Note for last week’s readers: The part two chicken scratch doodle of Another World has been partially updated.
In our last episode, Tim bought his first comic book ever, G.I. Joe Yearbook #3…
Then, what I believe is one year later, but could have been only half that, we returned to Another World. I bought G.I. Joe Yearbook #4, looked at but passed on another Mad, and Kevin bought two back issues: G.I. Joe #61 and #62. (Or maybe he’d bought them on that first visit? Memory’s funny that way.) At home he promptly put them on a high shelf in his room where I couldn’t reach them. He never offered them to me, and I never snuck a peak when he was elsewhere. I didn’t even touch them until later when we were regular comics readers and those two issues were incorporated into our burgeoning G.I. Joe collection. This should demonstrate the strange disinterest I had in comic books at that initial point. (It is also indicative of our overly strong sense of personal ownership. My toys were mine, Kevin’s were his. We didn’t share, and we didn’t much trade. This is not meant to sound mean, it’s just how our personalities worked. We played with our G.I. Joe toys side-by-side, my characters and vehicles interacting with his, but him only holding and role-playing with his, and me with mine. Weird, I know. It’s worth an entire blog post, how we played with our toys.) By then we had found D&D wares at the Waldenbooks at our mall (an important location that I’ll come back to in a later blog post), and rarely returned to Another World. In fact, I don’t think Kevin ever went back. I did go every year or three — it was friend and future editor Nick Nadel‘s local shop once he entered the picture, but until I had a driver’s license there was no point in shopping at this third-closest store. It did move and renovate, and finally closed when parent company/comics mail order giant American Entertainment went belly up a decade later.)
But back to those two issues–
Before Kevin whisked them away I do recall seeing these two covers, which by themselves form a kind of contained story, and being worried for the protagonists. This is a point I’ll come back to at a later date on the blog — the power of the cover image — but for now you can likely acknowledge that even if you’re not a G.I. Joe fan or a comics reader, these guys are in trouble. The barbed wire, the handcuffs, the menacing weapons. Trouble!
As with the first comic I’d bought, Yearbook #4 did not turn me into a lifelong reader. I just recall thinking there weren’t enough Joes in the lead Oktober Guard story, being confused by the recap pages that mixed narration with word balloons, and wishing the Joes in the back-up yarn wore their regular costumes and not their civvies. Years later Tony Salmons would give me some original art from that story.
So here’s where the biography stands: Kevin and I have been buying G.I. Joe toys and watching the G.I. Joe cartoon for four years — half a lifetime. For me it vies with Transformers as my favorite thing ever, for Kevin it’s no contest. We read books and newspaper comics, and now own four actual G.I. Joe comic books. But we’re still not readers! What’s missing?
Tune in next week!