RT Cunningham

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A Former Comic Book Fan

Tagged with comic books, entertainment, hawaii, novels on February 29, 2024

comic book fan I was once a comic book fan, and I had collected hundreds of comic books in a span of only about three and half years. Although I started reading them in the 1960s, when I was old enough to comprehend the stories, I didn’t start collecting them until 1974.

Sometimes one or more of my four brothers would assist in obtaining them, regardless of who paid for them. I don’t remember if any of my four sisters assisted, but they must have assisted in some way.

The Early Years

I can’t remember exactly when I started buying and reading comic books, or how old I was, but I know I was under the age of 10. My “hometown” in Arizona was small enough that I could walk home from school and get home before the school bus could make its way to our neighborhood. I never had to walk more than two miles. I would make sure I walked down Main Street, so I could visit a small store on the way.

Many of the comic books I bought from “The Quonset Hut” (a surplus Quonset hut from World War II) were the “unsold” comic books that cost me only five cents each. They were identified with the banners of the front covers cut off. Retailers could get refunds from the distributors for unsold comic books back then, and it probably wasn’t legal to sell them that way.

My Years in Hawaii

When my family moved to Hawaii, the company my father worked for paid for moving our household goods. I don’t remember how much was moved, but I remember several metal footlockers. Not long after we arrived, I accidentally found a place that sold comic books. We lived a few miles from a small city, and we frequently traveled through that area.

We stopped to get soft drinks one time and that was it. I made sure my mother took me to that store at least once a month. Comic books weren’t expensive back then. If I remember correctly, they were 30 cents each when we returned to Arizona in 1977.

While comic books have always been culturally significant, me and my brothers (and sometimes even my father) read them solely for the entertainment value. My brothers and I preferred superhero comics, and my father preferred soldier stories. One of my sisters liked Harvey Comics and another sister liked Archie Comics.

I only bought Marvel Comics and DC Comics. Where the others came from, I really don’t remember. I have no recollection of who bought them or where they bought them. Regardless, I read them when I had nothing else to read. I didn’t have a lot of entertainment alternatives in the 1970s. We were lucky to receive two television channels while we lived in Hawaii, and five television channels while we lived in Arizona.

My Comic Book Collection

I collected a lot of older comic books while I was in Hawaii, obtained by trading newer ones. It wasn’t unusual for me to get 10 older comics for one new one. I ended up completely filling one of the metal footlockers. The company my father worked for wasn’t going to pay to move our household goods again, and my parents couldn’t afford to ship the footlocker, so I had to give up my collection when we moved.

I wasn’t too concerned about it at the time. Now, I wince every time I read a news article about some comic book being sold for some astronomical amount. It seems like every other time, it involves a comic book I once had in my possession. When I was collecting them, I had no idea they would be as valuable as they are today.

Even so, I seriously doubt I would have kept or added to that collection anyway. I lost interest in comic books before I joined the military less than a year later.

What I Read Today

Every once in a while, I’ll read a novel, or a series of novels, but I spend most of my time reading technology-oriented articles online. The only time I watch videos is when I’m ready to sleep.

I haven’t touched a comic book in over 45 years, and I doubt I ever will again. Except for a few issues of the “Heavy Metal” magazine prior to the movie of the same name from 1981, that is, because it was adult-oriented.

Image by Marjory Collins, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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