Gang, over the last few months, I’ve gotten back into collecting comics. I honestly forgot how much fun it is to follow a bunch of characters who basically live to fight one another. Then it makes me think of my ex wives for some reason, and I laugh and laugh and laugh.
But I digress. I started collecting again, and wanted to mix the old with some new. My new consists of Harley Quinn. I like the art, I like the writing, and it’s fun. I’m also reading Amazing Spiderman (4th ? series), and The Batman Who Laughs. (if anyone has a Batman Adventure #12 laying around….hit me up)
But I love the old books. I was a big Amazing Spider Man fan as a boy, so I spend a lot of time, and too much money, reliving my youth, because everyone else was a fan, and the prices are high. I also have read and collected about half the Jonah Hex first run (All Star Western #10 anyone? Anyone?), Tomb of Dracula, and Howard the Duck (half the issues on that run as well). It’s nice when you go to a show, get 20 books from those runs, for the price of a minor key of ASM.
And one of the things I have discovered while reading the old books, is that the comics today are cheating you kids out there. I remember vividly getting a new comic book, reading it a few times, then going back and looking at the ads. Then I’d sit in the middle of IL cornfields, and wish my dad would let me send away for all the cool treasures those pages held. For the record, you needed a check, and there was no way he was “wasting a check”, on that crap.
Do not get me wrong, when I look at the ads now, most of that stuff is crap. But to an 8 year old boy…pure gold. I’d start with the posters, and the offer was 10 posters for like $5, with two bonus posters. 10 Posters! That would practically cover my room! And I would slowly go through, pick out the 12 I wanted, and do nothing.
Then I’d go on to the T Shirts. What kid doesn’t need an ample supply of T shirts? And I played outside a lot, so I want through clothes pretty fast and furious. Most of them were hand me down from my cousin, and to be honest, I’m glad, because they were weird. and probably somewhat inappropriate for a kid my age, which made them all the cooler. It also softened the blow of knowing I wasn’t picking out the 8 shirts for $10. I rue the day I didn’t get to wear that “Keep on Truckin’’ T shirt, with the hippie on the front, but what can you do?
Then I’d look at the Teen Beat Star Directory, and think how cool it would be if I became friends with a celebrity, by writing them a letter so clever they had to meet me, or at least get back to me. Where do you think these fine writing skills came from? That’s right, writing Donny Osmond, asking him how he got all that pussy. I was a great judge of character.
Then I’d go to Grit, and think I could sell that paper, make my OWN cash, and not rely on his vaunted checkbook, and provide boys my age with the needed news they all craved. Alas, I lived in a town of 300, so the pickings were slim there, and it WAS probably best I not sell them, due to limitations in customers.
And of course, there were the courses. How the HELL my dad or mom wouldn’t allow me to order a course on how to read minds, secret magic words, or mind control chants, is beyond me. Looking back, its obvious they didn’t want me to have access to them, because I’d have gotten them to write me a check for t shirts or posters, but back then, I had much bigger dreams than that. I mean, the reading minds alone would have gotten me a much better station in life, or at least onto a space freighter in a town filled with StormTroopers.
At worst, they could have let me got some Sea Monkeys. They had a king and everything, and he carried a trident. A God Damned Trident! And they were self sufficient, didn’t bark, never peed on the rug, or shit on the floor. But no, they were a scam he said. A waste of money he said. So was my step sister, but we kept letting her come over. (For the record, my step sisters will never read this, but I love you Sherri and Tracy)
Gilbert Gottfried talks about how, when he was little, you could order a live monkey out of a back of a Monster Magazine. They would actually package a live spider monkey, and send it to your house for some sheckles. A live monkey. What kid in their right mind doesn’t want a LIVE spider monkey
And finally, there were just books to be ordered on “1001 Things You Can Get For Free” or its cousin “1001 Free Samples”. I was positive that I could easily order the proper things, maybe sell some to the less fortunate kids at school, make a little money, still have plenty of free stuff, and live like a king. But nope, wouldn’t even let me do that. Sons of bitches!!!!!
And that is how you kill a Saturday afternoon in 1975, in the birthplace of Wild Bill Hickock. Yep, that Wild Bill Hickock.
So, if my kids ever came up to me, and asked me for ANY of this shit, I’d have bought it for them. Notbecause they needed it, or it was worth it, but because I wanted to see just how smart my dad was. And prove him wrong…..