This Week’s Suspended Animation (Editorial)
I live in the tip of the Oklahoma Panhandle – otherwise known as “the middle of nowhere.” Those who live here know we’re living in no-man’s land, and we’re ok with it. After all, we have some of the clearest night skies in the nation for star-gazing, as well as great neighbors, the people out here being friendly and outgoing. And, we’re 30 minutes or less from Kansas, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico, so lots of beautiful scenery is close by.
Wondering what my point is, yet? I do have one. It’s that I’m cut off. Cut off from comics shops and comics fans. Cut off from the goings-on of the medium. Sure, there’s the internet, but I work for a living and I have a family. I don’t have time to be online day in and day out. Besides, who would want to?
See, I remember the day when every comic I picked up contained the promise of a great surprise. Just on the next page was the possibility of a cliffhanger involving my favorite character, which would cause me to gasp in disbelief, both at the hero’s precarious situation, as well as the unenviable prospect of having to wait a painful 30 days for the next exciting installment. Upon completion, I might roll up that wonderfully-entertaining-yet-excruciatingly-frustrating mag and whack my chest of drawers with it. Or, maybe swat a few Mego superhero action figures. The thought of doing so with a precious collectible may be sending some of you through the roof. It was nothing to me and my friends, back in the day. After all, comics storage at that time meant shoving them in your back pocket, or tossing them in your closet amongst toys, games and dirty clothes that never made it to the laundry room. I seem to have a vague recollection of one of my friends folding comics three of four times so they could fit in his FRONT pocket. And, yes, some of those were Silver Age books. Anyone need oxygen, yet?
So, again, my point: There was a day when there was no “comics journalism.” No media constantly and incessantly reporting on the things that had yet to happen. These teasers and party poopers, continually extracting information on the future events and predicaments of our favorite characters from only-too-willing creators were not yet spoiling the fun for readers. And yet, there are those who anxiously await the newest edition of Wizard Magazine, or The Comic Buyers Guide, and the latest updates to various comics web sites the way we “old timers” used to anticipate the newest issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, Batman or what-have-you.
Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy some aspects of those publications. Various interviews, historical pieces and even editorials are often a joy to read. But, I have no desire to know what’s going to happen to any character in any particular storyline….until I read it, myself. I don’t want hints, clues, spoilers or previews. Not from the internet, a magazine or even comics shop chatter. Believe it or not, I like it that way. I wonder if I’m alone in that…?
So, in a way I guess I’m living my childhood all over again. Comics are fresh, and the promise of a cool surprise contained within each story is back. I don’t miss the weekly (or more) trip to the Comic Empire of Tulsa that I enjoyed for so many years living near that city, though I do miss the owner, and other friends. And, when I do make the rare trip back, or the much shorter trip to Big Apple Comics in Amarillo, I just try to keep my ears closed to any current events rap session. No comics gossip for me, thanks. I’ll have my sequential entertainment with a side of blissful ignorance.