Diary of a Comic Fan Part 4 – You’ll believe a man can fly!

Next year is Superman’s 80th anniversary. In 1978 we celebrated his 40th birthday with the imminent release of Superman the Movie the following year. You will believe a man can fly! I also recall an oversize facsimile of the first Superman Comic.

Before we get to Scoop, Roy of the Rovers, Tiger and eventually 2000AD there is the slightly unusual diversion away from the 32 page UK humour comics I was used to.

Slowly, and without warning, my Grans local newsagent started to stock slightly smaller, glossy covered, full colour, 22 page comics. Badged with DC these 15p titles meant sacrificing two potential comics but the lure of Superman, Batman and Sea Monkeys became too much.

America seemed so far away so to be able to get Comics from there was amazing! Also to be able to find out more about characters that were in your psyche but you hadn’t actually had the pleasure of seeing and reading with your own eyes was a real treat!

The comics can out monthly, slightly haphazard, and usually could be found in a bundle rather than displayed across the counter. I’m not sure when I started to notice them – I remember reading ‘Welcome Back Kotter’, based on a TV series starring John Travolta, that came out in 1976 but that seems awfully early!

My Grans newsagent wasn’t the only location I could pick these US Comics up. By then a move up north meant visits on a weekly basis became less regular so I had to rely on other outlets – which turned out to be not your run of the mill John Menzies but the bus depot newspaper shack or the small unit next to the Post Office in town! The Comics were forced jnto wire racks and could feel a little dog eared and damp from the open shop front but they were a treat when they appeared.

However find them I did and I enjoyed them immensely. Curt Swan probably drew Superman and I still regard his Superman, along with Christopher Reeve at the Christmas cinema, as the definitive version to me.

The titles I remember are DC Comics Presents (the Flash Cover is a classic), Superboy and World of Krypton. Occasionally you’d get a 100 page special but that meant cutting back on your UK comics again – which usually happened as it was amazing to own a 100 page comic!

Interestingly, alongside the DC titles, was Archie and Casper comics. I picked these up too, as they were probably more my age range and a nice transition from Whizzer and Chips to Batman!

It was at this time I also discovered my first annual that I didn’t buy on Christmas Day that featured the new Star Wars movie. I read that baby so many times I memorised it word for word!

Disappointment was to come though. Alongside your favourite titles always seemingly merging into another those wonderful DC comics just disappeared from the shelves. Gone. No more. Leaving me to explore different UK titles but wondering did they just not make them anymore?

I’d find out the answer – but that’s another story. Until next time…

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