By Beau Smith
I know exactly what I was doing August 11, 1969, at 2:00 PM. I was reading Captain America #119. How do I know that? I know that because I wrote the month, day, year and time on page one of the above-mentioned comic book.
I did this a lot.
Recently when going through my vast, unorganized comic book collection, I leafed through a few random issues to find some of my personal “Time Capsules” that I had left myself through the years. Some date back as far as 1961 when I was in the first grade and others when I was in college in the late 1970s. From my findings it looks like I stopped making these notations sometime in the early 1980s. If memory serves me right it, it was because around then I was out of school, working for a living, married, having a kid, and letting the adult life begin to smack me around a little. Time was something that flew by and no longer had the opportunity to let me capture it and place it on page one of a comic that I had just bought.
Comic books have always been something that have had a special meaning to me. As regular Knuckleheads of this Busted Knuckles column know, I truly feel that writing comic books is something that I was born to do as not only a way of making a living, but something I NEED to do regardless of pay. (Don’t tell my editors that.)
I not only randomly wrote the dates and times in these comic books, but sometimes I would also note where I bought them. I did this because not only did I want to remind my older self of when I bought this book, but I also wanted to send a message to my future adult self not to forget how enjoyable these stories and characters are.
Time has a way of wearing your memory down and I have to admit that there are a few of these comics that I came across that I don’t remember the moment when I scribbled down these notations to myself. Not many, but a few. Most bring back very vivid images of where I was and what I was doing. It really is like a personal time machine without all the separated molecules being spread across time. Reed Richards would be proud of the simplicity of my plan.
In the mid to late 1960s, Marvel Comics’ Daredevil was my favorite book. It shows in the amount of Time Capsules that I placed in my Daredevil collection. Some of the earlier comics were dated in crayon, most of the books were in a good ol’ #2 lead pencil and then some were in ballpoint pen. When I was a kid, having a ballpoint pen was like owning a flashlight with batteries that really worked. It was a big deal.
I was never organized enough to keep an inventory of my comic books. I wish I had been that organized, but spreadsheets and numbers have never been my close companions. To sidetrack, if any of you fine folks out there know of some simple comic book inventory program that’ll work easy with my iMac computer, let me know. If it’s free, then even better.
Getting back to the subject, I wished I would’ve organized my collection. It would sure make my memories even more clear. I must say that I do have the gift of being able to look at a comic book cover and know if I have it or not. I can flip through a long box at a convention and snap up stuff that I don’t have pretty quick just by looking at the cover. I’m gifted in some areas and a failure in others. I wish I could mix them together better.
One of the comics that I had found in my collection was Adventures of the Fly (Fly Man) #31 from Archie Comics. Man? I loved those Archie super hero books. They were wild, crazy and sometimes so over the top even as a kid I knew they were special. This issue was marked on page one “June 10th, 1965 Vacation Wrightsville Beach, N.C.” Every year for like 21 years my family went to either Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina or Myrtle Beach in South Carolina for vacation. Part of the vacation fun for me every year was going to local drug stores and supermarkets there to see if they had any comics that my area didn’t. In the mind of a kid there is always a hidden treasure outside of your own backyard. That year it was this great issue of Fly Man.
This issue had the Mighty Crusaders in it: the Comet, the Shield and the Black Hood were some of them. I thought the Crusaders were just the best. The comic had oddball super-villains as well. Those comics were nothing but just pure fun. I remember this issue very well and read it over and over. I can tell by the condition of this book that I had it at the beach because it has little water dots from the sea spray of me reading it on the beach. You cannot place a value on those kinds of memories, my friends. I would love to see Archie reprint these wonderful super hero issues in an Essential/Showcase format. If I were in charge, it’d be done.
Like anyone else with a odd habit, I wonder how many of you out there ever did any “Time Capsule” stuff with your comic books? Am I the only one, or do I have other members of my time travel club out there? If I don’t, then I guess I really am one strange hombre. Are there any more “Marty McFlys” out there marking time in their comics? If so, I’d like to hear from you. Oddballs like me love company.
Either way, I’m really glad that I did place these Time Capsules in my beloved comics. It’s not Quantum Leap, but sure does connect me with some really good memories, memories that I appreciate more with the passing of time.
Maybe you should mark the comic book that you just bought.
Just for old time’s sake.
Busted Knuckles Shameless Self-Promoting Section: Wynonna Earp: The Yeti Wars
Wynonna Earp is back and she’s bringing a lot of hairy friends with really big feet with her. This December all your Christmas wishes are gonna come true. Wynonna Earp: The Yeti Wars will become a reality under YOUR Christmas tree.
The good folks at IDW Publishing are letting me unleash covert U.S. Marshal Wynonna Earp, who always gets her fugitive, in this case, paranormal fugitive.
Wynonna Earp: The Yeti Wars is an original graphic novel that has Bigfoot vs. Yeti, The Consortium Of Immortals vs. The Vampire Nation and a southern-fried, broken genius of a mad scientist that just loves to splice the DNA of animals with humans. It all takes place in the snowstorm of the century. Mayhem and mirth at it finest, I promise you that.
Now is the time to pre-order your copy of Wynonna Earp: The Yeti Wars with your local retailer. The Diamond Distribution Ordering Number is OCT100439. Take that number with the title and tell your retailer to pre-order you a copy. Don’t wait until it comes out, you don’t want to risk not being able to find it at a store. Times are tight in the direct market and sometimes retailers can only order what’s requested. That means they might not have any extra copies on the shelves for readers to discover on their own.
Below you’ll see all the info that was listed the current Diamond Comics Preview Catalog #265, page 161. Again, I would really appreciate your support in this book. I promise you it’s action-packed and fun. There’s humor, quirky characters and something for everyone that loves pop culture.
Busted Knuckles Manly Recommendations
The Thin Black Line: Perspectives On Vince Colletta-Comics’ Most Controversial Inker
Cover Price $14.95
Writer: Robert L. Bryant
Art by Vince Colletta and Jack Kirby
Trade paperback B&W
If you read comic books from 1980 back, then you more than likely had a strong opinion on inker Vince Colletta. Even if you lived in a small town in the middle of nowhere, you still had thoughts about Colletta’s inking. I did. On some artists, like Jack Kirby, I thought they were made for each other, especially on The Might Thor. Along with Joe Sinnott, I thought he was a good strong inker that worked well on Kirby.
But, put Vinnie Colletta on Don Heck or Gene Colan and even as a kid, I knew it was oil and water. The Thin Black Line: Perspectives On Vince Colletta-Comics’ Most Controversial Inker, is an amazing book for anyone that is interested in what goes on behind the scenes in comics now and in the past. The book is filled with interesting stories, unpublished art and opinions on a man that made people have an opinion. Love his work or hate his work, Vince Colletta is an interesting person to read about.
Carmine Infantino: Penciler, Publisher, Provocateur
Cover Price $26.95
Writers Jim Amash & Eric Nolen-Weathington
Trade Paperback B&W with Partial Color
Like Vince Colletta, Carmine Infantino is another comic book creator that brings on strong opinions. He also has strong opinions and isn’t afraid to speak those opinion in public. This book is filled with his thoughts on the art of comics, the business of comics and the history of comics. Carmine Infantino has worked on all sides of the comic book industry and gives a unique view of them, almost as unique as his own style of art. Carmine Infantino has his own style in both art and life. I highly recommend this book for those views and the wonderful art that’s packed in this big book.
Busted Knuckles Manly Must Reads
Here are some quick jabs and strong rights in current comics that I’ve been reading and you should too:
Captain America: Patriot (4 Issue Series)
Written by Karl Kesel
Art by Mitch Breitweiser
Colors by Mitch & Bettie Breitweiser
Cover Price $3.99
Karl Kesel has always been a writer that goes under rated. He’s a nice guy and a real talent. Captain America: Patriot shows his bright talent. (You’ll have to meet Karl at a convention to know that he’s a nice guy.)
The art in this series by Mitch Breitweiser has moved him up on my current artist favorite list. He was made for this kind of action packed, story heavy series. Beautiful cinematic layouts and amazing story telling that takes your eyeballs on a well paced tour in the four-color world. This is one of those rare issues that is worth the cover price and something that you’ll want to read over and over. Great to see one of my favorite characters, The Patriot, back in action and in a story.
Steve Rogers: Super Soldier (4 Issue Series)
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Dale Eaglesham
Color by Andy Troy
Cover Price $3.99
As I’ve said many times before, Ed Brubaker is doing his best work ever on Captain America and Captain America related books, he lends greatness to any Marvel character that guest-stars in his books and that hasn’t been done at Marvel in a long time. Dale Eaglesham is one of my personal favorite super hero artists. Like artist, Scot Eaton, Dale masterfully raises every superhero he puts his pencil to. Marvel is very lucky to have both artists in their stable right now. Andy Troy does a wonderful job in coloring this book. You know he’s there without him ever overpowering the pencil lines.
If you are a fan of Captain America or have ever been, pick this series up.
Tom Strong and the Robots Of Doom (6 Issue Series)
Written By Peter Hogan
Art By Chris Sprouse and Karl Story
Colors by Carrie Strachan.
Cover Price $3.99
I could look at Chris Sprouse’s art all day long, it’s clean, has wonderful design and rings true of what comic books are all about. In Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom, he is complimented in the highest by the inks of Karl Story and the colors of Carrie Strachan. The story has the flavor of a well done pulp film with just enough of a Saturday matinee to make it a joy for anyone. Hogan shows what a really good writer can do with text and dialogue without weighing down the story and the page. This is a true craft of writing comic books. It’s not a novel, it’s not a screenplay, it’s writing comics! A great lesson here by Hogan. Jump on this.
DC Universe Legacies #2
Written by Len Wein
Art by Andy & Joe Kubert as well as Scott Kolins and J.H. Williams III
Cover Price $3.99
The double page spread in this issue is well worth the almost $4.00 cover price, boys and girls. If this were Thanksgiving, this issue would be your turkey and pumpkin pie all on one massive plate. The expressions on faces, the movements of characters, the drama of lighting and the well paced story gives you everything you deserve when you support a good comic book! Snatch this one up.
Busted Knuckles Manly Cover of the Week: Freedom Agent: John Steele #1
Gold Key Comics
In the 1960s, Gold Key Comics was noted for its superbly painted covers with the same painted cover, sans the logo, on the back as a pin-up. As a kid, I used to read the comics and then cut the back cover off and use it as an actual pin-up. That’s usually how I can tell what Gold Key Comics in my collection are ones that I bought as a kid. If there’s no back cover, I bought it at the drug store.
Freedom Agent #1 as far as story and art would stand up today. A very good story of John Steele: Freedom agent having to drop in behind the Iron Curtain to the Balkans and save a scientist that is being forced to make humans and animals into giants. The art is detailed and there is an expert eye turned towards all equipment, characters and locations. There is just enough sci-fi to make it a great read for anybody of any age and it still is adult enough for reader that likes straight drama. The cover is beautiful and the cover blurb is classic. It hooked me as a kid and as an adult.
Busted Knuckle Babe of the Week: Molly Qerim
Sports News Anchor
This week’s Busted Knuckles Babe Of The Week comes to me from my amigo and noted DC Comics artist/writer, Billy Tucci. I thank Billy for suggesting the incredibly hot Sports News Anchor, Molly Qerim.
She’s got sizzling exotic looks, a build that would make any athlete envious, and she makes watching TV a pleasure. In the last few years I’ve noticed that there are better looking women bringing us the news and weather than starring on TV and in films in works of fiction. That works fine with me. The more the merrier.
Make sure you check out Molly on The Daily Line and other sports related shows.
Okay, as you can see, I’ve really taken up a lot of the web and your time. I appreciate you hanging out with me today. As always, I look forward to your comments and emails. Please keep them a-coming.
The Flying Fist Ranch
Prove your manhood by visiting Beau at the Flying Fists Forum!