I Take Off My Glasses When I Read Comics Now… (A Brief Reflection on 30 Years)
“You take off your glasses when you read comics now… What the hell does that mean?” I can hear you asking.
What that means is that I am getting old. The crystalline lens within my eye which previously could flex and accommodate to clearly see objects at any variety of ranges has now begun to lose its elasticity and I face the beginnings of presbyopia. Soon I will find myself in a world of bifocals… and not too long after that canes, walkers, and most likely undergarments designed for incontinence! Ah, the feeling of old age washing over you! (If you think perhaps I was bored tonight and decided to read information about the structures of the eye on Wikipedia… you’re wrong! I work as an Optician, so that knowledge was already within my grasp… I wasn’t just bored tonight, I’m bored 40 hours a week!)
Old age brings more than just presbyopia, arthritis, and incontinence… it also carries some contemplative reflection with it. As I’ve done in the past and will do in the future, I often contemplate things through the frame of one of the constants in my life… comic books.
I’ve been trying to get back into a regular habit of buying and reading comic books again, as I’ve been lacking recently in that regard. As I did the “old man” thing and took off my glasses to settle in and consume a few issues, it struck me that I was reading some recent New Mutants comics. This was significant only because New Mutants is the title I credit with getting me into comics many years ago.
The three topmost comics pictured are issues I bought as a kid, straight off the comic rack at a local mall bookstore. The three on the bottom, were recently published and purchased at a local comic book store. As you can probably tell, I was already feeling somewhat wistful about all this… and as I was checking the dates on these issues just now it really hit me, something I hadn’t even considered before… That New Mutants #65 that started it all, my love of comics and creative ambitions, was published in July of 1988. It was exactly 30 years ago this month. Holy. Shit.
I’ve got a feeling I’ll be thinking and writing about this anniversary a bit more over the coming weeks. Suffice to say, right now I just recognize the strange dichotomy of comics that perhaps fellow fans feel as well. I’m amazed by the way that they’ve simultaneously both grounded my life with consistency, while also allowing my mind to explore things that are as inconsistent and ungrounded as you can imagine. That is after all, the magic of comics, entertainment, and the human imagination.
That panel from a recent issue of New Mutants cracked me up. After all these years the banter between characters like “Boom-Boom” and “Rictor” is still going strong. A new issue is like visiting an old friend. You may not have seen them in a while… but every time you get together it’s just like you were never apart.
Wistful rambling over… for tonight. I have a feeling there will be much more to come. Consider my mid-life crisis fully engaged. 30. Years. Holy. Shit. Panic. Now. Lucky you, if you follow my blog you have a front row seat to either see a man achieve the dreams of 3 decades ago… or spectacularly crash and burn and spiral into madness.
Either will be entertaining.
-Bryan “the Imp” Imhoff