In yesterday's review of Daimyo of 1867, I quoted the epigram, "the past is a foreign country." It's a phrase that's very true in my opinion and it's one I'm often reminded of when I have conversations with my children, especially my 10 year-old daughter. That are so many things that were a part of my own childhood that simply mean nothing to her, because the world today is different in obvious and subtle ways from the world in which I lived thirty years ago.
Here's a very minor case in point. We were out driving on the highway and I saw, for the first time in ages, a van. And I mean a real van, not a mini-van or a delivery vehicle, but an honest to goodness 1970's-style panel van. I expressed my surprise at this sight and offhandedly commented that "All you need is Conan on the side and you're set for some serious cruising." My daughter looked at me as if she had no idea what I was talking about, because, well, she had no idea what I was talking about. Airbrushed van murals aren't something you see much anymore, especially fantasy-inspired van murals.
So I had to explain to my daughter what they were and why they were created, in the process pointing out to her the frankly implausible notion that, prior to the 1970s, fantasy wasn't mainstream like it is today. In many ways, she finds that idea even more bizarre than the idea of artwork on the side of a van. Afterward, I decided to poke around the Net to see if I could find some photographs of some classic van art from the 70s, but, oddly, I actually found it rather hard to do so, certainly none with Frazetta Conan art on the side, which I distinctly recall seeing as a kid. Anyone out there got some better links to this stuff to share?