WEDNESDAY NIGHT SUMMER RERUN: I had to have my comic books


Action Comics DC Vol 1 Issue 383 Dec 1969 | Etsy

From early February 2008:

The next American superhero

I read with great interest the other day from about the latest in the Captain America saga:

Captain America’s alter-ego, Steve Rogers, is still resting in peace at Arlington National Cemetery, having been done in by assassins last March. But his good buddy and sidekick from the 1940s, Bucky Barnes, has picked up the bulletproof Captain America shield, put on a new uniform and taken his place.What’s that you say? Wouldn’t Bucky be about 85 years old now? And without any real super powers to fall back on, isn’t that kind of long in the tooth to be taking a bite out of crime?Well, yeah. But remember, this is the comic book world we’re talking about. Bucky was put in suspended animation by the evil Russians (back when they were evil) and stayed that way for the better part of 60 years.“So he’s probably in his late 20s right now,” jokes Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada, who decided to promote him to Captain America.

Hurray, I exclaimed!!

Captain America and his mighty shield are not dead.

That brought a smile to the face of someone who grew up as a child in the 60’s, reading comic after comic after comic book.

As a youngster, I read the Baltimore Catechism, the Weekly Reader, textbook after textbook.

I read a lot.

The Hardy Boys?

I couldn’t wait till Gimbels Schuster on Mitchell Street had the latest Hardy Boys’  adventure hard cover for sale.

I read Jerry Kramer’s “Instant Replay.”

I read weekly magazines.

I read teen magazines that immortalized the Beatles.

I read the liner notes of my older brother Greg’s albums.

I read comic books.


I was barely 8, 9. 10, 11, 12 years old.

There were certain things that excited me:

My small RCA transistor radio that I attached to my Raleigh bike.

My Raleigh bike with the cool banana seat.

Debbie Huck.  She was an absolute dream. A classmate of mine at St. Anthony’s grade school. Did I mention she was gorgeous and built?


Back to normal.

My weekly scramble down the steps of Woolworth’s to get the weekly Top 40.

If they didn’t have it, I’d hop on my Raleigh and head up the street to Sears.

And then there was the pursuit of:

Comic books.

Like the stay at home housewife watching,’”As the World Turns,” I had to have my fix.

Is Superman OK?

What about Batman?

And Hulk and Thor and the Fantastic Four?

I’d race on that Raleigh bike of mine, park in front of the store at 6th and Becher (now a Hispanic bar) and run into the all-purpose drugstore and head right to the comics section to the immediate right as you entered the place.

There they were.

Racks and racks of them.

The ultimate of comic books.

The DC comics: Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, the American Legion, etc.

The Marvel comics: Fantastic Four, Captain America, Hulk, Sub Mariner, Spiderman.

It was the Baskin Robbins of comic books.

The store owners knew me by name, bike and face.

“The new comics aren’t in,” they’d say.

I knew a single second upon looking at that rack if I hit pay dirt or not.

So, I’d say ,”Thank you,” and head off on my bike to the next shop that might tell me if and how my favorite hero had lived to fight another week.

As neat as the comic books were, the cool factor exploded when independent television (i.e., Channel 18) started showing the Marvel superheroes’  TV shows.

Fast forward to today.

I don’t attend a lot of movies.

I think most movies are junk and a waste of my money.

I am intrigued by movies, however, that bring back sweet memories of my past.

And that means I’m very interested to see the next Hollywood adaptation of superhero from the past.

The Flash?

Sub Mariner?

Green Lantern?

Super Girl?

Try Iron Man.

Iron Man was a tremendous superhero.

The problem was he was overshadowed by so many other stars with ultra powers.

It didn’t help that his cartoon TV series was punctuated by a cheesy opening with a cheesy theme song.

That was the 60’s.

In three months, Iron Man will be the next Hollywood superhero.

I will go.

And I will watch.

And I won’t care if it doesn’t get nominated for a Golden Globe or an Oscar.

When I see Iron Man on that sceen, you know what I will see?

I will see a 10 or 12-year old Kevin Fischer, a bike that was the envy of the kids in the neighborhood, the building anticipation I’d feel as I pedalled harder and harder on my bike to get to the drugstore to find out how, or if Iron Man surviived,a drugstore you could leave that bike outside unlocked without fear it would be stolen. the malted milk mizers inside the store I’d buy the Iron Man comics, the sheer delight when I’d look and look and look at that rack of comics from eye level down to the floor to see that YES, YES, the latest editions had come in.

In a few months, when I see Iron Man on the big screen, larger than life, he’ll be cool.

But trust me.

It won’t be nearly as cool as forking over that 10 or 15 cents for the latest Iron Man comic to the nice lady behind the counter and then rushing home on my two-wheeler to see if Tony Stark pulled it out this week.

You see, In 2008, I know Iron Man will be okay.

When I walked into those drugstores on 6th and Becher or 12th and Lincoln, I had no idea.

That’s the difference.

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