As I mentioned in a post here, I am a sixty-something who grew up in the 1960s and back then I spent a lot of my spare time reading comic books. It was one of those childish past times that was tolerated but was frowned upon. Instead of reading comic books, I was supposed to be doing other stuff like homework or chores.
Whenever my brother and I would get our allowances we would walk over to a place next door to the local K-Mart that sold used books and comic books. The used comic books were cheaper than new comics. I think I could get five used comics for a quarter (something like that). I would buy DC comics (publisher of Superman, Batman, etc.) and my brother would buy Marvel (publisher of Ironman, Spiderman, etc.).
So, in 1967, we were buying titles from the early to mid-sixties. I never paid much attention to what specifically I was buying. I would buy whatever they had and whatever I could afford.
My two favorites were Justice League of America and Green Lantern.
I started high school in 1969 and during those years my comic book reading habit tapered off until it was gone.
My theory is that my main interest had turned to girls. I started smoking to try and impress girls. Cigarettes cost money and so do comic books. I could not afford both. That was 1970.
Then in 1973, my comic book habit was not the only thing that was gone.
In the June of that year, an incident occurred that I now refer to as the “Crisis on Cedarbrake Street”. When I was just about to graduate high school, my father had taken a new job and his workplace was to be way on the other side of town. So, in the late Spring, we were preparing to move to a home near where my father would be working.
One day while I was at school something really horrible happened.
I had collected comics from late elementary school to early high school and I kept my stack of comics in a closet in the bedroom that I shared with my brother. On this particular day in June of 1973, I came home from school and found that my stack of comic books and my stack of Newsweek magazines were gone. I had every Newsweek magazine published between January 1968 and December 1969. Gone! Everything was gone!
I asked my mother where my “books” were and she informed me that she threw them out and not to bother looking for them, because the trash had been already picked-up. I flipped out and forty-five years later, I still not have forgiven my mom for that. She knows not to bring that up, as it is a very sensitive subject.
Her excuse was: “I can’t stand the clutter!”
So it is that when my mother threw out my comic book collection she destroyed what was left of my childhood. Instead of becoming the super-hero that I was meant to be, I became a super-villain until the US Army straightened out my ass in the late seventies.
In keeping with the overall theme of this blog, this is my origin story and I will use the name Simbolistic because “Comic Book Guy” is already taken.
Fast forward to about five years ago and I read somewhere that DC was doing a reboot of all their titles and was coming out with new issues for everything (Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, etc.).
They were calling it the “New 52”. Fifty-two, as in 52 titles. Since comic books in 2011 were no longer 12 cents an issue and were now four bucks a pop, I had to limit my purchasing to only a couple of titles. I chose the Justice League and Batman.
I subscribed to JL for one year and below you see the first 12 issues of new 52 “Justice League”.
Yet, it was not the same… Don’t get me wrong, the artwork is great, the stories are intriguing, but when I think back to the comics that I read back in the sixties – the era that is now called the “Silver Age of Comics” – I feel like there is a huge difference between what is published now and what was published then. To me, it is just not the same.
So, now I am on a mission and the mission is go back in time and stop my mother from throwing out those comic books.
Actually, that is not really the plan, but it would be totally cool if it was.
In reality, it involves me collecting comic books in digital format from the pre-crisis eras known as the golden, silver, and bronze age of DC comic books, doing this while simultaneously watching cartoons, chewing bubble gum and all this time I will be blogging about it.