Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Real Sam Johnson Show

The Real Sam Johnson Show



Hey there, hi there, ho there. I imagine it’s a little strange to the regular blog readers to find someone else here. Kinda like finding someone else behind Johnny’s desk on the Tonight Show, Jay Leno notwithstanding.



My name is Philip, and I am a recovering comic-holic. Actually, that’s not true. I got it bad, probably always will. Which I guess is why Sam believes I make a good comics pimp.



I’ve been reading comics since about 1972, starting with The Legion of Super-Heroes and Jimmy Olsen. But what really helped is discovering Steranko’s History of comics, which I read in the third grade. READ it, not just look at the pictures. The blessing of this is that I became aware of the various “universes” of comics pretty early, understanding the contect of Captain America c. 1942. Sixty plus years later, that context has changed. Whether for the better or worse is a debate for another day.



There was a neighbor kid, Tony, whose mother was the librarian at the high school. One day over coffee, my mom lamented the fact that Tony I read comics all the time. Tony’s mom replied, “Hey, at least they’re reading.”



If Mom ever disapproved of my choice of reading material, I never heard about it. (Wait, there was that time when I was fifteen and she found... never mind.) But over they years I graduted to Hardy Boys and Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes. I was 13 when Star Wars came out, which opened the floodgates for all sorts of science fiction and fantasy, much of which I ate up with a spoon much like Captain Crunch.



But as one matures, one’s tastes become selective. I still read mindless garbage, but I also read more cerebral stuff from time to time. But that’s not the point.



I read.



Not because I have to, because I’m being graded on it. I read because I want to. Some might argue they just don’t have the time. To them I say “Poppycock.” If it’s something you want to do, you will find the time.



So what’s this got to do with comics? Very little, but every story has to start somewhere. Reading opens a door, not just to Narnia or Metropolis or Victorian London. But to history, and the Marx Brothers, and auto mechanics, and driver’s tests and all the other little things that make life worth living.



Somewhere in the grand equation of it all, you have to READ... SOMETHING. Whatever you are, whatvere you aspire to be, you’re going to have to read to get there. And not just know that m-o-o-n spells moon. You have to comprehend. You have to understand a bus schedule, understand the directions on a prescription, that sort of thing.



I don’t hold myself up as a hero because I read. I’m just one example where it started with comics.



That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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