Friday, January 22, 2010

Four Color Memories

I'm not sure just had to do with something more than just distribution...but the first two comic books that I can recall reading were Fantastic Four #4, and Fantastic Four #12. I got the #4 from a barber where I was getting my hair cut with my mom when I was five years old. The book fascinated me so the barber ended up letting me take it home. (He had batches of comics for the kids getting their hair cut.) I recall reading the damned thing to pieces and I assume it was tossed out or traded.
A few weeks later my mom took me to a used bookstore/fish store down the street from where we lived. No, I'm not making this up. The store sold pet fish (and bait) and used books. On one side it had huge concrete tanks full of fish and on the other side used books, magazines, and comics. It stank like Hell, but I liked going in there to search for comics. And this was where I encountered Fantastic Four #12. My mom bought it for me--probably five cents--and I took it home and read it to pieces just like the previous one.

Within three years of that my dad had sold his grocery store and hauled us to Atlanta where he opened up his first bookstore. By the time I was eight years old he had tens of thousands of comic books accumulating in his warehouse and I got to take and read anything I wanted. And the next book to fascinate the heck out of me was Fantastic Four #28. I don't recall the story being anywhere nearly as fun to read as the tales in the two previous issues I'd seen, but that cover just carried me away! For some reason after looking at that cover I just HAD to take that comic home and read it.

Jack Kirby was probably the single greatest creator of kids comics that ever was. He was hip to what fascinated American boys of the 1960s and kept us occupied reading the books he produced. There should be a monument somewhere to Jack Kirby.

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