As a kid living in Akron, OH, I always had comics around from a very young age. I’m not completely certain where they had come from, whether my mom or dad bought them for me, or maybe they had been lugging some around for some reason, but all I know is I had quite a few. Of course I had books with Batman, Spider-Man, Superman, the Fantastic Four, the Legion of Superheroes, and the Avengers, the usual superhero fare, but I also had some stuff most adults would consider worthy of contacting child protective services.
|Would you let your|
six-year-old read this?
Of course I wasn’t exactly reading the issues way back then, mostly I flipped through and enjoyed the monster mash, but that one issue of Swamp Thing…dang, I just could not get enough of it. You had the title character of the Swamp Thing, who was a large, green, plant creature with roots for veins, but he was not the only monster in this issue. It also had the positively horrific Anton Arcane and his equally disturbing Un-Men to make my heart pump faster and to keep me awake late at night. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I had gained an appreciation of illustration through the gorgeous artwork of Bernie Wrightson, whose style I would recognize in many of my beloved horror comics. I would also come to notice Wrightson’s work in the more naughty magazines (Eerie, Creepy, and Heavy Metal), which I secretly perused at the the local Clicks store, which led to my discovery of Richard Corben, but that is another tale that I touch on briefly here and here in a couple looks at some beautiful hardcover releases.
|Oh my gosh.|
I think I have the vapours…
My poor parents. I kind of feel sorry for them at this point. Not only did I beg to go to the toy store at the mall, but more so I wanted to go to the newsstand a couple times a week, just on the off chance the latest issue of The Micronauts had arrived. My love and devotion to this series followed me from Ohio to California, where I was still able to find all my new issues at the grocery store, 7-11, and K-Mart. I was happy as could be until the day issue #37 arrived to shatter my world. I reminisce about this issue in my “Micronauts Monday” post here, but the short version is that the death knell of buying comics at grocery stores and newsstands had sounded. The Micronauts was one of the first series to go to the magical realms known as “comic specialty stores” and “select retail outlets,” which made zero sense to my 11-year-old mind. Thus I entered into what I call The Micronauts Void.
|I have tried to find pictures of Andromeda for years,|
and finally found one. I was not here for this event,
but this is the room. Photo by Ted Mills.
Over at least two summers, my brother and I made the couple-times-a-week walk from our house to the comic store downtown (4.25 miles round trip) so we could torment the employees by making them drag out all The Micronauts, Daredevil, Uncanny X-Men (the Claremont issues, by golly) back issue stacks, so we could marvel at the covers, and bemoan the out-of-our-price-range costs. These journeys were in addition to our mom driving us to Andromeda every Saturday once we had been paid our $2/week allowance. It’s safe to say we were a little obsessed.
|Nerds are cool and all, but this nerd|
prefers Volcano Rocks.
Alas, my first LCS bit the dust in the ’90s thanks to high rents and the comic crash, but thankfully Metro Comics came along and I have been shopping there ever since. Only now, I drive to my LCS and I have big boy money to spend, which given current comic book prices means I can roughly buy about the same number of books as I could back when I was a kid.
What was your first LCS?
Any fond memories, or epic journeys to get to one?
How about your favorite Holy Grail comic as a kid?
I’d love to hear about it.