this because not a day has gone by that he hasn’t sent me a message on Slack about them. Dude, I get it. Batman shaved Wolverine’s butt, or something. This is a place of business, man. Enough already. Will your new coworkers tolerate your pathological fandom the way I have? Who’s to say? Not everyone is as magnanimous as I am. Nevertheless, when he’s not gushing over Spider-men, Nick is also a helluva journalist, and the sort of person I’m proud to call my (now ex-) coworker. Like Spider-man always says: Live long and prosper.

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Laura Wagner, Staff Writer at Deadspin

Nick is basically the most low-key and enjoyable person at this whole dang company (not that that’s saying much as we are, for the most part, a bunch of high-strung assholes), but that gentleness belies a powerful appetite for beef. I scrolled back through my two-plus years of slack DMs with Nick and was overjoyed to re-live some of the great media beefs of our time. Nick can be savage! Do not be fooled by his gentle manners and lilting southern accent! And while he’s choosy about where he takes aim, when he picks his spot, he nails it. Just look at this blog he wrote, titled “Pod Fails America.”

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Also, Nick was an early embracer of spikeball.

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Libby Watson, Staff Writer at Splinter

Nick Martin is, despite being incredibly talented and clearly brilliant, the only person I like who enjoys the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I hope he sees the error of judgment he has made soon.

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About the author

Aleksander Chan

Editor-in-Chief, Splinter