BEAUOLOGY 101: smells like teen SPIRIT

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Beau Smith: “Ah, To Be 14 years old Again…”

by beau Smith

Last weekend, I smelled my youth.

I realize that statement may sound a bit strange and even border on creepy, so let me discuss myself. Last Saturday, I had just mowed my lawn. It was a bright, sunny, practically Summer-like day for early Spring. My wife, Beth, was inside making lunch, her well-known (within our house.) BLT sandwiches and cole slaw. I could smell the bacon from the front patio where my dog, Cobb, and I were seated. That aroma along with the scent of the freshly mowed turf and the other breeze-blown fragrances of the spring day took my mind back to a summer day in 1968 when I was 14 years old.

It was seriously like a time device moment. I closed my eyes and I was that 14 year old teenager again. I could smell it.

For those few moments, I had no house, credit report card, or truck payments to make. The only taxes I knew were a few pennies that the government took when I purchased a 12 cent comic book. good shows were on TV and the likes of reality TV were only nightmares you had at night after too much pizza and soda pop. I actually got goose bumps on my arm thinking about it.

Sub-Mariner #3: “Yeah, That’s My name Scribbled across The Top.”

I went inside and told Beth I would be eating my lunch on the patio today. I grabbed a can of pop from the “icebox” and then went into one of the rooms where my childhood comic book collection is stored. I randomly dug out two issues from my longbox marked “1968.” I pulled out two very well read comic books, Captain marvel #5 and The Sub-Mariner #3. Both issues were bought, by me, in the summer of 1968. I figured if I was gonna relive this moment, then I was gonna do it best down to the month and year.

“Yeah, I marked all over my comics….”

I took the books out on the patio where my lunch awaited. Granted, my head wasn’t quite as full of hair as it was in 1968 and I now had to don reading glasses where once my eyes were clear and bright in the summer of ’68, but it would all work out.

“Plant man at his bad man best!”

For the next 30 minutes I was once again 14 years old, Don Heck and John Buscema were alive and drawing comics, and I was proudly scrawling my name on the cover of my comics so the world would know they belonged to me and me alone.

“Clothes ought to be this low-cost now.”

The issues were a little worn by time, much like me, but I turned each page with just as much excitement as I did in the summer of ’68. The Sub-Mariner and the Inhuman, Triton, were in a titanic battle with the being known as The Leviathan, who was being controlled by one of the most under-rated very villains in the marvel Universe—The plant Man! This was The plant Man’s moment in the sun (pardon the pun) because he was really a power to be reckoned with at this time in comics. In summer of ’68, marvel Comics was still selling their now very well-known t-shirts and Merry marvel Marching society memberships, you could still get 132 Roman soldiers for only $1.98, the letters column was alive and well as was marvel Bullpen Bulletins, and I was stoked because The Spectacular Spider-Man magazine was coming out and I just had to find a way to get one.

Captain marvel #5

Captain marvel #5 was filled with the fantastic art of my favorite marvel Artist, Don Heck. Captain marvel was knee deep in Kree skullduggery and was up against a physical battle with the creature known as The Metazoid. (Would’ve made a terrific name for a 1960s toy.)

Captain marvel combating bad men Don Heck Style!

The letter column had a wonderful, insightful letter from now noted comic book historian, Peter Sanderson, and it was announced in the marvel Bullpen Bulletin that the incredible Flo Steinberg was leaving marvel Comics for other endeavors. I can remember reading and re-reading this particular issue that summer and even trying to draw some of Don Heck’s dynamic art in my own school notebook.

“I miss Those marvel Bullpen Bulletin Pages So Much”

It’s not typically that you can really recapture your childhood memories here in the present, but I did and look forward to the next time a memory comes knocking at my door and I make the choice to open that door. For me, the decade of the 1960s were a magical comic book time, for you it might be the 70s, 80s, 90s, or even best now. My idea to you is to take a few minutes and revisit those special times. much more than likely, if you’re reading my column, then you delight in comic books, if so, then haul out your longbox time device and see how far you can travel back in time.

It’s a trip well worth taking, my friends.

From the time Tunnel,

Beau Smith

The flying Fist Ranch

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