A Comic Book History: Part 1 I Oxford Open Learning


    A Comic Book History: Part 1

    One of the many advantages of being brought up in mid-1950s Liverpool was that I always had access to what we always called ‘American Comics’. These wonderful technicoloured tales took me into a world a million light years away from the comic typically available for girls in those gender-stereotyped days of the time. These American comics took me into a different world, where good and evil was easier to recognise than on the sometimes murky streets of the city, and they set my imagination on fire…

    Both Marvel and DC comics were available to Liverpudlian youngsters, though at a price which meant the sacrifice of most of our pocket money and sometimes a certain suspension of our disbelief, as we could never actually get these wonderful comics in the order in which they were published in the USA. My favourite – or should that be favorite – superhero was Green Lantern a member of the Green Lantern Corps, a sort of galactic police force, with members based on lots of different planets each of whom had a magic ring which gave them superpowers. I was proud to have bought the comic which signalled his return to the superhero world in 1959, reinvented by John Broome and Gil Kane. Sadly, I no longer have this, I read it so often that it fell to bits!

    Comic Book Voyages

    Of course, I boasted to my dad what an amazing new source of reading I had found, but to my dismay found that he knew all about them. How embarrassing, I had a dad who was cooler than me!

    He told me that he had discovered comics himself as a lad in the 1930s, first as collections of cartoon strips which had appeared in American newspapers and then with the first comic book dealing with Superman. The ties between Liverpool and America were prevalent in the 1930s as well as the 1950s and dad had bought the papers and comic books from seafarers and those who worked on the docks.

    All this really intrigued me and I was determined to find out more…

    My comic book story will continue in Part 2, soon.

    See more by