A topic for New Year 2013 came up asking folks to talk about their comic book memories. What got them into comics. What comics have stuck with them through the years. It got me to take a walk down memory lane, and I’m going to share it here…… It all started on my birthday in March 1970, I was 8.
I remember my big brother (who is 8 yrs older than me) giving me a “coupon” for 10 comics for my 8th birthday. If I got a comic, he’s give me the 15 cents back & mark off one slot on the card. I picked up Fantastic Four #97. I still vividly remember Franklin Richards saying “Fwam Om” to his Uncle Johnny in a panel of this comic:
I picked up comics here & there for several months until I came across Amazing Spider-Man #88…..
Doc Ock was being held separate from his arms but could mentally control them from across the city. He called them to him and Spider-Man fought the disembodied arms! The issue ended on a cliffhanger and I was hooked. I’ve not missed a month of buying comics since. (I talk about this comic on a podcast I did back in Nov 2007)
I started to frequent the spinner rack at my local 7-11 and a several grocery stores with spinner racks as well as a couple of local liquor stores with magazine racks soon after this and was off and away on collecting comics.
I remember discovering Marvel Tales #32. A second Spider-Man book every month! This issue was 64 pages! Great John Romita art! (Though I didn’t know artists at the time, just that it was “good art”). The Rhino! They were reprints, but they were new to me.
I moved from Marvel Tales to Marvel’s Greatest Comics (FF reprints), Marvel Super-Heroes (reprinting Hulk & Sub-Mariner from Tales to Astonish), Marvel Double Feature (reprinting Captain America & Iron Man from Tales of Suspense), Marvel Spectacular (reprinting Thor), and Marvel Triple Action (reprinting the Avengers). These were great ways to get kids hooked on the older Marvel comics and there were no such things as Trade Paperbacks or Comic Book Shops back then, so this was the best way to get your hands on the older stories.
I remember discovering Marvel-Team-Up #2….. Wow! Spider-Man teaming up with another Marvel hero every month!!!!
I remember branching out from “regular” super-heroes with Conan #25, Astonishing Tales #25 (Deathlok), Special Marvel Edition #15 (Master of Kung Fu), Werewolf by Night #20, Amazing Adventures #26 (Killraven) and Marvel Spotlight #17 (Son of Satan).
I remember my Mom giving me “Origins of Marvel Comics” by Stan Lee for Christmas in 1974… She clipped off the top right corner so I (or more likely, my Dad) wouldn’t see how much it cost.
I remember discovering my first “Indie” books & devoured most of the short-lived Atlas/Seaboard comics published for 8 short months in 1975. (As an aside, you can hear a much more detailed breakdown of Atlas/Seaboard in a podcast I did in Sept. 2011).
I remember discovering Steranko’s History of Comics at a book store that was NOT close to my house while on a shopping trip with my parents. I saved money for months & snuck out one afternoon and rode a bus for about 20 miles to get back to that book store & buy it.
It was around this time that I remember starting to ride my bike farther & farther away from home to find places with more & different comics. I remember riding my bike from my home in Granada Hills, CA over to a book store in Panorama City (Google Maps is telling me that’s a bit over 5 miles, it seemed like really far back then…..). The book store I went to had a HUGE magazine rack with more comics in one place than I’d ever seen before. This became a regular trip for me until I discovered my 1st comic book shop years later.
I remember doing extra chores to make money & going to the local 7-11 multiple times a day to collect the full set of 60 Marvel Slurpee cups in the summer of 1975. I was now collecting ephemera related to comics.
That covers my 1st 6 years of comic collecting (age 8-13). More later……
Bob Bretall: email@example.com
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