|I'm looking forward to seeing THOR: THE DARK WORLD later today and my anticipation of the second Thunder God film has me thinking about the first time I ever encountered the character.|
It was November 1964. On Friday afternoons after school my mother would take me with her to do her weekly grocery shopping. The store she went to is now a Randall's in the Casis Village Shopping Center but back in the 1960s, it was, if memory serves me right, a Rylander's grocery store. The store was smaller back then and many years ago the space was expanded to the footprint it now occupies. In order to add more square footage, the neighboring space was taken over. That space was home to a drug store which I cannot remember the exact name of. While my mother shopped, I would go next door and look at (and buy) comic books.
The drug store had a magazine stand at the front of the store but back in the back, tucked into the left rear corner of the store and next to the honest-to-goodness horseshoe shaped soda fountain (which served food and beverages) were not one but two wire spinner racks full of comic books.
I couldn't buy everything I saw even though I wanted to. After all, I was only eight-years-old and I usually didn't have more than a quarter to spend (which in those days would cover either two twelve cent comics or one twenty-five cent giant-size beauty). I bought a wide variety of comics but the books published by Marvel were starting to catch my eye.
There was something about the artwork, the characters, the lettering, the cover copy, even the coloring, that set these books apart and made them appear far more dramatic and exciting than anything else on those spinner racks. JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #112 really appealed to me. I had no idea who Thor or the Hulk were. I only knew that here were two super-heroes (one of them a kinda Frankenstein looking guy) fighting. I decided to take a chance and buy it. Boy was I glad I did. I loved it!
In addition to being exposed to both Thor and the Hulk, I was exposed to the history of the early Marvel Universe (the story in JIM #112 took place "off camera" during AVENGERS #3). I was also treated to the storytelling magic of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Chic Stone. It was love at first sight.
November 1964 was a momentous month for me in terms of comic book purchases. The other Marvel books I bought that month include:
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #21
FANTASTIC FOUR #35
TALES OF SUSPENSE #62
My Marvel buying habits continued from that point on but on a very sporadic basis. I didn't buy every issue of every title but I almost always bought one or two Marvels every time I visited that drugstore. In September 1966 I took the plunge and decided to buy every issue of every Marvel comic every month from then on.
I'll never forget discovering those mind-blowing mid-60s Marvel comics on those spinner racks at the back of that long gone drugstore. Pure magic!