The first time I read Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea was during my first year at college, when I had moved away from my parents’ house for the first time in 18 years, hated my roommates, and suddenly became very, very sick. The aforementioned roommates went home for the weekend — “We don’t want to get sick” — which left me flu-stricken with only a 12-pack of ginger ale, some chicken soup, and ebooks on my iPod for company.
Reading about Anne and her adventures (misadventures?) was like looking at myself in a time warp. Accidental hair-related misadventures? Check. Boating misadventures? Check. Fierce intellectual competition with a classmate? Check.
Books, like any other storytelling method, become classic for a reason, and there are many reasons a story can become a classic. In the case of Anne of Green Gables, it’s obvious the story can connect with readers even more than a hundred years after being published. Other classics are the same way: somehow, people always love the original Star Wars films, even if they do think Luke is annoying, and there are plenty of Harry Potter fans who think Harry starts becoming an annoying little jerk around Book 5.
What makes a story classic? Sometimes, it’s the protagonist’s relatability that stands through time — Anne Shirley is one of the most well-known characters of all time and was recently named the most iconic character in Canadian literature in a CBC poll. For other stories, it’s the journey itself, like Luke Skywalker’s and Harry Potter’s, that draw people in.
But sometimes, just the nostalgic feeling of a certain kind of story can feel comforting. The familiar story of superheroes like Batman and Spider-man keep readers interested enough to maintain tens of ongoing series; historical fiction, itself a sort of throwback, puts readers and viewers in a time they understand.
This month, we’ll discuss some of our favorite throwbacks, from old series and franchises we loved then and now to lesser-known titles we’ve loved. Our team may even touch on a totally different sort of throwback: time travel and alternate history.
What are your favorite throwbacks?
Feliza Casano is a fan of anime, manga, and every sort of book as well as editor in chief at Girls in Capes. She writes for all sections of the site, and she’s the one behind GiC’s Facebook and Twitter. Follow her on Twitter @FelizaCasano.
Can’t wait for the throwback goodness in the August issue? Check out our previous articles on Doctor Who’s Martha Jones, how The Lion King builds a metaphor on socioeconomic class, and Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to Asian cinema.