He remarked on my t-shirt with a weary, youthful smile. I was wearing my Captain Marvel t-shirt and I was surprised, as well as pleased, that he recognized the lightning bolt symbol. He invited me to sit down and, indeed I did join him as he started to talk about his old favorite comic and pulp characters.
He told me of reading the old pulp magazines and novellas as he related tales of The Spider, The Shadow, and even The Phantom. I learned about the earliest days of the mystery men as the Black Terror was created as well as The Sandman, Johnny Thunder and the Whizzer. While we talked, small changes occurred in his manner as he smiled more and the smile moved from his mouth to his eyes, spreading like a childâ??s joy. These characters of olden days, with domino masks and fedoraâ??s, were still his heroes and still able to stir his imagination.
Lots of these characters have faded from view, others still remain with us to this day and a select few are pulled from the annals and given new life with flowing lines and bright inks. In this manâ??s eyes I could see his youth return to his memories. Returning to a time when limbs and bodies are lighter; as they vibrated with the boundless energy of youth desiring nothing less than freedomâ??s release. These modern day myths allow people to go back and see where they were and what they were. For the want of a whim and lasting for no more than a few minutes he was that child again.
Speaking with him I could tell these characters of colorful comics and dark pulp were a sense of hope for him in a time of national depression. They were more than hope I think, they were his first love before he met his first love. Those old stories were something he held onto for years for a reason. While I can only speculate as to his reasoning for sharing his stories with me, I am glad that he did.