Saturday, March 8, 2008

Larry Eischen - 1950s

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Larry Eischen - I was born in 1952 and I think my first comics must have come when I was about 5 or so. I remember picture stories about various bunnies, mice and ghosts. I've gone back on the Grand Comics Database trying to identify what must have been my first comic but the Dell & Harvey covers are so generic, it's impossible to tell.

On the South Side of Chicago, you bought your comics at either the local candy store or soda shop. The shops were known by the name of the owner. Around the corner from our house off 35th Street was Karen's, a candy store. There comics were hung from a wire with clamps on it to hold them. You had no access to them. Choice was made by favorite character or appealing cover. After telling the proprietor what you wanted, he (I never recall an actual female named Karen there) would get it off the wire with a long handled 'grasper'. You would get a quick opportunity to check it out and maybe one chance to decide you didn't like it and ask for another.
sgIn addition, different stores would carry different titles and Karen's was the choice for those Timely/Atlas monster titles. When the Marvel superheroes began appearing, I remember getting my first Fantastic Four (#5) there.

About a block & a half away was "George & Lou's". Now that's how I always knew it, but the owner was a man named Orin and the sign over the door said Orin's. He had bought it years before from George & Lou, whoever they were, and it was still George & Lou's to my family.

He had the spinner rack and along with the DC stuff and Marvels after the superheroes arrived, he kept a supply of Classics Illustrated, Junior Classics, and Dennis the Menace (the sole remnant of the once mighty Fawcett comics empire at the time). I would get an allowance from my grandmother for running her grocery and butcher orders 3 blocks to the stores where they would gather the merchandise and deliver to her house. As soon as that fifty cents was in my hand, I was off to George & Lou's to spend it on comics, candy, & Green River.

My first comics I can identify on the Database are Batman 118 and the Superboy or Adventure Comics with the 1st Bizarro story. I loved the old sci-fi Batman stories with aliens and strange physical changes. Hard to believe he was near cancellation at the time. I also remember purchasing the first JLA story with Starro and innumerable Atlas monsters like Goom, Xoom, Fin Fang Foom and others. I didn't know artists names, but each of those monster books had a monster story by the man I would soon know as the King and a weird story with all kinds of swirly, strange drawings by Ditko.

Man that was living!

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