Wednesday, November 29, 2017

$1.56 ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post

Assuming that all goes smoothly, fellow babies, next week's "Comical Wednesday" post will be the first of a three-parter talking about the creators of Batman! Therefore, today's post -- a  relatively short one, text-wise -- is about one of the more eventful nights in my checkered childhood!

Seven years ago, long before I even had a "Comical Wednesday" designation for my comic-related articles, I wrote a post entitled My "Golden Age". In it, I told how I started reading Marvel Comics when I was about seven years old.

Up until I was 712, however, I'd only read a handful of Marvels: Fantastic Four Annual #1 (which my sister had bought for herself, but let me read it), Tales to Astonish #49 (the issue where Ant-Man first became Giant-Man), and Amazing Spider-Man #10.

One night, somewhere around March of 1964, my mother was going to the local pharmacy for one reason or another, and, as my mom usually did, she asked me if I'd like her to get anything for me. It shouldn't surprise any of you that my answer was "comic books." (This, of course, was long before the advent of comic book stores, when newsstands were pretty much the only place you could buy comics.)

Well! I was extremely lucky that night. Evidently, the pharmacy/newsstand had just received their shipment of Marvel Comics, and the clerk must have informed my mother of that. My mom didn't know what I liked, so she bought every single Marvel that had arrived! (Well, except for the obvious "girl" titles, like Millie the Model, Patsy and Hedy, and the like!)

And now, I'll show you exactly which comics I received that night, with only a small caption to accompany each!

This was the second issue of Amazing Spider-Man that I ever owned. It was the second
part of a two-part story. I didn't get to read the first part until a couple of years later!

I pretty much overdosed on the Avengers that month! I'd never heard of them before (although
I did know Giant-Man and the Wasp). Not only did Thor, Giant-Man, and Iron Man appear
in their own titles, but the Avengers also showed up in that month's issue of Fantastic Four!

I had seen Daredevil #1 advertised a month or so earlier, but didn't find it on the newsstand.

Another conclusion of a two-parter where I'd missed part one! This comic and Avengers #5 introduced me to
Captain America, who quickly became one of my favorite heroes of all time! What a great all-around battle issue!

Part two of another freakin' continued story. Need I bother to say that I missed part one?

One of three Western titles Marvel produced. This was my introduction to Western comics, though!

Another Marvel Western. I quickly discovered that Marvel's Westerns
were written much like their superhero titles, which won me over.

Sgt. Fury called itself "The War Mag for People Who Hate War Mags!" And it was! Again,
Marvel made this war comic more like its superhero titles, so I was immediately hooked!

I knew the Human Torch from Fantastic Four, but this Dr. Strange guy? He was new to me! And
I soon realized he was drawn by the same guy who drew Spider-Man's adventures, Steve Ditko!

I was immediately impressed by Iron Man, who was also an Avenger.
And this was the Black Widow when she looked like a "real" widow!

I'd first encountered Giant-Man six months earlier. This issue
and Avengers #5 were my second and third exposures to him.

Yep, a cowboy with a secret identity, fighting an honest-to-God super-villain.
Didn't I tell you Marvel's Westerns were like superhero comics?

My first exposure to the X-Men, a group which wasn't truly popular until a newer version of the team came
out in 1975! The person who colored this comic book cover was pretty clueless, by the way. Quicksilver's the
guy with the white hair; his blue costume is supposed to be green. And the young lady with the green suit and
the goofy headgear? Why, that's the Scarlet Witch, who, as you may rightly assume, should be outfitted in red!

By the way, I have absolutely no idea why books dated May, June, or July -- and in one case, February -- arrived on the same night!

And now the punchline, dear readers: I no longer have any of the comics my mother brought home that night. And at today's collectible prices, these books list for a total of anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on their condition. But guess what? They cost my mom a whopping $1.56!!!

(And even allowing for inflation, that's quite a bit less!)

As the Fantastic Four's Thing would say, "What a revoltin' development!"

Thanks for your time.


  1. Wow, she sure got you a great bunch for $1.56. Too bad we didn't know as kids how much stuff would be worth now, could be rich. You'd think whoever colored comics would ask and get the colors right.

  2. One of the soldiers regularly featured in Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos was Gabe Jones, an African-American. This was in the early 1960s, when almost every character was white (or sometimes, Asians who were colored a ghastly, borderline-racist yellow). The colorists kept coloring Gabe as a Caucasian! Stan Lee had to stress to the printers that Gabe's skin was to be colored the grey that comics then used (rather than the later brown) to denote African-Americans or natives from the African jungle.

  3. It's amazing what 50+ years can do to a decent price. :-)

    1. Thirty years ago, most early 1960s Marvels were still affordable. How times have changed.

  4. You got all those in one go? What a feast for a small boy!

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    1. I never got so many at one time, although sometimes my mom would give me a dollar to buy eight, or fewer if I got any 80-pagers, which cost a whole quarter.

  5. Your mom was so nice. She could have gotten Millie the Model for me.


    1. I love how she knew which titles weren't "suitable" for me.

      I was very pleased when I found the 1964 ad at the top of the post, which listed all thirteen comics I received, plus the four "girlie" titles.

  6. Replies
    1. Yeah. Of course, if everyone had saved their comics and kept them in pristine condition, they'd list for nothing on the back-issue market because everyone still had them!

  7. Seems like you were on a roll with the "Part Two of Two" stories.

    I used to have an oversized Wonder Woman book that told the story of how Diana came to be WW. It was really cool, and I can still picture some of the page art. I have no idea whatever happened to it.

    1. By the early 1970s, Marvel had so damned many storylines that continued for several issues at a time, I almost stopped reading comics completely. Plus, their prices had gone from twelve cents each to the much higher price of fifteen cents!

    2. My grandma lived across the street from a general store that sold penny candy, and she'd give us a quarter to get a bagful when we'd visit. I remember when Marathon bars came out (remember the foot-long chocolate-covered caramel braid?) and we weren't allowed to get them because "those things are fifteen cents and nobody should ever have to pay more than ten cents for a candy bar."

    3. I'd gladly pay fifteen cents today for any size candy bar!

  8. Your mom was good to you. If you really look at it that $1.56 could have been a lot when you consider the cost of living back then and salary.

    Did they ship issues in advance back then? Lucky Day for you!

    1. Comic publishers were pretty much at the mercy of newsstand distributors in those days, long before the advent of what's now called the "direct sales market." So there could be several variables explaining why these issues arrived together regardless of their cover dates.

  9. Would of been hard to hold onto all this time and keep in the kind of shape that gets the high prices.
    You are always welcome in Caneyhead!

    1. That's very true. The average person didn't know how to take care of comics back then.


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