An anthology of true-life stories from comic book legends, authors, TV and film writers, journalists, and people from all walks of life on how comic books changed their lives. Accompanied by vintage photos, HEY KIDS, COMICS! is a must-read for any comic book fan or student of pop culture history.
The book Hey Kids, Comics!: True-Life Tales From The Spinner Rack by Rob Kelly is filled with essays on how a bunch of people fell in love with comics, and how it affected the rest of their lives. I can tell you this book brought back a flood of my own memories, and it also made me laugh out loud, and even tear up at certain points.
I loved all the stories in the book, but one of my favorites is actually the first essay in the book. The chapter is called “Hey kids… THUD” and its written by DC Comics’ Sholly Fisch. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I will tell you THUD is a simple story about how as a child nothing could stop Sholly from getting his favorite comic.
Nothing could stop him, not rain, not snow, not even getting hit by a car. And while it may sound cruel of me, Sholly’s story had in tears from laughing so hard. Especially after the car sent him airborne. I was laughing so much at the end of his story that my wifey asked me if I was okay. I showed her what made me laugh, and sure enough, she was laughing too.
As I mentioned above, this book brought back many of my own memories, so I thought this would be the right place to share how I fell in love with comics, and it all started in a long time ago, in a galaxy far away called the late eighties:
For a couple of years my family kept buying me those 3 comics for a buck in bags you could find at most drug stores. Remember them? I sure do, and I hated them. Sure, I liked getting comics as gifts, but I hated the fact all the comics in those bags were reprints.
To make matter worse, they weren’t even reprints from the Golden or Silver ages. Nope, these cheap-o comics were, (from what I remember) reprints from 1986 or 1987. They were only a year or two old, it drove me nuts!
This meant I wasn’t up to date on my Batman stuff, and since my douche uncle and aunt refused to drive me to the nearest New England Comics store in Quincy MA, I was stuck reading these damn reprints over and over again.
That all changed in 1990 when I started earning a few bucks a week delivering the Patriot Ledger. With my first tip, I ran to a little convenience store in the center of town and bought my self my first real comic… Marvel Tales #242. Which of course is a reprint of Marvel Team-Up #89. Yes, my first attempt at getting away from the dreaded reprint was in fact, a reprint. Sigh.
But you know what? I read and re-read that comic book until the cover came off, and several things happened thanks to that copy of Marvel Tales #242: I discovered Nightcrawler; I learned even super-heroes had a sense of humor; and I fell in love with the art of Marshall Rogers who provided the cover.
Purchasing that copy of Marvel Tales led to years of weekly purchases, then eventual trips to New England Comics, and then in 1999 I did an inventory of my comic stash and realized I had well over 20,000 comics. The collection has shrunk over the years, but nothing will ever beat the feeling of walking into a comic store and buying a stack of comics.