Saturday, August 09, 2008

"Post No. 532"

"The MALA SHAW Story":

Yesterday I mentioned my friend, Mala Shaw, stopping by and I got to thinking that many of the people I've grown up with, especially my fellow comic book collector friends, have heard that name for years but outside of myself and just a few others, none have actually ever met him and some have even asked me what he looks like?

Since Mala was set up at the local flea market this morning I took my digital camera along and snapped this top above photo of him, standing in front of his set up of various old comics, toys, l.p.'s and "what-have-you" collectibles; tall and slim and sporting facial hair which reminds me of "Uncle Sam".

(The bottom photo is of two of the three comic items I purchased from him this morning: Journey Into Mystery w/THOR #120 (Marvel/1965), and Power Book & Record set No.PR-27: Batman/The Joker="Stacked Cards"/1975 complete w/45 RPM).

To tell Mala's story one would have to begin around 70 years ago when he was born right here in Horse Cave, KY. (80 miles South of Louisville and 100 miles North of Nashville, TN.). From an early age Mala had a great love for the comic book and made many friends and fellow collector acquaitances before he moved to Louisville at age 10 (where he's since lived ).

While there as a kid, he continued to buy tons of comic books and had at one time and tremendous amount of Golden and Silver Age rarities including such as a GA Sub-Mariner #1 and a World's Best (Finest) #1, lots of early Barks Uncle Scrooges, Classic Illustrateds and so much more, until hard times hit him in the late 1960's and he was forced to sell his personal collections.

These comics were purchased at a pitance by a local collector (who is a well-known "duck" artist around 1970, who shall remain nameless but I think everyone knows who that is), and for some time Mala got out of the comic book scene. But we all know how that goes. Once collecting and selling comics are in your blood it never goes away, and it wasn't long until he began collecting and dealing with them again.

I personally first heard of Mala in 1970 by the said purchaser of this collection shortly before he actually had a "special day" at his house celebrating the obtaining of these magnificent books and invited many collectors he knew over for a bit of a party, even naming the celebration, Mala Shaw Day. Now that same person is considering either selling or donating these comics to a university museum, and is wanting to call this compilation, "The Mala Shaw Collection".

Although I'd heard the name for years and years, Mala being older than myself by a good 13 years, I was too young to know him when he lived here locally as a kid. No, I didn't meet him until just a while back when he came down here visiting some of his old collector cronies who told him of me, and he stopped by and introduced himself. We've been friends since then and I always find "something" among his stock that I want.

The issue of JIM w/THOR in the above pic is one I recall fondly buying a copy of off the stands in '65 when I was around 14 yrs. old. Kirby and Lee, of course, and one of those issues where Marvel used the "Pop Art Productions" on their corner logo (an experiment that I always hold akin to DC using "Go-Go Checks" on their covers). This tale happened right after several issues which storyline began with issue #116 called: "Trial of the Gods", pitting Thor against his evil half-brother, "Loki" in a contest to see which one was right in the eyes of their father, "Odin". During this contest, Thor breaks a piece off of his magic hammer and takes it then to the steel mills of Pittsburgh, PA. to reweld the piece. It also has a cameo of the second (3rd.?) "Avengers" line-up (the one that began in Avengers V1 #16) and "The Absorbing Man". (The back-up "Tales of Asguard" strip deals with Odin going off on a quest in his magic ship.) All Kirby artwork, and all beautiful!

The Batman Book/Record Set from the mid-1970's has Neal Adams artwork. It would have been neat had they used the voices of Adam West and Burt Ward on that 45 RPM, but it doesn't really sound like either of them. Probably just some studio people, or maybe even those they used on the various animated shows of that time.

The third comic I got today (NOT pictured) was a copy of Batman The Long Halloween #2 (DC/1997), written by Jeph Loeb and artwork by Tim Sale, with Bats fighting "Solomon Grundy".



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