Dead Memory

By | Monday, June 12, 2023 Leave a Comment
We're coming up on the one year anniversary of the passing of my friend, Matt Kuhns. He was a solid friend and I still think about his not being here regularly. That I'm thinking about him a little more than usual now is hardly surprising since A) it is close to being one year exactly as I said, and B) by a weird confluence of circumstances, I am just now getting around to incorporating the comics he willed to me into my collection. They've been sitting in my living room and, while I did briefly go through everything, I hadn't studied them title by title.

Matt and I had similar tastes, so I wasn't surprised to see some books that I already had copies of. Not as many as I would've expected, though; mostly just semi-recent issues of Fantastic Four. I was amused/interested to see how similar our approaches seemed to be in terms of collecting in general though. His character-specific interests (e.g. Adam Warlock, Starman, etc.) led to his picking up significant issues feauring them, but not necessarily the originals -- he seemed content to pick up one-off reprints from maybe 20-30 years ago before it was collected in some nice hardcover or whatever. His interest was in the stories, not the artifact or something that looks nice on the shelf. Yeah, he had some original issues as well, but largely issues he got as they were coming out new or were not available in other formats. (Or at least, they weren't available in other formats when he would've been looking for the story in question.)

More curious, though, was that a not insigniticant portion of Matt's collection is a direct complement to my own. The first thing I came across in going through it was a copy of Promethea #32, the final issue. I'd picked up the rest of the entire run as back issues, but never got that one because I couldn't justify the $50+ price tag most resellers had it for. He had TPBs for the rest of the series, but then he had a copy of that issue as a floppy. Presumably for the artifactness of it, as it is something of a unique issue from a production standpoint. Regardless, it completes my collection of the series.

I came across last night a copy of a trade collection of Jack Kirby's Jimmy Olsen; Matt had a copy of volume one... which naturally pairs well with my copy of volume two. His set of Hellboy collections fills out mine. Marc-Antoine Mathieu's Dead Memory had been on my Want List for I don't know how long and, thanks to Matt, now I have a copy. He had a good collection of works by Eddie Campbell, who I'd long meant to get more into anyway.

Matt and I had been friends for twenty-five-ish years and, while we met in the process of discussing comic books, I've noted elsewhere it honestly wasn't a subject we discussed much over the past decade or so. Life, work, politics, technology, travel... we'd been friends long enough that ust about every topic was fair game and so we didn't need to focus on comics necessarily. We both came to the table with pretty different backgrounds (well, as different as you can get given that we were both white, middle class males who grew up in the mid-West during the '70s and '80s) and we often took pretty different paths to get to whatever conclusions and decisions we'd come to. And yet we still arrived in about the same place. I'd actually mentioned that to him on more than one occasion in the past. It almost seems like some kind of sci-fi experiment where you gave two people the same brain that set them up in different social conditions a few years apart in order to study the nature-versus-nurture argument. The patterns that played out were nearly parallel but one led to existentialism and one led to nihilism.

I don't know that I have a real point here, other than the observation of how two long-time friends' comic book collections can showcase similarities in their personalities. Which might then go a ways to explaining why they were friends to begin with.
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