Discussion on another thread that mentioned Mike's Amazing World of Comics prompted me to take a look to see if I could pinpoint exactly when my comic book addiction began in the 1960s. Sure enough, I was able to narrow it down to May and June of 1963. The first three comics I remember buying were Action Comics # 303, Detective Comics #317 and Superman #163.
I had seen some comics in the children's ward when I was hospitalized in second grade and began looking to buy my own when I got out. I remember staying exclusively with Superman and Batman titles, which came to include Justice League of America. From there I sampled some of the individual titles of the JLA membership, but none of them clicked with me for more than a few issues. I did like the Brave and the Bold team-ups and Metamorpho was a favorite, but the Schwartz titles seemed too "mature" for my young tastes.
A couple of years later, when I was home sick with chickenpox, my wonderful mother brought me a stack of used comics she had found at a second-hand store. They were all Marvel comics. I didn't know the characters and wasn't much interested, but, having nothing else to do, I read them. I became a Marvel fan and abandoned DC until sometime in the 1970s.
Fortunately, I've been able to catch up with a lot of what I missed with the DC Showcase Presents reprints. I also was fortunate to discover the Ask Mr. Silver Age column in CBG that helped me "interpret" those stories in an entertaining manner. I still miss that monthly dose of mirth.
So, what's your Silver Age beginnings story?
I'm glad you enjoyed the column and it added to your experience, Hoy! I miss the column too. I can't believe that for a number of years in there, I was doing it *weekly*! How did I do that? I know it was a heckuva lot of fun. I'm going to try to post more of the columns here this year to see if they can generate some comments and for those who didn't follow it for its two-decade tenure.
I know the beginning to my SA pretty specifically too. It was SUPERMAN ANNUAL #4, on sale November 10, 1961, which made me 7 years old. Not only do I still have this issue in my collection, but most Superman comics after that point are vividly familiar to me, whereas almost all of them before then are not.
I now own many of those earlier issues and stories, but they don't have that feeling of long-ago awe and wonder that I associate with this comic and the SUPERMAN issues that followed. I don't actually remember where I got it or how I started buying comics, but I do know exactly when it happened.
The first comic I very distinctly remember buying is FF #8 probably in late summer 1962. I was obviously checking out spinner racks by then and buying a lot of DC superhero, and I saw that on the rack, looked through it and said "What the heck is THIS?" That reaction sticks with me to this day.
I don't have that copy any more, but I DO have my original copy of AMAZING FANTASY #15, which I would've bought earlier that summer, although I don't remember exactly where I picked it up. It's in BTH condition, with no cover or splash page, but I obviously realized it was worth holding onto anyway.
As a result, I was buying both companies early on. But Marvel's tendency to interconnect issues and titles, in a time when distribution was so spotty, kept taking me back to DC, because it was unsatisfying to fear I'd never find the rest of the Marvel story I was buying.
DC could be sneaky about that--the first JLA I ever bought was #11 in early 1962, part of the reason I rise to the bait every time that legendary classic comes around. But it wasn't the earliest issue I ever bought, as later that summer, I found JLA #10 in a three-for-a-dime bag without a cover. Only then did I discover that #11 was essentially the second half of a two-part story so well summed up in the beginning of the issue that the break wasn't even apparent to me!
That SUPERMAN ANNUAL is a key reason why Al Plastino has always been one of my favorite Superman artists. I even got to tell him that, as I'm now his friend on Facebook! Pretty amazing.
Seeing those first comics I ever came across is still a fun feeling. That I still own some of those original issues I bought off the spinner adds something to the experience. Man, that was a LONG time ago!
This April will be 50 years since I discovered comic books. I was five years old (I started reading at three, and was already somewhat obsessed with the newspaper comics, particularly Peanuts and Dick Tracy, as well as television's Adventures of Superman). I got hooked almost immediately. I remember asking my mom and dad for comic books for Christmas that year, and I remember (and still have) the ones I got.
These are the issues that got me hooked that first month. Little did my parents suspect what they were letting themselves in for when they bought them for me.
Oddly, Mike's site shows two comic books that I used to own, which came out within a month of the three issues I posted above: Archie's Joke Book #88 and Archie Giant #32 (Betty and Veronica Spectacular). I can't imagine five-year-old me picking those up from the spinner rack. I'll never know for sure, but I strongly suspect that they were given to me by a cousin some months later, after I really started to get interested in comics..
Those are all such great, classic, iconic covers (except maybe that BATMAN ANNUAL #1). You so far have the prize for buying cool comics the earliest, followed by me and Hoy and Bob. Those were all great years to start reading comics. I don't think it's surprising that we all started with Superman and DC, to some extent because there were more (or any) on the stands, and Superman was so well known.
That Fantastic Foes BATMAN ANNUAL was the Holy Grail for me for many years. Many of the comics I picked up had a house ad for it, but I never got a look at it for real, and it was driving me crazy, looking at those weird villains and wondering about the stories. I finally did get a copy, but it was decades later, when the thrill of opening it was lessened. But it was still really cool to finally hold it.
My Silver Age began in the spring of 1966, thanks to the "Batman" TV show. I had recently moved to a new school, and discovered that every kid in my grade was reading comic books, specifically Batman comic books, except me, and every kid was watching the "Batman" TV show except me (it was on the same time as "The Munsters" on one of its nights). Quickly enough, I succumbed to peer pressure and switched channels over to ABC (sorry, Herman and Lily!), where I was immediately hooked and became a lifelong fan of the "Batman" show (which I'm now enjoying all over again thanks to the DVD collection).
Watching the TV show wasn't nearly good enough, though, so next time I was in a drug store with my mom, I begged her to buy me a Batman comic book... but alas, despite my painstaking search through that first spinner rack of my acquaintance, there was no Batman comic book to be found. So I settled for the next best thing: a copy of Justice League of America with Batman prominently displayed, front and center. (Editor Julie Schwartz took a lot of heat for plastering Batman on the covers of every issue of JLA during the Go-Go Checks era, but that strategy certainly paid off in my case, as DC not only got my 12 cents then, but quite a few more purchases from me over the years!). Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, I was hooked again, though as it turned out, I ended up a bigger fan of the JLA and some of the other JLA stars (Superman and the Flash in particular) than I was of Batman, at least in the comic books.
So here's the comic book that started it all: JLA #45, "Super-Struglle Against Shaggy Man" (June 1966):
My introduction to superhero comics came when a school-friend lent me Adventure #336. Although the cover date was September 1965, this would've been around 3 years later (I was just approaching my 10th birthday). US comics took over 1 year to arrive here in the UK, and my friend wasn't confident enough with my "looking after comics" skills to lend me his latest books. I read the story and was instantly hooked - to think there was a band of super-heroes, existing 1,000 years in the future, of which I had no knowledge whatsoever! I persuaded my friend to lend me his complete collection of Adventure Comics over the next three or four months and read them in order of publication. This brought me up to around #361. What a find!
I pestered mom until she found me a shop in south Birmingham that sold DC comics (there weren't many), then pestered my nan to buy me some of the comics on the spinner. The first one I bought was Action #346 (the cover depicts Supergirl giving Superman an uppercut). I then collected US comics for around 4 years, ending up with a DC collection of over 400. If only I still had all those originals now!
That's a great issue to start with! I loved those comics, although I was older (about 4 years) and this was hitting right in my prime Golden Age.
Seeing those Legion issues always reminds me that when they did the Animated Legion title, which was for "kids," as opposed to the main stories, which were for older fans, they had a simple line style and at most four panels per page with maybe 25 words of copy. Comparing those to these dense, elaborate stories from when I was reading comics as a kid always made me wonder if they were shortchanging kids today.
Interesting that everyone posting so far started with DC - which holds true for me also. The only Marvel comics I read during my earliest reading years of 1963 - 65 were ones loaned to me by friends or my cousin, otherwise it was almost exclusively DC with an occasional Gold Key or Dell comic.
True for me too. I remember someone loaning me Uncanny X-Men #13 (Where Walks The Juggernaut) and enjoying it immensely, but regretfully deciding that I could only afford to follow one publisher, and that publisher would have to be DC because of my love for LSH and the whole Superman genre.
I think DC comics appealed to younger kids, so that often was the entry point back then to superhero comics (following Archie, Harvey or Dell comics prior to that). At some point, kids reading comics happen upon a Marvel comic after they've been introduced to comics already. If nothing else, Marvel has far fewer titles out and they were unknown quantities, unlike Superman and Batman might be. For some (hi Hoy!) they never looked back after that.