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Through the comic book

BY Sonny Orr Nov 23, 2022

There was a time years ago when absorbing yourself in a comic book was something that whittled away a few hours of the day. As often as we could, we tried to keep up with the ongoing adventures of Batman and Robin, Superman and the Hulk. And if you were of legal age, Wonder Woman. 

Sometimes, those comics made our somewhat dull lives a little more entertaining, as our minds filled with imagination. This imagination is what kept our little noggins busy in the few hours that we could call down time. At Christmas, the joy of receiving a flashlight meant that you could read those comics in the dark and made that scary visit to the outhouse a lot less frightening.

Today, the thought of being without a battery to light your phone to see everything within a half watt of power is unheard of. Now, the reason why you can’t do anything can be excused by saying that you are waiting for your phone to charge. Some people even think that messaging at odd hours is considered working overtime, but then again, they are an odd sort.

For me, it’s either for work or for play and I don’t like mixing the two. One could get confused with my sincerity at the job. For example, if I told the council, “Wait, I can’t come to the meeting right now because my phone is dead, and I’m paralyzed.” If I heard that excuse, I’d whip out my Archie comic book and swat the person upside that unused head of theirs.

Now, a comic book is something that I’ve noticed is starting to lean towards an older audience, a more worldly one. So much so that I wonder when Archie and Robin managed to get so physically perfect. That’s either by just chasing girls or beating up bad guys on command from an older dude who uses fancy weapons like batwings. 

Speaking of batwings, do they taste like chicken or is it the Covid-induced loss of taste and smell that somehow makes those crispy wings feel like a famous wing dipped in a sauce? Or is it the new fad now – the flirt with danger that used to belong exclusively to the pufferfish, which can kill you with its deliciousness. 

For a batwing, it’s the flirtation with the world’s medical response to the current pandemic and, as you can tell, it takes years to play out. So, you get a choice: the quick and easy way (and get on the short list of people who have dared to eat the toxic pufferfish) or those who got the flu and dared take the long slow death, which could take a lifetime.

If this were based on an actual comic-book story, the mystery is always dealt to the reader upfront and the unknown bad guys are always the last to suspect. With Archie, it’s some jealous rival or the school principal. For Robin, it’s the medical secretary who he has a secret crush on. But she’s the only suspect because she’s the only one with the keys to the laboratory and with an evil twin sister whose main task is to wreak havoc on the free world. Unsurprisingly, the evil twin is the same person with a split personality – a good nurse by day, a ravishing bloodthirsty angel by night. Poor Robin and his diminished sense and sensibility.

As for comic books compared to today’s technology, at least the batteries didn’t wear out and could be reused, recycled and repurposed for anything you needed it to be. At the worst, you could have preserved your childhood passion in plastic. But who would’ve known back then that a lame joke guy like Archie would be worth a pretty penny today. 

My bathroom entertainment device is now worth anywhere from 25 cents to 200 grand in loonies, if in mint condition. So, save those paper-made comic books in vacuum-sealed plastic. Better still, get a signed one at a comic-book convention and resell it on social media in 40 years for billions (10 bucks in today’s currency rate).

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Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.