Favorite iFanboy Moments of 2009

Is it over yet?

The nicest thing I can say about 2009 is that it ended well. The last twelve months were full of upheavals both personal and industry-wide. In my own life, 2009 was another one of those Talking Heads "Once in a Lifetime" years I have every so often, at the end of which I look around and realize that I have a different job, a different house, and a different number of family members but no idea how I got them becase I was too busy putting my head down and just getting through it. When I opened my comics every Wednesday, all I saw were Dark This, Blackest That, and Irredeemable super-psychos. I enjoyed my reading– worlds where the bad guys secretly run everything and death taunts you at every turn are, when you get right down to it, worlds I can understand– but as with the rest of my life, I did find myself eager for a new day by the time the ball dropped in Times Square.

And it certainly sounds like a new day is coming. Blackest Night will make way for the New Guardians in a few short months, and The Siege may well be underway by the time you read this, sweeping the cobwebs out of the Marvel Universe in time for something a little less bleak. The Marvel/Disney merger just got approved by the shareholders and the sun rose the next day. Longbox should hit the marketplace any time now. 2010 has some great new things in store for iFanboy, too; this may finally be the year that Ron deletes my login, sparing the readership from my regular attempts to write columns around cute pictures I took of my kid.

Before the great new year mercifully blots out my memories of the old one, however, please indulge me for a moment as I look back one last time. I've said this many times before, but one of the great tragedies of having to constantly shovel new content onto a site like this like coal into a locomotive is that every day great articles are being pushed off the front page into oblivion and/or random Google results. Because this never fails to break my heart, I like to begin the new year with a look at some of my favorite iFanboy moments from the old one.

I loved Paul Montgomery's flights of fancy this year. His is the kind of creative mind that sees connections that would never occur to me, and it always inspires me to improve my game. Only in Paul's hands would the search for some comics he once lent a neighbor kid turn into a pulp noir excursion into his street's seedy underbelly. Only Paul's mind would produce the last will and testament of Matthew Meriwether Mindkarp. And then, of course, there was the saga of the Rogue's ReTweet, which made me laugh even before I'd ever read a Flash book and for which I desperately hope the sequel materializes. Even if it doesn't, the new Tuesday Showdowns reliably had me counting down to the next Tuesday as the year ended. (This is probably not the right venue, but nevertheless I'd like to strongly suggest the future installment "Nekron vs. Super Mario.")

I would pay yacht-owning money to borrow Mike Romo's serotonin levels for just a few days a week. The man is a straightforward cheer engine. I love his occasional Grab Bag feature so much that I am always trying to come up with a way to rip it off without looking like I'm ripping it off. I keep toying around with synonyms so it isn't as obvious, only to realize that "Jimski's Yank Sack" does not come across nearly as well. Despite his demeanor, however, Mike may have been going through a subtle existential crisis in 2009. The violence in comics began to trouble him. He had serious trepidation about recommending them to people. He began asking questions like, "Why am I still reading comics?" and, more soberingly, "Will I still have a pull list when I am fifty?" (When you read the comments for that last one, you can almost picture a multitude of geeks looking up from their screens and having a moment of clarity.)

I'm probably reading too much into all this, but Mike: if you want to talk, I'm here. To steal your Grab Bag.

Sonia Harris is another one of those people who is constantly making me think, "Why didn't I think of that?" She can scrutinize, deconstruct, and recontextualize comics in a way that absolutely shames me. If I worked on this site every day for the next ten years, my mind would never chime in with, "What must the Joker smell like?" She applies real-world logic and inquisitiveness to these men in spandex in a way that always appeals to me, almost never moreso than with her controversial call for a new definition of "supervillain." Her three-part "schools of comic book art" series was another reminder that I have been reading these things on and off for twenty-five years and yet somehow have learned nothing. I think the column of Sonia's that I related to the most, though, was about her unread copy of Planetary #27. After all those years of waiting for the perpetually-late final issue to come out, she finally had it and couldn't bring herself to open it. I wonder if she's opened it even now. I genuinely cannot wait to see what Sonia does next.

As for the iFanboy Founders, I don't even know where to begin. Between the podcasts, the videos, the breaking news and the countless "think pieces," I almost feel like I would be doing them a disservice by singling anything out in favor of other things. One ongoing thread that I have been raptly following is Josh's chronicle of trying to transition from comic reviewer to comic creator. There are classes on this subject that don't delve into it as thoroughly. For one thing, I'll bet no syllabus has a section on not being creepy. Everyone talks about making the book, but not enough people talk about selling it, and Josh covered that ground in 2009 both on his own and with professional help.

I think the biggest highlight of the year, for both the site and me personally, was the San Diego Comic Con. We covered the hell out of it, and it was the first time (almost) all of us were (almost) in one place. (About that, in hindsight: really? Josh, Ron, Conor, Gordon, Sonia, Mike and I were all in San Diego at the same time, and we never even tried to take a picture together?)

I've been meaning to say something about those San Diego videos, by the way: it has come to my attention that, ever since camcorders have been in my house, my go-to move whenever someone sticks the lens in my face has always been to "seduce" the camera. I don't even do it consciously anymore, or think about it. So imagine my delight when the videos went up and opened with my Jabba head lunging in and licking the screen. Better yet, I did not get a speaking part in the videos until episode 3; in the meantime, I had spent almost a month inaugurating each episode by violating the viewer's eyeballs.

I am sorry.

Another highlight of the con: in March, Sonia had written about the power of dressing up, about her brother dressing as Spider-Man and how it completely changes not only the con experience but that person's self image. I loved the piece at the time, but a few short months later I actually found myself on the convention floor with Sonia and her Spider-bro and witnessed the phenomenon first hand.


In hindsight, one of my favorite things about Comicon was that Paul Montgomery wasn't there. That is not an insult! What I mean is, because Paul was the only member of the staff who did not manage to join us this year, he had the unprecedented task of single-handedly holding down the fort, which he did splendidly; history will record that it was officially Paul who broke the Marvelman news to the iFanbase. Much more importantly, though, Paul eventually decided he'd join the rest of us by going to San Diego on foot, and he recorded his travels in a series of video vignettes that made me cackle like a goddamned madman. And they didn't just delight me: this was probably the only time in the history of iFanboy that the people who run iFanboy kept reloading the site hoping a new video episode was up. The whole time I was in California, the guys were abuzz: "Oh my God, did you see what Paul's been doing?" "Guys! Get in here! Get in here! He posted another one!" Huddling around a laptop with Ron, Josh, Conor and Gordon laughing uproariously at Paul's epic was one of the more surreal highlights of the year.

The more I think about it, the more 2009 overwhelms me. This was the year Watchmen finally, finally came out, and any time Alan Moore's name came up it reliably set off a flamefest here; he was the Grant Morrison of 2009.

This was the year Paul Dini penned his last column for us.
This was the year Paul Montgomery ran that great "Sequentially Ever After" contest.
This was the year that we answered the question "Where do I start with Green Lantern?" so many times that we vomited blood.
This was the year of "motion comics" and the Twitter master list.

This was the year I finally sat down and tried to remember why I stopped reading comics as a kid. This was the year I finally got that Howard the Duck article off my chest. This was the year I was stunned when I wrote a little article about Rom, Spaceknight and people came out of the woodwork with enthusiasm for it. Most importantly, this was another year of getting to hang out with all of you. Amid fifty-two weeks of turmoil, writing these things and interacting with the people who read them remained one of the most satisfying things I do each week. Let's make next year even more memorable. Just maybe without flames this time.

 


Should auld acquaintance be forgot, there's always Jim Mroczkowski on Twitter to keep you company.

Comments

  1. Great recap, Jim.  You reminded me of a lot of things I loved about iFanboy this year, as well as a lot of things I’d somehow overlooked before.  May the year 2010 be a bright one for iFanboy and all its staff!

  2. Thank god for new articles. excellent work sir

  3. Fantastic recap, i never saw the rogues re-tweet before to day, I cant wait for another installment. Paul’s video updates were with out a doubt one of the best parts of Comic con this year, i don’t know if i laughed at any thing as much as those while waiting in line to get into a panel or for the doors to open. 

    Most of all i would like to Thank all the Staff and member for making this site a place that i look forward to coming to everyday. Some of Jim’s articles were the only things that made Monday’s something to look forward to even while i knew it would also bring a towering mountain of Calculus, Chemistry, Physics and Biology Classes.

    Thanks.   

  4. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I’m so glad you do this yearly recap. I know just how you feel about the pain of great content falling off the front page. There’s so much stuff and sometimes it gets missed in a hectic week.

    Really proud to write for this site with such funny, insightful people. Thanks to you, Jim, especially. You knock it out of the park each and every week. I can’t think of a column where you’ve ever seemed off your game. It’s really inspiring to me and, more importantly, a ton of fun to read. 

    Here’s to another great year!

  5. I think we can all agree that there are two words that really sum up ifanboy in 2009…

    …MAY and HEM!

  6. This is the year I actually discovered iFanboy. I think I saw the video podcasts in late ’08, but spring ’09 is when I actually started going to a real comic book store again. That is due in no small part to the enthusiasm and fun that the entire staff here brings to the subject of comics. Thank you all.

    And thanks for reposting those articles, Jim. I missed some of them, especially the early ones.

  7. Its cool to see you reference all these articles, as I think I missed a good chunk of them. I just joined up with iFanboy this year, and due to my own personal malaise, it took awhile to start really interacting with everyone. These are some great moments, Im glad to be following you guys!

  8. Jimski, you’re the man! The site wouldn’t be the same without any of you. I don’t think there’s a site I frequent more often than iFanboy (save for Facebook probably) and it’s because of the awesome people who create content for the site, and the great users who hang out here. Can’t see myself wasting time like this anywhere else (but is it really wasted?)

    Congrats on an awesome year and a special congrats on the new littleski you’ve got in the oven.

    Like Paul said, Here’s to another great year! 

  9. Here’s to another year!

    But let’s face it, ifanboy 2009 is summed up with one word…..seperated by a dash:

     

    MAY-HEM!!!

  10. I think 2009 was the year of the offbeat PoTW and the crazy comic I’d never buy podcast recap.  Hearing Ron cackle his way through an X-Men Forever review could be a mini podcast of its own. 

  11. @Crippler. feel like we haven’t had Ron’s X-corner in a while. Has X-men forever been delayed or something?

  12. Outstanding article, Jimski. Quite a wonderful reminiscence of 2009. It was a hell of a year which I must now start getting used to be speaking of in the past tense.

    I’ll echo @TNC here and say Here’s to another year!

  13. 2009 is the year I got back into comics, decided to test the waters with this new-fangled pod-cast thang, and between the two subsequently and luckily discovered iFanboy all the way from a field in the UK. 

    That… was probably the ONLY highlight of the past year, taking into account our thieving politicians, those same politicians deciding the banks haven’t stolen from us, a year of unemployment for an entire generation, the banks ruining everything by gambling our economy away, those same bankers still taking bonuses, our soldiers coming home dead from skirmishes abroad, those same skirmishes that we still don’t really know why we’re fighting.

    Thank you comics for the escapism. 

    THANK YOU iFanboy for the community! 

    Great article AGAIN. Great recap.

    Long live iFanboy. 

  14. This is beautiful.  It was a damn fine year for this site.  Thank you ALL for your hard work.

    @Jimski – Thank you sincerely for your screen licking display at Comic Con.  It consistently brightened my day. 

  15. Thanks guys for all the hard work over 2009. I hope you all enjoyed the holidays. 

  16. It’s really nice to be reminded that, through all of the scheisse that was 2009, iFanboy was a shining beacon of awesome.

     

  17. So many great articles. Thanks for all your hard work! Looking forward to 2010.

    There really should be a master list of all those fictional character twitters. I’m tempted to do a character myself, hah.

  18. Great article ans summation of the year that was 2009 at iFanboy.  I think I’ll go back and rewatch Pauls Comic Con videos right now.