Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

Kids These Days

I’m guessing most of y’all have seen one of those Beloit College lists that go around every year, reminding teachers of what Kids These Days are like. If you were starting college this year, for instance, 9/11 is as much history as WW II and ‘nam . The first president you remember would be Bush II or Obama. Gay marriage has always been legal in at least some states.

I don’t always agree with the lists I’ve seen. One around 20 years ago asserted that Kids These Days have no experience with vinyl records; when I mentioned this in an email group, several commenters said their parents had an LP collection so they knew. A start-up rock band I interviewed a few years later said getting their songs on a vinyl album for sale at concerts was a big, big deal — they’d also grown up with their parents’ LPs and thought of vinyl as proof they were a real band (the cover isn’t theirs, it’s from a trip TYG and I recently took to a thrift store). Since then, vinyl has stubbornly refused to go the way of VHS tapes and eight-tracks, even in the age of streaming.

The real point of my post is that in 2010 I posted a mindset list for comics fans.  For an 18 year old back then, for instance, Peter Parker and Flash Thompson have always been friends, Dick Grayson has never been Robin, Superman and Lois have always been married. Of course, fans probably knew Dick Grayson was Robin once and that Superman used to be single, but the same way I knew as a kid that Dr. Fate and the Boy Commandos had their own series — nice to learn, but ancient history.

Much of that original list is no longer valid because of one reboot or another. I didn’t think One More Day would end Peter/MJ as thoroughly as it did, for instance (surely they’d get sense and fix it … not so much). So here’s a new list for 2022. If you’re 18 this year and started reading comics the same age I did (six), you “know” that—

Damian Wayne has always been Robin.Wolverine is a classic character — he’s never been a “new” X-Man.Tony Stark has never had a bad heart (or has that changed of late?) but he’s always had a drinking problem. Howard Stark has always been an active part of the MU.Big-budget blockbuster superhero films have always been a thing, although DC’s movies mostly suck.Green Arrow and Flash have had a higher profile outside of comics than Superman.Flash Grant Gustin John Wesley Shipp Barry Allen Jay Garrick

Thor has never had a mortal identity.

Dick Grayson has always been Nightwing and Barbara Gordon has never been disabled.Carol Danvers has been Captain Marvel since you were seven. Ms. Marvel has always been a Muslim girl named Kamala Khan.It’s the norm to tell TV seeries in Gotham City that don’t involve Batman.

Of course with the mass of reprints and digital versions available, a comics fan could easily choose to read nothing but Silver or Bronze Age comics, or they could read every iteration of Batman, Flash, Thor or Iron Man from their genesis to now. I would not offer my mindset list as a universal description of Comics Nerds These Days, more like a comment on how comics have changed. That said, if you’ve got something to add (I’m betting a lot of you do), include it in comments.

#SFWApro. Comics covers top to bottom by Jorge Jimenez, Gil Kane, Bob Layton, Jack Kirby Scott McDaniel and Sujin Jo



  1. tomfitz1

    frasherman: Not to mention, that some of this generation might not know how to use a rotary phone, know what a vinyl record is, or what Atari/Intellivision video games are.

    Gawd, I feel soooooo old.

  2. Le Messor

    Vinyl records made a comeback in recent years.
    (Although, I recently heard somebody asking questions about the 90s to young people, and one of them was ‘what is vinyl?’ and my thought was – we didn’t call it that back then! We called them records.)

    I recently figured out that Spider-Man: No Way Home tells One More Day, at least the MCU equivalent.

    1. The ending annoyed the heck out of me as Peter promised he’d remind them who he was. But not as annoying as the original — if I were Mary Jane I don’t think I’d have wanted to remember him at all (“I love you honey but I’m going to sacrifice our marriage and our love to keep my mother-figure alive.”).
      I was thinking about the way the name changed from “albums” or “LPs” to “vinyl” as I wrote the piece.

      1. Le Messor

        I think they did a decent job of showing why he didn’t remind them who he was, even if it was a bad decision. (It was still a believable one.)
        I don’t know, though, what the film-makers were going for – if we were supposed to agree with his decision or not.
        Not gonna lie, I don’t mind One More Day as much as most people do. You see, for me, it has that kind of ‘I’ve never read it’ feel that makes it so much more bearable.

        I remember all those names; but then, ‘albums’ and ‘LPs’ are specific subsets of vinyl / records. (As opposed to singles or compilations and SPs.) I use ‘albums’ for some CDs, for example.

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