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oopWhen I was about eight years old, I would wait for the daily arrival of the newspaper. This extended to my weeks away from home during summer vacation, when I would spend time in Arcata or Selma, California.
Each evening, I clearly remember, I would spread the paper’s comics section out, and pour over each installment. I filled myself up with each comic strip.

This was before scandal overtook the world, for me. Each strip was a small world I could enter each evening for a minute of two. How clearly I remember each one. Snuffy Smith, Blondie, Lil Abner, Dick Tracy, Alley Oop and all the rest. Of course, there was Mary Worth(less) and Little Orphan Annie with the poker chip eyeballs, which I completely ignored. I did have standards.

Rex Morgan, MD, of course, was another neglectable one. But for the most part, each had it’s own special set of characters and all the serials had plot lines I enjoyed like a Dickens novel.

The best? Of course, most of them were great, and the ones above mentioned were my favorites. But then there was Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Not so much a comic strip, but a little box of wonderment that was not imagined. These little daily notes explained something unusual about nature, or some oddity from history. The drawings were unusual, as well. I have to say it was the one I liked the best. Among the cartoons, Alley Oop was fun for me to read, as well as Dick Tracy with all the odd villians such as Pruneface and Flattop. Peanuts? Not so much. I am not even sure that it existed at the time I began reading the strips. Nancy and Sluggo, however, did duke it out each day. As did Jiggs and Maggie, The Katzenjammer Kids and the Captain, and Daisy Mae and Abner.

Later on, of course, I collected my boxes of comic books which were later duly thrown away by my mother, much to my financial regret years later. Blackhawk, Donald Duck, Batman, Superman, Archie, and the rest. Marvel Comics never made my way into my house. I don’t know… I just never liked them at all. I remember watching the prices skyrocket from ten cents all the way to fifteen cents over the course of a few years. The twelve cent period required quite a few extra pennies.

I would get my comic books at Bruno’s at Monterey and Foerster Street, on the way home from school. He had a wall full of them, and new editions were snapped up each month.

Now, Bruno’s is a sleazy pizza joint, and comics are just plain dark, creepy, and sinister. Don’t pick up a Superman comic unless you want to be depressed. They suck.

But a little bit of lost innocence is still available.

Here, for example:


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