A couple years ago I read Jonathan Lethem’s essay about being a fan of Kirby during the 70’s, Identifying with Your Parents or Return of the King, it got me thinking about why I hadn't been buried up to my hips in Kirby comics as I was growing up. One very real reason is for my Kirby-ignorance was that I had no older brother. My nearest equivalent (my cousin Nick) was all about classic rock and body building (still is). Even if Nick had been a comic book guy, it would not have mattered, he grew up in the exact same uncanny valley of sans-Jack that I did. Nick was only a couple years older than me. The well informed comic geek would no doubt expound on the personal politics of Marvel comics and end by skewer Stan Lee as a sell out. I don't buy it. Kirby is the fall guy for an entire generation who sold their souls and are unwilling to look into the hole where their hearts used to be. Comic books are dead and we have no one to blame but our selves. We are we? The geeks.
Jonathan Lethem is the type of guy who lectures me about my aesthetic ignorance, who rubs my nose in the banality of my childhood; the inauthentic baseness of personal taste. I have never met Lethem. I don't know what kind of guy Lethem is, but I do know how old he is. I was born a crucial six years after Lethem, who writes about discovering Kirby in stacks of old comics collected by older boys. I remember finding just such a stack of old comics when I was ten. My Father had remarried and my step mother had three sons who were all over a decade older than me. I had found their stash at the summer house in Main. This is the point in the narrative where I am supposed to describe an awaken, a turning point, a Rubicon of American boyhood should have been crossed that summer, but it wasn't.