01 May 2011
-'Old Days', Chicago VIII, Chicago, 1975
As we've worked on the renovation at Mom's, I found a few old comic books that my late stepfather must have had-some Marvel westerns from the early 1970's. They look to be in OK shape and a check of our friend the Net shows a possible value of around $2.00 each. I'm going to take them to the local comic shop and see what Comic Book Guy will give me for them. I'd take 50 cents to a buck each-I don't want the things and anything for them is better than nothing.
There's some great titles: The Western Kid, Two-Gun Kid, Rawhide Kid, Ringo Kid (the saga of an outlaw-son of a traveling drummer from Liverpool, no doubt), and Kid Colt, Outlaw. There's a theme running through all of those titles, I think-but I suppose 'The Middle-Aged Outlaw of Buffalo Chip County' doesn't have much zip.
Now, I'm not much into the comic book scene anymore. I think the last comic (oh, excuse me! Graphic Novel! La-de-da!) I bought was the adaptation of Harold Coyle's Team Yankee from the mid 1980s. But when I was a kid, I read a lot of them. Mom would go uptown and pick up a pack of four comic books for a dollar-mostly Gold Key funnies type. I personally was a big fan of DC's Sgt. Rock of Easy Company. Rock and E Company fought all over Europe during WWII and I think must have been responsible for tying down nearly 15 German divisions all by themselves. Second was Marvel's Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos. I believe ol' Fury is still around after nearly four decades, reinvented as Nick Fury, head of some bunch in Marvel's superhero universe. The last third of the triad was DC's Weird War Tales, which was a series of military-fantasy-sci-fi-supernatural-Twilight Zoneish stories. Great stories and art and I might buy a compendium of these if DC were to ever release one. I never cared much for any of the superheroes and never read them.
These comics I found dated from around the early 1970s, when I was in my big comic reading era. I looked through a few of this find and got a kick out the ads splattered throughout the mags. Great stuff, like the 'clubs' where a company got some kid to sell seeds or greeting cards to their unfortunate relatives in order to receive great prizes, like walkie-talkies (long before cellphones, remember), or a flash camera (again, long before cellphones), or an electric football game (long before Madden 2011 on the PS3). Or the companies that sold novelties like joke pepper gum, the infamous 'X-Ray Glasses' (only 95 cents!), and Sea-Monkeys (which, as you may or may not remember, were simply brine shrimp, freeze-dried or some such). Or the 'record clubs', like the Columbia Record Club. Such a deal-14 LPs for only $2.98. Never mind the small print. Let's see what they have. Led Zeppelin III-OK. Mountain's Nantucket Sleighride. Not so bad. Procol Harum's Broken Barricades. Like them. The Partridge Family. The Carpenters. Bobby Sherman. Well, that train went off the tracks quick. But definitely a cross-section of the early 1970s pop music scene! I'm surprised they don't have the option to get these on 8-track or them newfangled cassettes.
As I remember all the ads, I remember thinking how super neato some of that stuff would be to own, but my tyrannical mother wouldn't allow it. Said I had enough stuff as it was. As I look at the ads now, I think 'What ingenious ways those companies had of parting hard-earned nickels, dimes, and dollars from gullible seven-to-ten-year-olds!' This must have been before we got all of the consumer protection bureaus and laws and people lived by the old saying 'caveat emptor' (That's 'Let the buyer beware' for all of you who slept through Latin, Rome, and the Romulans).
Like I said, I fell out of the comic book scene when I got to be of an age where girls started to look all soft and curvy, and I don't know much about the genre today, except that I gather adults buy comic books, never read them, and stuff them in envelopes in the vain hope that they might be worth something someday. Given the sad shape of the economy, who knows? Postwar Brazil used aspirin tablets as currency for a time, and the cigarette was the universal currency of Europe in the late 1940s. So maybe the comic book is as good an investment as buying stock in a company whose idea of raising share value is to move the factory overseas.
Most of you readers are of course from Australia/New Zealand, and I have no idea what comics were big down there. But I'd bet a lot of the ads and content were similar, and for much of the same crap that was peddled here. It should have been cheaper for younger kids there since it wasn't so far to ship the stuff from Hong Kong.
Fill me in, citizens. I'll trade old issues of The Two-Gun Kid, The Western Kid, Ringo Kid, and Rawhide Kid for your Kookaburra Kid, Kid Boomerang, Dropbear Kid, or The Eucalyptus Kid!
Posted by yankeedog at 21:22