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My Blog

Comic Books in the Good Old Days

Good morning to everyone.  Today promises to be a great day.   Once again in the Chicago land area...Sun is shining and the temperatures are going to be in the mid 70's.  Happy to have this type of weather.  What a relief from last year. 
Well, today's story is about comic books.  I can remember being a child back in the 50' and into the 60's and reading comic books.  Now.  somehow, I didn't connect comic books with reading.  For me it was the entertainment factor.  I can remember sitting on the front porch on the swing, using them on a long drive in the car, or laying in my bed as my companion for the evening. 
In my early days, it was Little Lulu,  Dot, Richie Rich, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Sad Sack and then came Archie.    Now I  know that there were many more.  And when Superman came out that was all the rage...which began the comic books about all the superhero's. 
I remember living in the Cragin area of Chicago.  That was near Fullerton and Laramie,  Chicago is so big that that it  named sections of it with a name to identify the spot.  Well, on Fullerton Ave.  there was a store that bought the old comics.  I remember after having read them about a zillion times, walking down to the store to sell them, and then I would cross over Fullerton Ave. to the Drug Store called Rudzinski's to buy a new one with the money I got from selling the old ones.  I remember walking into the store and heading straight for the magazine aisle.  I then would spend time searching through the variety of comics, wishing I could buy more, making my selection and headed to the counter to pay. 
I would be so excited with my new purchase it seemed like the longest walk home ever.    I remember that when I got sick, my mom or grandmother would buy me a comic book as a present while I was recuperating.
As time progressed on I continued with the Archie comics.  they seemed to be the comic book that never went out of style.  It eventually went from the standard size comic book to small compact versions.  I still find them on the magazine racks in the grocery stores.  But that is the only one I see.  I still buy them from time to time.  I have stacks and stacks of them.  We actually keep them in the bathroom as a pickup and quick read sort of thing.  I keep them in the bathroom cabinet.  Funny how someone in their 50's and 60's still find enjoyment with a teen comic book. 
The one thing I know is, Archie seems to be identifiable.  How many girls out there can identify with Betty.  She  is the all American girl who wants the boy....but the other girl wins over.  Veronica, is the rich girl who from time to time gets taught lessons from Betty.  Her Father may lavish her with money and gifts, but still wishes she would learn the values of life. 
And then they put in Jughead...well now there is a character who everyone can identify with.  The odd one.  The guy who walks to the beat of his own drum, yet everyone likes him.  Dillon is the smart one who everyone acknowledges as the brains.  There is Moose...the big dumb jock...who has a temper about his girlfriend Midge and makes no bones about protecting his territory.  There is also Reggie who is the planner, the blackmailer, the guy who always wants to get the girl and get the guys in trouble.  My goodness...in life each character is identifiable.  The story lines change, the clothes become updated, but the basic personalities are all so identifiable to us all. 
The thing I look back on today is that while the comic books were our form of entertainment, it did another thing for me, and I would imagine everyone else in those times, was that it taught us the enjoyment of reading.  It taught us about story plots. 
I look around today, and seeing a child ask for a comic book is not the standard any more.  I think that it is a shame that more children don't use comics as a form of entertainment.  Life has be taken over by Electronics.  That is their entertainment.  In my day, it was the tool to learning to read.  It was the catalyst that beckoned you to sit down and turn the pages.   
When I look back in time, I think that reading began early in a child's life because of comics.  I have spoken to a number of educators and they feel that reading skills have declined.  There are still classic books, and even new series that might entice a child to read...but the skills and desire need to be there first.  I  know that for me...my reading advanced to Nancy Drew books and Classics.  I then moved on and continued to read all genres of books.  But still Archie will beckon me and I will take a comic book, read it and still enjoy it like those days of long ago.  It is a shame that when I walk down the aisle of a drugstore or a magazine area of a store and there are a hundreds of magazines on everything know to man, but no longer anything to draw a child there.  No longer do you see a comic book. 
You need to go to a bookstore and you may find one or two...but not for the young children.  Something to be said about the good old days! Were comics a big part in your childhood?  What comics did you read?  share them with me and my readers.  I would love to hear about them!

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