It’s a good time to be a comics fan of my age – someone in his thirties who started reading comics in the late 1980s – since there’s been a continuing wave of reprints of the better comics of those days in more permanent form. A lot of things that I hadn’t read in a decade or more, because the original issues are bagged up in longboxes now buried under other things in a messy basement, are coming back into print on slick paper with square covers. It’s very nice to have these things in a form that fits on a shelf, but I do sometimes worry that some things that I loved at eighteen won’t be as compelling to me at thirty-eight.
I think I was on board for Scout when Eclipse started publishing it in 1987; I’d been following comics for a year or so then, and I knew Truman’s work from GrimJack, which he illustrated over John Ostrander’s scripts. I know I loved it immediately, and have been known to grouse, in the years since, about wanting all of the sequel series that Truman had sketched out, way back then. (Scout: Marauder and Scout: Blue Leader, which I’m still waiting for…but I’m also waiting for Ty Templeton to return to Stig’s Inferno and Zander Cannon to pick The Replacement God back up, so I may just not know when to give up on things.)
I was a bit apprehensive to go back to Scout after twenty years. On the one hand, I was pretty sure I’d still be happy with Truman’s art, since the recent GrimJack reprints (on much nicer paper than back in the day) showed off all of the little details of his line work, and that still thrilled me. But I remembered that Scout was a post-apocalyptic story, and I’ve developed an allergy to those since having kids. (It’s just one of those things – if a book is set in the near future, I work out how old my sons would be in that world, or how old I might be, if I’m not dead yet, and try to figure out what I or they might be doing. Stories that slaughter my family and I, especially as part of megadeaths off-stage for cheap pathos, aren’t things I’m as interested in any more.)