Tuesday, 29 November 2016

KID KLASSICS: MOONLIGHT, MEMORIES & MADNESS...


Image copyright DC COMICS

Above is the cover to a comic which reminds me of three
other comics at the same time.  "How is such a feat of mighty
memory-mastery possible?" you may be asking.  So, let us now,
by the power of our imaginations, return to October 7th, 1972, and
the Old Village quarter of my home town, where I, resplendent in
my brother's cast-off cord jacket - slightly too big for me and worn
for the first time that Saturday morning - was attending a jumble
sale held in aid of the 8th Scout Troop in the 'old hall' in the
grounds of the Old Parish Church.

This and subsequent images copyright MARVEL COMICS

I'd previously purchased The MIGHTY WORLD Of
MARVEL #2 earlier that morning, and, later, SUPERMAN
#251 en route to the village.  Now, in the kind of hall that spoke
of a long-vanished age - anything from the '20s to the '50s - I was
to add MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #1 and TERRIFIC #1 to my
awesome acquisitions.  The previous owner seemed to have used the
issue of MSH as a dartboard at some point, but it was still readable,
and I think it was the first time I'd owned a complete copy of that
particular Terrific, a U.K. weekly launched five years earlier
which had graced the shelves for a mere 43 issues.


Looking for a place to pore over my comics as I left
the jumble sale, I wandered around to the back of an adjacent,
nigh-derelict building which adjoined the local, centuries old public
house next to the church (and overlooked the graveyard).  It was an
inquisitive boy's delight, and a week or so later, under the dark velvet
canvas of the star-kissed heavens, myself and a friend were crawling
across the roof of the pub, and even using the exterior, cast-iron fire-
escape staircase to gain access to the back 'courtyard' below.  This
location became the source of surreptitious exploration every so
often over a period of two or three years and holds many
happy memories for me.


So, I can't look at any one cover without also thinking
of the other three - or of that jumble sale, my cord jacket, and an
old pub next to the final resting place of long-gone local 'worthies',
who had doubtless quaffed many a flagon of ale centuries before in
the very building over whose slates two teenage boys daringly
    defied death in the airy Autumn moonlight.

******

Interestingly, I occasionally visit the upstairs lounge bar for a
soft drink and a bag of crisps, and have done for many a year now.
It's an odd sensation to think, while sitting there, that I'm under the
very roof I once crawled over as a 14 year old lad so very long ago.
I sometimes wonder if any modern-day counterparts of me and my
pals have ever retraced our footsteps (and handprints) in the years
since we first braved the slates, but it's unlikely.  The building at
the back of the pub is now residential and access to the roof
   can no longer be obtained through its grounds.

******

 For an earlier mention of my rooftop adventures, click here.

32 comments:

B Smith said...

Ah, the times when there were no back issues, there were simply used comics...and they were priced at less than cover price, not ten times it....accounts for the few issues of Smash, Terrific and Fantastic that I own.

Kid said...

Actually, BS, if you could pick up a copy of Fantastic or Smash at ten times the cover price today, it would be a bargain, as that's far cheaper than what they normally sell for these days.

John Pitt said...

I also have a memory of 3 comics, all of which remind me of each other, all bought at the same time during a wet holiday in Barmouth in '65, - The Brave & The Bold ( Aquaman + Hawkman ); the Doom Patrol meet the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man and the Metal Men being melted together in a smelter.
The last two are classics and pushed the DP and MM up to my favourite DC comics!

Kid said...

I wonder if those three comics ever made the contents in the same issue of Double Double Comics? Wouldn't that be something if they did, JP?

John Pitt said...

I doubt that they ever would have, Kid, as the Double-Doubles rounded up comics that came out a couple of years or so later. One day I really MUST get that Metal Men Archives Vol. 1!

Kid said...

Too many things to buy, not enough money, too little time - I wish I could have my life over again.

paul Mcscotty said...

I can vividly recall picking up MWOM issue 2 in R S McColl’s in Rutherglen after school but sadly have no memory of buying another comic at the time ( although I always wanted issue 251 of Superman having seen in it another DC comic in one of those 1/2 or 1/4 page ads). I do recall picking up issue 1 of MWOM along with issue 100 of the Brave and the Bold , both of which I still own and both are still amongst my very favourite comics.

I never ever read my comics in public once I reached 12 - 13 years old onwards I think I was a bit embarrassed at still reading them at that age (daft I know that was the age they were aimed at and I looked really young for 12/13 years old so could have gotten away with it for many a year back then). The most daring I would have been was in having a fly wee peek at my comics if I was sitting in a cafe on my own or on the bus (again on my own) etc and actually I did that with issue 2 of MWOM and ripped the bottom right hand corner of my comic.

I found it hard to believe that Odhams only stopped publishing their comics with Marvel reprints about 5 or 6 years before MWOM 1 came out - at the time(in 1972) it seemed like it was a much larger gap (of course that was about half my life span at the time)

Kid said...

It wasn't even as long as that, PM, it was only about 4 years and TV21 reprinted a few Marvel stories in between. But I know what you mean - it seemed to me something like 10 years at the time. As for reading comics in public, I can't really remember if I was ever self-conscious about it when I was a young teenager. I was always drawing superheroes and cartoon figures in school anyway, so my peers probably wouldn't have been surprised at me reading comics, or seen it as something to ridicule. Those early MWOMs are great comics - I'm glad I re-acquired all the paper-covered issues a good many years ago.

Colin Jones said...

I certainly wasn't embarrassed about being seen buying comics at 13/14 but I was by age 17 and in late 1983 I stopped reading my beloved Marvel comics altogether. I started buying them again in 2007 when I was 41 and by then I was too old to care about being embarrassed. And that claw coming out of the egg looks familiar :D

Kid said...

It sure does, CJ, but it's a bit of a 'challenge' for me to remember where I saw it.

John Pitt said...

That's an interesting topic that PM, yourself and CJ have commented on - embarrassment at reading comics! In my early teens,say 12 to 16, the reading of comics, both in school and at home was widespread. And mine was an all-male grammar school, but we still loved our DC, Marvel and UK comics. Even after leaving school I don't think I have EVER been embarrassed at reading them in public or in shops, etc. But that's just me.
I would, however, be far too embarrassed to be seen reading a copy of The Sun by anybody. Indeed, when I did used to buy it in the 70's, I knew nothing of its political affiliations and only bought it because I loved the "Wack" cartoon strip in it!

Kid said...

I used to buy The Sun too, JP, but only for a couple of things which now escape me. Oh, and Hagar The Horrible. It has political affiliations? Who knew?

Phil S said...

There was a time was I was a bit embarrassed at reading comics but that left right quick. I mean it was the Bronze Age of comics and I could still find silver age stuff cheap. And there were only three stations on tv. I remember one day turning on the tv it was cricket- BBC 2 wasn't broadcasting yet- I forget what was on itv. Back to comic books for me! (You can only ride the bike so long before getting tired). I even drew a lot. I was quite bad but I remember drawing Nick Fury a lot.

Kid said...

That's what I call the good ol' days - three channels on TV. Now we have a load of old pap on far too many channels.

paul Mcscotty said...

Yeah it was strange being embarrassed about reading comics from about 12 / 13 to say 14 years old as it was a common practice (and at the time I remember those horror black and whites – Skywald etc_ being devoured with relish by my peer group in the playground) .I think the reason may have stemmed from the fact at lunchtime and then after school ended (almost every school day) I would scour the towns newsagents (ad there were lots) for comics and I think I got a bit self-conscious of heading in day after day when the same person was in the shop looking at the funny pages. At 15 onwards I as more into trying (in vain) to impress girls and reading comics in public in front of a girl was akin to having a festering pulsating plook on your top lip. Nowadays I still don't read comics in public but have no issue in scanning through a comic (to be honest I rarely properly read a comic nowadays in the way I used to when I poured over every panel) - Couldn't agree more I have over 400 TV Channels available I think I watch 6 of them (mostly things like National Geo and Rick and Morty type cartoon shows) the rest are 90% rubbish. Personally I would always be embarrassed to read the Sun but more so to read the Sport, Star and the Daily Mail.

Kid said...

So here's a question for you, PM - would you be more embarrassed to be seen reading one of those 'newspapers' in public than a comic, or the other way around?

Phil S said...

These days I read comics in public all the time and people ask me what I'm reading. It's usually something they don't know or are vaguely familiar with such as The Spirit or Plastic Man. Doom Patrol. I got to the age I don't give a fig what others think.

Kid said...

If only we could always have been that way, eh, PS? I don't mind sitting in a cafe, looking at comics or collected editions.

John Pitt said...

My brother used to bring tons of those horror comic books home, - some Skywald, but mainly Eerie Publications. Naturally I read every one too! The funny thing is, - he can't remember ever seeing/having/reading them, yet they were HIS comics. I've sent him some links to the covers, but his mind is still a blank about it! He remembers all my Power Comics though!
I did buy the Star every Saturday in the 80's, but only for the Dredd strip.

John Pitt said...

I'm with you guys, - read 'em and stuff what the rest of the world thinks!
I'm sure that folks will talk about me, behind my back, but I couldn't give a HOOT!
Truth of the matter is, I am immensely PROUD to be a comic enthusiast!

Kid said...

That's the spirit, JP. Incidentally, you should get the Dark Horse 'Creepy Presents' Steve Ditko book - you'd love it.

paul Mcscotty said...

I d rather read a comic in public than the aforementioned newpapers - like the others at 50 plus I dont give a rats ass about much now ,but I just don't really read comics in public I like to take them home to look at (and then bemoan how rotten modern comics are compared to the bronze age classics of my youth like a proper old git lol)

Kid said...

One of us should start a 'proper old gits' club. I think we'd all be eligible.

paul Mcscotty said...

NAW! the "old gits clubs" of my youth were miles better than these new mamby pamby ones :(

Kid said...

That's the trouble with old gits these days - they're just not 'gittish' enough. We'll all have to try harder.

TC said...

I was embarrassed to be seen with comic books when I was about 12 or 13. But then, I was losing interest in DC and Marvel by then, anyway. The late 1960's-early 1970's were the peak of the "relevance" fad (Hawk & Dove, Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Captain America & the Falcon), and they were getting too preachy and pretentious for my taste. (The same fad was all over TV, too. The young doctors, the young lawyers, the hippie cops.)

The paperback reprints of pulp heroes (Doc Savage, The Shadow, The Avenger, G-8 and His Battle Aces, Conan the Barbarian) filled a niche when I was too old for Batman and too young for James Bond. I could even take them to school and read them during breaks, and nobody ever batted an eye. And, a few years later, I could openly talk about having gone to see a Bond movie over the past weekend, or having watched a Matt Helm movie on TV.

Ironically, the stories themselves in Doc Savage "real" books made Spider-Man and Batman comics look like Proust by comparison. And those spy movies were doing the same kind of stuff as the comic books, but seemed "adult" because (1) they had a lot of violence and you-know-what, and (2) they were movies, not comics. (John Brosnan, in his book about the Bond films, noted the similarity to comic strips and movie serials, and said that the movies allowed adults to enjoy without embarrassment the same kind of adventure that thrilled them as children.)

Maybe it's a case of "the medium is the message."

TC said...

Re: comics that remind you of each other, there were several that I had that were bought at the same time. A Spider-Man comic where he fought the Vulture, along with an Archie comic (my tastes were eclectic), although I can't remember much about the latter. (I think it had a story where Jughead got into trouble for running in the hallway and accidentally knocking down the principal.) And two Gold Key comics, Tom & Jerry and The Lone Ranger. The former had a spy spoof ("The Mouse From T.R.A.P.") and the latter included a reprint of the story where the Ranger found his long-lost nephew, Dan Reid.

In 1966-67, there were DC comics sold in bagged 3-packs, so I might associate, say Detective #352, Justice League #45, and Green Lantern #44, or maybe Batman #181, Hawkman #15, and World's Finest #159, with each other. The same with the bagged sets of King Features comics that were on sale at the same time: Phantom, Flash Gordon, and Mandrake the Magician, or Blondie, Popeye, and Beetle Bailey. That is, I probably would, if I remembered which issues were together in which set.

Kid said...

James Bond In The Cinema is the name of Brosnan's book, TC, and it's a thoroughly entertaining read. He spotted that early Bond films in particular had large comicbook elements about them, something they could do with these days in my opinion. I used to read the Doc Savage books and much enjoyed them; haven't read one in years so must acquire some one day.

I'm not sure that I'd remember every instance of when I bought several comics on the same day and therefore associate them with one another, but for some reason I can with that particular date. I must apply my mighty brain and see if I can recall some other mags that are connected in memory.

Nick Caputo said...

Kid,

It's always a pleasure reading these moments that take you back to a long gone time. We all have those vivid recollections of where we were when we purchased certain comics, and those memories hold firm over the years.

Kid said...

It's like a portal to the past, Nick, whenever we look at certain comics; it makes it seem like it wasn't so long ago after all. It's comforting to guys our age to be returned to an earlier time when we still thought we had forever.

Nick Caputo said...

So true. BTW, I still have a beat up copy of Marvel Super Heroes # 1, although I think it's my brother John's (don't tell him - he's not missing it - he's got enough @#$%@@ comics anyway!)

Kid said...

I'm sure if he did know, he'd be grateful that you're looking after it for him, Nick. Anyway, he's probably got some of yours that you've forgotten about.

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