So while I've never really had the urge to start buying comics again -- $2.50 for 23 pages of uncertain quality is a bit much -- every once in a while I do pick up a trade paperback collection, just to get a bit of the old fun back.
This past week, I was suddenly hit by a burning desire to read some old Avengers comics. This is weird in a few ways: a) I was a real DC Comics slut as a kid, and never had much time for most Marvel stuff, b) I don't think I'd read ten issues of Avengers in my life before this past week, and c) I'd definitely never read any of the stuff that came out in the '60s. But, hey, the urge was there, and some years back Marvel reissued the early stuff in cheap b&w bound editions, so it was cheap.
And, guess what: they're really damn fun. I really disliked the whole "Mighty Marvel" thing when I was a kid -- "Smilin' Stan" and "Rascally Roy" and so on made me puke -- but now it seems kind of charming. I've always sort of known that Marvel comics in the '60s were way ahead of their DC counterparts, but not to this extent. 1960s DCs played by sitcom rules -- by the end of each issue, everything was as it had been before. These comics have continuing plots, character development, subplots -- all basic now, but DC didn't get to this level 'til the late '70s/early '80s.
And, there's certainly a lot of energy. Reading these periodically over the space of a few days was good boisterous fun.
* * *
Also touching my nostalgic nerves (?) lately: similar to the inexplicable Avengers desire, I was really dying to hear the hardcore band Judge for the first time in a decade plus. For whatever reason, I decided I had to hear their cover of "When the Levee Breaks," which I had way back when but hasn't been in my collection in years.
For the uninitiated, Judge was a metallic straight-edge band in the late '80s/early '90s, famous for a sort of reluctant tough-guy image, a really hotly desired and absurdly limited semi-bootleg album, and an interview with Kent McClard in which KM described singer Mike Judge as "a hard man, but capable of crying," which still makes me laugh. I really dug them for a long time, but they haven't been on my radar in ages.
So one night a week or two back, I bought the whole "What It Meant" discography album off of iTunes -- I guess deciding that $9.99 on iTunes was better than $15 for a CD. (whether I needed the album is another story.) It's ... ok. It sounds much fuller than most hardcore albums of the time, and it brings back some of the same fist-pumping rush. But at my advanced age, it's better-suited for five- or six-song sets, rather than 28-song collections. The cover of "When the Levee Breaks," meanwhile, sounds about as you'd expect: a bit silly but not bad.
I also (I'd had a lot to drink) downloaded Mike Judge's solo album, "Sights" by Mike Judge and Old Smoke, which I'd purchased (and hated) back when it came out. I guess I thought that being older and more mature, I might appreciate it now, and I guess it's ok --it sounds like a bar band covering Neil Young's more downbeat offerings. But, you know, I have Neil Young albums, and if I'm going to listen to Neil Young-style music, I'll just listen to ol' Neil.
Sort of interesting fact: while in my Judge-nostalgia, I looked at the Revelation Records discography, and realized that at one time or another I've owned every one of the label's first 49 releases. (and most of them up to #75 or so.) Sobering.