Power Pack Attack!
by Matthew Chase
Happy New Year to all of my faithful readers!
The holiday season is now over, and as we treat our happy holiday hangovers, lets chit chat just a bit.
This holiday season was a joy for me and my family, despite the low budget that everyone had. I came away with a new backpack made entirely of leather. My brother had quite a giggle when he gave me an “American Idol” bathroom radio, shaped like a microphone so I can sing in the shower! I was also the happy recipient of a new bed set, and the second edition of “Voltron”. More importantly, I got to spend some time with my nephews and my niece. We even had some playtime at the local playground. My guy and I teeter tottered, used the swing-sets and ran amok with them for a couple hours. In the evening I spent quality time with my twin brother and his wife.
We had the adult gift exchange on Christmas Eve, and after a lovely evening I went home to my own bed to sleep. Once I woke up on Christmas Day, I got a coffee hopped into the car. Trotted on back to the homestead and enjoyed breakfast and a gift exchange for the kids. This year each one of them received an MP3 player, and a Game Boy “Micro”. I have to say that this kind of made me a bit sad. The reason why, is that such expensive equipment can so easily be broken or lost. It seems each one of my nephews and my niece also has a PC, and untold amounts of toys. To me it seems a bit excessive, but given a bit of thought, that’s the day and age that we live in. Everything has to be modern, electronic and snazzy. Sadly making me long for the days where a coloring book and crayons made a better gift than the latest gizmo to hit the market. I am sure that it’s just a sign of the times. But if that’s where the times are going, I am not sure I want to follow. I enjoy my TV shows, but I am not about to pay big bucks for about a million channels I will never bother to see aside from flashing by on my way to the latest episode of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”. It just seems a bit excessive, don’t you think?
Speaking of “Buffy”, I miss that show dearly; I also miss “Charmed” quite a bit. I find that those shows, and a lot of the ones that aired on the WB, were involved and fun to watch. More so than the shows on some of the neighboring stations. I can’t tell you how sick I was of TNT for cramming it’s programming with episodes of “Law & Order”. (Though there are episodes of “Charmed” that would air in between time slots.) At this point, I chose not to have any cable programming, or any stations other than what I can receive by placing a set of “bunny ears” on the top of my television. (I can get CBS, and PBS.) Any other items I’d like to see are either purchased, or rented DVD’s and videos. (I have the habit of collecting seasons of my favorite programs. This includes my entire 7 seasons of “Buffy”, my five seasons of “Smallville”, and six seasons of “Charmed”.) I enjoy a collection of horror flicks, and I have no idea how many “super hero” movies I have collected so far. I even have a copy of the lost pilot for the TV show based on my favorite comic book of all time, “Power Pack”.
Power Pack” was/is published by the Marvel Comics Group, and had its first issue published in 1984. I have been fond of the series since the day my family and I were on vacation long ago. Our family vacations usually involve driving for a number of hours and pitching a tent up by a large body of water for a few days. On this particular trip, the drive was excruciatingly long. So you could imagine it being the early eighties, and here are three kids crammed into the back seat of a small car, who are progressively getting more bored by the second. Finally we make a pit stop at a gas station and we all gratefully stretch our legs while the car is being loaded up with gas. After everyone has used the bathroom, and the car is ready we all pile back into the beige vinyl seat, careful not to burn the back of the knees on the already scorching hot plastic. The car starts and begins barreling down the road again. Worn out with singing, and playing the license plate game, we all begin to get a bit shifty. I recall my mother looking back at the three of us and saying something to the effect of: “I know you guys are tired of being in the car, so I got these for you.”
She then handed my older brother Josh a “G.I. Joe” comic, and my twin brother Nate a “Casper and Friends” comic. “You’ll have to share” She said, and turned herself around. I sat there between my brothers; upset and bored, waiting as patiently as any young man can for one of my brothers to finish what they were reading. Now as far as I know, out of the three of us, I was the one to really take a shine to reading, and excelled at it to the point where my teachers had to verify that I had actually read the books I did reports on, because they were so far advanced from my classmates reading levels. Vacation time is the worst time; however, to complain. I know the horrors of being punished for bad behavior during vacation, and there is little worse for a young fairy like myself who has a love of water, than to be secluded to the beach watching others play in the surf. Back to my story…
So here I am, fidgeting and doing my best to be patient so instead of trying to read over my brothers shoulder, I look out onto the road between my folks, thinking maybe I would see something interesting that my otherwise engrossed brothers would miss. I did. While I was casually doing my best to look like a good kid, from below my line of vision was movement coming from the other side of the armrest that my parents had between them. Slowly but surely, and much to my wonder and glee, a third comic rose up from between the seats. I can still see the look my mother had on her face as my own lit up and I grabbed Issue #24 of “Power Pack” I don’t know if it was my mothers decision, or if fate just happened that way. But from then on whenever I read that comic book, I feel special, and loved, as though it was written just for me. It took many, many years to find every issue. (The original series had 62.) The search ended for me only about three or four years ago when FFTW’s own J.W. Carbonell found the last issue #62 on eBay I think. It was one of those days that left me glowing for DAYS.
Recently there has been a new “Power Pack” comic that I have tried to find, but there is a serious lack of comic stores in Vermont now. I have a few of the recent mini series issues, but there are more to collect. It is nice to see the newer stories, but they do not follow the original continuity, sadly enough. But either way I’m glad that the series is developing a new fan base, and I will be first in line if they ever were to do a movie. (See the Internet Movie Database for more information if you are curious.) I am curious as to whether anyone has had a similar experience that followed him or her into adulthood… Let me know!
So as we go into the New Year with all the new things to see and do, remember that it’s ok to sit back and be a bit nostalgic, and curl up with those things that make you feel loved.
Many Happy New Year Wishes from Me to all of you!