Welcome back… or, if you’re just joining us, welcome aboard! I’ve been reviewing the essential comics I bought fifty years ago in the summer of 1967; books that have influenced me the most on my lifelong sprint towards comic greatness (such as it is). I steadfastly believe that the comics one reads during the first several months one takes up the hobby (or manic obsession… toMAYto, toMAHto…) form the crux of the kinds of comics one will read and enjoy the most for the rest of one’s collecting days. Let’s continue with the imprinting…

SPOOKY #100 — I continued fairly consistently with my buying anything and everything that caught my fancy. In the early days, before collector’s anal retentiveness kicked in, I barely noticed that this was a #100 milestone issue. In my defense, though, Harvey Comics didn’t seem to care about it overmuch, either. It was Spooky and it was fun! At this time in history, there were two main Harvey artist styles, Warren Kremer’s clean, crisp sweet look and Howie Post’s rumpled “lived in” look. I was DEFINITELY a fan of the latter!

NOT BRAND ECHH #3 — Super silly origins of three Marvel mainstays inside a beautiful Marie Severin cover. Thor fan that I was, I couldn’t pass this one up. They threw in a lot of Harvey Kurtzman style Mad humor, but the origins were fairly close to the actual straight origins.

SAD SACK AND THE SARGE #64 — Sad Sack and his ilk were waaaay beneath my radar until I chanced to visit an old friend from my old neighborhood (who moved away when I was five or six). He went on and on about the Sad Sack books, so I bought this one to see what all the fuss was about. I liked the gags and how, in the midst of the Viet Nam war, the Sack crew never seemed to get into actual combat. It was like Casper in a uniform!

PLASTIC MAN #6 — Another friend of mine who bought comics casually always seemed to buy eclectic books that I, theoretically, had little or no interest in (The War That Time Forgot, Strange Adventures, Inferior Five). He showed me this Plastic Man and I was immediately taken by a scene where Plas turned himself into a billboard advertising “Crock-A-Cola” and when he began to shift back to normal, retained the bottle cap as a hat for a panel. This was my first exposure to the “Pliable Pretzel”, long before I read any of the original Jack Cole Plastic Man stories with Woozy Winks (which I love to death!). I have since come to revere Strange Adventures, The War That Time Forgot and, especially, The Inferior Five. I guess my friend’s buying habits were far more cultivated than I thought!

PLASTIC MAN #5 — Weirdly enough, shortly after I discovered Plastic Man, my local Mom & Pop Red & White grocery had a few back issues without covers for a nickel! What luck! My brothers 2 and 5 destroyed this one shortly after I read it.

PLASTIC MAN #4 — This issue, however, I managed to retain until I could buy it many years later WITH the cover.

More next time, okay? OKAY!