We've all got a memory, a tale, of that one rare comic book that we saw at a friend's house, at the beach, at the store, or the barber shop.
We have a memory of it, and of looking for it, or asking for it, or trying to trade for it, but never getting any luck in landing it.
Or, maybe against all odds, we DID find it, or scored it for a song.
This is your thread. This is YOUR list. This is where you should post that single most statisfying or frustrating pursuit.
When visiting my cousins, perhaps an hour north of our town in the middle 60s, I mentioned to them that I had fallen into reading and following the Fantastic Four. Issue #60 had just come out, and I told t hem that it was the end of a major storyline with the Silver Surfer and Dr. Doom. And that the last panel said, "Next: A New Danger Dawns".
My cousin made a smart-mouthed boast, "So, you don't know what the next issue is yet, huh?"
"NO, I don't," I admitted, instantly hooked and desirous for any information (He didn't have any idea either, but was just baiting me, teasing me.) He refused to discuss it any further.
His mother, my aunt, remarked that "isn't that Marvel Comics the same as that Thor record you've got?"
Instantly, I was alert, as I knew there had been several LP records of the first Marvel heroes released in about 1965-66. Cousin Kim had gotten one for his birthday or Christmas or something.
We went to their toy closet, and opening it up, found a tall stack of junk, notebooks, coloring books, kids books, comics, and odds and ends, that had been swept into a stack, out of sight. From among them, they pulled out the Golden Record album of Journey into Mystery #83, "The Stone Men from Saturn" debut of Thor. The vinyl was not in a paper sleeve and faintly scratched, but intact, but the comic was missing. It should have been inside the sleeve with the black record.
I had only seen one similar record within the year. It was the FF version of the same release, and I had borrowed it and listened to the first FF adventure with the Mole Man, over and over. I had borrowed the record from another family, and returned it after a week. But actually Thor wasn't as interesting to me, but I asked about the comic. Comic books interested me.
"Oh, it's in there somewhere," said his mom, but she wouldn't let me unpack the closet and the topic was closed.
Several years later, we visited again, and I asked about the issue. No one was interested in pursuing it. I offered to unpack and repack the closet to find the issue, and while we did that quickly, we never found the issue. I quickly and carefully restacked the closet and regretfully put it out of my mind. It was gone.
About 18 years ago, my cousin Kim died. His had abused his liver and the transplant didn't take. He was dying of yellow jaundice. When we went up to see him for the final time, he was yellow-green and delerious. While we sat around making small talk, he was out of it on the couch.
Some how, the topic of the closet came up, and we opened it up. There in the top one or two items was the reprinted Thor adventure. It started on the inside front cover and ended on the inside rear cover. I was puzzled, cause I didn't recall what this was at first. It had no price on it. I put it back on the stack and didn't bring it up during the wake.
On the ride home, it dawned on me that it was the long-lost missing reprint book that we had hunted for. The key had been the lack of ads and that the story started and ended in b&w on the inside covers. There was no accounting for what had happened to it for 20 years. But now it was back!
Later that night, my cousin passed away, but we didn't return for the funeral.
I looked up the value of the book in the Overstreet price guide and mailed a letter to my surviving cousin, telling him what I thought the book was and what it was worth. I asked if he was interested in selling it, and he declined, saying it was part of his memories of his late brother. I understood. It was listed for just $4.00 in the guide. The memories were more precious. (Now, I see it listed for $1800!
I never saw it again.
I didn't live in the South, but my family did drive from Michigan to Florida once or twice, and my father pointed out the 3 types of facilities on the side of some gas stations. (Men, Women, Colored) So I have no doubt that there was opposition to the concept, especially in the minds of management of the comic companies... up to a point.
Now, if the Black Panther was introduced in 1966, and then guest-stared with Captain America in 1968, he would have been introduced into the Avengers later in 1968 and not been prominently featured except for the occassional cover.
I don't recall any other major black figures through about 1972 when I left the comics world, but I know that Luke Cage was coming out about that time, and I basically just ignored him.
Not because I didn't want to read about him, but he didn't appeal to me... in fact, no comic appealed to me. So, I think the tastes of that ever-shrinking, ever-aging group of comic buying youths changed... and rock & roll and stereos and more distracted them away from comic books like we enjoyed in the 1960s...
Thanks for posting this paper. It is a fascinating document on the times and on the evolution of the Black Panther.
Mr. Silver Age said:
Here's an interesting academic paper on the times and the response to BP in the media--which was mostly nonexistent: http://altcasey.com/works/alt_bp.pdf.
IIRC, there were mixed reactions to Lt. Flap in Beetle Bailey. He was originally portrayed with a teeny, tiny helmet lost in his Afro. This changed over the years.
The problem with Lt. Flap was that he was a stereotype rather than a character. Granted, so were most of the others, but Flap was a racial stereotype rather than a personality type. He had a huge afro, he wore wild African-themed clothes, he represented ethnic minorities. His jokes were always about how he didn't fit into the Army (ie, white) culture. He seldom showed up unless that was the point of the joke, unlike the others.
This might've changed over time, as I didn't see much of BB for a long while in the mid 1970s, but when I started seeing it again, he wasn't around. Of course, a lot of the other characters weren't either. I'm not sure if he ever appealed to anyone, but it did show that Walker was aware of the trend to integrating strips.
I'm not sure BB was the place to do it. His attempts to turn Miss Buxley into more than a sexist joke never seemed to work well, either.
I think that indicates how fast things were changing. As that review I posted indicated, Marvel might've been hedging its bets by introducing a superhero who was African (not African-American) and hiding his face until the final three panels. By 1969, they were putting him on the cover, and his blackness was pretty well exposed. And he didn't even have the word "black" in his name!
They used him as a springboard to showing more black faces and having more "street" kinds of stories for Cap, where he stood out, as he was supposed to. (And it was really aided by Colan's art, IMO). But Marvel was always aiming to reflect concerns of college kids, and that was what they were talking about in that time.
Of course, as we're hearing a lot right now, plenty of people were talking about it since August of 1963, and it only took comics a few years to start reflecting that.
I remember the appearance of the Falcon, in his original ID and costume... but was a bit uncomfortable with the idea that he needed the guidance of a white man to become a hero. Still, the mechanics of the plot called for it, and by the time he emerges, and triumphs over the Skull, it's revealed that it's CAP who has trained with him. It's an inspirational story, but I didn't really expect it to go any further.
When they took Cap on a pilgramage across America on his bike, I was a bit disappointed in the stories, but bringing Falcon back to co-star really took me off guard!
Then the whole Red and White costume change and the strange split up with Cap and eventually "Snap Wilson" just made my head spin. I left comics about then.
Side Note: It's funny that someone referred to Drugists not wanting to put out those comics on the spinner racks. I recall vividly that the first several places that I shopped regularly for comic books was Drug Stores, more than newsstands or small family grocer stores. But eventually, I found them all in our small town, and was making a circuit on my bike, looking for the most perfectly bound copy of each issue, each month. I wasted an awfully lot of time and energy pedaling my bike miles and miles with a small notebook, recording which issue had how many good copies before buying the straightest cover, the one without internal ink blots, etc. I was under the impression that condition would equal cash value some day. How right i was. I never sold but two of them... multiple copies of Avengers #100 that I happened to have bought that month and left in a closet for ten years or so. Sold them for $20 a piece on a CBG comic trader ad...
I probably bought most of my comics in the early years at drug stores. In my teens there was a liquor store within walking distance who had a nice spinner rack and a nice owner. After I started working in L.A. I would take the bus downtown and buy them at an actual newsstand.
Not for condition, but for getting my comics early--or at the time they were supposed to come out as opposed to a month or two later when they usually came out in my immediate area--I took to wandering far and wide in the mid-70s. I didn't go by bike but by foot for miles around. After having found one store that got comics early, I started walking in other directions and finding other stores far away that had early comics. Of course, none of these stores got the same comics in, so I was always walking to distant stores on a given Saturday to see what I could find. But I've always liked walking.
Sorry I took this thread so far afield, but one more memory. My older sister's girl friend worked at the closest drug store as a clerk. She had the responsibility of unpacking the comics and magazines when the arrived from the Suits News Company delivery van.
Each 'bin' was an upside down trapazoid, that basically had two stacks of magazines or comics side by side. The top layer was a sheet of the same paper that a grocery store sack was made out of (as a protective spacer) and a mimeographed 8 1/2" x 14" check sheet which functioned as an invoice. Each magazine was counted and hand written on the blank.
But as a kid, I would lift up those intervening magazine, and 12 issues at a time, flip through the new mint comics as they arrived, pulling just one copy out to "read" or "skim", depending on my interest. If it was FF related, I'd buy it outright.
After a few months of this, Lonnie finally confronted me and asked if I pulled comics out of the bin when it had arrived. She complained that she had to check them in first, before I could buy them, and that I would have to wait or else the count was off. It was always the same issues...the Marvel Comics, only. So for about a month, I complied, and then immediately returned to my Tuesday and Thursday haunting of the stores and mining for my Marvel gold... I never learned!
She complained that she had to check them in first, before I could buy them, and that I would have to wait or else the count was off.
I had this exact same experience. I had a group of two or three stores I went to right after school, and they often didn't have the comics unbundled from the wire strapping. If I was lucky, I could recognize the corners of the ones I wanted and pull them out. When I got told not to do that, I explained the problem, and they started being sure to have the bundles at least open and counted if not displayed by the time school got out.
Man, we must've been a pain to these people.But oh, that feeling of walking into the drugstore and seeing a big stack of comics unbundled and just waiting for me to be the first person to see what had come in!