Back in the halcyon days of yore of my misspent youth when life was simple (see IRON CURTAIN), one of the few haunts where I sought solace from the dreaded linked list, relational database, homogeneous diff-e-Qs (as opposed to heterogeneous diff-e-Qs which are currently lobbying for heterogeneous diff-e-Q marriage) was The Closet of Comics. I also was known to frequent licensed shebeens but that’s another story for another time.
The Closet of Comics was a nondescript little store located in the basement of a building next to a major shebeen on Route 1. Which is probably how I discovered it. I had been out of the comic-reading business since roughly the age of fourteen. By then the callipygian assets of Linda Guadanole had captured my imagination. Anyway in I walked and I was greeted by the proprietor and his large black Lab-mix dog Rhoda. I took a look around and my eyes fell upon the cover of a comic that brought it all back. The Life of Captain Marvel. I mean that’s it. Right there. All in one little package. All the wonder, excitement, and joy of comics came rushing back in an instant.
First things first. MY Captain Marvel is NOT The Big Red Cheese from the Golden Age of Comics. Prior to his more recent resurrection he was one of the more nubilous heroes of the Make Mine Marvel line. I don’t remember seeing him in any other book at the time. The first Captain Marvel comic I bought because I liked the cover. I didn’t know anything about the character or his powers or background. Looking back now, is it possible I bought it because of the similarity of the cover of the first comic book I remember owning? (Captain Action #3) Even though the two books are over a yahren apart. They both have similar graphics and the same artist. As for Captain Marvel #21, it was pretty simple. It had the Incredible Hulk on the cover. Now I know why Kate Gooseneck is on all these magazines in the checkout line.
I forgot about Captain Marvel until I opened the first page of that reprint mag in August 1985 (since comic publishers usually date magazines at least four months ahead who knows when it really was) and saw not my hero of the days in the scrub brush of southern Texas, but…..
Iron Man. That’s right, the Invincible Iron Man (before he became “The Insatiable Money Machine” for Make Mine Marketable).
And that is where we will pick up this little tale next time folks.