In 1972, at the very mature age of ten, I purchased two books that would begin my forty-plus year love affair with the comic book. These books were purchased as my mom dragged me to work with her early on a Saturday morning (which I really hated) in Flushing, Queens. These two books were "Tomb of Dracula" #4 and "Fantastic Four" #126. While I am sure I enjoyed both books it was FF #126 that really captured my imagination, swallowing me whole into a new and amazing universe. It was just a wonderful coincidence that this issue was a re-telling of the Fantastic Four's origin, giving me the opportunity to (almost) come in at the very start (truly, I had no inkling of the incredible history that lay there just beyond my reach - not only of the Fantastic Four but of the entire Marvel Universe).
I don't know how many times I read that book after buying it but the most remarkable thing happened just a few weeks later: I purchased issue #127 (where the incredible storyline I began in the previous issue actually carried on from where it left off). This was amazing to me!
I didn't know it then but had I just taken my first steps down a very long road.....
Before I knew it I was reading "The Amazing Spider-Man", "The Incredible Hulk", "The Avengers" and (one of my all-time favorites) "The X-Men" (I really loved their original costumes and the books I was picking up were reprints of their earlier adventures - not that I knew it at the time).
I think within a few months I was buying almost all of their superhero books (although, back then it wasn't always easy to catch every book as it came out and finding back issues, at least for me, wasn't an easy thing to do - it would be years before I ever heard of a comic book store).
One of the best things about the Marvel Universe was that it seemed to run hand in hand with our own. And, living in New York at the time, I easily believed that one day I would turn a corner and run right into the Baxter Building (yes, it was that real to me). Afetr all, if I could find the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building then why couldn't the Baxter Building be out there somewhere, too?
It was a beautiful hobby (and still can be I guess) and for this young boy growing up in New York it was all about the stories and the wonderful artwork that accompanied them. It was about adventure and wonder.... and, even at fifty-one, it still is...
See you soon (and thanks for reading).
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