Looking back at my childhood, and the many pluses of adolescence, the comic book had to be right up there as a top priority and friend. I remember being banished to my room for doing something my parents thought of as being bad, and there before me was a huge stack of comic books that my brother and I collected, traded and read constantly. The punishment of being banned to my room turned out as an enjoyable retreat as I thumbed through and read and ogled the pictures of my favorite heroes - western or super - along with cartoon characters and maybe scary tales of the crypt or even Archie. What a prison term!
The comic book in its golden years, which for me was probably between 1948 and 1955, was a refuge from the everyday grind of school and chores and family trips. On those trips, a new stack of comics seemed always to accompany us during those journeys in our car. When they say comics, hardly ever is there anything funny enough to be classified as comics other than the cartoon characters. Every comic book hero was strong and seemed to be so adventurous while always fighting evil in so many ways. Your own imagination got caught up in those heroes and sometimes you imagined yourself as them, willing to try your newfound powers on the bully down the street.
Way back in 1938, Action Comics No. 1 came out featuring this new superhero in a red and blue costume. He was different in that he could lift cars over his head and had powers that no human ever had, including running faster than a train, letting bullets bounce off him and leaping over tall buildings, and yes, he could even fly. Of course, his name had to be Superman. This was closely followed up by Batman in 1939. They say the reason Batman was and is so popular is that he had no super powers, but did have intellect, a costume and many fascinating gadgets. He, like Superman, has been in the comics, TV series, movies and cartoons. Both are real icons. By 1940, Captain Marvel arrived on the scene with that famous word "Shazam." That same year, a companion for Batman was created in the form of Robin the Boy Wonder, who immediately became important in that being younger, the younger readers could relate to him. Naturally, the girls also wanted a hero, so in 1940, Wonder Woman first appeared in All Star Comics and was the first of the super heroines. There also was the Phantom, who was the first costume type hero who like the rest fought crime to the utmost. Later, Spiderman came along and still today is a great hit.
There, of course, was always the western hero comics led by the Lone Ranger, Tom Mix, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Red Ryder, Hopalong Cassidy, Lash Larue, Buck Jones and many, many more. There were Korean War comics with such heroes as Combat Kelly. Then of course there was Archie, a teenaged boy involved in a love triangle with Veronica and Betty.
The cartoon characters were many in comics, with Walter Lantz's devilish Woody Woodpecker, which was my favorite, and all his lovable friends including Wally the Walrus, Andy Panda and Oswald the Rabbit. Warner Brothers ushered in Bugs Bunny and Porky Pig, Sylvester and Tweety, Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner, Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck, and the rest of the gang in their great Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies comics. Walt Disney had Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, Minnie and Daisy, Scrooge and Grandma and also Snow White, Cinderella and all their characters.
For people who loved being scared stiff, "The Tales of the Crypt" was readily available. For those interested in outer space Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers were also in comic book form.
Comic books also came in the form of our famous classics including "The Three Musketeers," "Swiss Family Robinson," "The Count of Monte Cristo," "Robinson Crusoe," "The Last of the Mohicans" and many more. At that time all were available for one thin dime.
I did not research what kind of comics are out there now, and perhaps they may even be better than in my era. I wonder, if kids of today were sent to their room and found a stack of 1940s and '50s comic books, would they consider it a treat?