Friday, 16 September 2016


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

It was a pleasantly sunny afternoon in 1979, probably in
June or July.  I was working in my local library back then, and
had become pally with a summer worker who was also a comics
fan.  We'll call him Bob Billens to spare his blushes should he
read this, and we'd been sent out by our 'library masters' to
collect overdue books from houses around the town.

During our break, we'd driven along to his in-laws' house
where he and his wife were then staying and, while sipping tea
in the back garden, he showed me some of his comics collection.
He even gave me a few which were surplus to his requirements.
(I'd given him some of mine on a previous occasion, so he was
merely reciprocating my friendly, generous gesture.)

Among the five or six comics he gave me (all MARVEL,
as he wasn't so much a fan of their mags as he was of DC) was
The FANTASTIC FOUR #111, wherein The THING meets
The HULK.  I eventually cut out the final two panel tier of the
last page and affixed it to my bedroom wall, where it remain-
ed until my family moved to another house in 1983.

Then it went up on the wall of my new bedroom for a
few years, until we returned to our former residence in 1987,
 whereupon it resumed its previous place on the wall.  And there
it stayed 'til the early hours of this morning, when I replaced it
with a duplicate of the tier, scanned from a replacement copy
of the comic acquired quite a few years back now.

It was time, you see.  The original had become rippled
and faded after 35-plus years stuck to a wall, and my room
had taken on a distinctly 'aged' appearance.  The new picture is
brighter and whiter, and adds a much-needed splash of colour to
the room.  Still, I'm not exactly comfortable in disposing of some-
thing that's been part of the decor for a significant proportion of
my 'adult' life, and I feel a bit of a callous b*st*rd for doing so.
Surely it deserved far better consideration for its many
years of faithful and uncomplaining service?

So far, I've replaced six browned and faded pictures
 and intend to do more from time to time until nothing looks
old.  It'll be good to once again see white margins surrounding
these pictorial presentations which adorn the wall, looking just
as fresh and new as the day they were printed.  If there were
only some way of rejuvenating the originals I'd do it, but
substitution with a 'double' seems my only option.

Anyway, what's done is done and, in time, maybe I'll
eventually forget that the doppelgangers in my room aren't
the originals and delude myself that they're the ones that have
always been there.  Still, it'll be a while before I can look at the
fresh, flat, bright, new incarnation of that old picture and not
feel guilty for so cruelly abandoning its predecessor.

I console myself with the thought that at least its image
yet graces its accustomed spot on the wall, and hopefully will
still be there in another 35 or so years.  Whether I'll still be
 around then is, of course, far more open to question.  


Colin Jones said...

If you are not around in 35 years then your pictures certainly won't be. Any pictures I put on the wall back in the '70s have long since disappeared into the mists of time but I still remember some fondly such as the festive scene which appeared on the back of the 1976 Marvel UK comics - the one with Captain Britain surrounded by other Marvel characters which I stuck on the wall for the next 3 or 4 Christmases. But I couldn't look at the same picture for 35 years - the only thing on my walls is a BBC Wildlife calendar in the front room which obviously changes every month. One month looking at the same image is long enough for me (this month it's a hyena).

Kid said...

Thing is, CJ, you can't be certain about the pictures. If I fall off the twig in, say, 25 years, the new occupier might like my room as it is and keep it that way - who can know? I'm quite happy to have the same pictures around me, as I like being surrounded by the familiar. Also, it makes it seem like time has stood still and that there's only one big 'now'.

Colin Jones said...

Kid, you're clearly an optimistic fellow if you think the new occupiers will keep your room intact - I fear the bin will be the destination for your beloved pictures (sorry to be harsh but I'm just being realistic). And good luck on reaching 82 - both my parents died in their 70s. I once asked my father how long he thought he'd live - "90" he replied but he actually dropped dead aged 71. My mother predicted she wouldn't live to see her 80th birthday - she was correct and died aged 77.

Kid said...

Well, obviously my hope that the pictures will still be there in 35 years is dependent on me still being around, a situation which I can't guarantee. However, fact is, you can't foretell what will happen with any certainty, CJ. If all my 'posters' look new (as is my intention), there's no reason why a teenage comics fan might not want to keep the room as it is. I know if I walked into my room and saw it for the first time, I'd probably want to keep it the way it is. All depends on who moves in after me, doesn't it? it might seem unlikely, but my point is you never can tell. And if I live for another 35 years, I'll be 92, going on 93 - not 82. Guess what 'though? I come from a line of 'long-livers'.

Colin Jones said...

Ah well, you WILL live to 92 then. I said 82 because of your line: "If I fall off the twig in say, 25 years". Apparently most of the babies born today will live to be 100 or more - but that depends on what the world will be like at the end of this century, doesn't it. If the worst of climate change happens things could start going downhill pretty fast and we'll soon be back to life as it was in previous centuries - nasty, brutish and short.

Kid said...

I'm aiming for 200 at least. A man has to think big, CJ!

Colin Jones said...

Kid, I can see you, aged 90, shuffling around on your zimmer frame and explaining to the 20 year-old home help who exactly the Thunderbirds and Yogi Bear were :D

Kid said...

That sounds like me NOW, CJ, never mind at 90.

baab said...

Its a cool thing you are doing.

Kid said...

Ta muchly, Baab.

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