FLASHBACK ISSUES: The Bittersweetness of ‘Comic Book Men’

As a kid, I had it made.

One brother of mine was just a year older, so we were partners in crime.  Our older brother would bring us MEGO toys on the regular, becoming our hero and hero delivery system.  One older sister made sure the comics kept coming, the other painted friggin’ Phoenix from X-Men on our dresser. Our older siblings made sure my brother and I had a superhero infused early childhood, from getting a Ben Cooper costume every Halloween to catching the Superman movies on opening weekend.

And it’s all long gone.  Every trace of it, other than memories.  Sigh.

It’s very easy to watch Comic Book Men with an envy of the adult that was a less savvy child, imagining all the collectibles that could have been saved for profit now (or at least major bragging rights).  Most of us will never stumble upon our old secret stash of mint condition comics and new-in-box action figures, but we can all watch the guys at Secret Stash marvel at what the public brings through their doors.

The main draw for me is the memorabilia, mainly because I used to have 90% of what I’ve seen so far (stupid me wanted to play with toys as a child).  The enthusiasm that the guys show for the collectibles that show up is surprising enjoyable to witness.  Watching grown men turn into wide-eyed children instantly over toys and comics is relatable to anyone that reminiscences fondly over their own childhood.  

One of the best part of the show is when they toss around hypotheticals regarding various comic book characters.  Coming from someone that has frequently looked for “Superman vs The Flash” debates online, it’s very refreshing to hear a bunch of guys my age taking the topic seriously enough to consider the barely imaginable.  Not many of us are still able to access that childhood wonder, where no inquiry is too childish to consider.  Even if playtime is off the table, anyone can tune into Comic Book Men and give their inner child recess for an episode.

Considering how much my family helped get me into comic books, it’s quite appropriate that I watch this show with my youngest daughter.  If she never opens up her Katniss Barbie from its influence, I wouldn’t be surprised at all.  Well, it’s either the show directly or it might have had something to do with watching her old man facepalming off the couch while shouting at the TV, “I had that!!”

Ah well.  Memories still work.

Do you still collect comics and toys as an adult?
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