"Curbs"

(A biography of a boy and his comics)

Part Three- The Spinner Rack

By Glenn Andrews


I had already been to the drugstore once to see where they sold comics. But now I was asking my Dad to take me there on a regular basis. Now at that time in my life I didn't know that comics came out once a week, staggered so that not all the comic books would come out on the same day of the month. No, all I knew was that in the Batman house ads, I'd see little tiny pictures of comics I had never seen before, that had a little sign next to them stating, "on sale soon," or "on sale June 22nd." So I always kept track of the dates in the house ads and asked my Dad if he was busy on those days.
Once, on Valentines Day, he took me by surprise by greeting me at the breakfast table, stating, "Happy Valentines Day!" A Blackhawk comic featuring the Black Knights firing at some bad guy named, "Killer Shark," plopped down on the table next to my bowl of Puffed Rice.
As a six or seven year old, I knew that you got candy on Valentines Day as well as a cute card, but presents? And on top of that, the present was a neat comic. I wasn't sure of all the rules in store for kids at that time in my life, but I figured getting free comics occasionally for no reason on holidays that aren't really gift exchange type holidays, sure had adulthood beat hands down.
Then eventually I was taken to Gray Drugs, the Holy temple of my early youth that contained the shrine I referred to as (as well as everyone else) the…Spinner Rack. This device had 10 metal compartments that stretched from the floor to about six feet up. Five of these rows stretched around the pole that was the center of this miracle, comic holding device. Atop the four color display apparatus, was a sign that proclaimed, "Hey Kids, Comics!" Well, needless to say, that was all I needed to know. If this thing made of metal wires (that oh gosh, spun around in a circle) was going to call to me and others of my kind, I was going to answer the call with all of my heart.
I always started with the rows that were level with my chest, picking the ones that I needed, before working my way to the upper levels. Mystery books like "House of Mystery," "House of Secrets," and "My Greatest Adventure" lured me away from my beloved super heroes. War comics featuring characters such as Sgt. Rock, Gunner and Sarge as well as Haunted Tank tried to get me to turn my eye in a more realist direction, while Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and others sang their siren song enticing me away from my true love…Batman and Robin.
Eventually comics like World's Finest and Justice League of America, which featured Batman led to my appreciation of the other DC characters. But it was the spinner rack that opened my eyes to the fact that my babies (comics that is) were coming out regularly for both display and sale.
I always finished on bended knee, checking out the bottom third of the spinning altar, making sure that I missed not one book. Later in life I also knew to rummage with my fingers through the whole stack in each rack since the druggist would many times just shove new comics in front of old and if I had missed the old ones, well you get the picture.
Next - Allowance and Marvel
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