Sunday, November 05, 2017

A Life in Four Colors Part Forty-Three: Four Color Fantasia (November 1967)

By late 1967, I had found a way to balance my insatiable desire for comics with my interest in pulp adventure (Doc Savage, Conan, and the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs in particular) and my growing interest in science fiction (which would not become a full addiction until 1968). I bought these comics new off the spinner racks in November 1967:

Action Comics #358
Adventure Comics #364
Amazing Spider_Man #57
Aquaman #37
Avengers #48
Batman #198
Captain Savage & His Leatherneck Raiders #1
Creepy #19
Daredevil #36
Detective Comics #371
Fantastic Four #71
Flash Gordon #10
Green Lantern #48
Marvel Collector's Items Classics #13
Marvel Tales #13
Metamorpho #16
Not Brand Echh #6
Peacemaker #5
Phantom #27
Sgt. Fury & His Howling Commandos #50 & 51 (one came out the first week of the month, the other the last week of the month)
Spectre #2
Strange Adventures #208
Strange Tales #165 & 166 (same as Sgt. Fury)
Superboy #144
Superman #203
Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #80
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #108
Tales of Suspense #98 & 99
Tales to Astonish #100
Teen Titans #13
Thor #148 & 149
Two-Gun Kid #92
X-Men #40

Looking back at it now, I'm a bit intrigued by the books I didn't buy. I passed on Bomba the Jungle Boy #3, even though I liked Tarzan tales and jungle adventures in general; I suspect it was the Jack Sparling artwork that moved it off my buy list. I passed on House of Mystery #172 because I thought Dial H for Hero was dopey; later on, I'd find those same stories fascinating. Inferior five #6, Kid Cold Outlaw #139, Magnus Robot Fighter #21, Man from UNCLE #16, Mandrake the Magician #10, Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves #5, Mighty SAmson #13, Monkees #9, Our Army at War #188, Our Fighting Forces #111, Plastic Man #8 (I blame Jack Sparling again), Rawhide Kid #62, Tomahawk #114, Wonder Woman #174... I passed  on all of them. Many of those titles were "fill in" purchases--that is, they were books that I'd buy if I couldn't find enough of my "must-read" titles to satisfy me. As a result, I was buying random issues of mos tof those titles--probably no more than one out of every four issues, in fact.

I believe that money had to be the primary factor. At cover price, I bought about $5 worth of comics that month; my allowance at the time was $2,50 a week plus I got extra money for extra chores such as raking the yard, sweeping the driveway and patio, etc. I also got to keep the deposit money when I took empty Coke bottles back to Couch's Grocery store, and that added up to an extra buck or so a month. Add it up, and it seems like I could have afforded all the comics I passed on plus some extra.

By late 1967, though, I was already ordering a few fanzines (Rocket's Blast•Comicollector was my gateway into the world of fanzines, and I usually ordered a half-dozen or so fanzines advertised in each issue), buying a few paperbacks (usually used copies at Coosa Valley Book Shop, where I could get a book for a dime or so), and occasionally buying a 45 RPM single here and there.

I was also buying an airplane model or an Aurora model it now and then, although the glory days of my model collecting had already passed by this time.

And of course, there were the nickel and dime ice cream cones (one scoop or two, pointed cone or flat-bottomed, respectively) at Candler's Drugs, which I bought year round regardless of the weather.

Basically, I had all the money I needed to buy the stuff I wanted with a little left over for splurge items. My parents were supportive enough of my interests that they'd give me a little extra now and then, or they'd buy a book for me, or they'd overpay me for one of extra chores--they were remarkably generous, even though they knew how I was spending the money. They never tried to talk me out of my purchases, they never belittled my interests--I was much better off than many of my friends in that regard.

It's no wonder I recall my childhood so fondly. My parents gave me the sort of childhood that most fans of my era could only dream of. (The only person who got even more than me was my friend Gary, who's mother could never bring herself to say no to his requests. She seemed to think that if she gave Gary what he wanted, he'd show her the love and kindness she hoped for. Alas, it never worked that way...)

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