December 2009 Grab Bag!


It's been a long time since the last bag was upended on your brains, but, hey–you were getting tired of the Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark updates, anyway, right? (Apparently previews start February 25th, and watch out clicking that link, it's got loud music going on). I wonder if that's what we can expect with the…Disval? Marney? Disney-Marvel coupling…more superhero Broadway shows?  One can barely contain the stomach acids. Speaking of Disney/Marvel — check out this mashup here…I am in a random mood tonight, so let's get this going.

Tonight I went to a screening at Creative Artists Agency to watch the screening of some short films made by a bunch of great kids participating in a collaboration between the Young Storytellers Foundation and Tabletop Media. Basically, the kids go through this program where they work with mentors to tell short stories, and thy used this great little product from Tabletop Media to tell those stories, using little paper puppets on a small stage, where they act out the action in front of a camera. I was lucky enough to be able to do the action and the voices for the characters, and it was really a blast to see these kids work with the actors to create the vision in their heads. At one point I asked this one boy, Anthony, if there was anything else he wanted us actors to do, and he just said, "I really just think you guys should..relax." It was really the first time I have ever been told to relax by a ten year old, and you know what, I certainly did get my chillax on.  Anyway, it got me thinking about after school programs to help kids tell their stories using comics…I found but I haven't really found a program where kids can work with mentors to draw and paint comics together.  It would be fun to get professional artists to work with kids to help tell their stories–pretty labor itensive, sure, but perhaps with art students..not sure. Anyway, if you work with kids, check out the links above–this was a really fun project and really gave the kids I was working with to be creative and learn how to work with others to help tell a story.

It's the end of the year, sure, but, in a way, isn't it also the end of the decade. Prepare for lots and lots of "Best of Decade" lists.  I bumped into two lists, one decade, one just for 2009, that I thought you might be interested in:

Best Sci-fi lists from – From Paul Pope's 100% to Y:The Last Man with We3, Scott Pilgrim and All Star Superman thrown in, this is a pretty good list, though I admit, I haven't read that many sci-fi comics, per se.  Still, if you are still looking for some gift ideas for the sci-fi friend in your life, give it a browse.

DC Comics' Animated films of 2009 from – I gotta tell ya, though I was a huge animation fan as a kid, I really dropped out of the scene. The only DC animated film I have is DC's The New Frontier — and that was because I like Darwyn Cooke. I just find that I get frustrated by the choppiness of the animation these days…I just don't have the patience for it.  But stll this list looks pretty cool and my eyebrows did rise a bit when I read about this Super Friends: The Lost Episodes.  What…what does that mean? Lost? How?

Completely unrelated to comics but arguable related to everything else, Adwekk has the best ad-makers of the decade. Advertising is like the Force–it surrounds us, it binds us together, blah blah–it's just kind of interesting to take a look back at all the different campaigns and how they have changed over the years.

While we all know that superhero and vampire films seem to be all the rage now (when is that remake of Blade coming, anyway? You know someone's gonna do something like that…) it is interesting to see some other genres popping their heads out. First we have the trailer for Robin Hood, directed by Ridley Scott, starring Russell Crowe (Gladiator in tights?) – see the trailer here — which…well, wow, I just watched it and it kinda does look like Gladiator in tights. I wonder.  No matter, I will admit to liking both Gladiator and Master And Commander, and Robin Hood is one of my very favorite characters, ever–it all started with a fox for me– so I bet I will eat it up. But wait..maybe you're really holding out for something else? Well, how about Vikings? Variety reports that Mel Gibson's going to be directing Leonardo DiCaprio set in Brian Wood's favorite venue…it won't be out for awhile (shooting begins in 2010), but should be interesting.  Could be. Who knows.  The last viking movie I saw was 1989's  Erik the Viking — a very funny movie written and directed by Python's own Terry Jones, starring Tim Robbins, Eartha Kitt, and Mickey Rooney.  Yeah–it's good. Check it out (though it sounds like the one on Amazon's kinda butchered…hmmpf). Oh, and speaking of remakes — did you hear about the remake for Creature from the Black Lagoon?  I never saw the original, I am embarrassed to admit…

I mentioned a Gundam robot a few articles ago, but I had to mention this incredible statue one of the original giant robots–Tetsuji 28 (aka Gigantor) — that was unveiled in Kobe, Japan.  Check it out–60 feet tall! 

I must admit, I haven't had a lot of time to play my Xbox360 (my gamertag is "zensen") but Whit was gone for almost a week and I have been really getting into a game called Borderlands, which I guess came out in October. I know I am supposed to be all into Modern Warfare 2, but that games doesn't feature real multiplayer co-op for the actual campaign, which is why I had so much fun with Gears of War and Halo 3.  Maybe it's just that I am not 16 and I don't have the thumbs of a 14 year old, but mutliplayer all out fight kill 'em all whatever da dee just doesn't do it for me. I figure given the lack of time I have, it's much nicer to play the regular game with my friends online–I get the social aspect combined with the actual story of the game. Borderlands, as I am sure you know, is basically an MMORPG without the first M.  You get to hang out with folks, go on quests, level up, mod your weapons and shields, boost your character's skills…you know the deal.  It's just odd that other videogames haven't really hit it as precisely as Borderlands has…it's super fun, and if you like that kind of thing, I highly recommend this game, especially if you have buddies that you wanna play with. It might go down to the Platinum pricing in a few months, so maybe you might want to hold out…they actually released a content pack (killing zombies, no less!) so it looks like support for the game is there. 

You know what guys? That's kinda all I got in my head these days. It's the last week of work for the year and things are all kind of crazy, so I must admit, the bag was a bit empty. I am looking forward to the break, if only to get some reading done–I just got Paul Pope's Heavy Liquid and I am finally, finally going to read Joe Kelly's I Kill Giants which everyone seems to rave about.  Lots and lots to read and then, eventually, to write about, so forgive me for this column being kinda light on the usefulness. Besides, the guy's are going to handle much of the Grabbiness with the end-of-the-year all-media show, and if you are looking for gifts, you gotta go and check out Episode #140 of the video podcast–the guide is there to help!


Mike Romo is an actor in LA who is probably going to check out Avatar this weekend, even though he's secretly nervous about all this talk of it being the future of filmmaking, with digital sets and (gulp) digital actors.  Send him email here or twitter away here.


  1. The DC animted movies have lots of problems, bad animation isn’t one of them.And yes Borderlands is certainly a better game then "Gneric War Shooter 2". Too bad the PC multiplayer sucks. Otherwise its the perfect combination of Diablo and Quake.

  2. I’ve heard many good things about Borderlands but haven’t played the game.  I still have Deadspace, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Fire Emblem for the Gamecube, and Mad World to finish. All that wihile playing Modern Warfare 2.  I haven’t seen many of the DC movies that cam out this year.  I did buy the Green Lantern movie which was alright.  I’ve got the other in my Netflix queue. I recognized the Robin Hood picture right away.  I loved that movie growing up. 

  3. I’m actually a part of an after school program with the district that I teach in.  At the program, the students create their own comic books over a course of 5 weeks.  When they’re finished, the comics are "professionally" touched up by students at a local technical high school.  A few weeks ago, we had a mini comic con for the students to show off their comics, sign stuff, and make sketches for people who were interested in their books.  Tomorrow, they’re actually getting printed copies of their comics to share with family and friends over the holidays.  It’s a cool organization to be a part of.  More infor about the Elyria Comic Book Initiative can be found at the website.

  4. @JesTr – Get on Dead Space and Arkham Asylum immediately.  They were great.  Dead Space was scary as hell.

  5. I really like Creature of the Black Lagoon and think of all the Universal Monster movies it would be the one most benifitted by a remake. I hope it doesn’t end up like The Mummy. I can’t stand those movies.

  6. @mikeromo: I found I Kill Giants tough going until about halfway through and was blown away by the emotion in it by the end. Those first chapters are tough but well worth persevering through.