My First Books

When I was very young, I lived with my grandparents.  We were dirt poor, living off subsistence checks, subsistence farming and charitable donations from the Salvation Army.  Publications like Little Golden Books and Doctor Seuss books were beyond our means, but we could afford comic books.

They were only ten or fifteen cents each and you could buy a lot of them for one dollar.  These were the books I learned to read from when I was three.  My uncle Donald would sit with me on the floor and read the dialog to me while I sat mesmerized by the brightly colored illustrations.  Spiderman was my favorite, but I was also fond of X-men, Fantastic Four, Thor and Ironman.  Superman and Batman came later.

There was always excitement on the days when we would go to the local store and browse the racks.  Picking out a new comic book was as much an adventure as the amazing stories they held.  Of course, we read our fair share at the store while choosing the ones that we would cart home.

By the time I finally entered school, I was more than ready for the first grade books.  I was a better reader than children whose parents could afford the more expensive books, but not the time to sit and read with them.  While other children in my class were struggling to read, I was clipping along faster than a speeding bullet.

I didn’t stop reading comics after starting school and having proper books to read.  I couldn’t abandon Spiderman and Ironman.  I was also fond of Casper and Wendy and then later Archie.  I don’t know when I stopped following my favorite superheroes, but I haven’t read a proper comic book in over 35 years.