In the beginning, life was pure experience, and processing, and comparison, and the determination of likes and dislikes, pains and pleasures, revulsions and adorations. Lifelong comics fans know from a very young age which images, sounds, smells, and textures are the ones that we would devote the rest of our lives to. We can still vividly recall both the scent and the feel of the newsprint of our childhood comics. In turn, our adult encounters with comics are forever tempered by the spectral sensations of youth. When we’re nostalgic for bygone times and experiences, there’s often an implied distance between the present moment and an earlier era—between the surface upon which we now tread and the foundational layers that prop up our current age. We refer to mental dalliances in the past as nostalgia, as a longing for the departed and the ephemeral. Nostalgic tendencies are perhaps little more than the process of mourning those moments that can never be returned to, those memories that grow blurrier at the edges with the successive passing of years, and those emotions that proved so seminal to the ways in which our identities were shaped.

This essay may be found on page 157 of the printed volume.

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