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Archive for March 10, 2022

Stranger Things

For me, Stranger Things was really at its best with the first season. Part of me kind of wishes it had never gone any further… And quite frankly, I never made it all the way through the third season.

The thing that makes this show work, the real conceit is watching these young kids tackle this overwhelming menacing evil. The fact that they are kids is the hook. They get less interesting in this perspective, as they age up. This isn’t a phenomenon unique to Stranger Things, it’s also very much true in comics. Tim Drakes robin was far more interesting at the beginning when he was only about 14 or 15 years old. When they aged him up to 19 it really stopped working. We lost the whole mentor relationship with Nightwing. You can’t have a big brother relationship with both brothers are big! Likewise, Jonathan Kent’s Superboy was way more interesting as a child. I don’t think the backlash to Brian Michael Bendis aging him up was just because people were in mourning for the adventures of the Super Sons… (Although this thing they’re trying to do with Damien still being a kid and Jonathan being grown up… It’s creepy. It doesn’t work) but also for the stories where we get to see Superman as a father. It’s a role that really suited him well, and Jonathan was actually I really interesting and welcome element into the rebirth era comics.

That said, for me, Stranger Things is best when the kids are… Well, kids. And that’s where this comic series comes in.

Geeks gambit was having a black Friday sale last year… Where everything in their quarter bins was now $.10. I have no idea what’s going on, but by sheer coincidence, my work took me in the area so I thought I’d visit. Once I saw the $.10 books… I burned about $20 right there and then. Among the massive piles of comics I loved home, were some Stranger Things series. The most interesting of these dark horse additions, is the first one. It’s not attempting to be just a straight spinoff in the Stranger Things universe, it’s actually a smart companion piece. With so much of that first season being taken up with the hunter Will Byers, the comics delve into the same.… But from Will’s perspective inside the upside down. It’s creepy and chilling. It’s interesting to see some of the corresponding events that we get from reality back in wills perspective… And a lot more time spent in that nightmare world which is, quite frankly pretty fascinating.

Far more than the subsequent Stranger Things comics, this first series is really kind of required reading if you’re a fan. You walk away with a much more full story than just watching the series alone. This one was a real pleasant surprise in a high recommend if you can find it in any of the back issue long boxes over at your local comic shop.

(By the way, don’t get confused by the variant covers. There’s a whole set of photo covers that are done up in a different font with the heading “the duffer brothers present”. Between the heading, font, and completely different presentation on that cover, I assumed this was an entirely separate series… And ended up with two copies of this first for a shoe mini series. Fortunately, I like it so much, that I don’t begrudge that extra forty cents at all!)