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Taking a look at comic books now and then

I don’t buy them or read them now. But comic books (also called funny books by some folks) were a real part of my life as a youngster in our home in rural Johnson County. An older cousin introduced me to comic books when I became old enough to read, and I have always said that reading them at an early age contributed to my reading ability. The combination of picture and text helped me to visualize what I was reading as my reading progressed in school and my reading of choice at home.
In my early years (mid to late ‘40s) comic books sold at the whopping price of 10 cents per copy. I haven’t priced a comic book recently, but I believe they sell for more than $2.00 each.
Comic stars ran from Western themed ones (Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Lash LaRue, Whip Wilson, the Lone Ranger and many more) to Superheros (Superman, Captain Marvel, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman and more). There were the truly funny books such as Popeye, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Andy Panda, Woody Woodpecker and others. Of course comic books are not just for kids these days. There are many adults that collect them and there are many comic book stores. In my comic book reading days I purchased them from the comic book rack at Ramsey’s Variety store. The selection was great at 10 cents each.
If you happen to have the comic book that includes the first appearance of Superman (June 1938 Action Comics #1), you are fortunate indeed. Reportedly a “pristine” copy of that issue sold for $3,207,852. The front page featured Superman in the familiar blue and red costume lifting a car over his head. I understand that the comic book that Batman first appeared in was worth more than $1,000,000.
That issue is Detective Comics of May 1939, #27. If you have that issue and paid only 10 cents for it, that’s quite an appreciation. While the word Comic suggests humor and fun, collectors are very serious about their hobby.
My comic reading these days is limited to the comic pages of the Johnson City Press. One of my favorites is Blondie. A grin or chuckle is almost a sure thing as I follow Dagwood Bumstead in his day-to-day life at home or on the job at Dithers Construction Company. But I read all of the comic pages in the “Press.”Among the earliest comic book characters is Popeye who appeared in a comic strip called Thimble Theater in 1929. The Phantom was first published on February 17th, 1936. He reportedly was the first costumed hero. One of my favorite comic books was Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel wore a red costume with a yellow lightning bolt featured on his chest.To change from Billy Batson to Captain Marvel all he had to do was utter the word Shazam. On the other hand Superman often must find the nearest phone booth to change from mild mannered Clark Kent to Superman.
Anyway, I just thought I would travel down Comic Book Lane and recall some facts about the art form, the comic book.