I’ve managed to get rid of many, many books over the years. And by many, I mean…many. Bags full. Carloads full.
I still have a lot of books. I’ve whittled them down to what I consider “essentials”. They may not be important books to anyone else, but they have sentimental value to me.
One type of book I always keep is a paperback collection of comic strips. Way back when, there were no great reprint collections of comics. Well, there weren’t any when my mother took us to the grocery store. That’s when I could browse the paperback collection and occasionally find a comic strip collection.
I would buy them no matter what they were. If it was a collection of Hazel, I bought it. (anyone remember Hazel? Anyone?) Some were fantastic, some were mediocre, and some were flat out weird, but I loved them.
This Charlie Brown collection is a sort of miracle. It was published before I was born, which means I must’ve swiped it from my sister’s collection. It’s a nice collection of Sunday strips. It’s a miracle because the cover is made out of what I would describe as “thick newsprint”. It somehow survived my childhood.
Here we go. A Dick Tracy collection by Max Allan Collins. He was (and is) one of my favorite mystery writers, so I was very excited to see that he was writing Dick Tracy. I think that’s why they kicked him off the strip. Somebody at Tribune found out that I was excited. At least that’s how I perceived it back when he was let go.
I bought everything, and I was always disappointed to see that the Beetle collection I was about to buy wasn’t a bunch of newspaper strip reprints, but what appeared to be comic book reprints. They were ok, but by age eight or so I was already a newspaper strip snob. Still, it’s fun to have this kind of book, because it’s proof that it once shared space on a rack with a Dirk Pitt novel. (Dirk Pitt….I still laugh at that name, but what do I know? Those Clive Cussler books sold by the crate.)
This Dennis The Menace book was also published before I was born. Hmm, it’s a lot cheaper than the Charlie Brown book. It’s also in better condition. Keep in mind, I’m posting only the odd ones. This qualifies as another miracle. I have a lot of coverless books from my childhood that look worse than artifacts dug up from 500 years ago.
OK, this isn’t really from my childhood. Tor published it in 1990. This is just the last instance of a mass market paperback comic collection that I can remember. Maybe it’s just the last one I bothered to notice.
Remember these? Once the special aired on TV, you never saw it again until whatever doofus at the network decided to rerun it. So I bought the book.
I have to admit that I have no idea if I actually read this. Marvel used to collect their newspaper comics into paperbacks. I’m sure I bought it with all intentions of reading a subdued version of the Hulk.
Ah, now it truly is a miracle that this survived. Maybe it didn’t. Maybe this is a replacement I bought. It’s still pretty beaten up. Al Jaffee’s Snappy Answers To Stupid Questions remains one of my favorite books of all time.
I never read these. I bought them just to flip the pages. Any book with flippable pages for animation is a must-have. I must’ve been bored with the concept by the time I got this one, because the corner pages aren’t bent beyond recognition.
Both Marvel and DC would collect stories into paperbacks. I have a vague memory of Jim Shooter suggesting that an aspiring colorist track one of these down for practice.
I’m sure I bought this at a school book fair. The schools would only host the book fair. Books placed for sale were usually decided by some company. Teachers always (ALWAYS) scowled at a comic book purchase. I’m sure they would’ve been happier with something a little more realistic, like a Dirk Pitt novel.
Remember seeing Snuffy Smith paperbacks for sale at the grocery store? I don’t either. The inside of the book has my cousin’s name written in it. That means I either stole it from him or he gave it to me. I’m sure he gave it to me because I was a saint of a child who only stole from evil corporations, like the grocery store.
This was published when I was two years old. That definitely means I didn’t buy it and it probably means I didn’t steal it. It’s the little-seen Charles Schulz panel cartoons for his church publication. They starred actual teenagers instead of children. How could I get rid of this?
That’s my little trip down weird paperback lane. I miss seeing them for sale.