Been way too long since I wrote one of these, hasn't it? So today, I'm going to write about my early days with comic books.
I honestly have no idea what the first comic book I read was... I cannot recall any part of my childhood that comic books weren't a part of! There are a few stories of my introduction to reading I've been told, although I've no memory of them, so let me make an early digression.
My mom has always told me that I started to learn when I was two years old, although there are two different parts of the story. This part takes place when my family lived in Laramie, WY (a place I am so glad I didn't grow up in!). Apparently, I was somewhat self-taught, believe it or not! It seems when my mom would take me with her grocery shopping (I'm not sure what my sister Sandy, who would've been an infant at the time, was doing... if she was along as well or if she was being babysat while we shopped), I would often point at specific products and name them. The specific example my mom gave was "Campbell's Soup." I would do this every trip, but mom always assumed that I was just recognizing the colorful packaging... until one day, she thought she'd put it to the test.
We came home from grocery shopping one day, and she decided to write the words down of the products I was recognizing, and apparently, I was able to read them!
Concurrent with this, more or less, was that my Uncle Gary lived nearby us, and would often do things with us (Uncle Gary was my favorite uncle, and it eventually came out that he was gay, something his siblings always had a hard time accepting, referring to his partner as his "good friend," which is ridiculous to me, but they're of a different generation... but I digress again). The story goes that as we would drive around, Gary would read aloud the billboards we drove past (there were many more of them than there are these days), and apparently I would start to read along with him.
|One of the last pictures of the original Geiger Elementary, it has been torn |
down and an all-new school built in its place with the same name.
I also remember at the time that my best friend was Curt Phair (I hope I've spelled his first and last names correctly, I haven't seen him since about fourth grade). Curt was black, something that didn't really matter to me at all. He was my friend, and his skin color didn't matter. Now, let's put things in context... I was born in November of 1962, so by the time 1969 came around, Curt and I were friends, and the Falcon made his debut in Captain America. Until then, the only other black super-hero was the Black Panther, who hadn't been making quite as many appearances in the comics yet (I believe he was active in The Avengers, but I guess I wasn't reading Marvel's team book by then). I must have been reading Captain America, because I remember Curt and I playing Cap and the Falcon in a small patch of woods near our houses, with me throwing a cardboard disc for a shield.
|...or was it this one?|
|Was this my first issue of JLA...|
|My first exposure to the JSA!|
|Cap and the Falcon preventing the Grey|
Gargoyle from stealing Element X (I think)
Another comic in that bunch was Action Comics #396, which was part of a two-part imaginary story in which the future world doesn't seem to need a Superman, and he's lost his powers anyway, reduced to begging in disguise from a wheelchair. It literally took me decades to find out what happened in the next issue, despite my mom running me to every place in Tacoma that sold comic books trying to find the next issue (which had probably already come and gone by that point).
|A very bizarre, but cool, issue!|
From there, my comics reading seems to have exploded... I picked up DC's Legion of Super-Heroes #1, which reprinted previous stories from Adventure Comics, and that led me to picking up other reprint comics as well as all-new stuff when I had any extra money to spend. I also picked up older comics at the sixth graders' junk sale, as well as at the yard sales and garage sales my mom would take my siblings and I to pretty much every weekend.
Thanks to the reprint titles, I started to get interested in learning about the history of comics, especially wanting to get Steranko's History of Comics, which I could never talk my mom into buying (I finally rectified that in about 1983 at a comic shop in Indianapolis). And of course, I've written before (I'm sure) about how I took my birthday money one year and bought All in Color for a Dime and The Great Comic-Book Heroes, and that just fed the flames of my comics... well, you could really call it an addiction, couldn't you?