Monday, May 31, 2004

My Life in Bubblegum

Wow, thanks to the Topps Flashback section of the Topps/Bazooka Joe website, I can revisit all the touchstones of my lifelong fetish in one convenient location: not just Batman but THE GREEN HORNET, MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., the original PLANET OF THE APES. Alas, no cards of shirtless, caged Charlton Heston; no bound-and-doomed Napoleon Solo; no Green Hornet in peril; the Batman set displayed is the kink-free tie-in to the 1966 movie, not the glorious S&M-crazed packs drawn by Bob Powell and Norm Saunders. But still. All this site is lacking is THE WILD, WILD WEST to complete my childhood introduction to masculine heroism... and since the site seems to be updated now and then, there's always a chance.

Plenty of other artifacts of my youth are there, too, like LAUGH-IN, the moon landing, the Beatles, Evel Knievel, and more (plus some fascinating pop-culture icons from earlier and later eras). But those images trigger a completely different part of my brain than the aforementioned. For me, batfascination is not a nostalgic exercise; it's still very current. "Flashbacks" are about looking back on the innocence of childhood (specifically your own) from a distanced perspective, generally encouraging you to feel superior to the past (Look at those crazy hairstyles! Those wacky sofas!), which I think is simply a way of encouraging all of us happy consumers to perpetuate commodity culture's relentless insistence on newness. But Batman is still very much with me, a myth from my past that constantly informs my present and, I assume, my future.

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