Sunday, February 28, 2010
ME AND "THE 'NAM"
This past Saturday, I was able to sneak away from my coughing, sneezing and wheezing son to take in the sights at Mike Carbo's NEW YORK COMIC BOOK MARKETPLACE. In the old days...the all or nothin days, this would have gone by THE BIG APPLE CON or THE NATIONAL. The strategic signifigance of this mission was to revisit the conception of my interest in comics.
Unlike my son, I cannot boast that I was reading comics at the age of three. My introduction to comics was at a spinner-rack in the local PathMark Supermarket on Long Island at the age of 14. The previous year I was mesmerized by Oliver Stone's Academy Award Winning PLATOON with my Dad. The CBS war series TOUR OF DUTY was just about to kick off. And I had a fever that only more Vietnam related entertainment could cure. That's when I paid $.75 for a beat up issue of THE 'NAM #10 by Marvel Comics. The unspeakable beating sustained by defenseless comics in those unforgiving spinner-racks is akin to waterboarding! The battle scars are evident in the scan of my copy seen above. Notice the Scotch tape in the upper right-hand corner. No doubt dropping it from a Near Mint quality grade.
The story is set in late October, 1966. Just before NATIONAL DAY, one of Vietnam's major holidays. We see soldiers dealing with the loss of fallen comrades. Racial tension among the troops. And the economics of life as a stranger in a strange land. The issue has plenty of ads that set the tone for the time. MILE HIGH COMICS has a two-page ad promoting their sale on Marvel back-issues. Guess I should have picked up that Incredible Hulk #181 for $10. Especially when you consider that HIGH GRADE COMICS is selling one currently for $2000.
Among other things, I brought this issue to the show to have comic legend (and THE 'NAM penciler) Michael Golden sign it. While I've heard stories that Mr. Golden can be cranky, I found him to be refreshingly pleasant. You can see his signature in the top left-hand corner of the photo. So, thanks Mr. Golden. You had the opportunity to prison rape a positive childhood memory regarding my introduction to comic bookery. But you were cool. I'm a little bummed however, as I sas unaware at the show that GI JOE writer, Larry Hama, was an editor on this book. Bummed because Mr. Hama was also in attendance at this show and could have co-signed this treasured work.