Tag: Johannes Hofer

Brainiac On Banjo: Remember Nostalgia?

Brainiac On Banjo: Remember Nostalgia?

“Summer has come and passed. The innocent can never last. Wake me up when September ends.” From Wake Me Up When September Ends, written by Billie Joe Armstrong, Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt.

I remember nostalgia before it became an excuse to “fix” things. Whereas this applies to most aspects of modern-day life, it is a particularly dangerous weapon in the hands of comics people.

First, some background. Originally, the term “nostalgia” referred to a disease. According to The Atlantic magazine in 2013:

“These were some of the treatments proposed for nostalgia during the 17th to 19th centuries, when it was considered a psychopathological disorder – rather than a blanket term for fondness for anything that existed more than thirty minutes ago … Swiss physician Johannes Hofer coined the term in his 1688 medical dissertation, from the Greek nostos, or homecoming, and algos, or pain. The disease was similar to paranoia, except the sufferer was manic with longing, not perceived persecution, and similar to melancholy, except specific to an object or place.”

I first heard about the nostalgia disease a very long time ago. At that time, this diagnosis made complete sense to me. Sadly, it still does.

This brings me to the subject of Mystery In Space #75. This truly historic (by the standards of the medium back then) single issue went on sale March 6, 1962, which means I was 11 years old at the time. In other words, I was the exact age DC Comics was targeting. They figured out I was about two years away from the habit-destroying affects of puberty. If you want to quibble about “historic,” DC did a facsimile edition reprint in 2020; of course, the original cost 12 cents and the reprint $3.99, which is almost four times the rate of inflation. I think it’s safe to say the intended audience was significantly older than in 1962, the field fraught with victims of nostalgia. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Remember Nostalgia?”