I'm probably a product of my time. The word 'probably' in that sentence is really only to provide alliteration, as there's not much (if any) doubt about it. We're all products of our time you see, being shaped by what we experience as we grow up to become curmudgeonly old farts, of which I am now one. If you're past middle-age, you are too.
Comics don't seem like comics to me anymore. I was in a local comicbook store a few weeks back, and on the row upon row of shelves of periodicals staring back at me, I saw only one that had a speech balloon on the cover. It was like they were declaring themselves to be respectable, genuine magazines now, not mere comics As if to prove their point, they were all printed on glossy magazine-style paper, with superior, multi-hued colouring, not the cheap newsprint with Ben-Day dot colours that comics had back in my day.
However much I may enjoy reading some of the new titles around today, I don't get the same feeling I do as when I read a comic from the 1960s, '70s or '80s. There's a scent that emanates from comics of those times that is almost like a drug, taunting, teasing, and caressing my olfactory organs with an aroma that is truly tantalising. Today's comics no longer have a splash page, instead featuring a boring page of expository text, to facilitate the inevitable collected edition several months down the line. See? Comics aren't even the 'real deal' nowadays, being no more than a dry run for the trade paperbacks or deluxe hardcover volumes that follow.
It's arguable whether today's comicbooks are better, worse, or just the same as they ever were when it comes to storytelling techniques or artistic ability, but to me, one thing is certain - they're simply not as satisfying, as encompassing a sensory 'experience' (involving not only sight, but touch and tang as well) as they used to be back when they weren't striving so hard to be anything other than what they were. Namely, a half-hour's pleasantly entertaining diversion from the everyday problems and irritations that beset us all in this crazy game called life.
And hey - didn't they smell great while doing so?