Saturday, September 24, 2016

I Gotta Have It! But, How'd You Get It?


Doug: Last weekend we had several long-timers as well as a nice representation of new/recent commenters join the fray in discussing their peak buying years. The conversation veered to when and why that first wave waned, books that got us back into collecting, etc. Toward the end of that weekend, one of our Twitter followers (@conrad_eric) asked us if we'd ever run a post where we asked our readers just how they got their comics. To the best of my recollection those sorts of stories have been told through the years, but I don't believe ever in one place. Well... that's today, and the rest of the weekend.

We'd love it if you'd get specific with certain vendors' spinner racks and magazine shelves, locations of drug stores or groceries, mail order companies, and maybe even trading partners. I know I'd love to hear memories of how our readers acquired certain books, what age they were then, and if they still have the book or not. Talk about our community finding some common ground for nostalgia!

I can start this off today, and will most likely chime in again with a comment at some point: As a child, I can recall magazine racks at a drug store at the corner of S. 76th St. and Howard Ave. in Milwaukee. I can see Fantastic Four #161 in front of my hands in May, 1975. I later bought FF #163 at the same store. Those might be the earliest memories I have of buying my own comics, which is puzzling since I'd have been 9 years old. I know I had several comics by that time. Anyway, other regular venues through the years included Osco Drugs in Kankakee, IL, where I purchased Peter Parker #1, Belscot in Kankakee (a poor man's Wal-Mart), where Marvel Treasury Edition #s 19 (Conan the Barbarian) and 21 (Fantastic Four) left in my possession, the Weiner's mini-market on River Street in Kankakee, IL where I purchased an issue of Super-Team Family, the Convenient Food Mart in Bourbonnais, IL where I bought many an issue of Secret Society of Super-Villains, and of course my most famous one-time purchase of Avengers #161 at Mickey's Books and Novelties (you know...). In college, the Rexall Drugs in Eureka, IL got me my fix of Crisis On Infinite Earths and volume two of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Shortly thereafter, I started buying comics from mail order businesses such as Westfield Comics, Mile High Comics, and M&M Comic Service. All are still in business.

So thank you to Eric for the suggestion/request. I hope our conversation this weekend is as rich as last weekend's was.




27 comments:

Edo Bosnar said...

Another great topic.
Most of my initial comics buying was done at the spinner rack of a Safeway in Woodburn, OR, which had a little strip mall attached to it in which there was a a drugstore with an excellent magazine stand that also included comics (that's where I remember getting an issue of DC Superstars that featured Hawkman and Adam Strange reprints, issue #4 of Super-team Family, with a Golden Age JSA story, and my first issue of Spidey Super Stories). Later, my mom started doing most of our grocery shopping at an IGA, also in Woodburn, which always had a well-stocked spinner rack and magazine stand - and there was also a 7-11 across the street (even better stocked with comics and magazines, plus Slurpees!).
Another good source for comics was a big department store chain called Fred Meyer (quite common in Oregon and Washington) which had a huge book, magazine and stationary section with spinner racks full of not just comics, but also paperbacks (there were two in particular in Salem, OR where I often bought comics).
Sometime in late 1980, I discovered my first comic book shop, also in Salem, OR, called Rackafratz - it was about a block north of a shopping mall. That opened up a whole new world for me, as it had a) back issues, b) non-Marvel/DC comics, and c) old SF, fantasy, action and just plain old trashy paperbacks. Usually made it there once every month. It's worth pointing out that my family lived outside in a pretty rural area (the nearest town was 3 miles away), so I was always dependent on tagging along with my mom when she went shopping (and later my older sister and brother when they got their driver licenses).
At around the same time I discovered comic shops, I also sent away for some of those back issue catalogs advertised in comic books, and as I mentioned in my comment on yesterday's post, I started occasionally ordering stuff from Lonestar Comics (based in Arlington, TX). When other kids my age were saving money for their first car, I was blowing any cash I had buying whole runs of stuff like Ragman, Black Goliath, Black Lightning, Starfire, etc., etc.
A rare treat was when we occasionally drove up to Portland, OR to visit relatives, and I could talk my mom into dropping me off at one of the comic book shops there, called Future Dreams (which I'm pretty sure is still in business). Among other things, I vividly recall buying the first four issues of Marvel Fanfare there.

Redartz said...

Doug- excellent topic. Your memory for details is most impressive, and hearing tales of those early purchases is always a pleasure (and wow, sure miss seeing those spinner racks everywhere).

Edo- Kudos to your memory skills as well. Love the name of that Salem comic shop you described: "Rackafratz". By chance, did the proprietor have any resemblance to Yosemite Sam?

My story: those first purchases came from our local Rexall drugs in Anderson, Indiana.Those included Amazing Spider-Man 133, and Fantastic Four 145 and 146. But almost immediately, the school friend I've previously discussed introduced me to the new comic book shop in town, called "The Comic Book Place" (looking back, it seems remarkable that a modestly-sized town like Anderson would feature a comic shop as early as 1974). That shop sent countless comics home with me; one of the first was "Giant Size Super Stars" with that great Thing / Hulk story.
Sadly that comic shop was turned into a disco by mid '75, and I got my comics from the Anderson News Center (who had a great comic selection in their racks). One memorable pickup there was Howard the Duck #1.

Incidentally, one of the very few comics I still have from those early original purchases is Doctor Strange #1, which was actually bought at a Stuckey's restaurant during a family trip to Missouri. Still recall reading that in the back seat.

Then, in college in Indianapolis, my purchases shifted to a northside comic shop: The Comic Book Carnival (which is still in business today). That's where I discovered indie comics, brought home everything from Byrne Avengers to Crisis on Infinite Earths. Also met Roger Stern there- a local fellow who came by that shop from time to time. And of course, I picked up loads of back issues there, and also at the local monthly flea market at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Ah, good times...

William Preston said...

What a great prompt.

The geography of my comic buying seems so strange to me now; every place my parents took me, I scoped out where there might be comics, learning who displayed comics in pristine shape, who got things early, who kept back issues around. It was like possessing occult knowledge. Most comics I bought over the years came from a few places: the back room of the gift shop in the "mews" store on State Street in Newtown, Pa.; Fat Jacks or (nearby) Comics for Collectors in Philly.

What stand out, though, as you suggested, are those particular issues that we recall, and it's amazing how those purchases and places are so linked. Just to list a few:

I started collecting the Fantastic Four with issue 172 (what a great cover), which I bought at a 7/11; it was the first time I'd gone in there to look for comics. The place was cattycorner from a Jack-in-the-Box my parents frequented in Feasterville, Pa. (You had to cross two wide roads of heavy traffic to get to the 7/11. I'd run over while they made my order for me.)

I started collecting X-Men with issue 100 (it absolutely baffled me, though, till I got the issues that came before), which I bought at a magazine shop in Frostburg, Md., my father's home town. When that shop later closed (they always glared at comics buyers anyway), I discovered the grocery store in the same block had a spinner rack. I remember getting Marvel Premere 35 (3-D Man) there.

The rather hard-to-find (low print run) Howard the Duck 2 was at a tiny convenience store in Brooklyn Park, Md., which I stumbled upon when visiting my grandmother.

I started getting Captain America when I found that the magazine store across from Fat Jack's in Philly kept a lot of back issues (and sold them for less), so I snagged a chunk of the (godawful) Kirby sequence so I could get caught up.

William said...

I first really got into reading and collecting comics big time when I was around 11 years old (about the time I started the 6th grade). At that time I lived on a street called Sterling Road in Davie, Florida (which is just a couple miles west of Fort Lauderdale). Anyway, I started buying most of my comics off of the spinner rack at a convenience store across the street from me called The Top Banana. That is where I bought Avengers #161 and 162 which really started my love for that book. I also used to buy other titles like Spider-Man, Captain America, and The Freedom Fighters, etc.

One of the best things I ever found at the Top Banana was a pocket digest book that reprinted the first 6 issues of the Fantastic Four, "In Full Color, Complete and Unabridged!" as it stated on the cover. (I didn't know what unabridged meant then but I figured it must be important). I had never really been into the FF before, but that book changed that forever, and it also started my fascination with Marvel's Silver-Age. Shortly thereafter I mail-ordered the Amazing Spider-Man volume of that same series (which reprinted Amazing Fantasy #15 and ASM #1-6 in the same manner as the FF book).

After awhile, I discovered a book store down the street from me that had the biggest comics section I'd ever seen at the time. The comics were displayed in a magazine rack (instead of a spinner). My mom would drive me down there once a week or so and buy me a couple of comics. That's where I first discovered the work of John Byrne (which I mistakenly pronounced By-ner back then). It was very early in his Marvel Team-Up run with Chris Claremont, and it instantly became my favorite title. The first issue of their's that I bought was MTU #61 where Spider-Man and the Human Torch teamed up against Super Skrull. My 11 year old mind was completely blown!!! I had bought and read a couple of issues MTU before that, but after that story I never missed another single issue. That still remains one of my all time favorite creator runs ever. I still own all the original issues and the awesome trade paperback that reprints the entire run (except for issue #79 with Red Sonja unfortunately).

Then when I was 12 or 13 I discovered my first comic book store and life would never be the same.

(To be continued).

Eric said...

I have to thank Jewel foods a now defunct grocery store chain in Wisconsin for some of my earliest comic book purchases. Dollar comic versions of Adventure Comics 460 and Superman Family 192 were obtained there from a spinner rack. For some odd reason the rack was located in the frozen food section, because I clearly remember going to that part of the store whenever we were there.

Treasure Island a now defunct retail store in Wisconsin offered the famous or maybe infamous plastic bagged three pack of comic books. Only the covers of the two outside books could be seen. I would try to bend or shift the outside books to see what was sandwiched in the middle. Legion of Super-Heroes 255 and 257 were found here with the Whitman logo where the DC bullet normally appeared. Marvel also had some of these packs and gave me Conan 110 and 112.

Then in 1981, I began my weekly fifteen block walk to Booked Solid in West Allis, a book store that sold books, magazines and wait for it, vinyl records. On two display stands between the magazine racks and the records were comic books with the previous month on spinner racks. Finally I could buy comics in a sequential order.

Burnham Bowl was where I attended my first comic book convention and was made aware of other collectors and back issues. I clearly remember a high school senior selling his collection before going to college asking me if I could really afford Avengers 53. He was asking for gasp $10.00! Yes comic books were cover price of fifty cents, but I very willing to pay that amount to have the John Buscema cover of the Avengers clashing with the X-Men.

JackAlberti said...

The earliest memory is of a 7-Eleven down in Florida. I was five. Parents were vacationing in Naples. And, there it was, ASM #133 on the spinner rack. That's my earliest memory.

But, nostalgia at fever pitch is evoked as I recall the Rexall Drugs on the corner of 5th Avenue and Main Street in Maywood Park, just west of Chicago. It was the late 1970s. My collecting began. I remember ASM #176, Cap #215, Spider Woman #1, Devil Dinosaur #1, Daredevil #151, Avengers #171. All these comprise my early memories as a comic book fan.

Aside, from the comics themselves, there are clear recollections of walking, filled with anticipation, just hoping the latest issue was there - for all the ones I mentioned - I needed to know what would happen next. I have vivid memories of entering, walking up the the rack, searching, and once I spotted the new issue the joy of the new cover and all its promise. One of the first things I would do was sniff the comic. My god how I loved that smell!

William said...

(Continued from my earlier post) When I was 12 or 13 I would stay up late sometimes on Friday and Saturday night watching a show called "Creature Feature" on UHF which would air Godzilla movies as well as old monster movies and horror movies, etc.. Well, one night while I was watching something a commercial came on for a place called "Starship Enterprises", that got my attention and much to my shock and delight I learned it was a store that sold nothing but comic-books. Nothing. But. Comic. Books!! Whaaaa??! How could such an awesome and magical place truly exist?! The next morning I begged my mom to take me there. Well, as it turned out it was several miles away in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, so she gave me the "Not now, but maybe some other time" line. Which in kid speak means "never!!" So, I put it out of my mind.

Well a couple of weeks later I went with her to pick up my father, who was working in Ft. Lauderdale at the time, and as we stopped at a red light I looked to the right and there in the shopping center next to us was (you guessed it) Starship Enterprises!! I nearly leapt out of the car. I asked (nay begged) my mother to pull over, but we were running late picking up my dad so she said "Next time." (uhg!) I was crushed, but she was as good as her word and a couple of days later when we went to get my father, she left early and took me the most magical and awesome place I had ever been (before or since).

I can still remember what I bought that first day. A back issue of Marvel Team-Up #13 which featured Spider-Man and Captain America battling the Grey Gargoyle. I also saw a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #33 on the wall that day (and I was nearly dumbfounded). It was well out of my price range, but I swore someday I'd own that book, and I eventually did (several years later and bought at a different comic store). After that I would get to make regular trips to Starship Enterprises where I acquired such gems as "Origins of Marvel Comics", "Son of Origins of MC", "Marvel's Greatest Superhero Battles", and etc.

Unfortunately my dad quit working at the place in Ft. Lauderdale, so my excursions came to a sad end, and it was back the spinner rack at the local 7-11 for me. However, a couple of years later Starship Enterprises moved to a new location in Hollywood, Florida, which was just a couple of miles from my house and I was at last able to resume my regular weekly visits.

By then I was round 15 years old and my comic collecting habit had exploded into a full-blown hobby with bags, boards and long boxes, etc.. I bought my first Silver-Age comic (Daredevil #4) at that store, as well as began my extensive Spider-Man collection with the acquisition of Amazing Spider-Man #17 for about $4 (if you can believe it). So, that's the long sordid tale of my personal experience with how and where I started buying comics. Excelsior!!

Edo Bosnar said...

Redartz, ha! No, there was nothing rootin'-tootin' nor ornery about the proprietor of Rackafratz. He was actually a mellow, aging (in his early forties at the time) half-nerd/half-hippie with a pretty gentle disposition (although he tended to be a bit frazzled sometimes).

William, I know I've mentioned it in the comments here before, but I can't help myself any time the topic comes up: I *loved* those Marvel pocketbook reprints, and the sole FF one was the first I bought, followed soon after by all three Spidey, two Hulk and two Dr. Strange volumes, as well as two of the Conan books (of which there were five or six in all). The only one I never had was the Captain America book. I read and re-read all of those until they started to fall apart. By the way, I found all of those at a place I forgot to mention in my comment above, a big PayLess Drugs in Salem, OR, which had a huge magazine and book section that didn't stock monthly comics, but always had stuff like those pocketbooks, DC digests and the Marvel and DC treasury editions.

Martinex1 said...

Fun conversation. There were a handful of places I bought comics as a youngster. Eric mentioned the three pack bagged comics and that was one of my first buying experiences at the local Jewel-Osco. I could see Marvel Two-In-One 26 with Nick Fury (this was my first understanding that the Thing was a headliner in his own book) and ASM 168 but it wasn't until I got it home that I saw the Invaders in between. My young mind could not comprehend how Captain America was on two teams and if that Human Torch was Johnny Storm. Funny to think about that now.

Most of my early comics though were bought at the corner drug store off the spinner rack. It was close by so I was in there constantly.

But I hunted for comics everywhere in our neighborhood and found them at the 7-11, the Bowling alley, the News Agency (that coordinated our paper routes), and even the hospital gift shop when my Grandma was in for a surgery. I can remember some of the issues I bought at each location. Most of my "What Ifs" came from the News Agency because they carried the 50 cent issues that the drug store didn't.

I would always get comics for our car trip vacations, and I bought the 3D Man issue that William Preston mentioned at the Grand Teton's lodge gift store.

I didn't visit a comic book store until much later and my first was All-American Comics on 95th Street in Evergreen Park. So much fun hopping on the RTA bus and making regular trips. My first back issue was a raggedy copy of Avengers 57. I still have that.

Eric said...

Continued from my earlier comment

Milwaukee had some great comic book stores. Polaris and Collector's Edge were favorites of mine. Both stores had that old couch in there where someone was always sitting and reading. However during my college years Galaxy Hobby in Stevens Point was my source for books.

Then college ended and with some spare income online auctions expanded my back issue collection immensely. Suddenly I could come home to a box of Silver Age Avengers issues or maybe some Bronze Age Legion of Super-Heroes.

Eventually that subsided and I changed over to mail order for my monthly comic book purchases. First it was Mile High Comics and now Graham Crackers Comics. So the thrill of the spinner rack is long gone, but the pain of finding that missing issue is also gone. I guess that there is some balance there?

Redartz said...

Great stories today! The road trips that Martinex mentioned must have been common experiences for many of us. My folks were kind enough to provide a stack of comics, and sometimes digests ( I recall a Golden Comics Digest with Little Lulu, and some early Archie digests). Probably kept us peacefully quiet.

Forgot to mention my first back issue. Like William, I was incredulous upon my first visit to an actual comic shop. I walked out with Not Brand Ecch #5, of all things- attracted by the cover. Still have that book...

Steve Does Comics said...

My first American Comic was the 1968 Amazing Spider-Man Annual that basically reprinted the first ever Amazing Spider-Man annual.

I got it from the Rag and Tag, a 1930s open air market in Sheffield.

From photos I've seen of it since; even in the 1970s, the market was stuck in a strange 1930s time warp.

Its main claim to greatness was that there used to be a woman in it who had a giant pair of weighing scales. You'd sit on them and if she guessed your weight incorrectly, she'd give you money. If she guessed it correctly, you had to give her money. As she was there for many years, I assume she was preternaturally good at guessing people's weight.

When the Rag and Tag was demolished in the mid 1970s, its stalls moved to a big indoor market across the street. That was called the Sheaf Market. Thanks to a design flaw, it usually had birds living in its rafters and I did most of my Sheffield-based comics buying there after it opened.

Every summer, we'd spend two weeks in the Lancashire seaside resort of Blackpool which had so many American comics in it that it was a miracle there were any left in America. In the space of one two-week spell in 1975, I managed to get virtually every comic that Atlas Comics published before it went bust, plus a zillion-and-one other titles.

I still remember roaming the narrow backstreets of Blackpool every evening, in search of the finest comics that money could buy, and never failing to find them.

Anonymous said...

I bought all my comics off the shelf, at the local drugstore. They had a couple of shelves devoted to comics, with a pretty good selection at the time (late 70s-early 80s); besides Marvel and DC, I seem to recall the odd Gold Key, Charlton, and Whitman on the shelf.

That drugstore is still around--though it's been revamped a couple of times and moved three doors down--and it's run today by the son of the guy who ran it when I was a kid. Unfortunately, the "reading material" shelf, though it looks a lot like Doug's first picture (Family Reading Center), no longer contains any comics. I guess not enough people were buying them, or maybe the profit margins went down as the prices--always higher in Canada--went up? So I get most of my stuff online these days, except for the odd trip to the city where there are actual comics stores.

Mike Wilson

JackAlberti said...

So good to be able to recall these moments. Has anyone here chronicled their early childhood, young adulthood, and maybe later adulthood through the comics that were out at the time? I find myself being able (and/or choosing to) match life events through comic books issued (at the time). This works from about the age of five until about twenty. Afterwards, it's fragmented. It still holds, but not as efficiently, not as exact.

spencer said...

I had a party store two blocks away in my small town in Michigan. It was called Moffitt's, and it was a dirty, dark , kinda scary place for an 8 yr old. Of course back then parents didn't worry about us like they do now. They had a spinner rack, but the selection was kinda sparse. About once a month, I would go to Jerry's barber shop to get my hair cut, and he always had a stack of mostly Marvel's that you could read while waiting. He let people "trade" and eventually, his once nice stack became a lot of cover less junk, but it was fun while it lasted.
My other spot was up north in a small town called rose city. My parents took us up there a few times a year to see our grandparents, and the drugstore there always had the best, newest comics out. I always thought it weird that a tiny northern Michigan town had better comics than the stores in my town. Wonder for the ages.

Edo Bosnar said...

Jack, I think the topic of doing a "personal archeology" of our lives through the comics we've read from childhood onward has been touched upon in the comments here before, but I don't think it's been a topic of extensive discussion. It's definitely an intriguing topic.
For me, I can often match getting/reading a certain comic with specific points in my childhood and youth, but not so much with specific events - the details get a little fuzzy (sometimes I think it's because comics were often where I went to escape from real life). Anyway, for those of us who don't have their original comics, the Newsstand feature at Mike's Amazing World of Comics is a really useful tool for compiling a chronological outline of the comics we've bought and when. That's how I figured out that I was first officially bit by the comics bug sometime in March, 1975, when I got my little hands on Marvel Tales #59.

William said...

Edo, I have most of those same Marvel Pocket Books you mentioned above. (Yes, I actually still have them all). And they all still have their covers attached. I do have the Captain America volume, and a couple of the Conan books as well. I loved those things. Every time I found one it was like the best day ever.

To my great disappointment (as a kid anyway) the only one I really wanted that I never came across was Spider-Man volume 2. I have v1 and v3 but v2 eluded me. I've actually contemplated picking it up on eBay before, but I have all those stories reprinted in so many ways now that it just seems a little too redundant. However, there is just something special about those books. One day I may still have to track down that volume 2.

Real quick, I remember the night I found Spider-Man volume 3 at a bookstore in a mall in Hollywood, FL. (I think I was 14 at the time). I was so excited that you'd think I's just found the Lost Ark or something. I loved that book so much that I probably read 10 times or more. Ahhh, comic book memories. It's a shame that such simple unbridled joy cannot be so easily obtained anymore.

Anonymous said...

February, 1972: I'm with Mom as she drives around town on various errands. At Michael's Liquor Store (corner of Chatsworth and White Oak) , I'm checking out the spinner rack while Mom shops (for liquor, I suppose). My birthday is a day or two away, so I ask Mom if I can get a few comics . Normally, comics were a luxury we couldn't afford on our family budget, but this time, playing the Birthday Card worked -- Mom says I can have three. HERO FOR HIRE #8, DAREDEVIL #97 and CONAN THE BARBARIAN #25 came home with me that day.

Loved those comics, but the dedicated collecting bug didn't really kick in until more than a year later. Late Summer, 1973, I notice that our local supermarket (Food King, corner of Balboa and San Fernando) now has a spinner rack. WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #10 and TOMB OF DRACULA #17 are practically yelling at me to buy them. My weekly allowance has recently gone up from a quarter a week to a whole dollar, and soon I'm spending almost all of it (plus daily lunch money, plus whatever I can scrounge out of the furniture cushions, plus whatever I can steal from Mom's purse when I can get away with it) on comics. Hooked, baby.

Edo Bosnar said...

Anon, a liquor store seems like an odd place to have a spinner rack, but then I guess it depends on the state. In Oregon, where I grew up, everything but wine and beer could only be sold in state-licensed liquor stores, and you couldn't even enter them unless you were over the legal drinking age (21). Pretty sure there was no spinner racks there...

William, I've since re-acquired all three of the Spidey pocketbooks, the two Dr. Strange volumes, the second Hulk volume and also the Spiderwoman book (which I forgot to mention above). You're right: despite their smaller size and the fact that they often don't reprint the covers to individual issues, there is something special about them, it's almost hard to describe.

Anonymous said...

Edo:

In our town, back in the day, liquor stores were more like convenience stores -- they sold other things besides booze: soda pop and snacks, "staples" like bread, milk, batteries, etc. Most of them had at least a magazine rack, and sometimes a paperback spinner and/or comics. Once I got seriously into comics, I had every liquor store, drugstore, department store and supermarket in a 2-mile radius scoped out. Thriftimart on Zelzah Ave. had just a few comics mixed in with the rest of their magazines, The Treasury across the street had a spinner rack (but poorly maintained). Half a mile away was a Liquor store that sometimes had Marvel b/w mags (POTA and DEADLY HANDS); half a mile northeast was another liquor store that usually got the Warren mags -- etc etc.

Edo Bosnar said...

Anon, yep, as I thought, it's something that varies from state to state.
Your memories of the mental map you made of stores with comics struck a chord with me; as I said above, my family sort of lived in the boonies, but I similarly surveyed the terrain around any grocery store in the nearest town for drugstores or convenience stores that also offered comics and were close enough that I could dash to them while my mom was still shopping.

Rip Jagger said...

I come to this thread very very late, but I have to add Ern's Newsstand to the discussion. For more see what I wrote about it many years ago now:

http://ripjaggerdojo.blogspot.com/2009/09/erns-news-stand.html

Rip Off

The Prowler said...

Hey Rip, you're not "late" you're "fashionalbe"!!! Not that there's anything wrong with that....... I'm late!!!

As I've mentioned before, my father was Army. 502nd Admin Finance Corp. HELL ON WHEELS!!! Stationed out of Fort Hood. Many of my first comics were ones the GIs had. There was a weekend, can't remember when, but my mother came home with some comics. They had no covers because the lady's son pinned them on his wall. It was a Spider-Man (he was fighting Doc Ock and Hammerhead), Marvel Team Up with the Vision, Batman where he had to pretend to write a last will and testament, Metal Men, Doom Patrol and Haunted Tank. I think that's what they were. Those comics led me to the U-Tote-M down the street and their spinner rack. First two Spider-Mans I bought were 121 and 123. Nope, no 122. Some FFs, Hulks and Thors. That store was my comic lifeline. On a fishing trip to the other side of town, I realized almost every little store had a spinner rack. When I got 10 speed, I would hit every store in town. One day, on a trip to R&B's Dept Store, I found the magazine rack with Savage Sword on Conan.

1981 was a big year. My middle sister graduated and on a visit to eat lunch with her, the restaurant was Half Price Books. They had comics! For half price!!!

Prowling around for area led me to Third Planet. They had records, tapes and in the back, comics. Boxes and boxes of comics. After college, in the 90s, I found LCS. At MY SHOP, I had a subscription and pull list. Woo hoo!!!

As the bottom fell out of the market in the 90s, I would help guys clean out their stores and take my payment in boxes. Most of the time it was grab bag as is, but one or two guys let me fill a box.

Now, as I'm scanning, I'm realizing I spent way WAY too much money on Image. What a maroon.....

(Blinded by the light
Revved up like a deuce
Another runner in the night
Blinded by the light

Madman drummer bummers
Indians in the summer
With a teenage diplomat
In the dumps with the mumps
As the adolescent pumps
His way into his hat
With a boulder on my shoulder
Feeling kinda older
I tripped a merry-go-round
With this very unpleasing
Sneezing and wheezing
The calliope crashed to the ground
The calliope crashed to the ground).

PS: Often cloned, never mechanized, I am not a robot!!!

Redartz said...

Rip- thanks for the link to your article. A very meaningful memory, and a fine tribute.

Redartz said...

Oh, and by the way, today is National Comic Book Day (or so I just learned). Salutations to all fans of that unique medium ...

Doug said...

Rip, that was a nice story. Thank you for sharing it.

And to everyone else, this conversation was everything I hoped it would be. Thanks to all of you as well.

Obscure story of an obscure character tomorrow, friends. I mean -- really obscure. Stay tuned.

Doug

Rob said...

Doug - we must have lived close to one another as kids, because many of my first remembered self-purchased comics were from an Open Pantry on 92nd & Howard Ave in Milwaukee. The spinner rack there in 1975-1976 always had Avengers, Fantastic Four and Uncanny X-men and Howard the Duck, not to mention the Kiss Marvel Super Special on their magazine rack which I eagerly snapped up.

There was Jewel grocery store not far away on 76th street and for some reason they always had Marvel and DC treasury editions, as well as Marvel black & white mags (Rampaging Hulk, the Claremont / Byrne Starlord one, etc), so that's where I got my hands on those.

After we moved to the other side of town I was introduced to Polaris by a friend and well, it was all over at that point.

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