Saturday, 18 December 2010
November 5, 1959. I was eleven and my mother said I could have some money to spend on fireworks for Bonfire Night. Mr Andrews, the newsagent, sold fireworks as well as periodicals, stationery and books. I gave it some thought and convinced her the money allocated would be better spent on a handful of comics. ‘All right, make your selection,’ she told me, and stipulated the amount I could spend.
I was spoilt for choice from the rack. I’d never read or bought any of the super-hero comics available, though I’d seen them in the rack. I’d encountered black and white reprints of Pecos Bill – one episode gave me nightmares, apparently; the monochrome Roy Rogers comic was a regular too, but hitherto I bought and read British comics – Eagle, Express, Lion, Hotspur, Tarzan adventures, Comet and so on. Full colour on every page was a new experience.
My handful consisted of Strange Adventures, Mystery in Space, My Greatest Adventure, World’s Finest, Brave and the Bold, Showcase and Our Army At War.
And that night I got to see rockets blazing in the sky from other people’s back gardens, too. Win-win.
So began a long – and doubtless costly – fascination with American comics. I had a number of favourites, inevitably. One of these was Green Lantern. The covers by Gil Kane were great. I was introduced to the silver age version, (not appreciating there’d been a golden age GL!), this one created by John Broome, in Showcase 22 – ‘Menace of the Runaway Missile’, Sep/Oct 1959. GL’s Showcase outing was obviously popular, because he subsequently featured in his own bi-monthly title. Odd, that #1 didn't have No.1 on the cover, though...
Over the years, I avidly collected as many titles from the DC universe as I could afford – and find. GL#5 proved elusive: I found one copy, but couldn’t buy it at the time as I needed that money for a Scouting event. Many years later, I read a reprint version.
In the 1970s, I sold quite a number of comics from my collection, including GL#1 for the sum of 8GBP, which was quite a lot then, since it cost me that to purchase a replacement car tyre after a puncture on the same day!
Now, at long last, the Emerald Gladiator is going to feature in a movie. The teasing trailer for next summer’s release suggests they might even do him justice.