Saturday, August 02, 2008

"Post No. 529"

Digging back into the vast wasteland that I call "my mind", I keep thinking about some of the earliest comic books I ever paid attention to, and more than often, it's always some DC title.
For instance, the above pictured issue of Batman #125 cover dated June, 1959. That means this book was on the stands sometime around April of that year, and it also means that I wasn't even 8 years old yet; an event that would not happen for another 3 months.

My father, I recall, took me down to the local barbershop, more than likely on a Saturday, to get my ritual "burr" (what is commonly called today a buzz cut); a burr haircut wasn't really any sort of fad thing. Most kids my age had them, or the "flat-top"(which was only slightly longer) back then, and it was more of a financial habit of my folks just to save money on cutting my hair so often.

And in this typical 1950's small town barbershop, there was this black shoeshine man, probably in his mid to late 20's (whose name I've been told before but at this moment escapes me). He had this shoeshine stand that sat up a couple of steps from the floor; a wooden chair where patrions (whites only, as was the "norm" in those times) would sit as it put a spit shine of brilliance of their leather footwear.

And on that one day as I sat there covered from the neck down with the white and pin-stripped sheet, gazing at girley calendars on the walls and inhaling the scents of talcum and tonics, I looked at that shoe-shine man taking a break between customers, sitting in his stand, and reading the beforementioned copy of Batman.

It must have been a pretty new issue as my brother bought a LOT of that title back then, but this was one I never saw! Oh, how I craved to read the story of how Batman became a king on another planet, and wondered "how" he got out of this one, seeing his secret identity had been exposed?!?

Well...I never got a copy of that book. In fact, I don't think I've ever had a copy of it over the years, but remember reading the stories it contained somewhere reprinted in either "80 Page Giants" or "Annuals". Too...I've often wondered whatever happened to that shoe-shine man? Did he grow old and die here in this small town? Did he have kids I went to school with? It's "a thing" I want to further research.

Now...the Action Comics #309 (cover dated February, 1964) was a comic book I saw on a spinner rack in Munfordville, KY. (about 12 miles from where I currently live) in The Clark's Drugstore. I had ridden with my mom up there for some unknown reason save that I just wanted to go, and she gave me twelve cents to buy a comic book to escape the boredom of having to wait for her. I looked through the books on the rack and there in front of me was a dream issue (and I don't mean an imaginary tale, but one I just HAD to have) featuring not just Superman, but all of my other Superman family favorites as well.

In fact, according to The Grand Comics Data Base, that issue contained app.'s by ALL of the following characters:

Saturn Girl; Bouncing Boy; Element Lad; Chameleon Boy; Sun Boy; Invisible Kid; Colossal Boy; Lightning Lass; Shrinking Violet (all as the Legion of Super-Heroes); Superman; Lois Lane; Lana Lang; Perry White; Jimmy Olsen; Batman; Robin [Dick Grayson]; Pete Ross; Lori Lemaris; Police Chief Parker; Krypto; Comet the Super-Horse; Streaky the Super-Cat; Super-Monkey; The "Look-Alike" Squad of Kandor; The Jimmy Olsen Fan Club; Martha Kent (statue); Jonathan Kent (statue); Bizarro (statue); Bizarro-Boy (statue); Lex Luthor; Superboy (flashback); Gold Kryptonite; President John F. Kennedy

That's right! Even President John F. Kennedy! This issue just got on the stands a few scant days before the tragic assasination of November 22nd., 1963. It was JFK who disguised himself as "Clark Kent" to help protect Supe's secred I.D., with the thought that, "If you can't trust the president, who can you trust?"

Plus it had "The Legion of Superheroes", "Bizarro" cameos (of a sort), "The Legion of Super Pets", and much more than any Supes' fan of that time period to ever hope for! I bought it in a heartbeat!

A side note to that tale...On the rack at that same time was Marvel's Daredevil #1, which I passed on for the Supes! (And yes, I bought that one the following week!)

And lastly here today...I was going to review that Ditko book, but my good old pal, David Jones (ala "Johnny Bacardi" did a GREAT review of the same just today! (So go and read that puppy!)


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