Comics in the Year 2050
Written: 14 January, 1998

(The following bit of fiction I posted on Jonah Weiland's Comic Book Resources boards (the Survey board, I think) on January 14, 1998, in response to the question, "Will be reading comics when you are 80 yrs olds?" I don't think anyone read my post, but I liked it enough to save it on disk. I added a P.S. to the end, saying "This post inspired by the remarkable posting style of that current old-timer, Fly on the Wall. Thanks, Fly.")

As I limp to the local comics shop, leaning heavily on the cane that resides within my gnarled grip, I suddenly realize: "What am I walking to the comics shop for? The comics shop comes to me now! How easily I forget these days!" Still, I favor the old-fashioned ways, and continue on my way to the shop despite the pain it causes my aged body.

On the porch of a nearby house, I spy through squinting eyes, a boy sitting on the steps, reading a new comic. "Say, youngster," I say, hobbling over to see what comic he reads, "I'm a comics reader myself, believe it or not!" The boy shrugs. "Comics suck!" the kid replies. "I hate having to do all my homework when I could be enjoying the telesofa." Homework? Ah, how I forget! All books are comics in the year 2050. No wonder I still read them, as do most other adults.

I hobble off down the street and soon reach the local comicshop. It is a small booth with a screen in the middle. "Welcome to Media Comics," a voice declares. "State your request."

"Pull service," I answer into the microphone carefully, for my voice is weak. "Rimes, #10." A whirring sound, followed by beeps, and then the reply. "Your pull for this week...," the voice says, and the sealed comics begin to eject from a slot in the machine, much like an ATM machine, as the voice recites their titles and issue numbers. "Action Comics #4,678; Detective Comics #4,629; and Avengers #2." Another Avengers #2. It is currently on its 71st #2. There has been talk on the Weiland-Gates Media Resources boards that Marvel-Disney will just have every issue be a #1. Some of the posters are really looking forward to that, although Doxson has passionately argued that the numbering is our only remaining link to the past. But Doxson always hates it when I say what his father would have thought of his views.

The computer voice continues: "Remaining ordered comics are delayed: Space Giants #1; Comics Journal #2,398; True Romance #3..." It tends to be the same titles, the independents. I've been waiting for Space Giants #1 to come out since June 1997, and it still hasn't arrived. I used to think it was the result of someone missing a deadline, but after 50 years I've begun to suspect a more sinister explanation. "Thank you for shopping Media Comics," the voice concludes. "And remember, if it's not at Media, it's not worth getting..."

My trembling hand clutches my purchases knowing my bill has electronically been adjusted. At least print money was done away with by President Baldwin in 2019, so I no longer fret as much over how much I'm spending on comics these days.

For some reason, a voice from out of the past reaches into my mind. "Once a Green Lantern, always a Green Lantern." Who said that? Somebody from out of the dim, forgotten past. I think she had red skin. I laugh as I think of the current debate on the Media Boards. The old-timers like Bronzeager are arguing with some of the newer fans over the new Green Lantern, Spiffy Ferris. Spiffy was a villain who killed the previous GL, Kyle Rayner, and took his ring from him. The book's editor, Kevin Dooley Jr., claimed that Kyle was too old for the younger reader to enjoy (I forget the kid's name). Well, he was right in a way: the more recent fans (post-Emerald Dawn VI) seem to go for Spiffy in a big way. He had dinner with Darkseid in GL #782 and boasted about it at a JLA meeting later. Then the Bronze-Age Flash (Wally West) tried to show Spiffy the meaning of heroism, but Spiffy just laughed at the old man. Frankly, if this was an imaginary story, I'd love it. But it's real, so I decided not to order it. I thought back about the old days, back when there were still heroes, and when children still wanted to read comics instead of using the telesofa. There's talk now of making comicsofas, but I'm not sure that's what's really needed.

I finally make my way home to my old-fashioned apartment with its obsolete DVD system and quaint HDTV, and settle back to read the new comics. Wish they still had discount boxes, but Marvel-Disney but a stop to that practice a long, long time ago. Unfair competition, the court ruled. So all we're left with are the new releases. If it wasn't for long-time readers like myself on the boards, people would forget all about the great legacy of real heroes like Kyle Rayner, or classic creators of the past like Mike Deodato Jr. Sure, today's fans tend to scoff at that stuff as old-hat, and I must admit that it looks pretty tame compared to Ziwelli Castegargo's Zed-Head, but somebody has to remind people that there was a past, once upon a time, a long time ago.

I have to turn over all my old comics every year to the Comics Code Authority, as all citizens must to avoid imprisonment, but I can still rely on my memories to keep those old stories alive. Sometimes in private chat rooms, I share with fellow fans tales about the old electric Superman, or swap fond memories about Spawn and Lady Death. We've gotten into arguments over various points occasionally. One person insisted that there never was a Green Lantern before Kyle Rayner, and I kept insisting there was. In fact, there were lots of Green Lanterns, I said. And one of them was a man who wasn't Kyle, and another was a woman with red skin and she told him "Once a Green Lantern, always a Green Lantern." But one of the chatters LOLed and said that statement was false, so my memory must be mistaken, too. And that's all I could remember, but I knew I was right. If only I had the old comics again, I could prove I was right, but all the old comics are gone now, and all the old heroes, too. Soon, even the old readers like myself will be gone. I turn on the light and settle back to read the new Avengers #2. Deodato, Jr. has returned to the title, although some readers claim his work is passe now. I don't care, I settle back and read the new issue, because in 2050, that's all any reader can do.