In Time

You may recall my discovery of an old journal in a box of my cousins’ Uncanny X-Men and G.I. Joe comics.  It contained the writings of a certain eccentric called Matthew Meriwether Mindcarp (in other passages ‘Mindkarp’), self proclaimed grand comicologist, the first comics commentator of the modern age in futurespect.  Using a device he called ‘the tomorrow goggles’ he was able to read and study comics decades, even centuries, in advance of their original publication.  Mindkarp loved the cosmic stuff in particular.  He was a man before his time, perhaps doomed to enjoy his hobby alone out of fear that the technology he utilized for fancy might be manipulated for darker purposes.  So seemingly fearful was Mindkarp that he wrote his journal in code (all b’s replaced with q’s).

This is the final entry:


(date indecipherable)

Some seventeen years have passed since the Chronos Affair and the destruction of the Goggles. Such incidents are recorded in the green diary, which remains hidden on every axis perhaps unto eternity. Julian Furthermoore is dead. So too is my beloved, if traitorous, Miranda. Mine is the stubborn and devoted heart of a lapdog and I knew I’d forgive her in time (it happened during a brief respite near her gravesite in 12 B.C., roughly seven hundred years pre facto). I returned from the conflict alone—my ward Toby Tick-Tock the clockwork boy having decided to remain with his new bride in Des Moines IV. If I’d had any Goggles to hang up, I’d have done so. As it was, the aeoninium supply throughout history had been depleted and I was left more or less marooned in my own time with no such apparatus. I could have settled anywhen, I suppose. Whether by nature or experience I remain an anachronism wherever I go. My own estate is as ill-fitting as the court of King Arthur. Either of them. But this is where I’d left my slippers.

I retired to my eggplants and never remarried.  

I thought of my comics often, of story lines unfinished. There was so much left unread, unseen, unsavored. All my heroes. I am ashamed to admit I thought of She Hulk when handling unripened tomatoes those afternoons. After all these years, lusting after green litigators! Hobbling through the park I’d often stop, foot traffic permitting, and look off into the clouds, turning crisp pages yet printed. Nothing tangible, but still quite real to me. “Thinking about the war, old man?”comes a lad. “Not the one you’re thinking of, child.” He has nothing to say to this, and so I sit him down and we talk about Annihilation. He returns the next day, eagerly anticipating further tales from the renaissance of Rocket Raccoon.

This new generation shows far more interest in such frivolity than did my compatriots in those dismal tearoom conventions. Such a sad affair. I do however regret disassociating myself from those gentlemen. In the time after those awkward discussions I believed, condescendingly, that these men of the time could not grasp comics for the masterworks they would come to be. That these fellows were ill-equipped to appreciate that which I appreciated, all due to their lack of foresightedness. I tell you, reader, that this is not the case. In these seventeen years of contemplation I have come to understand that the barrier was never time. We are the same, reader, in that we are different. Not just you and I, but all people from all points of axis. Not better or worse, but different in our sensibilities. We both love our comics (are maybe you don’t), but maybe you do not thrill to the harvesting of eggplants as I do. We are still compatriots. I extend a hand to accept yours in good fellowship, but even now I am fading.  

I have seen much. More than I was ever meant to. But I regret very little. I have loved what I love and hope that you might do the same. Unabashedly.


And let that be enough.

Yours in time,

Paul Montgomery is a master code-breaker.  Contact him at You can also find him on Twitter.


  1. The wonderfully tragedy of comics is that, in the end, we are all men and women suspended in time, doomed never to know that final story. Because there is no end AND NO BEGIGINIG  It’s what Nietzsche calls "The Eternal Reccourence of the Same".

  2. Luckily, he didn’t pick a better code, which I would think involves all p’s switched with q’s.  If he did it in cursive, that would have been a bitch to decifer.  Thankfully, M.M.M. wasn’t quite that private and we’re all able to enjoy his musings with Paul’s excellent translation.

  3. Excellent work Paul. I’d like to see the full journal published. Definitely.

  4. Poor Mindkarp, left only with his eggplants.

  5. I must admit, I was hoping that the journal was still encoded.

  6. To murder my love is a crime.
    But will you still love man out of time?

  7. Maybe it wasn’t a code. Maybe he was just dyslexic. I mean I’m dyslexic and bs, ps, and qs suck.

  8. "Alas poor Mindkarp! I knew him, Monty."

    Will miss MMM and stories of his intrepid travels.

  9. nice code breaker….gonna miss MMM…

  10. nice code breaker….gonna miss MMM…