Monday, July 13, 2015

Tom Mix!

Once again I find myself buying a back issue I don't normally collect. The reason I grabbed it? The price. Perhaps I'll use it as part of a trade deal at some later date to get a book that really is high on my want list.

Back when I was a collectibles dealer I would run into roughly one Golden Age collection each year. Some years were dry, but then I'd land two or three big Golden Age deals in one twelve-month span. One of the biggest Golden Age comic collections I ever found was back in the 80s and it consisted of thousands of issues, mainly old westerns and Fawcett Captain Marvel books. In that one I purchased so many westerns that I had never seen. I can't say for sure, but I think TOM MIX #2 must have been in there. They didn't stay in my possession for long. Golden Age comics never did hang around for more than a few weeks after I purchased them because there were just so many fans willing to shell out the dough for these genuinely rare items.

Oh, yeah. Tom Mix wasn't just a comic book character. He was a real guy. One of the first hugely popular western stars. People today have forgotten just how huge some of these guys' careers were. Although the Mix's popularity went back far before I was born, I knew about him as a kid because my dad liked him. Not sure why my dad liked him, but he did. I always lumped Tom Mix in with various actors and performers that my father liked for reasons that were never quite clear to me; among them being Edward G Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, Oscar Levant, Jerry Lewis...the list was really weird and disparate.

My copy of TOM MIX #2.


Lawrence Roy Aiken said...

Bob, has it ever occurred to you to write a non-fiction book about your dad? You really need to do this before you croak, as he was one of a kind. You may end up burning some bridges with your surviving family but the world should know such people once walked the earth.

As for the old cowboy stars, boys used to idolize some of them like they do superheroes today. They were ordinary men of great principles who used their wits before finally pulling their guns to settle matters. Another fine thing lost to the mists of Gore Vidal's United States of Amnesia.

James Robert Smith said...

I probably should. There are two accounts he used to talk about...both involving cops. Both involving cops who ended up...well...on the wrong side of the dirt blanket. All kinds of cool stories. Like the last time he punched someone. Knocked the guy out and it was pretty scary stuff. How he shot his best friend in the gut with an unloaded .45 when they were both teenagers. Plenty of stories to fill a book, most likely. I've considered it. He was sometimes hilarious--such as his explanation of why he liked Edward G. Robinson.

People have utterly forgotten how popular some things and people were back in the day. I've seen photos of Roy Rogers drowning in fan mail. I caught the tail-end of the cowboy-star phase of popular culture. Roy Rogers was still packing them in at rodeos when I was a kid, and The Lone Ranger was the top-rated re-run show on the boob tube--the William Tell Overture was probably the first piece of classical music I ever heard because of the Lone Ranger. But, as with the Sunday Funnies, it's all dead and gone. Dust and memories.

(I met Roy Rogers and Dale Evans once. Unbelievably sweet people.)