Monday, 17 August 2015

THE POWER OF PICTURES...


The pic in question - sourced from MWOM,
rather than WHAM! 'cos I can't open my
bound volume wide enough to scan.
(Image copyright MARVEL COMICS)

Whenever I re-read a book after many years, when it comes
to descriptive paragraphs of places, whatever impression formed in
my mind when I first read it, is the one that resurfaces upon my re-ac-
quaintance.  The first time I ever read The WIND In The WILLOWS,
my impression of the WILD WOOD was an amalgam of the woods at the 
foot of the street of where I then lived, and the woods in a former neigh-
bourhood in which I'd stayed several years before.  I've re-read the book
many times over the years, and the images conjured up in my mind are
always the exact same as previously.  Same with MOONFLEET,
or The HOBBIT, or TREASURE ISLAND, or whatever -
it's the same each time.

That also applies to certain pictures.  For example, when I was a
lad, 'twas my custom to (horror of horrors) cut certain pictures I liked
from the comics they were printed in.  I was especially fond of clipping
out pictures of SUSAN STORM ('cos I fancied her) from the FF stories
in the pages of WHAM!, one of my favourite comics at that time.  I not
only cut out panels, but figures within panels, resulting in what can only
be described as 'paper dolls' which I kept in a checkered vinyl pencil
'purse' I'd found.  (I had to wait six months for it, as I'd handed it
into the police - insufferably virtuous kidlet that I was.)

My former back garden

Sometimes I'd sit out on my back doorstep and go through
my collection of cut-outs, acting out little adventures with them.
(Before I got my first ACTION MAN - a secondhand one from a
pal of my brother -  I had a cut-out picture of an Action Man that acted
as a stand-in until the real thing came along.)  One morning, I was out in
the back garden and saw something caught in the plants which ran along
the edge of the lawn below the back window.  It was a picture of Susan
Storm, which must've blown off the step on a previous occasion I was
seated there, playing with my paper figures.  I was surprised, because
I hadn't noticed it was missing and it was one of my favourites, so I
was happy to be reunited with it.  Eventually, as I grew older, I
had a purge, and consigned all my paper playthings to the
dustbin of history.

Here's the thing:  Whenever I look at that picture today (in
reprints and re-acquired 'originals'), my main association is the
back garden of my former house.  Although some later reprints also
have their own associations from the time I bought them, they shelter
in the shadow of my earliest impressions of that one particular picture.
So here's a question for you.  Is there any specific panel from a comic
you read as a child that, when you see again, transports you right
back to the time and place where you first encountered it?
If so, tell us all about it in the comments section.

Me on the back step - 19 years after
moving from the house

28 comments:

TC said...

No specific panels come to mind. I do tend to associate certain titles with certain places. Mostly my parents' house where I grew up, but a good number (including Adventure Comics #347, World's Finest #159, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #7, Doctor Solar #17, Detective #356, Avengers #33, and Inferior Five #6) with my maternal grandparents' home, because I read them during visits there.

When I read Sherlock Holmes stories, I tended to imagine 221B as looking like my paternal grandparents' living room. Maybe because they were the only people I knew who had a fireplace.

DeadSpiderEye said...

Spiderman Comics Weekly No. 2, travelling on the A30 to London in a van. Don't recall much about the strip, except for the little guy, who was the martial arts expert and the guy with the hat and lariat. The cover sticks though, slightly awkward looking Spidey facing off a non too threatening looking gang, oh how looks can deceive.

My sister would've been screaming for the comic because she could never bare to see me content, then she probably threw it out the window as soon as I was forced to hand it over.

Kid said...

I find it strange, TC, that often our impressions of a place might not exactly match the writer's description, but rather is the closest thing we know to it from our own experiences. Incidentally, I love the Sherlock Holmes stories.

******

My main memory of the cover of SMCW #2, DSE, is the route past the doctor's surgery to the Old Village quarter of my town, which is where I purchased the comic. The Spidey figure is by Kirby, the Enforcers by Ditko. You could always have thrown your sister out the window to retrieve it, eh? That would've been fair.

Phil said...

http://gobacktothepast.com/wpsys/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Spider-Man-inflatable-pillow.jpg

I knew a kid who had one and it was very neat, the pillow was clear plastic so it gave it a 3d effect.

Kid said...

Took a look, Phil, Ta. I remember seeing them advertised in the comics at the time. Ah, a Spidey pillow or a Raquel Welch one - decisions, decisions.

DeadSpiderEye said...

I do recall the Spidey figure's stylistic distinctness being a topic of conversation at the time, we wouldn't have known about attributing specific artists for cover art edits though.

Kid said...

I did, 'cos I'm a genius, I am. And modest with it.

Paul McScotty- Muir said...

There are numerous comics and a few panels that take me back - probably too many to note here all the same but 2 that come to mind are:

A panel from the last page of the WHAM! 1967 Annual - I got this annual around March 1967 as a wee treat from my mum and dad as I was ill and was off school. I remember loving this annual and copying some of the cartoon (Georges Germs Frankie Stein etc) but I was particularly taken by a cartoon (on the very last page of the annual) of a boy that was also ill who had a long hairy green tongue (he was just a character in a story in the background) and thinking how did the artist think of drawing this. I got that annual again about 10 years ago and as soon as I went to the last page (forgetting all about this) and saw that panel / cartoon I was taken right back to my house in Rutherglen as a 7 year old in bed - was a bit surreal actually.

The Many Ghosts of Dr Graves issue 50 : I think this came out in the US in 1975 but I picked this up after my final O level exam (History) in 1976. It was an amazingly hot day in Glasgow and I knew I had passed the exam (I did) and was in good mood (previous exams did not go as well as I had hoped) so I decided to walk home and use my unused bus fare money on a little treat of a comic book - I lived at this time in Blantyre and went to school in Rutherglen about 5 1/2 miles away. Not a great distance but it was really hot and a long walk - anyway halfway home (in Halfway, Cambuslang as it happens) I pooped into a newsagent and picked up DR Graves issue 50 - on arriving in my street at home about 5pm my mum , dad , brother and we dog were home and in the garden - as I arrived I was given an ice cream cone (as I said it was hot) and some coke by my mum , we all sat in the garden on that great day just chatting about nothing in particular (and my exams) and that comic always reminds me of that day (and having very sore feet).

Kid said...

I've just dug out that Wham! Annual to take a look at that page, McScotty. I don't associate it with anything (other than the era) 'cos I never had the book back then, but your story made me want to see it. Isn't it great how a comic, book or toy can take us right back to specific moments? Do you still have Dr. Graves #50, either the original or a replacement?

I remember me and a pal walking to Hamilton one day (around August/September - perhaps even as early as July, '73), and somewhere along the way, there was the Marvel Annual for 1974 in a newsagent's window. I remember being surprised at this, as no other Annuals were in any shops at the time - as far as I could see anyway. So whenever I look at the cover of my (replacement) copy today, I always think of my walk to Hamilton 42 years ago. I bought the Annual several weeks later from a shop in the Old Village quarter of my town.

When I got back home that evening, I put up a coat peg (a detached one I'd found on the floor of the school cloakroom a few days before) on my bedroom door. It's still there, and there's a story behind it as well. When my family moved to another house back in '83, I took the coat peg with me, carefully tagging the screws so that I could put the peg on my new bedroom door with the screws in the same sequence. When we moved back to our previous home four years later, I repeated the operation, so the screws are in the same holes in the door, and in the same order, as they were when I first put up that peg in 1973.

Paul McScotty- Muir said...

Sadly I don't have Dr Graves issue 50 now,but it is on my wants list. As I recall it was one long story featuring Dr Graves rather than the usual smaller stories where he introduces the story or where he only appears in a 4 / 6 page tale etc - I thought they were trying to make him Charlton's version of Dr Strange at the time as it was really different type of tale for Charlton with some good art ( I think by Tom Sutton). Wow I can't recall that much detail about things you remember like that coat peg from 1973 (and the screws!!) amazing.

Kid said...

That'll be because you have a life as well as a girlfriend, McS. I probably wouldn't remember half the stuff I do if I was busy getting on with life, instead of looking back all the time. I've always been like this 'though, ever since the age of 5. Not that I'm complaining, mind.

Paul McScotty- Muir said...

the older I get the more I look back, which is probably what most folk do but most of my memories aren't from 1980 , 2000 etc when I was a young un in me prime, but from around 1966 - 1977 . My "disco" years (so to speak 1980 -2000)) are less important to me now than my comic book and toy years yet at the time they felt so important. Whilst I have fun now I do find modern culture and life (mostly) a bit errr boring.

Kid said...

There are certain aspects of Scottish culture that depress me - mainly the desire of what seems like the majority of the population to get completely blootered as often as possible. It also seems a far noisier place, what with music (allegedly) blaring out from everywhere - shops, cars, homes, etc. The world seemed a more orderly and ordered place when I was a kid. Perhaps that was an illusion, but it seemed real at the time. Wish I had a time machine.

Colin Jones said...

Kid, what you said there would apply to the whole of British society - I live near enough to the town centre so it's only a ten-minute walk to the shops but thankfully I live far enough away so I don't have to put up with all the noise and drunkenness on Friday/Saturday nights.

Kid said...

Bring back prohibition, that's what I say. (Okay, so they only had it in America.) I hate to see people having a good time. Er, I mean, I hate drunkenness and uncontrolled revelry and too much noise.

Dunsade Dave said...

Daredevil #235 always takes me back to the first time I read it, in my great-grandparents house one 1986 Saturday afternoon, especially the last page and the panel where we see Mr Hyde through a skylight. It's a fill-in issue, probably an inventory story that's been dropped in, but is drawn by Steve Ditko and is worth a look if anyone happens to spot it in a bargain bin somewhere...

Kid said...

Ooh, must look out for that one, DD. Ta. You still got your original ish?

Dunsade Dave said...

Yep, still got the original copy I bought from a papershop in the east end of Glasgow on a sunny day in 1986. Same shop that I bought the Nam #12 in, a story that I didn't really appreciate at the time, but that I now think is a stunning piece of work. Further along the street was another shop that sold DC titles, I think I bought some Justice League issues in there but they don't provoke as strong memories as the DD or Nam comics do.

Dunsade Dave said...

There's one panel that I vividly remember reading on a coach to Blackpool in 1986, although I don't know what comic it was from. It was a strip called Millionaire Villa, about a rich buffoon who invests in a football club on the condition that he plays as goalkeeper. A penalty is awarded against his team and he stands thinking about how he's going to save the penalty- that panel sticks in my mind all these years later: it was a three-quarter profile picture of the guy's face with a smug smile and a Robin Askwith haircut. Every time I picture that panel I can almost feel the tension that I felt wondering what was going to happen.

I did think it must have been in the Roy of the Rovers Holiday Special 1986, but having tracked down a copy on eBay, it's not in it. If anyone happens to recognise the story or know if Millionaire Villa was printed in any other titles around the mid-80s, I'd love to know.

Kid said...

So would I, DD. C'mon, fellow Criv-ites - can anybody identify the comic?

Phil said...

I forgot to add the only time is saw this was at a birthday party in New York City. I think that kid also had a Captain Action Spider-man! I didn't want to leave his house. So every time I see that pillow or see that toy I think of New York.

Kid said...

Every time I see that pillow or that toy, I think of what I don't have. Sob! (Got two of the Playing Mantis re-released Captain Action figures 'though.)

Vince and Siv said...

For me its the splash page of the Green Lantern back up in Flash 219 (Jan 73, so I was 9 or 10) which my Mum, who was working in London at the time, brought home for me and my brother. The image of the car crashing into the telephone box with Black Canary inside is an image burned into my mind, and takes me back to that time whenever I see that story.

I found a scan of it online here:
http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2012/08/07/frantic-as-a-cardiograph-scratching-out-the-lines-day-220-flash-219-back-up-story/

I'd read a few comics up till then, but nothing quite as memorable as that....strange how over 40 years later I can still remember that moment, but I can barely remember what I had for lunch last week!

Kid said...

Took a look, V&S - very nice pic indeed, especially the way Black Canary is being thrust into the air in a way that young boys would've paused over without quite understanding why. As I've said before, sometimes I get transported into the past to such an extent when looking at an old comic that, when I look up from it, I sometimes find myself surprised to find that I'm not in the house I lived in at the time I first read it.

Dunsade Dave said...

A similar memory to the one Paul mentions above. One roasting hot bank holiday in 1987 (probably Glasgow Fair Monday, I think), I decided to walk into Glasgow city centre on my own (my friend who lived near me must have been busy) to go to the old AKA in Virginia Street to get meself something nice, or maybe several somethings nice, if the 10p box had been well-stocked. It was only a 2 1/2 mile journey but felt much longer in the sweltering heat, and I made it, walked over the swing bridge, up Virginia St, the tall buildings offering some welcome shade, got to the front door of the Virginia Galleries and... yep, it was closed. I hadn't considered the Bank Holiday.

Nothing else to do but to head for home, but on the way I stopped into a papershop in the Gorbals to buy a can of Pepsi to keep me going on the walk home, and on the counter I noticed the Marvel Robocop movie adaptation, UK version. I was knackered by the time I got home, but remember lying on the floor in my bedroom reading it - it still brings back memories of that hot day now when I flick through it, especially the last page.

Another odd thought it gives me is that I remember walking down a side street on the way into the town that day and seeing a woman sitting on a chair from her house on the pavement soaking up the sun- in almost exactly the place where I now live. I just leaned out of the window and looked down at the spot where I walked past that wee woman all those years ago smiled at me as I strolled past on my mission to find comics. It seems like such a long time ago in some ways, but so vivid a memory too.

Kid said...

What a great reminiscence, DD. I remember AKA very well - it had small premises on one side of Virginia Galleries, then moved across the corridor to larger ones. Actually, I was in the shop that day, but when they saw you coming, they said "There's Dunsade Dave - let's kid on we're shut!" The look on your face was priceless. (Yeah, I'm talking sh*te.) I wonder if that woman still lives in the area and how many times you may have walked past her without recognizing her, seeing as she's now nearly 30 years older.

Dunsade Dave said...

When I moved in here, there was a couple who lived in the ground floor flat who had been here since the '80s, I did wonder if it might have been her, but who knows...

The wee shop in the Gorbals is still there, I've been in it a few times over the years and always think of the bright red cover of the Robocop special when I'm standing at the counter.

Kid said...

I remember being pleased to see that the small newsagents along from the Barras where I'd bought my first copy of MWOM #1 in 1972 was still there in the late '80s or early '90s. Last time I passed that way in a car, I couldn't see it, which was kind of sad. I'll have to check for sure the next time I'm in the area.

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