Monday, July 4, 2011

Comics Relief, Part One: A Case of ADD-DVD

Sorry to interrupt what is usually an unending flow of brilliant musical insight, but Jaybee’s feeling a bit under the weather lately. Today he’s at his “doctor’s” office.
So what’s in it for you, you ask? Well, perhaps we can pass the time by eavesdropping on him as he describes his symptoms, thus adding to what would merely be private humiliation.
So let’s put our ears up against the door and listen. It’s hard to make out the doctor, but Jaybee can be heard loud and clear from the couch – I mean, the examining table:

Well, doctor, it’s like this. I still read comics.

Yes, I’m 53 years. No, not dog years.

How do I explain?

Well, I thought it was all behind me - a faint childhood memory at best. But it all came back to haunt me…

No, you’re right. I lied. I did it all myself.

I wanted to do it, and I did it. And I (mostly) liked doing it.  And I’d do it again, except not around other adults. Sounds a lot like mortal sin, but a closer analogy may be masturbation.

Let me explain:

When I’m not following my “new at any cost” aesthetic, I get nostalgic for things I experienced as a kid. Movies, TV Shows, and yes, comics. I also do this out of curiosity. I want to see if these things are really as great as they seemed at the time. So far, with one glaring exception, it’s not been working out. My experience renting DVDs of old favorite TV shows, like “The Man from UNCLE” and “Time Tunnel” has been pretty dismal. In each case I barely got through disc one. It seems that the memories are way better than the reality.

Another reason I do this is to fill in the gaps in the stories – the stuff I missed. Growing up in the sixties and seventies - before the internet, or even the VCR - the experience of pop culture could be very hit or miss. Be it a movie in a theater or a favorite show on TV, something was either available right now or it was gone, and you only had yourself – or siblings who wanted to watch something else - to blame for missing it. This made following anything with a degree of continuity very challenging. And continuity would be my Achilles Heel. At least it would be if I manage to read “The Odyssey” all the way through.

I had a habit of missing the beginnings and the endings of everything. I was kind of weak on the pivotal middle episodes, too. I caught all the other ones. But without fail, I’d either miss the legendary origin, the pivotal middle or the climactic ending. I never saw anything in its entirety.

I recall a third grade classmate swearing that I missed the greatest ever episode of “Lost in Space”. There he was, sitting three rows back, trying to act out the plot for me, in the middle of math class. And for years - decades, really - I’d imagine what that episode must have been like. Surely, it would have made more of a cultural impact on my life than anything up to that point. So even after the "Time Tunnel" and "UNCLE" debacles, when the “Lost In Space” DVDs became available, I rented them.

Deep down, I already knew that they were going to suck, but I’d finally get to see how they got lost in the first episode, my classmate’s legendary episode, and even how/if they ever got back to Earth, where I assumed they’d run into Charlton Heston having a relaxing day at the beach by the Statue of Liberty.

Alas, it didn’t suck exactly. Rather, it was totally unmagical in any way, shape or form. Just a typical TV show – so much so that now I hope they never get back.

Doctor’s Voice: But I thought your problem was confined to comic books. You’re clearly far more disturbed than you had let on!

To be continued...

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