One Year Later…

Well, I was glancing at the calendar and something struck me about today’s date. I did some checking and, yes, it seems that this is my first anniversary as a writer for I am, uhm, kind of amazed, not only that it’s already been a year, but that, honestly, I’ve been able to notice something about comics and the comic book community at least once a week almost every week and write about it!  So first off, I need to thank you all for your encouragement and support over the year and promise to do my best as long as you’ll have me. I’d thought I’d use this week’s column to try to reflect on what I have noticed since June 4, 2008.

This is obvious, which is probably why it’s the first thing that comes to mind as I think about what I have learned this year: despite what people might think of comic book fans, we are, for the most part, a pretty forgiving bunch.  Sure, we complain about delays and continuity issues, but you can tell that people love complaining about this stuff. It generates some kind of adrenalin response and provides conversation fodder for your next comic book shop visit. We’ve had a lot to contend with, too. We had quite a few events to contend with, most of them starting off really well and ending kind of pathetically, but still, we put up with the delays, do our best to give the creators a break, and soldier on (sometimes gritting our teeth as we go).  Still, comic book fans love comics. They are passionate about them. Yeah, sure people read regular books and they watch TV and enjoy going to the movies, but when there’s a fervor behind comics that really is a joy to be hold.  

Speaking of joys to behold, let’s talk about comic book conventions. Yes, sure,  I had been to San Diego a few times, but in the past year, now that I have been paying more attention, I am seeing these things in a totally new light. Sure, the lights are sometimes swimming thanks to general inebriation, but definitely, things seen, newly lit. The best part, really, is getting a chance to meet the iFanbase (I think we should make a shirt, Ron) in person, and carouse mightily. Even though I never seem to have enough time to spend on the site as much as I would like, in general the quality of the discussions on this website is really quite good, and the opportunity to meet some of you has been a real unexpected perk of the past year. (Okay, hanging out with the iFanboy Booth Babes, right, is another perk, too.)

I have also paid more attention to what people think of comic books in general. Like, let’s face it: 90% of people that you meet really have no interaction with comic books, despite the copy of Watchmen they had lugged around for four weeks.  But one thing is for sure, when I mention comics to other comic book fans, well, it’s that passion all over again–they really want to talk about them!  I was at a BBQ on Memorial Day and was talking to a guy I had known for awhile, but it wasn’t until then that we realized that we both liked comics! We couldn’t stop talking about what was going on and which books we were reading, to the point that it was mildly embarrassing, especially when he talked about going to college with Brian K. Vaughn (yes, I still get excited about meeting someone who knows someone). Getting a chance to read the user reviews and the other writer’s stories has really helped me investigate new books–which I can then share with people who want to read comics but have just fallen out of the scene.

Now, a year is not a long time, but still–I think it’s fair to say we have noticed some trends.  First off, the success of Iron Man and The Dark Knight–two comic films that were totally different yet totally successful in their own ways–have paved the way for a flurry of similar films; maybe some of them will even be good!  I think we’ve also seen the effects of event fatigue, in a way. I wrote about this a few weeks ago, but it’s worth noting that none of my books are event books, that any of the far-reaching stories are taking place within a a few related titles, which is a nice change of pace. We get a chance to settle down a bit and it gives our wallets a bit of a break so we can afford to, you know, eat.  Many superhero books are going back to basics and getting really good (Amazing Spider-Man) while other books are taking the superhero genre and turning them inside out (Irredeemable, Destroyer, even Incognito ).  We’re seeing other genres get a chance to shine, too, with a plethora of war books like Battlefields, Sgt. Rock and The Haunted Tank, and we all know that Criminal had a very good year as well, paving the way for other crime books (they guys even did a show on them!) Sadly, we did see the end of Local…and whither the stories that began in the now-defunct Minx line?  Of course, I think things always kind of slowed down in the months building up to Comic-Con; six months from now, I’m sure we’ll be complaining about having to buy some new “gotta have” series.

I have also had a few revelations that would never have come about if I hadn’t been talking to you all.  I would never have found out what the story is with dust jackets, that’s for sure, but I really have a newfound respect for those who have switched over to trades as their primary comic habit. It’s a gutsy move and one that I wasn’t able to really get my head around, but it’s clear that some books, no matter how much we complain about it, are just better in that format.  I’m okay with that.  I also am not really sure I need to buy a book just to keep my comic collection sequentially complete, and I have even dropped books because I got tired of going, “Why do I read this book?” every time I finished them (goodbye, Justice League, goodbye Uncanny X-Men!). It’s also been a pleasure to be forced (in a good way) to go back to my collection and offer up some reviews and points of discussion about stories and characters that I have enjoyed in the past and almost forgotten.  If it wasn’t for this column, I do not know when I would have ever read that Books of Magic trade, for example.

The biggest revelation has been slowly understanding just how amazing the creators are of these books, just how much work goes into comics, and the very close, almost familial (in both the good and bad ways) the relationship is between comic book fans and comic book creators. That revelation really began with the passing of Michael Turner and it’s been incredible to watch that relationship change; I don’t know about you, but it seems like a lot more comic book folks are using twitter now than ever before, providing us all with perhaps more information that we need to know about the men and women who tell the stories we like so much.  Still, it’s fun, and, at the end of the day, comics are all about fun, dammit.

Oh, I almost forgot (I was just about to publish this and go to sleep, too), but it’s important. As awesome as being able to get your comics online — and I mean legally, folks, we’ve already talk about that (though I don’t know where that article went!)– if you have one near you, do make a point of visiting your local comic book shop. I know these are tough times, but if I have learned anything this year, it’s that the importance of supporting your LCS cannot be overstated. The owners of these shops are working very hard to make sure comics thrive and continue to be a part of our lives and, like any commercial business these days, a lot of them are hurting. Yes, save yourself some money and shop online, but support your neighborhood shop, too. We’ve seen the death of the record store, the video rental store and the small book store. Let’s keep our stores in business.

It has also been an incredible experience watching Paul, Jimski and Sonia rock the house every week as well–I hope they do some kind of retrospective on their anniversaries as well, because, honestly, every week they raise the bar just a little bit higher. Every time I feel like I have nothing more in my head, I go to the site and each of them have something totally new and interesting to discuss. It’s kind of crazy. Obvious props go to Ron, Josh and Conor, who have been doing this longer than anyone else I know (I really don’t know how they do it)…they have my gratitude as well, for the opportunity.

So, yes, this article is a little off topic and I apologize if this hasn’t been the most scintillating of pieces–I will be going up to San Francisco and will get some scintillating powder for the next one–but I had to say something.  The world of comics can be a very lonely one, actually. There are a lot of fans out there who get their books week after week and never really get a chance to enjoy them with other fans. I know when I discovered the Pick of the Week Podcast years ago, I felt like I had come home, that I finally had some friends to hang out with and talk about comics. I feel very fortunate and honored that I have been able to spend a bit of time with the iFanbase once a week and look forward to what should be a very time in comics. I think they have become as mainstream as they are going to get, and am curious to see what happens as the year progresses and the economy continues to cause havoc on titles and prices…not to mention the stories. I mean, in one year, we’ve got Superman living away from earth, a new Batman, the Ultimate Earth coming to an end, Spider-Man got New Day’d, Tony Stark is on the run, three Avengers books, maybe one issue of Fell, no more Local and apparently a very, very dark night coming.  Should be fun!

Mike Romo‘s college diploma clearly states that he was a theater major, and he should probably stop showing that to every casting director in LA, where he currently lives. His email address is mike@ifanboy. He plays scrabble on facebook and stutters on twitter.


  1. Congrads on one full year!

    Four more years! Four More Years!

  2. Congratulations!  I love all the iFanboy writers, particularly Jonathan Hickman.

  3. Happy Anniversary! Hopefully Ron, Conor and Josh will get you some nice jewelry for your one year relationship with them!

  4. It’s a paper necklace.

  5. Wonderful article. Here’s to (at least) another year!

  6. Supporting a good comic shop is like suporting a good bar; you wanna go where everybody knows your name. 🙂


  7. Thanks for sticking with us iFans a whole year. I love "in retrospect" articles. Keep up the fantastic work.

  8. thanks for the nice comments guys!  I really appreciate it!!

  9. You’ve given me a couple of things to think about for my own anniversary, and I don’t just mean thoughts like "why am I never anyplace with booth ladies?"

  10. I always injoy your articles, and we share the same name.  From one dorky Mike to another, good job.

  11. hugs?

    congrats Mike

  12. Congrats sir.  As long as you keep writing them, I’ll keep reading. 🙂

  13. Congrats!

  14. Great article. Here’s to another great year!



  15. alright! a year in mike romos life!