I never thought my love of comicbooks would amount to anything other than fulfilling my desire to read stuff other than books. Nothing against books, some of my fave reading materials are books, but comics hold an alternate place in my reading enjoyment. There were pictures, and words. Not only cerebral but also visual. Similar to my other passion for movies/television, with their version of storytelling using both words and pictures.

My first intro to superheroes was with the Superman TV show in the 50s. For me that was my first Superman. George Reeve was the second actor to portray Clark Kent/Superman on screen. Though I will say Christopher Reeve is the best Superman IMO. Similar to my favorite Bond, Sean Connery. Your mileage may vary.

After his introduction in Action Comics #1 in 1938, Superman debuted on the radio in the 40s. Radio serials were the Netflix of the 30s and 40s. Radio was the medium for family entertainment until television became the norm.

After the successful run on radio, Superman jumped to the silver screen in the late 40s/early 50s. The movies, Superman, Atom Man Vs Superman, and specifically Superman and The Mole Men starring George Reeve in his big screen Superman debut spawned the weekly TV show, bringing the character and the actor to the small screen, in The Adventures of Superman. Which I watched religiously whenever I could.

I loved the TV show, but I don’t have a memory of reading DC comics until after I’d discovered Marvel. I stumbled onto Marvel one day when I was Jack Palancing through the spin rack in my neighborhood corner grocery. I had just collected the monthly subscriptions from my newspaper route and the cash was burning a hole in my pocket. Honestly, the story of my life. Around me money was in danger of always being spent and never saved. Unfortunately, I never grew out of that particular foible.

That day in the corner grocery, there was a Spider-man comic, among many other comics, on a spin rack. The cover grabbed my attention. This was the comic that started my love of Marvel. Well, that Spider-man issue, and then later when I found The Avengers and Strange Tales featuring Dr. Strange and my all-time favorite Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The Avengers comics were my favorite, along with Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.—I was and still am a huge 007 fan—but that epiphany didn’t happen that day. Uncovering my favorite comic was still in my young future.

On that cover of Spider-man, he was trapped underneath tons of machinery with water cascading around him. Perilous! The cover drew you in and told us that this story would test Spidey. That cover brought the heroes survival into the picture. Would the hero survive? Buy the issue and find out!

I bought that comic and a couple more with birthday money but around that time I became a paperboy and then I had my own money from delivering newspapers. The newspaper job was a game changer when it came to my comic reading/collecting life. I now had disposable income at hand. My route—to the delight of the store owner—ended at the corner store and I could visit the spin rack every day. And I did.

On one visit to my grandparents my grandmother gave me some money so I could buy an X-men comic. I vaguely remember it had the Blob, the original 60s version. Magneto was recruiting for the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. It was an early issue, probably below number ten. If I still owned that issue, it would be worth a few bucks. But I didn’t.

I did eventually branch out and include DC comics in my buying pattern. But I still wasn’t reading Superman or Batman. I was a Marvel Zombie as we were pegged by the DC fans, or a True Believer as Stan Lee had coined fans of Marvel. Seriously the DC/Marvel rivalry isn’t new, but Marvel is way bigger these days and cinema wise DC hasn’t been as successful as Marvel, so Marvel is an easy target.

There was a ten-year period in my life (age 16 to 26) where I didn’t pick up any comics let alone think about comics. The classic. Girls drew my attention. Hard.

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