Nostalgia and The X-Men
The other night I found myself reading through a short run of comics from my child hood. It was my old favorite, The X-men – specifically the arc that spawned Bishop and killed Jean Grey (briefly, again). Though these days I think that The Authority, Supreme Power, or even many of The Ultimate’s story lines are far more compelling, these old story lines never fail to take me back to sunny days on Balsam street and the ratty comic shop I favored in my youth both for floppies and magic cards.
Today though, it was not the story, or even the memories of riding bikes all over town as a teenager that entranced me; it was the ads. What a difference two decades make.
This comic book was released 21 years ago next month. It mostly involved killing off minor mutants under the care of the White Queen; it’s what passes for spring cleaning in the Marvel universe. There were a wide variety of advertisements as always in this book, but a few really took me back. There were the requisite adds for bulk comic sales for a variety of related titles, and the all important candy bar ad on the inner back cover. There was also an ad for Rifts; I can’t even remember the last time I saw an ad for Palladium products, so far as I know I was never actually aware that they ran them.
Then there was also an ad for a cheap looking platformer on the Gameboy, branded with Bill and Ted’s likeness. Though I remember some games from that ancient handheld fondly, this was not one of them. Rather I was struck by the crudeness of it; I take back almost everything negative I have ever said about freemium phone games – they are pure rocket science in comparison to what came before. Given the timing though, I found the whole thing to be very interesting, as I have spent the last couple weeks researching all the options and specifications of all the new entrants to the market during the resurgent tablet wars.
As it stands now, I am a PC user, with an original iPad and a 4S iPhone. I have no love for Apple, especially now that they are out to suppress competition through legal chicanery. On the other hand they make the best mobile products in my experience; I have had an iPhone since the week they dropped the price the first time on the iPhone 1. You could just look at it and see the future there. Long story short, I would love to find an alternative.
Fortunately these days, options and alternatives are coming out of the woodwork. By the end of the year we will have: the iPad 3, the Kindle Fire, the Nexus 7, and the Microsoft Surface – each a powerhouse of computational power. A mere two decades after the gameboy, these artifacts are our options. Say what you will about personal preference and relative strengths – to me each of these products borders on the miraculous. It truly boggles my mind.
Back to the comic book though. Let me try to frame this one more way. When I joined the Navy, I left behind my comics at my mother’s house, where they sat for a long while – all 5 boxes of them. There had to be almost a thousand of them. A quick survey of the digital comics I currently peruse show that they are about 12 megabytes a piece, and I have more than 50 gigabytes of them (over 4000 estimated issues.) Though I cannot fit all of these on a first generation iPad, the Surface, for instance would devour them handily.
Isn’t the future wonderful? Doesn’t this stuff blow anyone else’s mind?
A few other mind-blowers I’ve always enjoyed is remembering the dial-up modem and all it’s lovely “be-bong be-bong sshhhhhk” sounds- back when 2.28 kbs was the big thing. That and the birth of the cd. How strange is this new tiny laser disc, and it holds more info! Don’t even get me started on beta-max vs vhs.
All said and done, great article. Damn I feel old…