Tuesday, November 07, 2017

A Life in Four Colors Part Forty-Three: Four-Color Fantasia (1961)

Ever since I posted a list of what comics I bought new off the spinner racks in West Rome in 1967, I've heard from a number of people asking how I could possibly remember that in such detail.

Apparently, my life in four colors is permanently etched into my memory. As soon as I look at the covers of the books that came out in a given month from my childhood, I can remember which books I bought--and in some cases, where I bought them.

To test my memory, I decided to back up to November 1961, when I was relatively new to comics reading. (I began reading comics in 1959, but did not begin collecting comics until 1961). In my early days of collecting my comics friends included Roy Chockley, David Lynch, Morris Lively, and Jimmy Haynes--all of whom lived near my house in Garden Lakes.

Here are the books I bought in November 1961:
Action Comics #284
Adventures of the Jaguar #4
Amazing Adult Fantasy #9
Aquaman #1
Batman Annual #2
Detective Comics #298
Green Lantern #10
Life With Archie #12
Our Army at War #114
Strange Suspense Stories #57
Strange Tales #93
Superboy #94
Superman #150
Superman Annual #4
Walt Disney's Comics & Stories #255
Walt Disney's Donald Duck Merry Christmas #53
Woody Woodpecker's Christmas Party #53
Wendy the Good Little Witch #10

That's about two and a half bucks worth of comics in one month. My allowance in 1961 was $1.05 a week (15¢ a day), so I was spending more than half of my allowance on comics by the time I was eight years old.

I also see that I was buying more humor/all-ages comics when I was eight, along with several Marvel pre-hero monster/fantasy titles (and even a Charlton here and there). I was not buying DC's mystery/suspense books like My Greatest Adventure or House of Mystery, because they didn't have that "monster feel' that typified the Marvel titles.

When I was eight, I was willing to trade some of my comics to friends for other books. Over the next couple of months, I traded several books with friends and acquired copies of these books:

Adventure Comics #292
Adventures of the Fly #17
Out Fighting Forces #65
Rawhide kid #26
Rip Hunter, Time Master #6
Sea Devils #3
Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #30
Sueprman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #58
Tales of Suspense #26
Tales to Astonish #28

That's eighteen books I bought outright (two of which were eighty-page annuals), and ten more titles that i traded for. So I read twenty-eight November 1961 releases in the first two or three months after their publication—and I did it all for an investment of about $2.50.

As I said, that was more than 60% of my monthly income at the time. While I have much more disposable income nowadays, I can't imagine spending 60% of my current gross income on comics.

Sometimes we don't realize how good we had it when we were kids...

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