Saturday, January 12, 2008

Comic Book Talk

Bear with me here. This one may be for the over-50 crowd.

In the previous post a couple of readers got me thinking about the 5&10 and Drug Store my buddies and I frequented. That got me thinking about comic books, because that is often why we went. As a younger comic book reader, the Superman, Batman, Aquaman comics were enjoyable to me, but the Kryptonite story started to get a little old, even with the tricked up gold Kryptonite, which was instant death, not slow sapping of powers like green. Batman didn't have enough powers, and Aquaman? The whole underwater superhero never cut it for me. I was looking for more.
Sometime around the age of 13, enter Stan Lee, Marvel, Jack Kirby art and Spiderman. Then Daredevil, Sargeant Fury, Captain America, Silver Surfer and the Fantastic Four. Now we're talking. Super heroes that talked like we did, had funny relatives, told jokes, had girl problems and a believably, imperfect life. Every hero had a flaw. This was to me, the comic-book equivalent to a literary work of art, the difference between a dime store novel and Doystoevsky. And the drawing: more detailed and truer colors. Crisper.
But my primary comic book memory is this. On any given summer Saturday, my friend and I would mow the neighbors yard, get paid a dollar each for the labor, walk about a mile to Tigue's drugstore, leaf through the comic rack (hoping the new edition had been released), grab a comic each, sit down at the soda-counter, order a 5-cent coke each from the sturdy, gray-haired lady behind the counter (dressed in all white), pull two stick pretzels from the glass jar, and sit there for 30 minutes or so with our refreshments and comics and read and talk like bigshots.
Total cost: twelve cents for the comic, a nickel for the small Coke (no refills) and a penny per pretzel. 19 cents each. Not bad, and we still had 81 cents in our pockets.


Schuyler Watley said...

I had forgotten about Sargeant Fury. He was great. A good cinematic take that rationalizes the comic book genre is M. Night Shyalaman's (hope I spelled the name right), "Unbreakable." The approach of this film is that comics pass on an oral tradition of heroism that illuminates the suffering and joy of human life.

Another D.C. comic that was great was Warlord.
Don't know if he is still around. Marvel's Master of Kung Fu was a favorite when I was younger as well. Also, G.I. Joe in the 80s.

My favorite was always the Savage Sword of Conan. I don't know remember who published it. It was longer than Marvel's Conan the Barbarian, and the art work was usually better. Savage Sword of Conan is what introduced me to women with Coca Cola figures and made me love a buxom woman.

God bless, Schuyler.

Francis Shivone said...

Skyman --

Conan. I had forgotten. Actually, if I had new editions of Spiderman, Daredevil, Conan, Sargeant Fury, Thor, F Four, and Silver Surfer, I'd read Conan second after Daredevil (too bad about the movie).

DC adapted to the presence of Marvel by the time you came along, but at that point I was on to other things.