Continuing a look back at my first exposure to a number of rock 'n' roll acts and superheroes (or other denizens of print or periodical publication), some of which were passing fancies, and some of which I went on to kinda like. They say you never forget your first time; that may be true, but it's the subsequent visits--the second time, the fourth time, the twentieth time, the hundredth time--that define our relationships with the things we cherish. Ultimately, the first meeting is less important than what comes after that. But every love story still needs to begin with that first kiss.
The success of the Batman TV series in 1966 prompted a new superhero boom. But even before that, in 1965 the Archie Comics line revived some of its superheroes--sorry, mighty heroes--from the '40s to cash in on the burgeoning success of Marvel Comics. Archie's Mighty Comics imprint was campy, corny, and too-obviously designed to emulate the pizazz of Marvel Comics, albeit with no evident understanding of that pizazz whatsoever. Written by Superman's co-creator Jerry Siegel and drawn by Marvel veteran Paul Reinman, these comics could rightly be called terrible, but I loved 'em anyway. My first Mighty was Mighty Comics # 43, starring The Shield, The Black Hood, and that hen-pecked hero, The Web. The book was one of three comic books (along with DC's The Brave And The Bold # 70 and World's Finest Comics # 164) I discovered one day in the magazine basket in our bathroom at home. All righty. Never did learn who left 'em there. The book was silly, but fun, and it featured the debut of Pow Girl, who was secretly The Web's hot-tempered wife, Rosie. I can't explain why, but even at the age of six or seven, I thought Pow Girl was sexy. Maybe she was my gateway to Barbi Benton in Playboy?
The departure of Jack Kirby from Marvel to work for DC in 1971 was seismic. I was barely aware of comics credits at the time, but I read all of Kirby's DC books, starting with Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen through Kirby's creations The New Gods, The Forever People, and Mister Miracle (all four books a part of Kirby's "Fourth World" saga, introducing his megavillain Darkseid). I liked all of them, but gravitated especially to the super escape artist Mister Miracle. I missed the first two issues, but got on board with Mister Miracle # 3. The appearances of Mr. Miracle's future wife Big Barda in subsequent issues sealed the deal. If being smitten with comic book women is wrong, Lord, I don't wanna be right.
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