The zero is starting to get to me.

A couple of years ago, I was giddily awaiting some distant event — either my wedding day or SNL season one coming out on DVD — so I installed a simple countdown clock on my home page. I set up the countdown for one-time use, but by the time the big day (whatever it was) arrived, some other eagerly awaited nerd Christmas had popped up right on its heels. I never deleted the clock; I just kept changing zero hour and looking forward to something else. There was always a new movie coming out, a new Walking Dead hardcover right around the corner, a new convention that I could look forward to missing and jealously reading about.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, the new president got sworn in and the clock rolled over to zero… and there it stayed. For nearly two weeks now, I have opened my browser each morning to see “0 Days until President Obama” just sort of lying there in the middle of the screen like a spent balloon. Every day, I now begin my morning by contemplating “0 Days” and thinking, “I really need to change that. So, what’s the next big hullabaloo lurking on the calendar? I guess there’s… well, in March there has to be some… now, though, this summer… um! Hmm.”

I don’t think I’m looking forward to anything.

That can’t possibly be true, can it? Surely I’ve just been too busy working to put food on my family and failed to realize what a pop culture cornucopia is spread out before me, right? Whatever the reason– inattention, ennui, senility– I am drawing a complete blank.

There’s an irony here that is not lost on me. I’ve had event fatigue; I’ve been fatigued by the concept of event fatigue; I’ve grown fatigued listening to the debate about event fatigue. Now, Secret Invasion and Final Crisis are both over, with neither one apparently rolling into any kind of new “event,” and that outstanding development is what a lot of us have said we wanted… but now I have this ADHD voice in the back of my head (it sounds like either Chip or Dale; I can never keep them straight) saying, “So, what? The Next Big Thing is nothing? The books are just going to do what they do? That’s… exciting too, I guess.” Say what you want about Secret Invasion now that it’s in the rearview mirror, but back when Elektra’s corpse turned green as it hit the ground, I was hopping from foot to foot in anticipation to see how that development played out across the fictional globe. They may have played me, but they played me like Johnny’s fiddle in “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Now, it’s like I’m a junkie in rehab; I don’t want any more events, but habit has created an event-shaped hole in my heart that I have to fill with something.

Am I part of the problem now? I don’t want to be part of the problem.

I guess I’m looking forward to seeing how this Dark Reign status quo plays out. Brian Reed has something up his sleeve for Ms. Marvel that I am approaching with equal parts curiosity and dread, the apparent premise being that I am not reading the book for Carol Danvers but rather for whoever happens to be using the name Ms. Marvel. I’m looking forward to having my Avengers books back. I’m testing the fences around the DCU now, too, looking for some penetrable corner now that the blood has dried and the smoke has dissipated, but I’m too skeptical of how that’s going to turn out for me to say I’m really looking forward to it. (It’s possible that the fifteenth time’s the charm and by next summer I will have an encyclopedic passion for Green Lantern, but I would keep breathing in and out if I were you.) I’m sort of looking forward to this Bendis/Maleev Spider-Woman book, but honestly, at this point I’ve been hearing about this comic for so many years that it will need to have self-reading pages that taste like caviar and a cover that’s also a ShamWow to simply match expectations.

Similarly, there are plenty of would-be blockbusters headed our way in the coming months that are supposed to be in my wheelhouse, but looking at this slate I don’t think we have another Iron Man/The Dark Knight summer awaiting us. It is possible that the Wolverine movie is going to be a masterpiece, but the prospect of seeing Gambit and his pink energy nonsense powers immortalized on the big screen has not sent me running to (Really? All the good mutants were taken. You had to make a main character out of a guy whose bio might as well just say “trench coat, something something playing cards”? I hope there’s a scene where he explains what the name “Gambit” has to do with anything.)

There are also Transformers and G.I. Joe movies on their way. The Transformers 2, of course, ties up all those loose ends and unanswered questions from the first The Transformers. G. I. Joe… listen. I just bought a new G.I. Joe comic a week or two ago, so I’m not going to act like it is beneath me on the geek hierarchy or anything, but… it’s difficult to put into words. I feel like, if I went to see this movie, the kid at the register would pin the ticket to my shirt to make sure I didn’t lose it, and then an usher would be standing at the door to the theater handing out propeller beanies and dunce caps to everyone going in. I feel like I would go to G.I. Joe in costume just to keep from being recognized on my way in. Remember, in a couple of months when you come back here to rant about how awful it was, you saw there was a Wayans brother in there way back in February.

Then again… Destro, the Baronness, the over-the-top action: is any of it really any more ludicrous than half the James Bond movies you’ve seen in your life? Answer carefully; there is a James Bond movie where a pigeon does a double-take.

And then there’s Watchmen. I am looking forward to Watchmen, but not really looking forward to the film itself; I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when the film finally comes out. I am fascinated by the amount of interest that this movie has generated amongst non-comics readers based on almost nothing. Conor recently forwarded us a list of last year’s best-selling graphic novels, and Watchmen was far and away #1. These sales, mind you, are driven primarily by the trailer for a movie that essentially no one in the audience knows anything about. It’s not like people saw the movie and wanted to read the book; that part is still a month or so away. These are sales to people who didn’t even know what they were excited about yet. When the movie actually comes out, good Lord, they’ll have to find new paper sources. We’ll have to start growing hemp and chop down some national parks.

I wish I had grant money to throw at this. I would love to conduct a study and figure out what it is about the Watchmen movie that has seized the imaginations of the populace. I have friends reading this book who can’t even say the phrase “comic books” to me without putting “your little” in front of it. I am not rooting against this movie… but whenever people support so enthusiastically something they’ve never laid eyes on, a part of me can’t help wondering what it would be like if it turned out not to be good. I still remember going to The Fellowship of the Ring on opening night and seeing people dressed as hobbits and wizards in line, huge look-at-me fans of a movie they had never seen. I wanted to go up, grab them right by their bags of holding, and yell, “You don’t even know what you’re in for! Listen to me; I went to Toys ‘R’ Us at midnight and bought Jar Jars before I knew what Jar Jars were! Don’t make the same mistakes I did!”

Actually, that Jar Jar thing is probably a large part of why it’s hard to get me excited about stuff now.

Surely I must be forgetting something, and so I turn to you good people for help in my time of pessimism. What should I be looking forward to? Is there something coming that has you counting down right now? Have I got things all wrong? My radar is broken; I am relying on you to help me land this thing.

Oh, wait! Scott Pilgrim. Never mind.


Jim Mroczkowski thinks the ShamWow guy would make a great Gambit. Think about it. Hulk hands, something something, Twitter



  1. So without yet reading the article, I scrolled through it and saw the Shamwow guy…I already know this article will rock.

  2. Jar Jar was like an ice cold shower.  

    You have to make your own excitement when the world’s got nothing of interest brewing.  You could learn to juggle.  And then look forward to the predetermined Wednesday afternoon when you stand up, climb onto your desk and casually begin to juggle staplers and shoes to the shock and jubilation of your co-workers.  Or become a serial killer.  Every thursday brings a new evening of covering a 6’2" freckled person with papier mache.  Or karaoke.  

  3. I sincerly love that you rlinked to your own article. As for my excitement, well spring is coming up whivh means my hibernation from stand up will soon cease. Perfomance art! Go nuts! Or teach your daughter the ways of the force!

  4. I too look forward to what people’s reaction will be when Watchmen comes out.  I’m sure we will hear a lot of the same debates about it, is just that this time people will bust out with evidence about why it sucks/rocks.

    Oh, and I’m excited for Blackes Night 🙂

  5. You’re totally failing to even acknowledge or think about the ‘Star Trek’ movie, am I right?

    But yeah, great points throughout.  My ‘anticipation clock’ was ‘Springsteen at the Super Bowl’ and I didn’t even know he was going to knock a camera over with his crotch.  Anyway.

    Currently, I’m probably most anticipating the upcoming (and last)"X-Men First Class" miniseries, and even that’s bittersweet because it’s the last.  I’m honestly okay with taking a little breather from anticipation.  The constant "and everything will change forever" drumbeats are kind of wearisome.

  6. BLACKEST NIGHT!!!!!!!!!! That’s all I’m looking forward to.

  7. By the way, Jim, the reaction to ‘Watchmen’ is extra perplexing because in my experience the reaction of most people to a movie coming out is "Thank God I don’t have to read the BOOK now!"

  8. I have no idea what is coming out this year in comics.  I am excited for League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  Alan Moore doesn’t let me down.

    Well, except for the last LoEG.

  9. Other then Blackest Night and the Watchmen film…..I got nothing else to care about.

    I mean I will watch the other comic book films, and other action films (like GI Joe); but really there is nothing else for me this year. Which I think is a good thing; last year was so busy and there was so much going on. It would be nice to have a quiet year for a change in the comic industry.

  10. In terms of comics I’m anticipating, I’m with Josh on LoEG and everyone in the world on Blackest Night.  But the big one for me is Superman: Secret Origin.  Can’t help it, I love Johns’ take on Superman.  

  11. I breathlessly anticipate every Jimski column.

  12. @josh – You didn’t like The Black Dossier????  Did you feel it was too random/scatterbrained?  That is how I felt on a first readthrough.  The second time through I really enjoyed it.

    I am looking forward to Blackest Night, the new LOEG, seeing how far Tony Stark falls, and seeing how the Gotham/Batman family evolves (or doesn’t) in the face of recent developments.  Also, a few things in real life.

  13. Yeah, I didn’t like Black Dossier either.  My favorite was vol. 2, so when I finally got my hands on Black Dossier I was quite sad.  Maybe a second read through is in fact in order. 

    War of Kings might be interesting, judging by just the one-shot that came out last year.

  14. I didn’t like The Black Dossier either but I’m still looking forward to this.

    A nephew borrowed my copy of Watchmen to read before the movie comes out.  This is a major coup.

  15. Secret Warriors, Blackest Night, Flash: Rebirth and Superman: Origins have me pretty excited for the coming year in mainstream comics.

  16. Am I the only person who did like The Black Dossier?  I assumed I was in the minority after not being crazy about it following my first readthrough.  Do you think it was DC’s hamstringing of Moore that hurt its quality?  [Not backpeddling on my opinion, I genuinely enjoyed it the second time, just curious as to why you didn’t like it?]

  17. The only thing I’m excited for this year is Flash: Rebirth.  I’m excited for Blackest Night as well, I’m just worried that it won’t live up to the hype.

    I want to be excited for Superman : Secret Origin, but I find it hard to get excited for something that will likely get retconned in four years.

  18. I second Labor.  It’s going to be good stuff.

  19. @stuclach: I liked the Black Dossier, except for the prose stuff. Generally I have no problem with prose in comics and I do like what Moore has to offer in this universe…..But I just didnt care for reading that stuff. The comic portions themselves were really good; but the prose actually put me to sleep.

  20. Oh oh oh! Secret Warriors. That could be something.

    @RobAbsten: I wish I could look forward to that.

  21. Blackest Knight and LXG: Century. Too stoked for Century!

  22. @stuclach –  Moore’s self-indulgence is the problem with Black Dossier.  It’s more of an experiment than a story.  I want a story.

  23. Blackest Night and Dark Reign!  I’m apprehensively looking forward to G.I. Joe, and I would look forward to Transformers if I knew more about what they were going to do.  If it sets up a third film where they can do live-action Unicron, sign me up! 

    Also, not having something to look forward to makes it all the more fun when you are surprised by something you weren’t expecting.  So don’t be too disappointed; look at this as an…opportunity.  Or a blessing in disguise.

    Oh, and while not technically comic book-related- new Star Trek movie. Super Bowl commercial was awesome. ‘Nuff said.

  24. @TNC – Good know that I’m not alone.

    @ultimatehoratio – I can understand that.  I’m guessing your opinion of Final Crisis is based on similar issues (based on having read some of your posts in that thread).  I am afraid the new "Century" arc may be even more experimental based on his recent interviews.  Hopefully, it will be experimental with exceptional story, rather than experimental with self-indulgence.

  25. If what I heard about LXG: Century is true……then Final Crisis and Grant Morrison is the least of people’s problems. 🙂

  26. Star Trek looks promising and don’t forget about Terminator this summer as well.

    Jury is out on GI Joe and Transformers 2, the teasers didn’t really show much yet.

    As far as books go, Avengers looks to be gearing up again.  Keep an eye out for Blackest Night.  Anything else from DC seems to me pretty "meh".  I expect Iron Man to be on the road to redemption by the end of the year and I can’t wait for War of Kings to hit. 


  27. Blackest Night, Superman: Origins, and War of Kings are the things I’m most looking forward to in comics.

    And, much as I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it… That trailer for GI-JOE looked kind of fun during the Superbowl last night.  I’m not gonna suggest its Oscar bound or anything, but it might be entertaining.  Though I’ll go into it expecting a Transformers like catastrophe.

  28. You’re not looking forward to the delightfully hunky Taylor Kitsch as Gambit? I’m already fiddling with myself in anticipation. 

  29. You know, I actually really enjoyed The Black Dossier.  It was a different experience for comics, for sure, but it was interesting to read about how the characters have grown and changed over the course of many years.  I appreciate Moore’s experimentation with storytelling in that volume. 

  30. blackest night and watchmen film

  31. I still have my Jar Jar. I keep in very plain sight so as to remind myself that, no matter what, I’ve had worse days.

    I’m stupidly excited for Watchmen. Everything I’ve seen so far has sold me… of course, we’ve been there before *glances sheepishly at Jar Jar*

    Terminator: Salvation looks great, and yet I’m finding it hard to care that much. Dunno why. Transformers looks cool; I enjoyed the first one and now I know exactly what sandbox Bay’s playing in I can just go along for the ride. And let’s not forget the series finale of Battlestar, that’s some fine lookin’ forward to right there.

    Comics wise, easily most keen on Blackest Night coming out. Just wish they’d hurry up and get a Green Lantern film moving already. Note to movie execs: Too many rumours and wispy announcements. B- Must do better

  32. Oh you know there is something I am excited about other then Watchmen and Blackest Night.

    I wanna see how they do Deadpool justice in the Wolvie film. Cause they added more scenes for him and I remember Avi Arid say he wanted to get a Deadpool film out in the future. Hopefully Reynolds is the perfect choice; cause right now I dont like the supermodel looks for Wade Wilson.

  33. You know what I look forward to? The next batch of comics.

    Keep it simple, man. 


  34. "Really? All the good mutants were taken."

    What are you talking about Jim? Aside from Wolverine, Gambit is the best mutant. But of course, I’ve never read X-Men, so I may have a different perspective.

    But I do agree, 2009 seems like it’s gonna be a bum year for all entertainment (although Blackest Night and the Watchmen movie do have me excited). Guess we’re all just gonna have to grit our collective teeth and get over it.

  35. @Jericho. There actually seems to be a lot of dislike for Gambit on this site. That’s fine withme. I’ve never really seen what purpose he serves. I cant really anme a story that he’s played an interesting role in. His little stint as a horseman was just… boring.

  36. "gambit" is a chess term meaning: to sacrifice a piece in order to later attempt to take a better standing, and I believe I’ve seen it used in reference to card playing, too. I guess cuz he sacrifices his cards to … make explodies? Hey, the sound effect they used for him charging stuff up in the X-Men animated series was badass, so… that counts for a worthwhile characteristic, right?

  37. the new star trek film, transformers 2, Flash: Rebirth, watchmen and of course blackest night. plenty to look forward to 

  38. I think people hate him cause of his powers. Like Jubilee, it’s just a stupid and pointless mutant power. Plus it doesnt help he dresses like a Power Rangers villain with those purple/black spandex.

    Then again I hated the guy because of the bad v/o for him on X-Men (90’s).

  39. I am looking forward the upcoming Parker graphic novels done by Darwyn Cooke based on the novels by Richard Stark.  Has anyone heard anymore about this project? 

  40. I’m looking forward to the Emerald City Comicon. I haven’t been in 10 years. Yay! 

  41. I can’t wait for the next u2 album on feb 27

  42. I know how you feel, Jimski.  I have no anticipation for, nor excitement towards anything these days.  "Secret Invasion" has come and gone, there are no more "Harry Potter" books, all the good "Star Wars" entertainment seems to be done… all that’s left is the creeping sensation that every day from now until death is going to play out with the same agonizing dullness of the one before.

    But enjoy Scott Pilgrim. 

  43. The return of Cap for a start, I’d put money on it. And Deadpool in wolverine, allthough i think I’m in the minority of people who actually like Ryan Reynolds. Ohh and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. Plus us brits are still waiting for region 2 JL:New frontier.