It’s the summer of 1967 and I’ve become awash in my ever-growing obsession with comic books. An obsession that would serve me well for the next fifty years… and counting. Let’s barrel right along, shall we? YES! Barrel, I say!

GREEN LANTERN #55 — This is one of the few comics “that got away”. I saw it on the stands. I even picked it up once or twice and leafed through it. I liked Green Lantern well enough, so I can’t rightly say WHY I didn’t buy it… there just always seemed to be some other book I wanted more. Finally, I decided that I would pick it up next time I went to the store no matter what. This was before I got hip to the “new shipments of books on Wednesdays” jive. I went down to the pharmacy whenever I pleased and I was new at the collecting game, so it didn’t matter much as EVERYTHING was new to me every time! When I got there, though, it was gone. *sigh* I didn’t get a copy of this one until several years later.

AQUAMAN #35 — My first actual issue of Aquaman. I grew to LOVE the way the Nick Cardy panels just seemed to cascade down the page (like water)! I try to emulate this practice in my own comics, eschewing the standard six panel grid page as being too static.

HOT STUFF #80 — I LOVE me some Hot Stuff! My “buy whatever catches my fancy at the time” collecting habit continues. This issue features a story about a giant she-ape named Queen Quong… at one point, she wants Hot Stuff to marry her and rule her tropical island together. Hot Stuff runs away, complaining of her ugliness (Little Devils are NOT above a little body shaming). As he runs away, she says “But, beauty is only skin deep!” to which he replies “Yeah, but your skin is TOO deep!” BWAH HA HAH!

LITTLE DOT #112 — Here’s a little known secret about me… as much as I love Batman and the other action heroes of DC and Marvel, I’m equally fond of the Harvey characters and, in addition to the “bad boys”, Hot Stuff and Spooky, I REALLY love Little Dot! It fascinates me how they were able to come up with creative, strikingly original cover gags based on dots issue after issue! The blossoming graphic designer in me LOVED it!

THE FLASH #173 — My first exposure to the Earth-2 Flash! I knew all about Earth-2 from the recent JLA/JSA team-up, but that didn’t feature the original Jay Garrick Flash… The Flashes are kidnapped by an alien mutant named Golden Man who wants them to expend speed energy that he can siphon off to power his evolution machine, designed to propel his fellow cavemen-like aliens up the evolutionary trail to his super intelligent level. A riff on “The Most Dangerous Game” and a Kid Flash guest appearance, too! Such a deal!

LITTLE DOT DOTLAND #32 — Nothing like this cover scene remotely happened inside the book (which was par for most Harvey comics of the day), but I kinda dug that prancing dot guy! This issue is remembered most fondly as being part of one of *those* moments in life, along with the other two books shown above… I was sprawled across a living room chair, reading these three books, armed with a fistful of lemon cookies and a cool summer breeze blowing in the front screen door and, just for that one second, stepped out of the moment and thought to myself “*sigh* It doesn’t get any better than this!” And, with the exception of my marriage to my wife, Denise, it really never has!

 

More to come! Be here or be… somewhere else, actually.