Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio. This week, Bennett talks about celebrating Earth Day.
Believe it or not, I'm not really a nostalgic kind of Comic Book Guy. OK, sure, I may love stuff from the 1930's and the 1960's, but I don't miss my own past one bit because, among other things, it was desperately poky. I know my testimony can be placed into question, seeing as how I was hyperactive as a kid*, but trust me. Along with being dull, gray and overwhelmingly Caucasian, everything back then really did seem to take forever. I know there are a lot of pundits out there who would have you believe modern society has become too obsessed with our electronic devices, and they may have a point, but I'm sure not going back to the way things were. You know what we called "social media" back then? The mail.
So I didn't place much significance on the fact that a couple of days ago it was the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day until its true significance finally hit me; I was there for the first one. That seminal moment when Madison Avenue discovered ecology and everybody struggled to get onboard while the bandwagon was still moving. I did my part. Along with watching the Earth Day episode of The Courtship of Eddie's Father I participated in my Scout troop's newspaper recycling drive. I dragged a heavy wagon across 1.1 miles of cracked, uneven sidewalks through a not particularly good neighborhood to our nearest participating McDonald's.
Our reward once there, other than the joy of helping the environment, was an actual McDonald's hamburger which was (and I realize this will seem inconceivable to many) actually considered to be a "treat" in those distant days when fast food wasn't considered to be a birthright for kids. That and a copy of Ronald McDonalds Adventures In Scouting, a nine page comic book that promoted ecology, Scouting and Ronald, back when he still rode around on a giant flying hamburger.
It was a sobering moment because in spite of all evidence to the contrary I still don't think of myself as "old" until moments like this. Still, I hope that you all celebrated Earth Day the way I did--by taking a longbox of my unwanted and unneeded comics straight to the local recycling bins (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--Where I Reveal My Cunning Plan"). Comic books are the only kind of magazine in this country that we’re not routinely encouraged to recycle and I think it's long past time that we started. Or if that seems intrinsically "wrong" after lovingly hoarding and meticulously protecting your comics, "recycle" has other meanings; you could always drop them off at your local library, children's hospital, or donate them to our troops overseas.
I need to stress these comics come from my personal collection and not the backstock of Super-Fly Comics & Games. But I think all retailers, if they were going to be ruthlessly honest, would admit there are a lot of comics in their back rooms that are effectively unsellable at any price, and repurposing some of them for a good cause wouldn't be a bad idea.
* Not to mention I suffered from both "childhood dyslexia" (which continues to plague me well into my 50's) and obesity (which before becoming a popular lifestyle choice was simply known as being a fat kid). Recently at work I got a "Healthy Living" calendar and in the section dealing with childhood obesity they listed among the other concerns associated with it were "social problems." Which is an awful nice way of saying "everyone will hate you." No that's entirely self-pitying. It's more accurate to say that not only can people treat you like crap because of the way you look, they're expressly permitted to.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.