There is almost no better metaphor for the way nostalgia farming is an inherently parasitic enterprise than Chester thinking giving out antique items they didn’t make, manufactured for a completely different product and IP, would be a great promotion for their comic company. They’re not selling to readers based on the quality of the stories being told in Atomik Comics, they’re marketing based solely on their ability to provide a pastiche of an era that they can’t possibly hope to equal or overcome. They’re repackaging someone else’s toys and regifting them to the people that already have them.
When an IP stops growing and changing, it dies, like a massive oak that has fallen in the forest. As it decays from public consciousness it often sprouts the little mushrooms of nostalgia grabs, some delicious and innocuous, like the Brady Bunch movies, some poisonous and nasty, like Ghostbusters 2016. But all of these mushroom reboots will never replace the oak tree, they can never grow that big, and they can never last that long, because they can’t make their own food, they can only feed off the carcass of the original. And if remembered at all it will be as a tiny footnote to a larger story.
And sometimes the oak tree thinks it’s still alive, still growing, when really it’s nothing but a rotting skeleton of an idea sprouting little mushy mushrooms of nostalgia and telling itself they’re leaves, as Tom Batiuk’s universe crumbles away into banality.