April 16, 2018

Retro Recycling

Today we discuss passing on nerd hobbies, then a fun podcast called Daydream Instruction Manual.  Finally the fabulous comic book Invincible.


It’s interesting how popular nerd hobbies are passed down to the next generation more now than they were in 60’s or 70’s. I find it fascinating how pop culture from the 80’s is and has been reused, some cases multiple times. You see retro podcast and even retro cons for various pop culture hits from the 80’s like MOTU, GI Joe and Transformers.  It’s popular to collect everything from the 80’s like one guy who collects MOTU Mossman figures, only Mossman no others. One theory I have is maybe we and when I say we I mean Gen Xrs or people between 35 and 55 are more open about the things we played with as a child more than our parents did. We seem to be more excited about them than are parents were.  It seems when they grew up and put them away they put them away for good.  For us yes we put them away for a time, but got them back out when we got older. We aren’t afraid to talk about them in front of our kids, we aren’t afraid to play with them in front of our kids and encourage them to play with them too. Our kids know what we like.

The other day my kids were helping an older lady clean out the house of her brother who died. For several days they were bringing stuff up from the basement and bedrooms out to the main room for her to go through.  She had 3 categories to put the items in.  Sell, give away and throw away.  My kids being kids would look through the items.  I wasn’t there, but my son was excited one day when I came home from work.  He said dad we saw these old board games one of them was an old 1961 Stratego board game we thought you would like, we asked the lady if we could have them.

For those of you who don’t know Stratego is a strategy board game for two players on a board of 10×10 squares. Each player controls 40 pieces representing individual officer ranks in an army. The pieces have Napoleonic insignia. The objective of the game is to find and capture the opponent's Flag, or to capture so many enemy pieces that the opponent cannot make any further moves.

She said she is going to ask her son if he wants them and if he doesn’t then we can have them.  A few days later they brought Stratego and two other old games home, because her son didn’t want them.  I was excited to have these very old board games, then I thought how cool is it my kids know how nerdy I am when they saw something like that they immediately thought of me. And they thought of me in the first place instead of themselves

That’s the good that comes from recycling things from our past, we can reconnect with our past and connect with those in our present.  Of course as soon as they got the games home they wanted to play. And we did and had a blast.

Some may balk at the re-booting of 80’s franchises and to some extent I agree.  However the older generation may not like how it’s been redone, but it gets us talking to the new generation about our past.  It’s like in Back to the Future when Marty Mclflys dad tells how he met his mom and when Marty goes back he finds out he met his mom because he was a peeping Tom.

When these reboots come out we can tell our kids the truth how it was exactly done when we were young.  We can tell them what we were thinking when we saw the original TV show or played with the action figure.  How they made us feel and behaved, we can tell them what we did with our action figures and the stories that go with them.  How we went to so and so house and setup a battle field in his back yard. What was going on in the world at the time we were playing with these things.

Again it’s not just the item that’s important it’s the memories that are attached to the item.  Yes, we sound like old curmudgeons when we say, “back in my day our Heman wore a fur diapers and we liked it.” Try to keep the negative comments to a minimum.  How about “cool that they brought it back when I played with MOTU I really liked Trap Jaw because you could change out the different weapons and...”

Most of the kids I have met actually like seeing the retro stuff.  For example one day I showed my kids the old combat game on the Atari 2600.  You know the one with the two tanks that start at opposite ends of the screen and object is to shoot the other one a certain amount of times to win.  Its graphics are extremely basic by todays standards, but the fun is just as good.  However I will admit the replay value is short lived.  For a short period of time my kids liked it and occasionally will ask to play it.  Wil Wheaton on his blog told a similar story about a time he dug out his old Atari 2600 from his closet.  He hooked it up and his kids spent the next several days playing his old carts. I am sure he told stories to his kids about the times he played those same games.


Podcast Shout out

Daydream Instruction Manual is a podcast by Eddie and the gang.  They talk about a variety of things from comics to movies both current and from the past.  They even did a Christmas special written by Eddie and performed by members of the podcast crew. They are entertaining and informative at the same time.  I highly recommend you give them a listen.  Go to daydreaminstructionmanual.com


Must read comic

I know I mentioned in a previous episode, but I want to mention it again.  I binge read the comic book Invincible by Robert Kirkman all 144 inssues in about 3 weeks.  Side note I have done a lot more binge reading more lately, maybe it because I am getting back into comics after being for the most part absent for 20 years. For that reason maybe I think I have catching up to do.

From beginning to end this title is a page turner.  The reason I like it is because the story is very tight.  What I mean is the story stays for the most part about the main character Mark Grayson and how he deals with being an alien super hero. 

I know this may sound controversial, but I don’t like comics that try to force social issues into their story lines.  If the subject fits, then okay. For example having Superman address the MeToo movement would appear to be forced. Again I am not saying shouldn’t ever I am saying don’t try to force something to fit a current narrative.  With Invincible trying to spend several issues on a subject like that would be tough to do, in my opinion.

They do touch on homosexuality and abortion, but it’s minor, I like that because it fits into the overall tone and rhythm of the story.  With both subjects it didn’t appear to be forced. It fit into the overall story.

Robert Kirkman does a great job with the story telling and throws a few Easter eggs in the book too.  For example in Invincible #20 they mention a dimension where a virus kills all the males on earth.  Referring to Brian K Vaughans Y the last man.

Anyway a great title that I highly recommend and you won’t be disappointed.  If you read Invincible and you like it let me know I would love to hear what you think.


Quick shout outs to a few listeners.  That One Time I was Abducted and Not Your Pastors Podcast. If you want a shout out hit me up on social media, got to covertnerd.net to see where you can find me.

Go to covertnerd.net for all the ways you can subscribe

Nate Hamel art give away the first one to message me on Instagram or twitter and I will send it to you.

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