Do you remember Irona the robot Maid? How about The Beagle Boys? 176-617 was my favorite. How about Slob Slobinski? Do you remember who Thelma, Velma and Zelma were? When I was a kid, those were my super heroes. This was mostly due to the fact that when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s, I really didn’t have a disposable income, and couldn’t afford the normal super hero comics all the kids read. I didn’t have an allowance, and didn’t really have money but from sporadic odd jobs. Birthdays and Christmases would get me $5 and $10 bills from relatives, and we were urged to save our money. I would occasionally buy something, but comic books generally weren’t the thing I wanted.
That said, others around me had comics, and in the dozens. I read mostly Richie Rich (Wendy, Casper, Hot Stuff, Little Lotta) and the rest of the Harvey universe. Superheroes weren’t really a thing to me. My Aunts Vickie and Jan both had a bunch which they would give to me on occasion, and down in California, my Aunt Karen had a box stashed in her shed, which I’d read the all summer long when I visited my relatives down there. My Grandpa Spurgeon had a similar box of Sad Sack comics, as well as Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories.
I watched Shazam! and later the Shazam!/Isis Hour as a kid. I also watched the Super Friends, which was so badly written and animated that I even made fun of it back then (not to mention the depictions of the Wonder Twins and Gleek the Space Monkey). Still, we only got two channels and I’d still watch my share of the program on a rainy Saturday morning.
But I didn’t read superhero comics. Except for Daredevil. My Aunt Vickie had a lone Daredevil comic stashed amongst all the others. A blind superhero cleaning up New York’s Hell’s Kitchen really impressed me. He had superhuman senses (except for sight, which he didn’t seem to need) and held his own fighting in a super-whirly martial arts style.
Then Superman came out in 1978. The one with Orson Welles as Jor-El, and a very buff Christopher Reeve playing Nice Guy Superman. I probably watched it probably a half dozen times, between television runs of the film, and the video stores.
My schoolfriend Jon was an avid collector of that sort of thing. He had an admirable collection, issues carefully wrapped in plastic. He displayed them in Riley Creek School. I was more the “read them until they fell apart” sort. Later I found a Superman compendium in the Curry Public Library in Gold Beach, which I devoured. But I never immersed myself in the universe. I knew the Greats, because of films and TV shows: Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, the Hulk. I ran across the Fantastic Four, but not the X-Men.
I’m not exactly a superfan. I haven’t read a comic in years (unless you count Japanese translation of manga, and I view that online). I’ve still not seen a single film from the X-Men franchise. I enjoyed Tobey Maguire’s Spiderman depiction. Thor was the first 3D film I ever watched. I was nauseous the entire time, which may have affected how I felt about the movie (hated it!). Yet I’ve been seen enjoying the Netflix series Daredevil (as well as Jessica Jones). The second season of Daredevil was released about a week ago, and I’ll certainly be binge-watching another one. I’m not sure this is the most productive day to spend the day off, but I can clean the kitchen while I’m watching TV.
Were you a child of the 70s and read super hero comic books as a kid? and why in God’s name didn’t you share them with me?