I have been reading some older comics recently. Pretty much some select comics from the 60s and 70s. Some observations come to mind as I delve into the depths of our past.
Granted I grew up on comics in the late 70s and 80s. I couldn’t really tell you anything about the 90s to now. Well, maybe that I sort of remember when Spawn came into being. But with that I never really read those, at least not till now. My first encounter with the character (aside from a friend in the Marines who was a fan) came from the first movie. I enjoyed it even though I heard all the grumbles (there will always be grumbles about adaptations. Sometimes even from me). And then the HBO animated version, which I thought was well done. But this is me going on a side trip away from the original point I was going to make.
See, I realized something, or maybe a couple somethings. The first thing comes from the dialogue in those older comics. The way the characters spoke, hinged exclusively on grand melodrama. A number of the stories I have been digging through recently were cut in a definite mold of good and evil, moral absolutes. But it was something more than just the good guys where white, like the old spaghetti westerns.
There was something within the use of language that brought the stories into a higher realm of thought. At least that was the idea. Melodramatics were more a rule to live by when the heroes were acting selflessly in the public interest. If you can remember the original Adam West Batman, yeah, there was a bit of that in the dialogue. As we have grown in our understanding of life and human nature, as our culture has changed, so much of that seems a bit silly now.
But there is another observation I had while reading some of these stories. An epiphany struck me. My thoughts and the stories I tell myself in my head were shaped from these stories. Many times, the words I hear revolve around conversations you might have experienced in stories like these.
For a good part of my life I connected with the ideological thought of the Silver Surfer; a man displaced from the home he had known, who travels the seas of the universe, contemplating life and its meaning. Deep, right? And yet, still enough to make you go “WTF is wrong with you?”
Yeah, I get it.
People don’t go through those kinds of thoughts. I mean seriously, most of us are really just thinking about the kids, or the mortgage, or something else, right? Or do we all have those odd thoughts that we think that no one else has?
Where was I?
Science Fiction and fantasy books from the time didn’t have the same monolithic feel to them, not like the comics. No, the cheese came out in movies. So much of our classic B movie cheese came from this time period. But maybe like the characterizations in the comics of the time, it didn’t feel like this to the people who ran with it.
See, I remember my reaction to the comics at the time. They were my world. And they did form much of who I am now. So much of what we allowed into our lives have shaped who we are now and into the future, who we will be. Except for the 80s. I’m not sure any of us really want to admit the existence of that decade.
I have to wonder, in the future, will there be those who look back on the stuff we have now, our movies and stories. Will they look at all of this and say, “WTF was wrong with them?”
If you enjoy these stories, consider leaving some coffee money in the jar or you could buy a book or two. Either way helps keep the stories flowing.