Rob Kelly A few days ago my friend Rick from Mail It To Team-Up sent me some comics in the mail as a way to say thanks for designing his blog header.
Anyway, one of the books he sent me was this--Marvel Two-In-One Annual #6 from 1981, starring the ever-lovin' blue-eyed Thing and the brand-new character American Eagle. I had bought this comic when I was ten years old, right off the stands while we were on vacation in the Poconos(Pennsylvania).
I've talked about our yearly trips to what we called "The Mountains" on one of my other blogs, but my memories of those times is so drenched in comics that they're inseperable. I begged my parents to take me to every newsstand, supermarket, and drug store that carried comics(and there were a lot of them)and the books I bought there have a special place in my memory. Seeing this book in the pile of the ones Rick sent me took me right back to that time and store--it was a newsstand/convenience store/gas station right off the main(read: only) road that went through the area for many, many miles.
There were two doorways on the left wall, and they had installed the racks the comics sat in inbetween those two door frames. The racks went so high I could barely reach the top row, and they always had several different books in each pocket, so there was always a lot of books to comb through. No matter how long my parents took to get gas or buy whatever they needed, I always used up every second of that time, trying to find the most compelling comics available.
I wish to God I had photos of the stores I frequented; even though we took hundreds of photos during those vacations(like the one of me at left enjoying Captain America #262), I guess it never occurred to my parents to take some of the insides of the local convenience stores.
I stopped going to the Poconos regularly with parents during art school in the early 90s, and they themselves stopped going a few years after that. I have never been back since; though some day I desperately want to go back and see how much has changed; and whether any of those wonderful little stores are still around.
If I ever do go, and some of those stores are still there, and they still sell comics(sadly, the biggest if of all), I'll buy whatever ones I can find. It won't be the same, of course, but it'll be the closest I can come to honoring those great places that meant so much to me growing up.