Let’s do an experiment.
Today, we’re dipping into nostalgia. Today we’re talking about things that no longer exist. Maybe they’re kinds of books. Maybe they’re food items. Maybe they’re games. I’m looking at 15 things I miss today, things that in some cases could come back (I have Pepsi Blue literally at my side) but likely won’t.
For mood music, a little Foo Fighters. Next Year.
1 Cajun McChicken. I start on a silly, worthless dollar sandwich only available regionally. But this was the best thing this chain ever sold. It was spicy with incredible texture. I think of it as the perfect meal for a cold winter bike ride. It survives after a fashion as the Hot and Spicy McChicken but the breading is wrong. Also the cajun spices were just better.
2 Marvel Boulevard Prose Novels. Getting an obvious one. Now plenty of you will note that there are still prose novels based on Marvel Comics. Two of my followers on Twitter are even writing them. But there was a unique combination of factors that made me love these books as a new fan and love them as an old. For 7-8 bucks you got a good story with chapter illustrations and covers to display. You got a full experience in a pocket book size and the expensive trade size books don’t have that now. While I’m at it…
3 Marvel Essential/DC Showcase Collections. I’m not dwelling too long on comic media but these must come up. For 15-20 dollars, a new fan could quickly inhale classic comics albeit in black and white. And a lot of these gave space for books that might not get cheap reprints in color. DC gave us a full run of early Batgirl stories and the complete Dan Jurgens Booster Gold while Marvel gave us the complete Howard the Duck by Steve Gerber and classic X-Men stories in epic form. I actually liked the black and white. Coloring has been tricky due to different paper stocks. These looked amazing.
4 Mountain Dew Pitch Black. I’m tempted to put Ruby Red Squirt here but it’s possible to find though not in my region. This is available in fountain form but the taste is wrong. So it gets my vote. The perfect grape soda and one of the only things I’ve ever won, getting a 12 pack when Pepsi reintroduced it. I love this perfect, tart Dew. Not the best Dew–Code Red has never gone away–but good.
5 The Shooting Script series. A lot of the items so far have some variant of availability and these are no exception. Every Oscar season with no exception you can find every major script online as a promotional tool. I’ll slam my foot down here though. These books were a cut above as a serious tool for film lovers. Reading a script on your tablet or phone will never be the same. The books also ranged from the exact draft used to intriguingly dramatically altered versions such as with The Truman Show and Man on the Moon. These books were also often annotated and filled with discussion. The PDFs will never be the same.
6 Hershey TasteTations. Caramel, Chocolate, Butterscotch, Peppermint and Chocolate Mint in December. Hershey had the greatest hard candy ever. They had a smooth, creamy mouthfeel and the best flavor. Their mints were especially good as they were cold and didn’t turn porous like standard peppermints. They were perfect.
7 Computer City. There are so many dead retail chains I could do an entry on ones I miss. But if we’re honest, Hastings has a descendant in Vintage Stock and Borders wasn’t any good. But I can grieve for Computer City. There was a magic to early computer stores. You could find the weirdest, neatest stuff in these places. It felt like you were in on a secret. You might find anything on a CD rom like a Star Wars encyclopedia or a pinball game. They had neat lighting too.
8 The Buffy the Vampire Slayer novels. I’m trying not to list too much tie-in media because any piece of media can easily come back. But I made an exception for the Boulevard Marvel books for their packaging and I’m making an exception here. These books were better than the show save for very limited exceptions. If you think I am kidding try rewatching it. The secret was they were an excuse to once a month have a really good horror novelist riff on the world. So you got really excellent horror stories using the formula. They had texture and life. Again, never say never but I’m saying never anyway. If they do revive it’ll never be the same.
9 Pepsi Holiday Spice. Yup we’re getting to a holy grail for soda lovers and it’s one for me too. The soda that drank like December. Just a great, amazing spiced cola. The magic wasn’t that this tasted like a holiday drink. It was honestly that it tasted like Pepsi should taste, a distinct different flavor instead of being fine but not Coke. This is a great brew and it’s shocking we haven’t seen it back.
10 The Andrews McMeel comic strip collections. I go out with another one people can argue never technically left but I’m arguing is dead. This company still very occasionally puts out books for the kids market, mostly Big Nate which I can’t exactly whine about given not only my massive collection but a tribute on this site. They’ve mostly abandoned adults save for very occasional collections. Their classic 128 page square books, the ones you can instantly spot, are dead. I get why. Their focus is on gocomics and newspaper strips are a dying art. But these books were a gift. An afternoon of guaranteed fun and relaxation. I miss these fun sets where I could sample strips.
That’s my list. Will I eventually make one of things I wish I had as a kid? Yes. Next week probably. But for now I miss these.