Monday, May 15, 2023

I don't miss the Reign, but I do miss that hunt

Growing up as a comic obsessed kid on the arse end of the world meant I was always missing something. With the price of the things and the dodgy distribution, I would never be able to get the whole series. I would be constantly missing issues, even with new series - I got nine whole issues of the New Warriors before #10 skipped town entirely, and it literally took me years to track it down.

I would miss a 2000ad at least once a year and that would also take several aeons to find the missing issue. It still happens today - prog 2308 never showed up at the local newsagent the other week. At least I can just easily buy that from the official 2000ad website, so the wait isn't as long as it used to be.

So finding all the Reign Of The Supermen comics - every single one from the death of the big man to the mulleted Superman's return - was a delightful core, and while I don't miss the comics themselves, I do miss that enthusiasm for them.

I had been a total mark for post-Crisis Superman for a while, and had just started getting a couple of the series regularly about a year before the whole Death thing hit. As the nerdiest of teenagers, I found the uncertainties of Kal-el's future intoxicating, and I still remember how good it was when they wouldn't even confirm if Superman was returning.

And then there were a whole bunch of Supermen flying around and keeping track of that 18-issue run was so fucking hard. There was no way to avoid reading the story out of order - I could get the Dan Jurgens Superman comics from one of the local dairies, but had to travel to fuckin' Ashburton to get the Stern/Guice Action Comics issues.

The series came out when I had just started working and had a car and the cash to get all the goddamn comics I wanted, and it only took me a year after the run ended before I got the last Man of Steel and I had all the issues in that long Reign. 

It was enormously satisfying.

I sold 'em all off back in the mid 2000s, with few regrets, because real life was getting in the way. They were a lot of comics and while I will go to my grave swearing that Tom Grummett has been criminally underrated by comics fandom, I had no trouble ditching them.

And because time is a flat circle, I just got some random issues of this era again at a recent kilo sale, and got to read them for the first time in years. They're fine. They're perfectly mid-range 90s superhero comics and while that is my jam sometimes, I really don't feel any urge to find the rest and recomplete the set.

Because it ain't the comics I miss from those days of long ago. It's that hunt, that mission, that dumb fervour for bloody Superman comics that was only possible in the gaping freedom of youth. I couldn't bag that away in mylar, no matter how hard I tried.

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