C. G. McGinn

Writer

Ramblings about Books and Writing

In which We Discuss ​Comic Books and Coolness after the Fact

Ninja High School was the obscure comic I was into back before high school and throughout college. It was unique in that it was American Manga during a time when manga was the stuff of black & white World Wide Web scans, and VHS bootlegs. The days of Anime sections in every video store, and even Manga sections at the comic shops were still several years away. What also made Ninja High School special, at least to me, was that is wasn't until a few years ago that you could Google the title and find more than a Yahoo Group and a couple other pages on the Web that actually knew anything about it. Even today, the amount of information in this Information Age would barely equate to a Ninja High School village, to the overcrowded cities of Batman, Superman or even Hellblazer. 

While I was scouring the globe for Ninja High School, other comic nerds of the day were reading Batman and a trove of other superheros. The Hipsters of the day we probably reading Sandman and seeing the irony in Neil Gaiman's use of the word "book". Some would also be reading Hellblaze, which would later be made into a movie starring Keanu Reeves. For those of you confused and thinking I'm talking about A Walk in the Clouds, I'm referring to John Constantine, the magic wielding occultist who battled demons, traveled to the places between Heaven and Hell, and even did a lot of drugs with Euro-Hippies.

It's a safe bet that I was probably not allowed to reach Hellblazer when I was of the impressionable age of 13-15ish. I'm sure I could have if I really wanted, but instead I settled for American Manga, Ben Dunn's "Ninja High School". 

They have comic books on computers now! Did you know? A new day has dawned and now you can purchase comics on any number of tablets. This'll probably end up putting small-time comic book businesses, well, out-of-business the same way digital books put Borders out-of-business. This is sad to me, as I have many of fond memories walking downtown to ML Comics in Marlborough, and later, in college, going to Casablanca Comics in Windham Maine to shoot the shit with the guy who ran it and pick up some more of that American Manga.

Although going digital did cause me to start expanding the scope of my comic book intake. It got me into Batman and I'm completely hooks on DCs New 52 reboot, or whatever it is. I've also started reading Hellblazer, which is another awesome book. I recommend both to anyone who likes...well...who likes Batman and/or British occultists..

It's funny how the things that were cool or mainstream way back when, were the things I was never really into back then. And now, here I am, thinking those things I rejected are cool after all. It's the same way with music. I hated Nine Inch Nails when they were popular. Now: I like their old stuff. None of that Year One bullshit. What does that say about what is popular now? Will I be a Justin Beiber fan ten years from now? Oh God, I hope that's not how these things work.

I have two Lava Lamps. One was a Christmas gift back in high school and the other was a gift from my wife a few years ago. Lava Lamps were big in the 70's. I wanted the High School one because it was retro, and retro was cool, like bow ties and the Beatles. The other day my wife's sister saw the two Lava Lamps on my desk and stated, 'we used to have those'. This would be perfectly normal if she were a child of the 70's, but alas, she's a woman in her early 20's, Here I thought I was somehow cool in a retro sort of way, only to discover that the generation ten years my younger, found the same cool-factor in the exact same thing. How does that old saying go? The more things change...