Well, for those of you that know me, well personally, I am a big comic book guy.
My first introduction to comics in the 1970′s was a Twilight Zone Comic someone left at my Grandmothers cabin on Mt. St. Helens. (Not this issue however)
It started for me back in the late seventies when we were visiting my Grandfather, Grandmother and Great Uncle at their cabin on Mount St. Helens. This was a few years before it blew its top in 1980. however, at some point, I think either my cousins or aunts and uncles had visited them and brought a Gold Key, Twilight Zone comic and left it behind. It was something new to me, reading, and having pictures to help fuel the imagination of the story. I wish to this day I had this comic, as it was my introduction. But every comic book collector has their “Holy Grail” of comic books that they search for their entire life, and mine is that Twilight Zone comic.
Shortly after leaving the mountain, and returning to Portland, where we were living for another year or so, so this would have been 1978, maybe the latest 1979, I went into one of the drug stores and saw, and looked at my first comic book spinner.
There in the area dedicated to magazines stood this tree like rotating stand with issues of comic books. I stood there with about 75 cents in the pocket, and looked at every issue on the rack. I was sure that I was getting quizzical looks from the staff, as I stood there alone, with my mother in the grocery store next door. Slowly I pulled three of the issues from the rack and made my way to the counter where a late seventies teenager was sitting with her charlies angels feathered hair, ala Farrah Fawcett. I placed the comics onto the counter, and paid my 75 cents for the three, then made my way with these three rolled up comics in my back pocket, sticking out over my Star Wars T-shirt.
I waited till I was home to read them, but snuck peeks at them on the short trip home, as we drove our station wagon with faux wood panel siding, the short distance to the house.
I wish I could remember the titles I had purchased, however one I will never forget, Mutants born with super powers, which in a way goes against everything super-hero comic books profess. Through one event or another every super-hero is imbued with their powers through seemingly tragic accidents.Superman was sent to Earth seconds before his planet of Krypton was destroyed (Turns out there were a couple other babies sent to earth at the same time, Super Girl, Super Boy, and even… Sigh… Krypto, the Super-Dog) Batman became a hero after his parents were killed, and he dedicated his life to avenging their death.
The Flash was hit by lightning while handling chemicals, giving him super speed. Hal Jordan was given a ring of power when he found a dying alien that had crashed to Earth. Steve Rogers was given a drug that turned him into Captain America. The list goes on and on, but there was this comic book that had heroes that were born with their powers.
(from left to right) Storm, Colossus (the tall silver guy), Wolverine (the shorter guy), Cyclops, Banshee, Thunderbird, Sunfire and Nightcrawler (the blue guy with the tail)
The X-men instantly became one of my favorite stories. Following, at the time, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Banshee, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Charles (Professor X) Xavier, Storm and eventually Wolverine.
There were arcing stories that took the reader into an alternate present day that was littered with people who were born with such a wide variety of powers that the possibilities were endless. Some used their powers for good, as Wolverine often times did, some used them for evil, such as Magneto.
These stories had a single overtone of hope for people like me, who were living with few friends, seemingly outcast because were not living the “Normal” life. I was a big Star Wars freak, collected trading cards, and was very, very hyper active. The main basis of the X-men stories was that they were always fighting for acceptance of the mutant kind by the rest of humanity. Fighting to be accepted as they were by the rest of the world. This spoke to me.
I openly accepted the X-men into my life. I bought and read every issue which for a while came out bi-monthly even, so I could continue my exploits of the team of heroes.
Lately, after my mental breakdown of last year, I got back into collecting the comics again, I have been looking for American issues of comics for sale here in Germany on E-Bay, and making some amazing purchases.
I am looking into the Golden age of comics, and Silver age. These are the years of comic books that is considered by many to be the best time of comic books, based on the stories, and artists that were supplying the panel drawings.
Some of my recent purchases, now hanging proudly in frames on my wall , are to me, simply amazing for the prices I paid. There may be more personal worth to the comics than true worth, but I don’t care. They were bought for me, to remind me why I love comic books so much.
The Mighty Thor 135, 1966, cover art by Jack Kirby
One of the purchases was The Mighty Thor number 135, from 1966. The cover of this comic is great, inked by Jack Kirby who was an amazing artist. He has been considered one of the most influential artists in comics in history. He co-created heroes such as The X-Men, The Hulk and even The Fantastic Four. This cover features Thor fighting against The Man-Beast. (It is listed as the Super-Beast on the cover for some reason) The Man-beast if a High Evolution evolved wolf that had been hit with an evolution ray that caused it to become so powerful, and have mental powers as well. The creature becomes a challenge for Thor, as the “God” of Asgard finally may have met his match in battle.
The Cover, as you see, is so simplistic, as was Kirby’s signature trait, the colors are beautiful, and the sense of the fight and plight of Thor is evident in the single image.
Uncanny X-Men number 45, 1968, Cover art by John Buscema
The next proud purchase is to date my absolute favorite. Uncanny X-men number 45, from 1968. This comic has two stories in the pages, both centering around Cyclops, “When Mutants Clash” is the story of Cyclops trying to free the rest of the X-men from captivity of Magneto, Toad and Quicksilver. One of the greatest lines ever told to the X-men which sums up the overall story between the evil and good in the comic books was spoken by Quicksilver to Cyclops in a battle that ensues when Cyclops stumbles into him trying to find Magneto in the stronghold.
“Enough! I will listen to no more of your Homo sapiens-sympathizing blasphemy! You have had your chance to join us — and declined it! Therefore — I can consider you nothing but our enemy!” -Quicksilver
The enemy, Magneto, has assembled mutants who want to eradicate the human presence from the planet, as he knows that they are afraid of the mutants and the powers they possess and want them eradicated from the planet as well. Having survived Auschwitz, and having his powers poked and prodded by the Nazi party, Magneto would rather kill every last human that make other mutants go through the same thing.
The cover is by John Buscema and shows a single sceen from the battle from the super fast Quicksilver (Think Marvel comics version of The Flash) and Cyclops, as he fired his ocular blast, just missing his opponent by mere inches.
These two comics are proudly displayed on the wall in my house, on my “Nerd Wall” to solidify myself into hunting and collecting these important comics from our past.
Being an american in Germany, and knowing that there has been a U.S. Army presence here in Schweinfurt since the end of the second world war, I know these comic books are out here, waiting to be rescued and collected by myself, and made available to the discerning collectors in the United States, or myself for my collection as well.
As time progresses I will update and share some of my collection with you all, for your pleasure, and if you have questions or have interest in one of the comics, please feel free to write me. I am open for all queries and thoughts.
To every one of you reading this.