Being sentimental has dangers. Making poor decisions is one. Hording is another.
As I sell my collectibles and comic books, I find myself occasional sentimental. Most of the time I push it aside. But, I found a comic book yesterday that is very interesting.
This comic book was the last one my father purchased. It was published a month before I was born. I found that out by the simple steps of logging in all of the comic books.
My father’s collection starts when he is around 12 to 13. That coincides with his move from Norfolk VA to Baltimore. From there, he mostly starts with Disney, Gold Key, and Dell comics. They made comic books of popular movies and shows.
It was at that time that I was able to connect something my mother told me. My father was not quite illiterate but he really did not have basic reading skills as a young man. One has to remember that it was the late 1950’s into the 1960s. Civil Rights were peaking and illiteracy was not uncommon for young, black men.
My father also had learning disabilities. They were not properly addressed but back then, they were rarely addressed at all. On top of that, his mother’s solution was to embarrass him in public. This may be where my father developed the fake front that became a true one later in his life. The one where he was always the best, smartest, and most talented no matter who he tromped over.
He was also a gifted mathematician. My brother got that. I unfortunately got a weird, mutated version that gives me an amazing ability to intuitively do math and come to correct conclusions with zero knowledge on how I get there or how it works. Math and reading are quite different skills and his reading is what suffered.
With these early comic books I can see my father’s reading progress. He starts with movie comic books. There he knows what is said and what the plot is and he is able to teach himself to read and read well. As he becomes 14 or so he starts picking up superhero focused comic books and for the next ten years he collects steadily and heavily.
Once he meets my mother his collecting slows. Once they have my brother it drops to occasional issues. And then there is this last issue purchased the month before I was born.
There are no comics after my birth date. On a humorous note, I questioned if my birth sucked my father’s comic book interest into me. When I was 12 I developed quite the taste for comic books. I eventually fell out of them because they were not enough reading material to satiate me. This was before volume bundles were common.
I suspect that it was a combination of life, job, and time, and access. My father did not like to shop and I don’t think he’d go out searching for comics. The way the books are numbered show patterns that create an image of places he went now and then and grabbed the comics for convenience.
Shortly after I was born my father decided to move from the area and almost split up with my mother. He didn’t like being a family man and was surprised that shedding his wife and children was so complicated. He was in his mid thirties by then. His focus on social appearances may have made him stray from his own self interest when it came to his comic books. In the eighties, men in their thirties were not to buy comics.
I’ll never know the answers. For one, my father is dead these last seven years. For another, even if he was alive, he’d never have told me the truth. He abandoned the truth a long time ago when he learned the power of creative fiction.
All in all I’m left with memories and pieces. So this comic book, this one… I’ll keep.