Tasteful Detritus Of The 90’s: Thoughts On The Gen 13 Mini Series

Gen 13.

Oh, for god’s sake… Did I use to read this?

I mean, I have positive, Weapon-X style memories of humor and breasts and excellence… But then again that was the nineties: when I read Wizard Magazine like it was the word of John the Baptist, second edition, and Liefeld taught me that men and women were fifteen feet tall with eleven bendable joints in each leg.

You punks don’t know how important Jim Lee was to us: he was the legitimacy that turned Image from a middle finger at Marvel and DC to an honest-to-god enterprise. Without J. Scott Campbell’s perverted, big-eyed scrawls, you crotch fruit wouldn’t have your precious “The Walking Dead”.

Pictured: The 90's.

Pictured: The 90’s.

Ugh.

I’m sorry: I think I’m trying too hard here to justify this particular aspect of my childhood. Let me get back to the point. Yeah.

So… Gen 13.

That was a thing that happened.

It wasn’t bad, really: even reading it again after twenty years, it has its appeal. I mean, you lusted after Fairchild and laughed at Grunge’s jokes (they didn’t really kick in all that well until the unlimited run) and some of us even patted ourselves on the back for supporting a comic that contained an openly gay character (even if it was the sexy, hold-your-breath-and-let’s-experiment-because-this-is-college style gay).

There's gay and then there's 90's gay.

There’s gay and then there’s 90’s gay.

Look, if you’re younger or more cause-head inclined, I understand why you hate me for remembering this in even a vaguely positive light, but it was a different time. All the comics had variant, super-collectible covers, and the girls were eighteen feet tall, and all I wanted was something colorful and exciting to keep my mind off of middle and high school awkwardness.

It wasn’t all bad. I mean, I probably wouldn’t have discovered the more abstract work of Sam Keith or Jeff Smith if it wasn’t for this boner-bait.

Gen 13 was that dweeby, uncomfortable moment in our Nerdling history where our picture books were just unironically and unapologetically stereotypical. Between games of Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego we used to stare at books like these until the part in our brain that begged us to find a girl with a nice personality was reduced to a withered, dried-out husk.

So, in the age where Meat Loaf was attempting a comeback, I liked this book. And the fact that I’m not particularly proud of that means (to me, at least) that this is the sort of book that Nerd Scholars should pick up in an attempt to better understand how decadent the nineties were to a niche group that hadn’t yet achieved some level of mainstream popularity due to people like Judd Apatow and Joss Whedon.

Gen13

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