Saturday, September 4, 2010

Stand By Me - 1986

Darlin' Tracy and I were watching Stand By Me last night (first time ever for her, first time for me since it was a cable staple in the 80s), and I had completely forgotten about this scene, where Gordie LaChance (Wil Wheaton) is seeing reading a copy of DC's Gang Busters comic.

The movie is set in September 1959, and Gang Busters ceased publication in 1958, so pretty much any issue in the series would have been correct, time period-wise, an attention to detail I always enjoy (in this case, the issue in question is Gang Busters #66, on sale August 1958).

Its interesting to me that the prop department chose such an obscure comic such as Gang Busters. Maybe author Steven King (whose short story from which this movie is based) mentions in the comic in the original story, since many of the details are taken from his life. Or maybe the prop department just wanted to use a vintage comic they didn't have to clear with lawyers.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hey Kids, Juvenile Delinquency!

This is a mailer being sent around by prospective Democratic Nancy King, who is running for State Senator in Maryland. I think it pretty much speaks for itself.

Its simply amazing to me that, in 2010 for Rao's Sake, we still have people demagoging comic books, as if they the pave the road to juvenile delinquency. Look at that--a kid reading Superman! Horrors!

I discovered this on the website of artist Dean Trippe, who wrote an eloquent response to Ms. King. I don't think it will make her change her views, but you never know...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hey Kids, Howling Commandos! - 1973

I found this photo (which is a close-up so we can better see the comic) online as part of a Life magazine photo essay called "In Praise of Classic Comics." Check it out, there's some amazing stuff on display.

The comic in question is Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #98, first on sale in February 1972. This photo was taken on the streets of Vietnam in 1973--I can only imagine what American war comics must have read like to a child at that time, in that place.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hey Kids, 3D Comics!

A fan of the Hey Kids blog named Martyn McHale found this vintage shot of kids enjoying the first issue of St. John's Three Dimension Comics (on sale Summer 1953) and sent it along to me.

Obviously this is a staged shot, what with seven kids all reading the exact same book (most of them holding it in a way to show off the cover), but someone at St. John was good at marketing, since there are other photos from the time of people enjoying the book:
Thanks Martyn!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Newsradio - 1998

I was catching up on episodes of the NBC show Newsradio, and in the Fifth Season episode "The Lam", we catch a glimpse of Matthew (Andy Dick) reading a Casper comic book, supposedly belonging to his boss Dave (Dave Foley) when he was a child. With a little detective work, I was able to determine the book in question is Casper's Ghostland #40, cover-dated Feb. 1968.

I always enjoy seeing real comics show up as props in TV or movies, but I really like it when a prop department bothers to get it right--this comic was on sale in late 1967. Since this set is the boyhood home of Dave Nelson, that means that the character would have been about five or six when this published, which lines up perfectly.

I'm sure it would have been easier just to grab any comic book and use it for the scene, because who else but obsessive nerds (cough) would notice? But they bothered to make the effort. Nice job, Newsradio Prop Department!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Weird Strange Christmas - 1974

This great pic was sent to me by Buddy Scalera, who posted it on Flickr a while back trying to figure out what the books are in the picture.

If you read the comments, you see it didn't take long to determine that he's holding an issue of Weird Western Tales (#25, to be exact), with a copy of Strange Adventures on his lap. Looks like a Merry Christmas to me!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hey Kids, Sunday Comics! - 1940s

This is another family photo, again taken by my Great Uncle Fred, who was quite the photographer, as this pic exemplifies.

The kid in question is my Uncle Barry, who was sitting down to a practically iconic breakfast table (milk, egg, checkered tablecloth) and starting the day off with the Sunday Comics section in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

I wish I could make out what that top strip is on the front page, but I guess you can't have everything!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hey Sis, Comics! - 1980

I was digging through some old family photos and found this--a shot me, my sister, our dog Patrick, and a copy of Battlestar Galactica (#13, to be exact).

Finding a family photo that I have no memory of is surprising enough, but one that features a comic book in it that I'm not the one holding? Downright shocking!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Comics on A Clothesline - 1941

Another vintage photo I found online, another newsstand so well-stocked it makes my mouth water (am I weird for saying that?).

Here's a close-up of the books on sale. In the center is Superman #10, which was on sale March of 1941. You can also see issues of Blue Beetle, Master Comics, Action Comics, and All-Star Comics:
If, when I was a kid, there was a place like this near me, I would've spent all my time there. Apparently you could get some comics, a soda, a sandwhich--and it seemed like the place was open to the air, so you could enjoy all those items on a beautiful sunny day, just hanging out.

My Dad was around eight in March 1941. Sometimes I envy him his childhood...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The "Show Me" Newsstand - 1951

I found this photo online, of an unbelievably well-stocked newsstand. Judging by the comics on sale (that issue of Tarzan, for instance), this photo was taken sometime around late 1951.

For whatever reason, when I see photos like this, my eyes grow wide and I get a sense of anticipation I think similar to what foodies get when they watch the Food Network. It just seems so exciting!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The 1970's, Comics, and Me

sgMike Mitchell - There are many comic collectors who can tell you the first comic book they ever remember reading. There are some who can rattle off the names of writers and artists who have profoundly changed their way of thinking. There are some who can tell you the number of any issue some big shot comic character appeared in and even on which page they showed up on.

Some collectors are fanatical about their comics, they keep extensive lists, and meticulously sort their comics, still others pay particular attention to the grade and condition of the comics they buy. Some people speculate even on the future worth of comics.

I'm afraid I don't fit into any of these categories... love affair with comics is just as rock solid as that of any other comic fan.

Instead of having strong memories of certain individual comics which served to turn me into a life long fan, I have very deep impressions of comics just being a part of growing up in the 1970's. The town where I lived was a Paper Mill town in Western Maine. We didn't know it then, but we were really quite isolated from the rest of the outside world.

In my town almost all my friends had cardboard super market boxes filled with comics under their beds. We traded comics and often kept them rolled up in our back pockets, our worse yet folded over in lunch boxes. To us there was no value to comics at all.... outside the pure entertainment of them.

I read all comics as a kid, anything that was in reach was consumed and absorbed with equal pleasure. I remember the guys up the block were heavy into DC, their stash was a bunch of Superboy, World's Finest, and Detective Comics.

sgI had an older foster sister who had loads of romance comics that I would swipe in some futile hope of mine that I could better understand the wiles of femininity. My school chums were all over Marvel titles like Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor, and Fantastic Four. Another friend had a nice big box of comics like Ripley's Ghost Stories, Magnus Robot Fighter, and Boris Karloff Mystery.

What did I bring to the mix? Well...I had an okay assortment of the above mentioned comic fare, but I was more taken in later years by comic magazines such as Mad, Tales of the Zombie, Eerie, Creepy, and Vampirella.

Yes it's true...I was one of those weird, "black and white kids." While everyone else was ohhing and ahhing about their favorite super-somebody, I was going ga-ga over art by Frazetta, Mort Drucker, and Angelo Torres. I just couldn't get over the intricacy of linework, the essence of expresion, the raw power these and many other talented artists from the B&W crowd could cram into a single panel. Sometimes I would get so lost in the art I would totally forget what the story was about.

sgHowever, it was comics like Howard The Duck, Vampire by Night, and Kirby's 70's run on Captain America that brought me a little back to the spinner rack.

As far back as I can remember I was drawing, usually I found myself drawing comic book characters. Most often these were the three inch tall, wooden knock-offs of the caped crusader variety, floating on an empty page of white. By the time I reached High School however, I began to create my own comics into which I would occasionally insert my friends, and even myself as either heroes, villains, or the occasional mad scientist. I began to have serious aspirations as a comic book artist.

The year I graduated I was accepted to Joe Kubert School of Art, (which at the time was mecca for aspiring comic artists it was the crucible that gave us Steve Bissette, Lee Weeks, and Rick Veitch...just to name a few) unfortunately I was unable to attend, mostly due to financial concerns...and alas my comic artist aspirations then withered, and died.

20 years later however, my dreams of comics were renewed. I attended a small press comics convention in Baltimore around 2004 and was amazed at the work average Joes like me were turning out practically all by themselves. Since then I have gone back into comics full swing. Drawing, collecting, and enjoying comics just like back in the day.

Today I create small press comics, some B&W and others color, that reflect the flavor of comics back when I was a kid,...back in what I think was the very best time to enjoy comics...the 1970's.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hey Kids, Products!

Now available through are Hey Kids, Comics! T-shirts and mugs! Click the images to order, and be part of the cool kids!