January 2009 Grab Bag

It’s the third Wednesday of the month, so I can finally let all those voices that are usually trapped in my skull a chance to speak in this month’s edition of the Grab Bag!

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I am writing this on Tuesday so I will just assume that you know we have a new president, etc, etc. I was struck not only by the historic nature of the event but by how cold it seems to be everywhere else in the country compared to Los Angeles (being in LA, you can see, has made me a very deep, compassionate individual)! I listened to the speech and, out of respect for my freezing fellow citizens, decided not to turn the A/C on…

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One really fun “Hey, we live in the future” moment I had was watching the morning’s events with my my Facebook friends. They had the CNN video feed (which seemed to be about 45 seconds “late”) on one side of the screen with a chat window on the other, with a tab for everyone and another tab to just see comments from my Facebook friends. I thought this was plenty cool — it took me totally by surprise — but I must admit, it would be great it networks offered this as a normal feature, you know? That way us West Coasters could participate in the Smallville, Battlestar Galactica, and Lost chats that happen here on iFanboy.com. When I was at CES last year, I saw a few Internet-enabled sets (check out an overview here) that would make this do-able without a computer; it would be great to surf to a site on your TV, queue up a specific show, add friends to a lobby (much like multiplayer games on the XBox 360) and then watch the show with a crowd. I admit, I have been a bit lukewarm to this in the past, but watching the Inauguration with my friends was a very cool moment; I really did feel like I shared the experience with others, even though I was alone in my living room.


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Speaking of sharing the experience with folks, I was lucky enough to attend a “Friends and Family” screening of last week’s premiere of Battlestar Galactica, episode 11: “Sometimes a Great Notion.” It was totally awesome, as you might imagine, watching that amazing episode with members of the cast and crew — I honestly find it hard to express how lucky I felt to be a part of that night. Long ago, like, way long ago, when Sci-Fi Channel was talking about doing the show, I actually wrote the then-president of the network (can’t find his name) that I thought a remake was a great idea and that I would love to be in it (and would be happy to meet up with him once I moved to New York). Amazingly, I got a letter back, signed by the president, saying thanks and good luck in New York! (No job offer, though.) Then once the miniseries aired, I wrote again — no reply from Bonnie Hammer this time — insisting that they make it a series. That all happened and now… it’s almost over. Anyway, I ramble — it was great to see how tight the producers were with the rest of the cast and crew; you really got a sense that they all believed in the series, they loved working on it and were very, very proud of the show. I think their passion shows in each episode and I will miss the show when it’s gone. I did meet a few of the cast members of Caprica, the prequel, and they were very excited about it… now if I can just figure out who’s casting it…

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So, I woke up on Monday and this is what I saw on the floor next to my bed:

That, my friends, is a mess, and explains why ACM — Active Comics Management — is going to be a theme for me in 2009. My new rule — if I have queued up four or more issues of a title, I should accept that this means that I either don’t actually like the title or that I should just follow the book in trades.This is happening to me for The Lone Ranger, which I realize I want to like more than I do, not unlike the three Thor one-shots that I have waiting for me. Even the Alan Davis one, which I have heard is good — when I open it up… I just space out, I just can’t care. I am going to do a one-shot round up next week, which will force me to get ’em read, but yikes — am I at the point where I have to force myself to read comics?

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Speaking of being forced to read comics, this whole Batman: Battle for the Cowl makes me scowl. Seriously, could there be a worse-timed pseudo-event? Now, I admit, I wasn’t around when Superman was killed off, and for that I am grateful. What an incredible waste of time. Clark Kent is Superman, Bruce Wayne is Batman. That’s the way it goes, that’s the way it is, and no matter what editors try, this is the way things shall be. I just… I just don’t care, at all — it reminds me of how I felt when the Skrulls were rumored to be in control of Earth for a year… I just figured after a few weeks I would be like, “Okay, time for this to be over.” I have a feeling that this is what’s gonna happen with The Quest for Cow-El. I dunno, I just want to read a “regular” Batman book than have to contend with yet another event.

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Hey, I finally finished Anathem by Neal Stephenson. I quite liked it, though there were several times when I would be reading along and then suddenly going, “What… what happened?” It’s a good story, and I suspected, would make a terrific graphic novel. I am officially back onboard for Quicksilver trip, though — I must finish that trilogy!

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Anyone else excited for Lost tonight?

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Anyone remember what the hell happened? I am going to download that Lost Starter Kit” video right now.

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If you like Geoff Johns and you like Superman and you like the Legion of Superheroes but you never watched Smallville, go and download “Legion” right now (iTunes Store link here). I haven’t had that much fun watching TV in a long time — as much as I hate to say it, but if Geoff Johns keeps it up, we’re going to see fewer comics by him once the TV and movie people realize how awesome he is.


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Oh, finally: one of the things I always want to write about but keep forgetting to is the whole advertising-in-comics thing. I am getting annoyed, quite frankly, with the number of ads in comics. It would be one thing if comics were $1.50, but it’s like seeing a movie in a movie theater — if you want to show me a ton of regular ads (not previews) in a movie theater, the movie should be free! Talk about captive audience! To pay $11 for a movie and then have to be bludgeoned into misery by soda and car ads before I watch a movie is just maddening. Maybe I am a bit sensitive because I see a lot of comic book ads each week, but I really hate them. At least, like, out them at the end of the book or something — it’s just frustrating to be in the middle of a particularly good, dramatic sequence and then be interrupted by some two page spread for a video game. With TV, at least the scripts are designed around the ad breaks — not so with comics. I remember seeing a movie in Amsterdam and they put ads in the middle of the movie, just smack dab in-between reels, I guess, and it ruined the pacing. Then again, I was able to get a drink and bring it in with me, but still..


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Okay, well, that’s it. I am off to Salt Lake City, Utah today, Ohio next week (I will be in or near Plain City?), then Tokyo the week after — if you know of any comic book shops I should visit, please let me know!



Mike Romo is an actor living in Los Angeles. He finally received his hardcover trade of Local which makes him happier than normal. He can be reached at mike@ifanboy.com and blurts out randomness on twitter.



  1. I could not be more excited for LOST! Previously to tonight I had been watching DVDs which I find the equivalant to reading in trades. Now I have finally caught up and am ready to watch/read in episodes/issues.

    However, I think I forsee a problem with the lack of instant gratification. You’re tellin’ me I have to wait a whole week to find out what happens after the big logo?

  2. Yay BSG!

  3. I definitely have to watch BSG.  I haven’t seen any of it but heard so much good.  I think I’m definitely going to try some of Neal Stephenson’s work. 

    And yes, the ads before movies are annoying.  Here it’s $12.50 to see the movie, and let’s not even get started on the prices of pop and popcorn…  But then after they suck me dry with that they load on 5 minutes or more of advertisements. 

  4. Advertisements before movies are pretty annoying, especially since I always have to be early for most everything. As for ads in comics, I bought the first issue of a JMS Icon title, "Book of Lost Souls" or something like that, in a $.50 box and there were actually more advertisements than comic pages. Yes, I counted. It blew my mind. And pissed me off.

  5. An advertisement in the MIDDLE of a movie?  Preposterous.  I would walk out and demand a refund.  Probably I’d be willing to raise sufficient stink that I wouldn’t leave without my refund short of having the Cops called on me.

  6. Having a wife who works in advertising, it’s entirely possible the ad placement in comics is paid for – hence the reason most comics in any given month run 1-the same ads, and 2-in the same place. Premium placement usually results in higher prices. It would seem a company’s ad sales are usually done as a whole – the same two-page spread running in all Marvel books, for example – so placement is likely the same for all books for any given month.

    What irks me is DC loading the back of their books with house ads for another series or trade – this month’s Vertigo books are particularly bad. If you don’t sell the ad space, why not cut the number of pages you print? I’m sure the money in ink and newsprint you save will balance out over time with the lost ad sales.

  7. It sucks when a cool scene is interupted by an ad, indeed.

  8. nice article i like htese looks inside the mind of Mike Romo

  9. I don’t know, I’m kind of excited about Battle For the Cowl.  I am not really one to run out and get most events and crossovers, but the Batman related events and crossovers are a different story now.

    Oh and by the way, if you don’t get to the movie theater too early, you will miss the ads.  I usually miss half the damn previews which kinda sucks since they are better then the movie at times.