The Nearness of You

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"The Nearness of You" was originally published in Wizard Presents: Kurt Busiek's Astro City #1/2.


Michael Tenicek has a problem that's ruining his life: he keeps dreaming of a woman named Miranda, who seems so familiar and so close to him that he can clearly identify specific details about her life--but he can't remember ever meeting her, and no one he asks seems to know anything about her.

While Michael questions his sanity one evening, having turned to medication to try and dull his anxiety, he is visited by the Hanged Man. The Hanged Man tells Michael that his dreams are compromising reality, and Michael is given access to information about a reality-threatening crisis: upset at his continued defeat at the hands of various superheroes, the Time-Keeper challenged Eterneon for control over time itself.

The resulting conflict sent ripples of chaos through time. Heroes like the Silver Agent found himself fighting a tyrannosaurus rex, while M.P.H. squared off against a viking; Samaritan disappeared from existence, much to the dismay of Winged Victory. Even Astro City itself seemed to flicker from reality. The heroes fought one final battle to try and overcome the combatants and then undo the damage caused by the Time-Keeper's efforts.

Unfortunately, the Hanged Man notes, the reconstruction of existence was not perfect. One pertinent example was that Air Ace fought the Barnstormer Gang on a Sunday rather than a Monday, and thus Miranda's grandparents never met, and she was never born.

The Hanged Man tells Michael that, while he cannot return Miranda to him, he can give Michael a choice: to forget about Miranda completely, or to have a sense of understanding about his relationship to the woman.

Michael notes that he does not want to forget--and before the Hanged Man leaves, Michael asks what most people choose in his situation. The Hanged Man replies that no one ever chooses to forget.

That evening, Michael sleeps peacefully, dreaming of Miranda, a woman that he can rest easy knowing that, in another life, he loved her.


  • The Gentleman and the Confessor both make their first appearances on the cover of the Wizard version, while not appearing in the story itself. Depending on when the issue arrived to people who ordered it, The Gentleman most likely had appeared already in Kurt Busiek's Astro City Vol.2 No.1.