TO­TAL RE­CALL

Our Rus­sell won­ders what ef­fects his ’ 70s su­per­hero tops had on him.

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents - Rus­sell Lewin, Pro­duc­tion Editor Nowa­days Rus­sell only has Marvel py­jama trousers ( true!).

Look at those pho­tos. Cute, huh? Well, as you might have guessed, that lit­tle guy is me, back in that weird and won­der­ful decade known as the 1970s. And of course the one thing that th­ese snaps have in com­mon is that they fea­ture me wear­ing t- shirts with a su­per­hero on them. See, there’s Cap­tain Amer­ica, there’s Spi­der- Man ( my favourite), there’s the Hulk, and a DC in­ter­loper, Bat­man. I just loved those guys back in those days. The comics were the start­ing point, and back in the ’ 70s I’d buy the black and white Bri­tish ones, which were reprints of the all- singing, all- danc­ing, all- colour US comic books, which I’d yet to re­alise even ex­isted at that point.

But even if I hadn’t even read the comics I sus­pect I would have been wear­ing those t- shirts any­way be­cause, let’s face it, it’s not un­usual for lit­tle kids to be clad in su­per­hero- branded cloth­ing. They don’t all grow up to write for sci­ence fic­tion mag­a­zines, though, and edit a cou­ple of SFX su­per­hero spe­cials.

So, that got me think­ing: what was my de­gree of love for th­ese tops? Was I just do­ing what other kids were do­ing, or was I in­di­cat­ing my fu­ture life path? I think my love was deep. Some­thing primal even. Ob­vi­ously bright colours ap­peal to young­sters – su­per­hero cre­ators know that, and that’s why they make them lu­mi­nously gar­ish.

Maybe be­cause I loved such t- shirts when I was young, when I was older I’d as­so­ciate im­ages like th­ese – bold, brash, colour­ful – with the hap­pi­ness of child­hood. And so that must be the rea­son I dis­like washed- out, adult- ori­en­tated, dreary su­per­hero stuff ! That’s why im­agery from the likes of Bat­man V Su­per­man: Dawn Of Jus­tice gets me down!

It’s funny to think, I was a walk­ing art gallery; I was adorned with beau­ti­ful art that would later be seen in gal­leries and on ex­pen­sive prints. Those polyester, eas­ily stretched tees had im­agery very much of their time, and they rep­re­sent the sunny, the op­ti­mistic, the pos­i­tive, be­fore su­per­hero comics went all gloomy and grown- up and PC. To me, they rep­re­sent the ab­so­lute golden age of su­per­hero comics.

I won­der whether the ul­ti­mate proof that we want things back from our child­hood even though we can do noth­ing use­ful with them is that I re­ally, re­ally wish I still had th­ese t- shirts.

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