I'm not online much these days, but I do want to come to the Ask Mr. Silver Age website long enough to wish our best pal Craig Shutt the happiest of birthdays!. Try not to collide with too many skyscrapers today.

--Your pal, Hoy Murphy

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So I was watching an old episode of Columbo on one of the streaming services earlier today, with Robert Culp as the guest murderer, and it got me to thinking, "Gosh, Robert Culp seemed to have been a guest murderer pretty often on this show. I wonder how many times he guest murdered somebody?" That caused me to pause in my televiewing to seek out another device where I could find the answer to that query. No sooner had I logged onto my computer, though, than I was gobsmacked by the realization that today -- oh, wonderful day of days -- was the same day our dear friend and mentor, the very same legend whose name graces this particular discussion thread, the self-proclaimed Mr. Silver Age himself, was born. "Surely," I said to myself (though my name in fact is not Shirley), "surely I don't need to know right this very instant how many times Robert Culp guest murdered somebody on Columbo. Surely I can set aside my quest for knowledge long enough to wish The Aged One the very happiest of birthdays." And so, that brings me here.

Now what, you might ask, would make this the happiest of birthdays for Mr. Age? It's long been rumored, and in fact has been proven, that nothing says "Happiest of Birthdays" with more sheer gusto to Mr. Age than for him to receive 3 (no more than three) rare and nearly-priceless Silver Age comic books to add to his collection. But not just any 3 Silver Age comic books... no, these have to be the front covers, not the entire comic book. And what's more, they have to be .jpgs of the front covers, not the actual physical printed-on-paper front covers. And they have to have some kind of theme to them. If all of those conditions are met -- and gosh darn it, I plan to meet those conditions -- then Mr. Age will indeed have the most gloriously happiest of birthdays. 

So what to do this year to satisfy those stringent conditions of happy birthdayness? Nothing in these days of Silver Age collecting madness seems to be madder than the retrofitting of "key" status upon comic books that heretofore were merely quarter-bin castoffs. Every time a new movie or TV show comes out that dredges up an old character, sure enough, that comic book soon skyrockets in price (not necessarily value). Wanting to help Mr. Age settle comfortably into his own silver years with great riches, and wanting to be ahead of the curve in providing him with "key" comic books that people haven't even realized are key yet, herewith I bestow upon Mr. Age 3 rare and valuable key comic book cover .JPGs, along with my birthday wishes! (Covers, as usual, courtesy of GCD.)

Happy Birthday, Craig!

Richie Rich # 5 (July 1961, Harvey) -- first appearance of Cadbury, the butler

Young Love # 39 (Sept-Oct. 1963, DC Comics) -- first appearance of Mary Robin, R.N.

Tarzan # 162 (December 1966, Gold Key) -- first cover appearance of Ron Ely as Tarzan

Wait, another birthday? Hoy Murphy just wished you a birthday in another thread 4 minutes ago! You're aging twice as fast everyone else!

Good lord! *choke!*

Happy birthday, Craig!

Thanks, all! I appreciate you remembering and sending good wishes. I think Dave may have been at the end of a long, long game of telephone when he came up with what I most wanted each year, but it's the thought that counts.

I did see that I got two notices that Hoy had posted, but it's just another indication of how forgetful we can get as the years advance. And anyone willing to hang around with someone known as Mr. Silver Age probably can't claim to be a spring chicken.

I know how Superman feels, and I too am grateful for the slight fog that surrounds me so no one can see how horribly I've aged. Wait, what? There's no fog? Uh-oh.

-- MSA


Happy belated birthday!

Happy belated birthday, Craig!

For all of those I inadvertently left hanging, Robert Culp guest murdered three times on Columbo. But the all-time leader in guest murderers was Patrick McGoohan, who guest murdered four times. Now you know.

Sinclair Lewis isn't read as much these days as he used to be, which is a shame because, let's face it, great writers are great writers no matter when they lived, no matter what they wrote about. Lewis once wrote, "It is impossible to discourage the real writers -- they don't give a damn what you say, they're going to write." I'd like to think that, even though the timeline of their lives didn't quite intersect -- Lewis died several years before Craig Shutt was even born -- Lewis could very easily have been opining on the lasting greatness of the Ask Mr Silver Age brand of comic bookery that Shutt created, perfected and immortalized. 

These are the very thoughts that occurred to me this morning, as I was picking out a pair of socks to wear as I began another workday. I, like many if not most or perhaps all of us on this forum, devote my daily toil to the thought that if I can bring even an iota's worth of professionalism and yes, I'll even go so far as to say, grandeur to my work that in any way bears even the faintest echo of the greatness that was and still is Mr. Age, then that is what I shall do. Destiny calls, in the voice of Shutt, asking... nay, demanding... that I do not settle for second-best, that my work and accomplishments of the day should call to mind the same awe-inspiring sense of wonder that Mr. Age called upon every time he wrote his never-to-be-forgotten columns. Profound thoughts while rummaging through the sock drawer, I will admit, but no less profound for all of that.

Today, as we all know since it's etched not just on our monthly calendars but in our very heart of hearts, is Craig Shutt Day, the day when he was born, and the day we celebrate his very existence. As I have done numerous times in the past, I again this year will bestow upon Mr. Age three (not one, not two) extremely valuable and memorable comic books of the very same Silver Age that he himself is so famous for memorializing. To be more accurate, I will bestow upon him three front covers from Silver Age comic books. Actually, in the interests of precision, I should point out that I will actually be bestowing three JPG images culled from the Grand Comics Database archives and then posted here, so that not only can Mr. Age enjoy looking at them, but all of his many followers and fans can equally bask in the Silver Ageyness of it all.

I always choose a particular theme to make this birthday celebration even more auspicious than it already is, and this year, I decided to choose as my theme a recreation of my own early journey into the Silver Age. These are some of the very first comic books I ever bought, back in that Batmania year of 1966, when I was first bit by the Silver Age bug. 

So happy birthday, Craig! And keep those Silver Age flags a-flying!

Thanks, as always, for the kind words, Dave! I'm not sure just how "extremely valuable" any Shaggy Man appearance can be, but as your entry point to the fabulous world of DCU superheroes, money is the least of its value. I sadly missed out on that Hadrian's Wall issue, but the other two have been securely lodged in my collection since I bought them off the spinner and are fondly remembered. With some luck, I'll find a reason to write about them sometime and make both you and Sinclair proud.
-- MSA

That Craig sure can write good about them old funnybooks!

Happy birthday, codger!

Your pal, Hoy Murphy


Happy Birthday!!!


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