Friday, May 29, 2009

Where are the Comic Books?

Fantastic FourImage by Tim.Deering via Flickr

by Insurance Guru

Before I had even learned to tie my own shoes I had stacks of wonderful comic books. They were the result of my poor mom wanting to buy groceries in peace. My brother and I each got to choose a new box of breakfast cereal and a comic book every week. Mom got to shop without the two of us trying to run each other down with the cart since we were too busy arguing the merits of the latest issue of Superman versus The Fantastic Four.

I remember the wonderful spinning wire racks that held rows of comic books. They were in every grocery and convenience store in town. Batman, Spiderman, Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, The Fantastic Four, Richie Rich and Archie. What a perfect way to get kids to read for 10 cents! If I didn't know a particular word, I could puzzle it out from the art work and what wonderful art work!

Even after we were old enough to be left alone at home during the weekly grocery run, we still had our allowances. 35 cents got you a couple of comics and a candy bar. By the time I was in the sixth grade, our combined stack of comics was nearly three feet high.

Gone from the Piggly Wiggly

I wish my kids could've had access to comic books on this scale. Really, where can you even buy them now and what do they cost? Doesn't it require a special trip to a special Comic Book Store? Have I detected a certain collector's snobbery to comic books these days? How does that help kids to read more cuz I don't care if they read shampoo bottles, I just want them to read.

Yeah - I've seen the "Graphic Novels" they sell in the book stores. Puhleeze, that's not 25 pages of cartoons on cheap newsprint that you can roll up and smack flies with. You can't get a good Silly Putty picture off of them either. Where's the fun in that?

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chupacabra said...

Been there- absolutely could have written this post myself. Also, my brother would buy them for me so I'd sit on the floor of Futz's News Stand in Dento TX and not bug him while he was looking at 'real books'
Incidentally, if interesting in comics for comics sake and getting kids interested cheaply most Half Price Books have bundled bags of comics for a few dollars- not collector volumes but, very good value considering there high price.

insuranceguru said...

Hey chupacabra - The Half Price Book store is a great idea but it would take me a couple of hours of cross metropolis driving to get there. It is definitely on my shopping list next time I get to that side of town.

Gail Rae said...

I guess that means that Japan is out of your way, as well.
I am in complete agreement with you. Not only do I have fond memories of comic book racks and comic books, my mother, an elementary school teacher, LOVED comic books because her kids (her school kids and us kids) READ THEM. She knew all the really popular ones and often featured them as vocabulary lessons in her classrooms; exactly as you mentioned: "Look at the pictures; what's the story about; what do you think this word means?"
I wonder how relevant the decades long decline in literacy in the US is to the decline in the comic book trade.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Agree. And where are the adds to sell Grit door-to-door? Or buy those amazing X-rays glasses?

insuranceguru said...

Hi Grumpy! Dang - I had forgotten all about Grit! I remember the X-ray glasses though. We never ordered a pair, we didn't want to part with the cash that could be used on candy and pop.

insuranceguru said...

Hey Gail Rae, I wish your Mom would've been my teacher. Comics were !!!Verboten!!!! at my school.

MomZombie said...

I totally forgot about comic books. I loved the Archie comics and MAD magazine, although I don't know if that is considered a comic book. Road trips always meant a fresh stack of comic books. Can't say I've noticed them anymore. Can't say I see kids reading much either, outside of Harry Potter.

insuranceguru said...

Hi MomZom,
Harry Potter and the Hogwarts gang are great for getting kids reading but those huge things require such a time commitment...and $$$$. Nothing like a quick comic book before going bike riding.