Last week Disney bought Marvel Comics for 4 billion dollars. I haven’t been able to relate to comic book fans for years but comic books were a big part of my childhood.
I still have a hard time with the new X-Men and that happened in the 70s. And what’s up with all these graphic novels they’re turning into movies?
I think the comic book reading demographic must be getting older.
I had a large comic collection before I could read. I remember my friend Joe’s mom begging me to let her son borrow some because he didn’t have any. She made it sound like he was deprived.
I started reading them right when they went up from a dime to twelve cents. My local drug store had a machine you put a dime in one side of its slot and 2 pennies in the other side.
I remember being bribed by my mom’s friend and our roommate “Sandy from
We moved in with
I broke my wrist falling from a town house in
We had moved by the time the cast was to come off. My mother was broke and she couldn’t afford to take me back to the hospital to get it removed. Two weeks past time the unbearable itch and my desire for freedom of movement convinced her it was time for it to go. She cut it off with a hack saw in the bath tub.
My son is an avid comic collector. I used to worry a little because he only likes lighter stuff like The Simpsons, etc. He never got into super heroes. I have to admit I grew up liking things like Sad Sack and the DC super heroes. Sheesh, I even collected Archie comics. I never got into the Marvel characters with their personal problems. Why would I want to be reminded of things I was already going through when there was Bizarro World?
It seemed like every Superman had a panel with Lois saying, “How ironic!” That’s how I learned the word. That’s why it drives me crazy when Alanis gives examples of bad luck as incidents of irony. I love her more recent albums though!
When we moved to the county my mother and I met with my new 6th grade school principal.
“Does he read?” he asked. “His nose is always buried in his comic books, does that count?” she asked. Damn straight it counts!” I thought to myself.
This was the house where the tragedy occurred. Our basement flooded. My comics were stored in beer cases down there. When the flood receded there was a beautiful mound of multi-colored psychedelic pulp.
I think I had pretty much the same reaction my friend Mark Holland had when his huge Frank Zappa collection was stolen. He turned away from Frank and toward Jesus. I turned to Mad Magazine and wouldn’t read comics for years.
When Wuxtry, a used record store, opened up in the
I started with
I would get angry when customers came in and called them “funny books.” “You never read a real comic in your life,” I fumed to myself.
Artists like Neal Adams, Will Eisner, Wally Wood, Carl Barks, Steve Ditko, and Barry Smith still haunt my dreams. There were great writer too. Steve Gerber, Eisner, Denny O’neil, Frank Miller, and Roy Thomas come to mind.
Recently I needed money and sold the first 6 issues of Silver Surfer. (I do have back-ups). There’s a new scam out there. I had to send them off to a rating agency. They gave them numeric grades and sealed them in air tight plastic cases. This is the only way you can sell them sight unseen over the internet. This cost thirty bucks apiece. It almost wasn’t worth it.
I probably won’t be selling any more. I had always intended my comics and my audio equipment to be my legacy to my kids. Unfortunately this kind of thinking has led to my son saying things like, “Dad, when you’re dead can I have ...?”
In 1954 a psychiatrist named Frederic Wertham wrote a book call Seduction of the Innocent. It preached the evils of this morally depraved art form. It scared the hell out of parents. The comic industry started policing itself. They came up with the Comics Authority Code. I am the proud owner of Spiderman and Green Arrow books published in the 70s that didn’t get that stamp. Both were drug issues.
The best comic company in the 50s when all this happened was EC. They were responsible for Tales from the Crypt, Creepy, Weird Science, Mad, and the true crime comics that were so graphic it was only a matter of time before they were shut down. They got rid of all their titles except Mad. They changed that to a full sized magazine. That made it legal for some reason.
Mickey Spillane had a story he had to convert to a novel. It became his first, “I the Jury”.
Mad Magazine had a profound effect on me too. I’ll get to that soon.