Defining Thought | Describing Creation | Telling Stories | Illustrating Concepts

The Lost Magic of Old School Comic Books

X-men #177 cover art by  Salvador Larroca

X-men #177 cover art by
Salvador Larroca

During our age, a time a little longer that yesterday and after the last dinosaur fell, there was something magic about the cheap pulp paper that comics were printed on, the cheesy ads entertained us as much as the story (X-ray glasses, anyone?), and the colorful covers that made us hurry into the corner store to see what’s new.

We received an escapes into excitement and wonder all for the simple amount that Momma could give us on the sly, without missing it when she tallied up the grocery in her cart.

A mystery story, a journey to the far side of space, or the might of a god with an identity of a mild-mannered man could be experienced for a dollar or less… heck, it made us want to read.

The Ultimates #13 Cover art by Bryan HItch

The Ultimates #13 Cover art by Bryan Hitch

The joy of holding the paper is something missed by this generation. The anxiousness of getting to the store takes a level of patience that was not taught to our youth. The treasure created by collecting has no emphasis in the digital age; for a digital comic created today will be EXACTLY the same as a hundred years from now.

Data doesn’t age.

Collecting has no value, other than the joy of knowing the entire plot of a story.

Today, there is nothing special about knowing the rich details of an obscure character story, or comic… Google can solve that in seconds. I can find out the original Captain Mar-Vell’s real name in no time. I can learn the origin of the original Vision with a click of my finger. The line-art of Jack Kirby can be zoomed-in on and the mismatched coloring of Captain America’s first round shield can be corrected in seconds using Photoshop.

The art and its mistakes are not as valuable anymore, as pen-and-pencil is replaced with templates and digital art.

In comics:

Swear words..? A norm.
Smoking and Drugs..? A norm.
Antihero tactics and moody attitude..? A norm.
Cleavage, big-boobs, sex, and butt-tight clothing..? Mandatory!

Ami-Comi Girls #3 cover art by Ted Naifeh

Ami-Comi Girls #3
cover art by Ted Naifeh

Welcome to the new age, in which the youth are not the demographic that can afford a $4.99 escape, or shall I say, comic. Mainly because they would rather get what they want from a character or story off of the internet for free. They have no interest in collecting and much less in waiting for anything less than their login to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

The highest purchasers of comics are 32 years old and above. They are considered the ‘Elder-Kids’ and the ‘Youthful-Adults’. They are the old-world Nerds that separate themselves from Geeks while carrying the weight of an industry in which prices continue to increase because sales continue to decrease.

These Elder-Kids are the ones that nostalgia loves the most, but only as much as the few collector comics they missed when they were young, but now can afford because they have a job or a career. After that… these Elder-Kids are just too dang choosy to give many ‘new’ innocent and idealistic heroes a chance… mainly because they can’t relate to them.

Does Superman have a car payment? How much does he make a year? If we get written up for coming in late or sliding in from an ‘extended’ lunch… how is it, he hasn’t been fired after carrying out a mission on Apocalypse or across the galaxy?!? I mean, heck, in the last movie he came back after 5 years and got his job back. I called in a day late from vacation and got FIRED!! It took 9-months to get another job!!

These Youthful-Adults are also annoyed by many of the modern characters, because they read comics with the desire to ESCAPE reality, NOT to be reminded of it. From this, aspects of the story are relatable, but the powered up characters dealing with them are somewhat unrealistic; hence… it makes no blasted sense!!

If Bruce Wayne is worth $80 billion (as last posted on the internet)… why in the heck is he out there every night trying to stop crime personally when he could hire G.I. Joe, the United States Marine Corps, CIA, FBI, the Taliban, ISIS, Terror Group-56 Unknown, or a Mexican Cartel to come into Gotham to clean things up in a month?!?

He’s one of the smartest men on Earth, but hasn’t done the math to figure out that he couldn’t clean Gotham up if he solved 10 crimes a night, blocked 50 assaults a week, and had 100 more Robin’s living in his mansion sharing space with him (by-the-way, where in the HECK does he find so many ‘look-a-like’ young boy orphans WITHOUT being investigated??).

Basically, he doesn’t want to clean Gotham, he wants to beat people up!!

Even sadder, the Elder-Kids and the Youthful-Adults, that I speak of, are one in the same; they are us.

Man, I’m telling you, life sucks when you become an adult.

Between nostalgia and common sense, I have no idea what titles to pick when I walk into a comic shop.

Nowadays, I just look for heroes in costumes that are fighting villains in costumes and call it a day!

-Omen

 

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