Years ago I wrote an article for myself, because it was one of those things that you just have to get out of your system. It felt important, like it had to be communicated to others, but I didn’t have anywhere to publish it. The article I wrote for myself was about the history of comic books in Idaho. In it, I wrote about the cowboy comic book called Idaho that was published by Dell Comics of New York City in the 1960s. I wrote about one-time Boisean Dave Stevens and his famous comic book character The Rocketeer. I wrote about native Idahoan Dennis Eichhorn and his Eisner Award-nominated autobiographical comic book series Real Stuff. I wrote about Boisean Andy Garcia’s Oblivion City comic book series. I wrote about Boise’s first comic book publisher, Bishop Press. At the end, I expressed a deep hope that all these people could get together and produce an anthology featuring the comic book creators of Idaho. It was a dream of mine to publish that article and organize that anthology. But no one ever read it.
Why was I so interested? I just loved comic books. One of my earliest memories is of sitting around the dining room table in Boise with my parents, cutting out a bunch of order forms from a stack of my old Captain America comic books. My parents ordered a subscription for me to Captain America, posters, and toys related to the star-spangled Avenger. My younger brothers and sister dabbled in comic books for a time, but I was hooked for life.
I’ll never forget the first time my parents took me to a comic book store at its old location on Fairview Avenue in Boise. The same store is still on Fairview, but it used to be farther down the street, next to where a pizza joint is located that eventually absorbed the comic book shop’s old storefront. I had never seen so many comic books in my life. The rich bouquet of newsprint filled the shop with the smell of yesteryear—the Golden Age when comics were king.
There were so many old comics. There was Superman #123, in which Supergirl made her first appearance. There was Detective Comics #38, which had the first appearance of Robin. There was The Incredible Hulk #181, the first appearance of Wolverine. A framed original drawing of The Rocketeer by Dave Stevens hung on a wall. I had no idea such a place existed. This was my new mecca, Disneyland, and heaven all rolled into one. Continue reading →