Tuesday, 25 June 2013
Memory Lane Part 5: Finding My Feet
I had no organising of my comics at that time and would often do so by the colour of the DC bullet on the cover! Those were the days when the sheer impact of covers would intrigue you so I'd pick up whatever I could find or interested me the most, always leaving non-superhero stuff like Sgt Rock, Ghosts and House of Mystery as purchases of last resort.
The weeklies, even lesser fare like Marvel Super Adventure, Future Tense and Valour were all frequent buys but the monthlies were more desirable. Longer stories, better covers...but at a better price. I'd managed to afford the first few MSH issues and the odd Hulk-starring issue of Rampage but one fateful Saturday, I trotted down to the newsagents near my nan and picked up Rampage #29.
No longer starring the Hulk but headlining the X-Men (again tapping into my earliest childhood memories of Cyclops but also my enjoyment of the Cockrum-drawn New X-Men--what a fresh concept that was at the time!--backups in the Hulk issues), I picked it up immediately: it was also either that or an Alan Class reprint (another begrudging bottom of the barrel buy, although this did expose me at an early age to Wally Wood and/or Al Williamson EC sci-fi reprints, thus imprinting those on me at an impressionable age).
Then, one fateful day, there was nothing in that newsagents...so I crossed the road and went to another shop and found gold. It was 1981...and I'd found my first original Marvel US comics and in abundance.
The colours dazzled and excited, seeing the Marvel characters I loved how they were intended to be read for the first time. I picked up a fantastic Four (a poor Sienkiewicz-drawn issue that was only two issues before Byrne's run started, Rampage being a few years behind the States) and a Power man & Iron Fist, among others. I loved Kerry Gamill's art on the latter, an issue reintroducing me to the Constrictor (from the Mighty World of Marvel) with his sidekick...Sabretooth!
For a few months, I'd pick up about 5 copies with my £1 pocket money but was horrified one month when the newsagent said I needed to put one back...I hadn't noticed but the cover price had gone up so I had to agonise over which comic I put back. I can't remember what it was but I knew I picked up Marvel Super Action. I was attracted by the Clint Barton Goliath, who I recalled from the Avengers Annual my mum brought me but this reprint of a 1969 Avengers issue was stunning. Great art by Sal Buscema and Stuart Grainger, the run (and I couldn't get hold of all of them) led into the debut of the Squadron Sinister, the proto-Invaders and John Buscema's return. It was cancelled pretty promptly but I didn't care...I had cash in my pocket and marvels to hunt down...