Comics maven Ed Catto thinks back to when Christmas came a second time …
By ED CATTO
In 2013, one of the amazing things to a longtime comic fan like me is the cornucopia of reprinted comic material available in hardcover books. It doesn’t seem that long ago when comics collected in a real, respectable book was, while not inconceivable, exceedingly rare and special.
Growing up, there was one bookstore in the nearby “big city” that carried Jules Feiffer’s “The Great Comic Book Heroes.” That was, to me, the first real book that reprinted comics. Every time my mom would take me too this big city mall, I’d linger in that bookstore, desperately trying to absorb as a much as I could from that wonderful book.
That’s why the holiday season of 1971 was so special to me.
On that magical Christmas Day, my head practically exploded when one of my gifts was the massive volume, “Superman from the ’30s the ’70s”! I couldn’t believe it! It was like a colossal version of a DC 80-Page Giant – and they were themselves colossal versions of regular comics. And it was SO big, I wondered if I’d ever be able to read it all!
And then my dad explained that there was a companion volume, “Batman from the ’30s to the ’70s.” Unfortunately, he went on, it was on back order. It wouldn’t arrive for weeks after Christmas. So it was, to me, the best of times and the worst of times. I just loved the Superman book, but just didn’t have the patience to wait for the Batman volume.
Somehow, I perservered. The Batman volume arrived right around Valentine’s Day — not a Bat-moment too soon. That year, I enjoyed a little Bat-Christmas in February … and it was glorious.
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