(A biography of a boy and his comics)

Part One - Discovery

By Glenn Andrews

I remember the afternoon of my first comic book fairly well. I was only four or five at the time and was brushing my teeth after lunch at the bathroom sink. I had the door closed because I was taught by my Mom to always close the door when you’re in the bathroom. Moms, it seemed, were always drilling rules, regulations and “manners” into kids at that age. So I soaked all of that up and turned out to be (from what I’ve been told and the fact that I’d only been spanked twice by my parents) a fairly nice little boy. Therefore, I was brushing my teeth after my meal and the bathroom door was closed while I was doing it.
Then came the event which would change my life forever. To my left, as I was rinsing out my mouth and using the small hand towel to dry my lips off, I noticed a brightly colored piece of paper sliding itself under the bathroom door. I quickly snatched it up and sat on the toilet seat to examine the thin pamphlet, never thinking to open the door to find out how the book slid itself into the room from the hallway.
I saw a brightly colored monster on the cover, as well as a steam shovel and a couple of masked men. I didn’t know what to make of it, so I threw open the bathroom door to find my Dad standing there in the hallway with an excited look on his face.
I remember him asking me if I like the comic book. I wasn’t sure what a comic book was. My older cousin had a lot of this “books,” but they all had stories of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Those were more like the Little Golden Books, or even the Big Little Books. But what were these “Comic Books?”
My Dad quickly filled me in about super heroes and even after I asked him why the good guys wore masks like bad guys if they were really good guys. Rather than go into a long, lengthy story about protecting one’s identity to protect one’s loved ones, he simply thought of the re-runs I was watching on Saturday morning on our old Zenith black and white television and spoke one sentence.
“It’s just like Zorro and Lone Ranger.”
“That’s right!” I thought to myself instantly. Good guys can wear masks too. And the whole superhero concept came flooding over me all at once. There was the hidden identities, the secret hideouts, the fighting crime and these two fellows on the front of that comic book by the name of…Batman and Robin.
The comic book supplied to me by my Dad (much to the dismay of my Mom) was seed for my fertile thoughts and my imagination must have been halfway packed with Scott’s Turf Builder or some such thing because the very idea of super heroes quickly grew into a tangled bush of thoughts in my mind.
I began using comics as well to help my English skills and I remember asking Dad to tell me what the word “Exclamation,” meant since it had so many syllables (for a four or five year old) in it.
Then it hit me! I had this wonderful new passion growing inside of me, but only one, single comic in my hand. Were there more? I had to find out!

Next- The Growing Collection.

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