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I am an animation producer, director, designer, and animator. This is a blog-folio of some of my artworks. Contact me:

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Doobie Brothers, summer of 1973, and comic books

I heard the Doobie Brothers song, "Free Ride" on the way home today. Took me an hour and a half to get home from Burbank. Its the start of the holiday weekend. I took surface streets the entire way. Took me an hour to get to downtown LA. On the radio at one point, the Dooboie Brothers song, Free Ride was playing. I thought back to the summer of 1973, when I got my first summer job, working at the telephone company. In the office was a radio tuned to a top 20 station. That was the summer of big hits like Free Ride, Smoke on the Water, Feelin' Stronger Everyday, and We're an American Band. Those songs were drummed into my head. For lunch, I would eat at the hot dog stands for $1.50, or go to Dewey's for a burger and soda, $2.00. One lunch hour, I was walking down 20th Street, and almost walked past a store that sold back issue magazines, and, it turns out, old comic books. I walked in, just as the owner, an old lady, watched a man walk out. She told me that she was pretty sure he had just stolen a copy of Oui magazine, a porno mag, by slipping it under his suit jacket. I saw on the counter some boxes of comic books, and started to flip through them. They all cost 50 cents. No matter how old they were. I picked up some Thor comics that filled in the gaps in my collection that my cousin had given me the year before. I knew there was a market for old comics, I had read about it in a school magazine called Scholastic. Needless to say, I was in the store at least 4 times a week. Buying comics.
Then, one day I walked in, and the old lady was not there. There was a guy behind the counter, named Ed. He charged dollars for old comics. And they were exspensive. I kind of introduced myself, and figured out he was now charging market value for the old comics. The good times were over. I dropped a lot of dough at the comic shop that year. I would go downtown after school and buy comics instead of studying, instead of saving my money for college. Well, I guess it wasn't so bad. I did not go overboard and wind up with ten thousand comics. But I had a few.
Somewhere in that time frame, a 2nd comics shop opened downtown, right around the corner from Ed's store. It was run by Ron and Bob. And it was located above a porn supply shop called The Pleasure Chest. Every once in a while, somebody would wander in, look around for a few seconds, and Bob would tell the person, "its downstairs", and the person would smile, nod, and walk out. Bob would just shake his head and smile. Ron and Bob sold comics in a well lit store on Walnut Street, and they had glass cases to disply the comics. It was the exact opposite of Ed's store. It was air conditioned and the heater worked in the winter. A very good place to buy comics, and they were very knowlegable about their products. I think I spent more coin there than Ed's place. Its where I bought a Russ Cochran black and white reprint of Frank Frazetta's old comics, "Untamed Love". Seven dollars well spent. I became a Frazetta geek at that point. I spent some weeks debating whether or not to buy it. And there was also a set of Famous Funnies covers by Frazetta, reprinted by Cochran, for twelve dollars. Could not bring myself to spend the loot. I wish I had now, they were beautiful. Now, you can see them on the internet, but back then, you could only see them on old comics or in this collection by Cochran. I also bought the Steranko History of the Comics. That really put the hook in me. I wanted to get into the comics field as an artist, and draw as well as Frank Frazetta, Neal Adams, Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, Alex Toth, and a slew of other guys.
So that was the summer of 1973. The beginning of my descent into the artworld.
I'll have more memories later.


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