Yesterday evening was spent putting my old comics in order. They’ve been thrown in long boxes for the past 25 years, bagged but not boarded. It’s time to take better care of some of them, if only because there might be a handful of them in there worth selling when Elijah gets to college age. Most of those comics were pretty unexceptional. My predilection for mutants was more of an obsession.
- X-Factor. I didn’t recall buying so many of these. Louise Simonson was okay on this title, but I recall being indifferent to Walt Simonson’s art back then. Now his covers are striking, dynamic and bold. Walt’s take on Kirby-tech led to the big guns of Liefeld and his ’90s buddies though. That’s some seriously bad karma. It was only recently I stopped to figure out what Walt Simonson plus Art Adams minus talent arrives at Rob Liefeld.
- New Mutants. Bill Sienkiewicz wasn’t on that title nearly as long as I recalled. Memories of his art overpowered anything else. I used to despise Kevin Nowlan’s work (there was something about the eyes and mouths I found weirdly off putting,) but now seems brilliant. Bret Blevins still does nothing for me. He has style and talent, but the creepy fetishization of teen female characters was too much. Combining the cartoonish hypersexuality with Louise Simonson’s writing that infantilized the character made a sour mix, perhaps worse than looking back to realize how hung up Chris Claremont was on BDSM themes.
- Excalibur. Good old Alan Davis. Any of the whimsy in the Claremont X-Men drained out of the title after the Mutant Massacre storyline and went here. I don’t mind Excalibur. I’ve not re-read any of this stuff, but I recall it being a nice, fun comic while the X-Men went grimdark serious. If only a single comic existed that balanced the tone… meh. It doesn’t matter any more. Change happens and most comics are ultimately a disposable medium at speak only to the youth of their era. To wish otherwise is silly.
Some of the fond memories of my first comic chop in Hammond are eroding. It did have thousands and thousands of back issues crammed in a tiny space. I could spend all day combing through its boxes. However, some of my comics are actually back issues I bought there. I don’t even recall whether boarding was a common practice back then, so I’ll excuse that there was no boarding on anything. The problem is that it’s finally sinking in just how poor the quality condition the comics were in when I bought them, yet back in 1987, they were marked up at least twice the price. Why on earth would a “good” copy of Uncanny X-Men be marked up from 60 cents to two dollars? The guy running that place was ripping off the kids. It’s no wonder that place went out of business when comics were beginning to boom.
It doesn’t bug me too much. I was never much a comic speculator. I enjoyed most of what I bought. The disappointment is the realization just how crooked that old shop really was.
Now I’m putting all of this junk in short boxes. The long boxes are back-breaking.