Sunday, 1 April 2012


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Isn't it strange how one tiny image can conjure up countless connotations in one's mind?  For example, the above pic of SUSAN STORM, bosom uninhibitedly thrust out, standing before the SUB-MARINER, is one that used to have a strange effect on me when I was eight or nine years old.  I may not even have been able to conceive of the mechanics of sex at that age (and nowadays I'm not sure I can remember them), but I was still aware of the butterflies in my stomach and the faint tingles in my nether regions whenever I looked at this and certain other pictures of the beautiful Susie - aka The INVISIBLE GIRL.  (The next image - from the same page - is another of them.)

So smitten was I with this blonde-haired bombshell, that I cut out this picture (sacrilege I know) from the pages of MARVEL COLLECTORS' ITEM CLASSICS #6 and kept it about my person.  In class at school, I would conceal it in the palm of my hand and steal surreptitious glances at my beloved while the teacher wittered on about whatever it is that teachers witter on about.  (I couldn't tell you - I never listened to them.)  However, such youthful 'romantic' notions are not the kind of 'connotations' I was alluding to in the first paragraph.

As a consequence of these pictures being part of my childhood, whenever I look at them today (in a replacement issue of MCIC), dozens of images swim through my mind;  my old primary classroom, the playground, assorted classmates and teachers, the view through the windows, the cool of the toilets at the bottom of the stairs along with the accompanying sounds of gently cascading water and the smell of disinfectant, the walk back and forth to school from my house, my living-room, bedroom, etc., etc.  You get the idea.  One little picture is a window into the past - not only to a specific time and place, but also a myriad of associated places, people and particulars.

And I can multiply that experience many times over.  This next image of Susan for example, first seen in a copy of WHAM! and again in MCIC #5 a year or two later.  Not only do I associate it with where I lived at the time, but also my grandparents' house (I'd taken it with me one Sunday on a visit), the walk back home later that evening - to say nothing of subsequent associations when the strip was reprinted in The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL in 1973.

And my childhood fantasies weren't confined to the stunning Sue Storm.  Fickle as I was, I also enjoyed imaginary liaisons with the likes of jaunty JEAN GREY (MARVEL GIRL), wondrous WANDA (The SCARLET WITCH) and jiggly JANET VAN DYNE (The WASP).  And then there was the voluptuous VENUS from FIREBALL XL5, plus the awesome ATLANTA SHORE and the mute MARINA from STINGRAY.  (In their comic strip incarnations by artists MIKE NOBLE and RON EMBLETON in TV CENTURY 21.  The puppets were foxy little numbers as well though.)  I had a virtual Harem from which I could indulge my prepubescent daydreams.   

As I've said before, looking at old comics is like rereading old diary entries (to those who keep diaries that is).  Short of actual photographs, it's probably the most effective way to reacquaint ourselves with particular periods from our past and keep alive those long-vanished moments which are so dear to us.  Sometimes I'll spend hours thumbing through old comics, reliving my childhood and recalling a seemingly more innocent time when all I had to fret about was whether I'd get what I wanted for my birthday or Christmas.

Remember - your past is waiting for you.  Why not pay it a little visit sometime soon?

(For another reminiscence in a similar vein, click here.) 


And full marks to any observant Criv-ites who spotted the JIM REEVES reference - award yourself a MARS BAR.      


Nick Caputo said...


I had those same pangs in childhood. I distinctly recall Karen Page, as drawn by Wally Wood in DD # 5, dressed as Cleopatra. Yike! Even in a code approved comic, Wood had the ability to draw beautiful women.

The comics of our childhood really are a pathway back to an earlier time and place. Some bring me back to the newstands I originally purchased them at; the wooden racks or metal spinners mixing with the wooden toy airplanes, rubber balls and gum cards. they evoke the changing seasons as well; especially summertime, when Annuals were eagerly awaited and one could sit outside and read comics in the sunshine. I enjoy going back and taking a trip through those precious memories.

Kid said...

Couldn't have said it better myself, Nick. A comic is like a doorway into a room, which has loads of other doors into other rooms with more doors. I can get lost for hours in them.

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