December 1972 – The day Spider-man failed

Based on the cover date, I assume that sometime in December 1972 I went with my mom to what is now known as the Merrick “Bank Plaza” Post Office. It’s quite possible that she was sending our Christmas cards, or buying stamps for them. As she parked, I asked if I could go to Merrick Stationery, a half block away.

I wanted to buy a comic book.

I’d never bought a comic book before.

I’d bought Mad Magazines at various newsstands around town, Peanuts paperbacks at Modell’s (mentioned in my Ed’s Glass Works entry from Sept 2010), but never a comic book. I did own some comic books that I didn’t buy, and weren’t bought for me, either. (A subject for another entry.) I’d casually read some comic books at Camp Trexler, the barber shop, and at friends’ houses.

So there I was, part of the incoming 7th grade at Brookside Junior High; I’d probably been watching the Spider-man TV cartoon for years.

I’m gonna buy a comic book!

Merrick Stationery had a nice display for their comic books, to my mind. Right inside the door a six foot long, multi-shelf magazine rack with the books lined up front with maybe only a half inch of their spine showing. No real full covers shown. No rickety, squeaky spinner rack, but somehow it was fine. It was neat and organized. I still like how it was done, considering the comic books were just cheap, pulp entertainment, not collectors’ items. It was easy to find the comic book you wanted.

I bought the Spider-man comic book, and went to the car.

Took the comic book home.

It didn’t excite me.

I was not hooked.

I didn’t buy another comic book for a few months, and only did so because I wanted to be able to participate in the lending at Camp Trexler.

Years later, I learned that the story, “The Deadly Designs of the Disruptor!” in Amazing Spider-man 117, was part one of a two part re-working of a story from 1968.

It was part one of a two part story, and I wasn’t interested in reading part two.

The day Spider-man failed.

2 thoughts on “December 1972 – The day Spider-man failed

  1. Richard Bensam

    The on-sale date of that issue is November 7 1972. To put that in context, on your way to find that comic your eye would have passed across The Demon issue #5, Mister Miracle #12, and lots of other fun stuff. Even Little Lulu and Tubby in Hawaii!

    Funny that we started at such different times. One of my indelible childhood memories involves being in first grade in Fall 1968 and drawing a group portrait of the Avengers, including Captain America, the Black Panther, Giant Man and the Wasp (both drawn in what I hoped were correct proportions relative to the rest of the group), Hawkeye, and the only just introduced new member, the Vision. I’d been reading comics for nearly a year at that point, and I was already completely obsessed with them to the exclusion of nearly everything else.

    I’ll be keen to see the followup post on your earlier exposure to comics. I did a post on my blog a long while ago about the first comic I remember reading, and the first I remember buying

  2. Rand Post author

    My mission was inspired by conversations at school regarding the Spider-man show, and I probably only had a quarter in hand. I may have noticed the Action Comics cover.

    I’d watched the Marvel Super-Heroes back in 1966, or perhaps some reruns, with Thor (as well as the non-Marvel Mighty Hercules, I suppose) inspiring my reading all the D’Aulaire mythology books in my grade school’s library. But no comics.

    One of my earliest reads was a coverless Legion of Super Heroes at the barber shop. The girls were taking over (Looks like it was May 1968’s Adventure 368). Seemed scary to this only-boy-in -the-nuclear-family, and only-boy-of-five-first-cousins.


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