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December 24, 2006


CR Sunday Magazine

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Wallowing In Nostalgia Chapter 146: Five Christmas Comic Book Memories

1. Reading Christmas comics. As you can see, Justice League of America #110 features one of the best Christmas images ever. Also, if I remember correctly, in that adventure Hal Jordan spends the entire time likely bleeding into his brain after falling in the shower while substitute Green Lantern John Stewart uses the ring to fix rundown buildings in the poorer sections of whatever city they're in. This is way more interesting than a giant boxing glove, although more difficult to draw. Some of the best Peanuts revolve around a Christmas pageant, something we used to do at Mitchell Elementary with all the same, bizarre desires for a starring role and fears of blowing lines that the Schulz characters display. Linus helps me through it. Not the first time; not the last.

2. Getting superhero-related junk from New Jersey -- so my guess is this was the Snyder family selling this stuff -- as Christmas presents, including the awesome Spider-Man suction cup wrist shooter.

image3. Around 1978 or 1979, my desire to buy old Avengers and X-Men comic books -- to find out what happened in them -- interrupts my family's traditional Michigan Avenue Chicago shopping trip and we head across a river to a pawn shop that is the antithesis of Marshall Field's and still haunts my memories: poor lighting, comics under glass next to knives and ninja stars, bold John Buscema and Neal Adams covers peeking back for $2-$4 a pop. Making allowances for a Fall's worth of raking and bagging leaves minus Christmas gifts (soap on a rope for Dad) I probably bought four or five books, but I wanted them all. I read what I bought on the floor of a suite at the Drake Hotel, the far end of Marvel's 1960s burst of creative potency washing over my tiny brain.

4. Coming home from school in Virginia for some of the best Christmas seasons of all: reunited with family, tons of Christmas parties in a range from beers at a college house to Christmas eve at the family whose patriarch was a dentist who practiced in his home (drinking egg nog in the patient's chair, talking local politics), colliding with old friends as they rush through that particularly exciting time in life and the changes that come with it, an overwhelming sense of youth and sex and undeserved intimacy through shared experience and possibility, and always a trip to Bright's Book Exchange to make one big saved-up purchase of all the funnybooks I missed being off in the Blue Ridge Mountains, which I probably read in my Dad's over-sized green leather chair with the TV on.

5. In 2002, my older brother begins a new tradition of visiting for a week or so from Chicago over the holidays, and I begin pulling comics from the previous year for him to read -- I put them in a little basket and place them beside his bed. The baskets get heavier every year, and I realize exactly how much quality stuff is being published. My younger brother gets a supplementary gift of fair to good quality comics featuring the Badger, Black Bolt or Sub-Mariner, for his bathroom bookshelf. It's still good to be around family.


Stephen Weiner Shares His Own Memory

In 1965, one of my older brothers came home from college. Broke & looking for quick presents, he gave me 8 worn Marvel comics. I remember them pretty well and still own a couple: Daredevil # 11, 12, & 13, Thor # 124, a couple issues of Tales of Suspense as well as two issues of Tales to Astonish. Before I read them, my brother filled me in on some of the back story of each book. Looking back, that gift (and two years later, receiving a copy of The D'Aulaire's Book of Norse Myths) were the most lasting of my childhood Christmas presents. The fascination that began with those presents still holds me today 40 years later, and has informed in some way or another, most of the decisions of my life.

Thanks for asking.

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Go, Look: 1935 King Features X-Mas Card

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Five Link A Go Go

* a long list of Christmas comic books with which I'm largely unfamiliar

* listen to the Moomin song

* in through the back door: the Mr. Boffo animated videos archive

* the NYT on the soon-to-close Providence Wunderground exhibit

* editor Jennifer De Guzman writes on watching talent go elsewhere

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Kevin Cannon's 288-Hour Comic Continues

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Go, Look: British Comics Auctions

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I lost an hour at the beginning of the month looking at the various art samples displayed here, but I'm like that.

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First Thought Of The Day
I was probably way more excited than I should be when I found out I'm getting a subscription to Shonen Jump for Christmas.
 
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