Friday, July 06, 2007

does this make me a dork?

Yesterday was officially my birthday. To celebrate, I went to a local comic book store in search of something truly unattainable for me. I've never been a comic book guy. I mean, not in the typical sense. I never got into the super hero comics or anything. I always had an affinity for Archie comics and Disney comics as they are fond memories of my childhood. The other kinds just never excited me too much. As I grew older, I also grew further away from such things. I'd talk to J.C. about maybe one day getting one of those old Three Stooges comics that are somewhat rare now (we are big Stooges fans here at the Shelf. Thanks Dad.) but never have I gained more than a passing interest in the stuff. Recently, I've been digging up my old Archie comics and introducing them to my oldest son who is slowly mastering his reading skills. As I've been doing this, I have sparked a little nostalgia in myself and have become more and more determined to own a couple of very special comic books. Special to me, that is. This was the main cause of my venture to the land of nerd-dom. While there, I was able to handle some original "true detective" and other "true mystery" style comics from my dad's era and before. I realized then what my appreciation was of some of these publications. Owning one of these is like owning a moment in time that you can travel to every time you thumb through it's pages. Some bring back memories and others give you a glimpse into a world you've only heard about from your parents.

I'm a big fan of "The Shadow" radio series and on this day, my major goal was to find an original copy of "The Shadow Magazine". The magazine was published during the time of the show's peak and is something that ,as a fan, I would find to be a treasure. I knew I couldn't afford one (if you know of an affordable one, don't hesitate to pass the info on), but to touch one and see it up close and in person would be a real treat. Needless to say, this store doesn't keep "high line" items like this on the premises and they gave me a phone number to call if I was serious about "doing business". I felt like I was doing something illegal. Nevertheless, I was able to browse through some others that interested me. The two pictures are scans of what I got. The first one is not a very significant issue, but the cover art is a wonderful example of 50's style illustrations. It just stood out and it's simple look was so powerful to me. Apparently a few others feel the same way because I had to dole out some cash for it. The second shows the transformation into the 60's style that stuck with the Archie series for a long time. The covers of these two are really what sold them to me. The third is a decent early 60's cover, but it's special because it's the first appearance of Archie as his alter-ego, super hero character 'Pureheart'. Those Archie fans out there will recognize this character from "The Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E." series which obviously spoofed "The Man From U.N.C.L.E". The Archie version of "T.M.F.U." began later, but this appearance of Archie as 'Pureheart' became a semi-regular thing until the permanent series was introduced.

Does all of this make me a dork? I'm a grown man buying comic books. To me, I see it as being similar to me buying old movie lobby cards. They are collectible and bring the essence of another era into my home. I long for the era between 1935-1965 and have always had a thought in my head that if I could have a second life, it would've been in that era. I guess this also makes me a dork, but I don't really care. Life was tough back then, but also more simple in a way. One of these days, J.C. and I plan to put together a piece about the era when drug stores and soda fountains were king. Those times must have been great. A kid could saunter over to the drug store with a dime or two and pick up a new Archie comic, have a burger, a malt and a great time. I suppose I'm just trying to experience a piece of that myself through these expensive comic books. I guess being a dork isn't all that bad.

In America you can go on the air and kid the politicians, and the politicians can go on the air and kid the people.

Please feel free to comment if the need strikes you.

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”


Laura said...

As a collector of lobby cards and a fan of Archie comics, I think your treasure hunting is great! And sharing that kind of stuff with your kids is even better. :) Loved seeing the pictures.

My b'day was the 6th, so happy b'day from one July b'day person to another!

Best wishes,

Wolf Flywheel said...

..And a happy one to you. It seems the best were born in July!


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