Friday, December 7, 2007

Mike Middleton - 1978

sg Mike Middleton The year 1978 was probably the most exciting year of my childhood. I was eight years old and was pretty much obsessed with two things, Star Wars and DC comics.

My parents had gotten divorced the year before and I would go and see my dad every other weekend. I don't know if it was guilt over the divorce or not, but Dad used to let me do whatever I wanted for the most part on those weekends. I had seen the Super Friends cartoon and was starting to get interested in the comics the different characters appeared in. Dad would then take me to the convenience store not far from his place and let me pick up the latest Superman, Action, JLA, and most of the other titles DC was putting out at the time. That was great but it got even better the next year because I discovered a store about a mile from my dad's place that sold nothing but comics.

Clint's Comics in Kansas City, MO was one of the first comic specialty shops. In 1978, it was doing great business and I was one of its more frequent customers. It was there that my dad bought me my first treasury comics. I had never seen them before and was blown away at the size. It was awesome seeing my favorite heroes in action almost twice the size of the normal comics I bought. I enjoyed them all but one stood out above the rest. All New Collectors' Edition C-54, the epic WWII era battle between Superman and Wonder Woman. I read this thing over and over. I was hooked. I couldn't get over the beautiful Garcia Lopez art.

I was pretty familiar with most of the DC artists but for some reason hadn't encounted Lopez before, at least not that I noticed anyway. I was (and still am) a huge Jim Aparo fan. The Brave And The Bold was my favorite book. I also loved Curt Swan's Superman. This book to me combined what I loved about DC art. Lopez's clean, yet dynamic style really got me hooked. There was no going back. Thirty years later, I'm still a huge fan of Lopez's and that whole era of DC. One of my fondest convention memories was getting to meet Lopez and having him sign my worn out copy of that treasury.

Clint's is still going strong in KC. In fact, my dad and I went there just a couple of weeks ago. It was a great nostalgic rush. Unfortunately, I had to buy my own comics. Oh well, it was definitely worth it. Too bad there were no new treasuries to get.

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