Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Comics - A Reverie

Comic Heros

The Friday evening ritual usually began around 7:00 pm when My Father would drop over to my Mother's place to pick me up for the weekend. After initial greetings, he was promptly fleeced for three dollars so I could make the pilgrimage to comic book heaven, also known as the Meinz Drug Store on West 7
Avenue. Nestled among the declining skyline, the drug store was presided over by Mrs. Meinz, a short, terse woman in her 60's who was quite a beautiful but inscrutable character. Mrs. Meinz typically had a small flock of compatriots with her throughout the day at the drug store and they babbled incessantly no matter what time of day one entered. Although the small comfortable store had an old fashioned soda bar where, depending on the mood of Mrs. Meinz, might offer refreshment, it usually did not. Unexpectedly down for whatever reason she determined, it would suddenly become available if she knew you, but only if it was quick, wasn't messy and you had pretty close to exact change. The cash register, at the entrance of the store was a walk she didn't really want to make, so having change ready was better if you wanted a delicious bubbling Coca-Cola or a ice cream sundae. Just don't overdue the requests, got it? 

The most delicious aspect of the pilgrimage, however, was the super-up-to-date comics at the comic book alter- the big magazine rack that magnetically pulled and beckoned the second after entering. Row upon row of super heros, adventures, space battles, movie comics, rare issues of comic periodicals and the thrilling surprise of the very latest issues. If you missed one week, coming back always promised you could catch up and there were always the past issues available to catch up with.

The most incredible magnetism pulled this 13 year old through the door to zone out on the supercharged racks of the comics offering an oasis in a world of rules and baffling life circumstances. It wasn't the direct result of a demographic assault on the target demographic (me and my buds) as it was a direct influence of the overwhelming magic of the comics themselves. You see, they were a vehicle of rare transport, a way out of the mundane and stifling world of ordinary teen foibles, confusion and angst. Just getting near the row after row of pulsing, life giving comics racks was enough to make the heart race, the mind sparkle with energy and the oily, wrinkled dollars issue forth from jean pockets. Each Friday evening, before going to stay at my Father's house for the weekend, (parents separated, then divorced) the quick run up to the drugstore to purchase comics was the safe assurance I would survive the utter adult-created boredom of the weekend. This weekly pilgrimage to see what had been released, what issue was continuing, what begins, what concludes was a journey of intense purpose and meaning.

Comics and
were a language spoken only to the hearts of those who dared receive their mystical powers. The writers and illustrators so good, so skilled, their efforts were transparent to the beautifully crafted stories that buoyed our school-soaked lives, liberating us if only temporarily. A direct marketing push wasn't effective. The incredible insight of the writing combined with the visceral illustrations packaged to perfection by the editors and publishing were the sought-after addiction we all craved and loved. Today, many, many years later there is great gratitude and thanks to the comic industry that provided the coolness, imagination, wonder and pure magic that inhabited our lives. Without the wonderment and sweet imagination of these good folks, life would have been lessened in a measurable way. I have an
! Hats off to all of the folks in the industry who have given us this wonderful life boost and journey. Mrs Meinz would approve.

One Love


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