Friday, January 8, 2010
Letter about dads and old comics
How are you guys doing now? Your son must be about the age I was when I started buying my own Spidey comics. How well have your Mom and bro and sis dealt with your papa's passing?
I'd taken on a rather spiritualist's bent pretty thoroughly before my Dad passed away at the age of 59 of pulmonary fibrosis. I know what you mean; I miss his voice, miss asking him practical things, miss bugging him for old stories. I almost immediately began to
feel as though he was near me when I would sit down to draw, in particular, as I had free-handed an old Western four pager, called "The Man Who Lost the Fight" to send him for what became his last birthday, which he spent with all his old work buddies gathered 'round.
PF seems a particularly fearsome disease, as breathing is that most basic thing for which you and I should give thanks. I wish he hadn't worried about his eternity or dwelt on guilt, even though he spread God's word the way his Baptist church recommends like a truly desperate man might, with tracks and testimonies. We could talk at length about a God kind enough to create us and yet apparently send many of us to burn forever (a solar racial memory?); I digress. I believe salvation should be worth something in terms of inner peace, as it so rarely seems to figure into the minds of many adherents.
Nowadays, on the occasions we're together, I try to consider MOM more, because Dad loved her and insisted we be consistent in our contact and affection for her sake most of all. Kindness to the living is without a doubt the best answer to that last enigma of the consciousness. I try to stay on the side of seeing Dad as part of infinity and not wasted, enjoy his memory, value what he taught me. They were men of seemingly simpler times. His were street smarts---the kind of thing an aspiring geek sometimes acquires more slowly, having the luxury of abstract thought and scholarship.
Spidey was on the first cake I can remember at age 4 (think so; Popeye was #5) and his cartoon played every possible afternoon, even tape recorded (!) for later eventually. ASM #250 was the first issue of that title I bought with my own coin.
My collection is 3000 miles away in Georgia, so this (spideykicksbutt.com) has been the best way to rifle through the old long boxes on this day after Mom's bus took her back East.
Dad's sister and her many kids stayed at our crowded house for several months when I was 7. On the suggestion I might be feeling neglected (really?), Dad took me to the mall for Baskin Robbins and bought me a Viewmaster which introduced me to the Lee/Ditko origin of Doc Ock. That was a rare treat indeed.
Here, Joe is shot---not fatally---and is replaced as the new fastest trigger in town...who gets himself blown away. "See, I really won after all!" Joe tells them. "I'm still alive!!"
Holy cow! I felt him with me Christmas morning, as I pulled out, mostly, some terrific Gerber Defenders issues found cheap on EBay, and just stared at them for the longest time, remembering the box of about 30 comics I got for Christmas '81, all salvage store finds for cover price. I glimpsed the joy he must have felt, being the Dad he never felt his could be for him, picking them out and driving them home with Mama. That image really just hit me for the first time ever just now. How do I thank you...for THAT?
Regards, C Lue Disharoon