January 2010 Grab Bag

All right! The first Grab Bag of 2010. For new readers, the Grab Bag is what it sounds like–just a collection of articles and ideas that I found interesting and wanted to share with you, the mighty iFanbase.

So, the big news today is the announcement of Apple's iPad, which I discussed in a Grab Bag a few months ago (Ron discusses it here, sorry about the repeat). Whether or not you like the specific features of the iPad (I actually posted a blog post on this for my day job, here, if you are interested), one thing is for sure–books and websites look might purty.  I think it represents a big opportunity for comic book publishers, many of whom are already leveraging mobile devices to get their books out there — check this review of Dark Horse Comic's Goon comic, which you can already get on the Apple Store.  I think digital comics will look pretty amazing on the 9.7 inch (diagonal) screen with it's 1024×768 resolution, and would hope that publishers would allow users to subscribe to comics, just like you can subscribe to podcasts. I have not been able to watch the entire presentation, but this image above gives you an idea of what the New York Times website looks like on it–I would love to see pages that are designed specifically for the tablet's screen.  Of course, the device is kind of expensive (starts at $499, more pricing here), so we are talking about a pretty well-heeled comic book fan, but I would hope the price would decrease after the next release.  We've always talked about how cool comics would look on a table computer ever since the Kindle came out. Well, now is that time.

I was looking for some movie news, and this story got me kind of excited: while I thought I was a huge fan of the most recent Superman Returns film, I must admit my feelings have kind of cooled on it. However, I did think the lead, Brandon Routh, did his best with the role and actually did a pretty good job with it. I guess he's on Chuck now (I am way behind) and people are digging him there, but I saw this article about his role on the upcoming Scott Pilgrim movie and figured I toss ya a bone on it. For those of you who haven't read Scott Pilgrim, just go and get the books as soon as humanly possible before the movie, starring Michael Cera in the title role (dubious casting but whatever–I always imagined Pilgrim as being a bit more self-assured than the characters Cera seems to confine himself to, but maybe he's gonna shake it up a bit).  Routh is playing one of the bad guys (Scott Pilgrim's girlfriend's ex-boyfriends, whom Pilgrim must battle), Mihcael, a vegan rock star with a blonde wig. I am all over this–I think Routh was quite funny in Zack and Miri Make a Porno.  We'll see–I think it's really interesting that we are getting Kick-Ass and Scott Pilgrim in the same year (check out that Scott Pilgrim link, I really like the blog entries).  It's great–so great–that we are getting comic book movies that are not necessarily superhero movies, you know? Yes, I am interested in Iron Man 2, and I suspect that it will be good, but I kind know what I am going to get with that movie…I kind of know what i will get with any of the Marvel movies that are coming out, come to think of it. 

Oh, and speaking of Iron Man 2–there is some footage of the new movie in this AC/DC video.

In videogame news, I was going all crazy pants over Borderlands last month…and then I finished it. I was really fun, but, like, I am just not that interested in taking advantage of the feature that lets me play it all over again with my now full awesomely powered up character.  Literally been there, done that. Like, just a bit ago.  And while I really love playing online with my friends, our schedules are such that I am never around when they are playing. That, and the fact that I have only one TV and, for the most part, Whit is not interested in me drinking stiff drinks and blowing shit up with my friends. (I freakin' love it, though.) But all is not lost! I just picked up Mass Effect 2 (thanks for the gift card, dad!) and now I have a reason to finish that last level in Mass Effect 1.  For those of you who do not play these games, I must say, Mass Effect was kind of awesome. It had a terribly clunky inventory interface and the combat was totally confusing the first time I played it, but once I got it figured it out, I really enjoyed it. I know that most RPG's aim to make you feel like the main character of a movie, but most games fall well short of that goal. Bioshock was one where it worked almost too well (those screams will haunt me for years) and Mass Effect, set in the far flung future, just…worked. Despite the game's scope and size, I never felt stranded or lost–I just felt like there was always something more to do as I made my way through the main story. Even as I write this, I can remember about some pretty epic battles and story sequences that make me downright antsy to get back to playing again. Mass Effect 2, as far as I can tell is enjoying some seriously good reviews (Universal Acclaim alert on metacritic), and it looks like it might be the Empire Strikes Back of the Mass Effect trilogy.  Good for Bioware. Making such an ambitious piece of software is an incredible amount of work and it must be very rewarding for them to see everyone so stoked on it. I'll finish up ME 1 and give a report on ME 2 sometime later…


I found Troy Brownfield's article discussing the similarities between Marvel's Necrosha storyline with that of DC's Blackest Night event, and I found it pretty damn interesting. One of the things I have come to realize is that there are no new ideas, that there are only so many stories, that, in the end, it often boils down the characters that make a difference as opposed to the mechanics of a plot.  It seems to happen a lot, where suddenly there will be a few books on the same topic, or a few movies will come out that seem eerily familiar. Given how hard it is to plan these things, and how it is nigh on impossible to change schedules that are often set a year or more in advance, it just seems like dumb (bad) luck that these things happen. I am not reading Necrosha, so I don't mind, but I am curious as to what you all thing–are the similiarities there? Are there are other stories that just seem uncannily close to each other in story?

When I think about LOST in the abstract, I kind of shrug.  But when I actually start watching it again, I get completely into the damn show. I am glad it's ending–I can only take so many red herrings and half-answers–but it's been a really great tide. For those of you who drank too much while watching the show, this page shows the various characters (good) and their connections (cool) — just hover of the name.  Was there ever a LOST comic?  It could have been a good one…but then again, given Lindeloff's record, we'd be waiting for the third issue still…(kidding!) (kinda!) And, competely unrelated,
it sounds like Jim Cameron's thinking about making a sequel to the #1 movie in recent history…perhaps called Avatar 2 – The Corporation Comes Back With Bigger Guns?

Kind of a random grab bag today…but that's what I got for you so far. Have a great weekend and we'll see ya next week–thanks for reading!


Mike Romo is an actor in LA who is not going to get an iPad.  There, he said it! Send an email! And check out that twitter!


  1. Back-lit comics look so awesome, but an iPhone/PSP screen just doesn’t cut it. Come on publishers, make the leap!

    I’m just hoping the iPad comes with a stylus and photoshop. (#makecomics!!!).

  2. I’m completely with you on Lost.  I don’t know how they did it, but I am completely hooked.

    I’m all for comics being available on medium and I see the appeal of the iPad, but I’m not completely clear on how it is different/better than the tablet PCs that were all over the place a few years ago.   

  3. I too found Brownfields article to be really informative, and completely recommend it to anyone who gets a little to "upset" over all this Marvel/DC dick waveing. 

     I am wonderinging one thing though, since when was Todd named Michael and why does he have a wig?

  4. Sorry, I just watched some of the blog on the Scott Pilgrim Movie site. Routh is playing Todd, guess it was a typo. *sigh of relief*

  5. Lost is the best show I have seen in my lifetime (so far). I’ve never been so dedicated to anything up until that show came on. It was a ‘cute’ idea to try this new ABC series but by the end of the first episode: Hooked. Next week’s final season premiere will be a watershed moment. Cause I don’t know what to do with my life knowning there will never be another season after this year.

    People on Necrosha must be feeling bad right now. I’m sure they had no intentions on ripping off DC and it was just an idea they thought of. But it’s a shame this will most likely be remembered as ‘Marvel’s version of Blackest Night’.

    Mike I don’t know if you played it yet but I recommend BAYONETTA. A crazy ass game with just some of the most fun boss fights you’ll play in a game. It should be for all consoles (dont know what you have) so I say give it a try.

  6. There will always be new ideas. There will always be new stories.

    That cliche is dangerous and attempts to limit human potential.

  7. Nice grab bag Mike, but your lost link has an extra http in it.

  8. Hooray, the first grab bag of 2010.

    @stulach -Jobs has the luxery of being able to create a demand that suits his product.

  9. Mass effect is awesome everyone should own both. Great stories and a nice article by the way mike.

  10. @OttoBott – Jobs (or his marketing team) certainly has some voodoo power, but I’m not one of his "followers", so I really want to know how it is different from a Tablet PC before every relative I have starts asking me if they should buy one.

  11. Mike can you please post your Lost link again? it’s not working in the article. also, there’s no hyperlink for the iPad article you wrote.

    I feel bad for Necrosha X, it’s a really good x-storyline that has been too quickly dismissed. the New Mutants tie-ins have been a particular high point

    As for Lost, while i don’t think it’s the best show ever created (The Wire) it is my favourite show ever. It’s a truly unbelievable achievement and while i really can’t wait for answers, it will also be kind of sad to never be able to have that same mystery while watching it again. I will miss that show intensely

  12. Fixed the LOST link.

  13. Excellent! thanks Conor