Sunday, May 14, 2017

Remembering Mom

Because I'm in the comic book business, not a week goes by without someone telling me a personal horror story about the incredible comic book collection they had before their mother threw it away.

It always makes me appreciate Mom, whose unwavering support and encouragement of my interest in comics shaped the direction of my life.

I remember childhood friends whose parents were unrelentingly critical of their interest in "funny books," asking them when they were going to outgrow that stuff and why they wasted time and money on such junk. But never, at any time in my life, did my parents denigrate my hobbies and interests. They were amazingly tolerant of my ever-growing collection, sometimes even catering to my whims even though it inconvenienced them. I still remember Mom and Dad venturing to Lee Street in southwest Atlanta in order to take me to Cantrell's Books, the first store in metro Atlanta to devote hundreds of square feet to back issues of comics. Lee Street was most decidedly not a great part of town, but that's where Cantrell's was, and that's where I begged my parents to take me. And they did--not just once, but several times, patiently waiting while I spent an hour or more digging through the comics trying to find the best bang for my very limited bucks.

Soon after I began spending money on back issue of comics from the 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s, Mom casually mentioned that she had read some comics in the 1950s, shortly after she and Dad got married. She didn't go out of her way to buy them, but friends of theirs had some comics lying around, and Mom read through a number of EC comics--she specifically remembered Haunt of Horror and Tales from the Crypt.  I was stunned. I had never envisioned my parents reading comics, but Mom actually remembered a few stories and told me about them. Years later, I would read those same stories in the Russ Cochran EC Library reprints--and they were just like Mom remembered them.

Not only did my parents support my interest in comics when I was a kid and a teenager, but they continued to encourage me after Susan and I got married. They let me store my collection in their storage room for many years, and never minded when I'd come up there and spend a few hours sorting through books, organizing the collection, and rereading some of my personal favorites.

When I bought Dr. No's in the 1980s, I jokingly asked Mom if she was glad I finally found a way to turn  my interest into comics into a profession. I remember her saying, "Ive always been happy that you're doing something you enjoy--that's all that matters."

Thanks, Mom. Every kid should have had a parent as supportive and encouraging as you were.

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