The story I’m about to tell, well, I’m relatively certain that every other guy out there has a similar story. The difference with mine is in the level of importance, mine haunts me, pretty much every day of the week of late. The reason I’m blogging about it is in hopes that putting it out there for all to see, that purge of sorts will somehow free me. That idea has some precedent. I was traumatized for many years about the abuse I endured from my 4th grade teacher Miss Wills, would often think about it at night. Then I wrote and recorded my song about the situation, Miss Wills’ Frustration, and like magic, I never had bad thoughts about that ever again. So we’re trying that approach one more time today..
I was the kind of kid who went thru phases of interest, for years it would be one thing, then another thing, for a long while it was sports, then it was girls, then it was music (still is to some extent, though I still love football, and girls). The first thing that truly mattered to me was comic books. It started innocently enough. My Aunt Ruth picked up 2 comics for me at the bus station while she was waiting for our family to pick her up, she was returning from the big city (Philadelphia). She presented them to me knowing that at age 5 I was a gifted reader already. I’d never seen a comic book up til then but I submerged myself into that world and before long, Superman was every and all things to me. The comics I got were a Superman annual and a regular issue of Superboy. This is the first comic I ever saw, ever read.
So started my journey. Next memory is going to this drug store newsstand I’m told was on Edgar St. in York PA, it’s no longer there, this was my house of dreams. They had 2 of the spinning racks and filled with new comics, for me it was like heaven on earth. Comics were 10 and 12 cents and my mom would usually let me buy like 5 or 10 of them, though I remember one memory where I rode home in the back of our station wagon in a sheer glow knowing I had one new comic, a new Adventure comic which turned out to be my favorite. That trip home was also the day of one of my fondest childhood memories, my nephew Robin (who was 3 years older than me) was roleplaying with the different character’s voices, like this is Cosmic Boy and so on, the greatest of times for a young Scottie which is what everybody called me at the time. I remember one amazing night my sister took me into York to the same drug store/newsstand to buy comics as an excuse to meet a boyfriend on a date and we went to this one diner, the Bright Star, where for the first time ever, thanks to a bunch of dimes given me, I played pinball for at least an hour to keep me busy while their date happened (I love pinball too, always have). Side note: I also have a specific memory of finding a comic in the spinning rack that had both Superman and Batman called World’s Finest and this was unbelievably exciting to me.
So for several years I was a comic book fanatic, in the Silver Age of DC comics and I also had a bunch of great Marvel comics from the same era, my favorite being Spiderman. Had early issues of the Avengers and Spidey. I believe I loved comics as much as any young lad could love anything. Getting new comics was like Christmas day every time. One year, I believe it was my 7th birthday though I may be wrong, I got a 20 dollar bill for my birthday from somebody and my mother suggested I use it to subscribe to comics, since I was always hounding everyone to buy me comics. I did just this, a subscription to a DC comic was $1.00 and I subscribed to 20 different DC comics. I tried to make a list and I think I remember what they were.
Brave and Bold
I also supplemented my collection by going to places in York where they sold old ones, it was there I found an issue of the 1st Spiderman with a loose cover, and some really old Supermans and also my oldest comic, a Sensation Comic (featuring Wonder Woman). Almost every day when I came home from school a new comic showed up in the mail. Interestingly enough, I started to slightly wear out on comics always getting them like that, wrapped in brown paper. I was moving from comics to sports as my love for the Baltimore Orioles baseball team started to kick in around 67, and I started to collect baseball cards. Later when I was like 19, I sold my baseball card collection for $1000 and bought my first Stratocaster.
but the next part of this story resumes when I was around 9 years old. My huge pile of comics, and it was huge, sat at the bottom of the staircase which led to the upstairs bedrooms, they would occasionally fall down, there might have been 1000 or more of them. My parents owned a store and my mother suggested we wrap up some of the comics I no longer wanted. I agonizingly went thru them all, picking a hundred and some as my favorites that I would keep. Many Adventure Comics, all my Teen Titans from #1 on, every comic that had a deeper meaning to me. We did sell the others at our store for 3 for a quarter, mostly to this one collector who kept coming back asking if we had more wrapped up, I did like getting the money.
Ah but what happened next is still veiled in a bit of mystery. One day when I was 11 or so, I happened to notice that the comics I saved were no longer piled in the stairwell. I grilled my mother about this and got sort of a half-admission that the same guy came back begging for any more he could get and my mom, well, she loved pleasing people, she seemed to not remember that I saved those comics, put them away special, by her bequest in fact. To be fair to her, I didn’t read comics a lot at that point, she surely thought I wouldn’t care. She was a very kind soul, they always strived to get me whatever it was I wanted or needed throughout my youth though they didn’t have much money to spare.
I didn’t really even realize how much it bothered me that I lost my beloved comic collection til one time during my college years I had this really vivid dream of being led into a room where my whole collection was on the wall on display – in the dream I was filled with such joy seeing those covers again, there was like majestic music being played as I surveyed the many comics I knew so well.
Flash forward to facebook in the 2010s, I joined a couple comic book groups where I see pics of comic covers all the time and all I think about is what was, how badly I wish I still had my collection. An even sadder after effect is that 90% of the time I think about my late mom, it involves these comics, I don’t want it to be that way, she deserves better.
I was telling a friend this story and she asked me if what bothered me was the money or the property? I have not one thought ever about the value of the comics, I just wish I still had my collection. I bought one or two, like this Adventure comic from the day I spoke of. I even do a role playing thing now as Sunboy. but I don’t have the funds to retrieve my collection intact so I figured I best not even start.
Lastly, I keep thinking about that place where I bought my early comics. Outside of one Christmas Eve I spent with a girl in high school I’m pretty sure that stands alone as the happiest moments I’ve ever had in my life.