The above scan is from Kamandi #39 from 1976. The art is by Jack Kirby with inks and letters by Mike Royer. Unlike most of the issues that came before it this one is written by Gerry Conway rather than Kamandi’s creator Jack Kirby. I bring this gem up because I was recently smelling some old comicbooks….that’s right SMELLING them and at once I was reminded of my first taste of Kirby’s solo creations…..and quite possibly one of the first comics I ever read period. It’s really strange and wonderful the way certain smells can take you back to a certain moment in time. I worked with a guy that had little to NO SENSE of smell. It never seemed to bother him much. But it sure would bother me! As I I’ve mentioned before I LOVE the smell of pulpy book paper….comic paper being my favorite but old paperbacks being a close second (almost the same paper really). I remember buying this issue. I must have been about 8 years old since this was some time in the summer of 1976 (I think). I was with my parents at a fishing lake. Despite his best efforts my Dad couldn’t interest me much in fishing. Although I was somewhat interested in the big worms I was NOT too happy about skewering them on a hook! It was on a trip to the bait shop to get said worms when I discovered that Kamandi comic on a creaky wire-frame spinner rack. I talked my Dad into adding this 25 cent purchase to whatever the cost that container of worms was and we headed back to our spot at the lake. I didn’t spend too much time with the fishing rod after that as I was wrapped up in discovering a brand new crazy sci-fi fantasy world of Kirby creations! And I was hooked for life. It makes for a good story and that is how I remember it but it may or may not have been my very first comicbook.
Things have really changed with comics. The distribution is a tiny trickle of what it once was. Younger generations of readers I’m sure don’t even remember when you could find new comics almost EVERYWHERE. They were in every gas station, drug store, grocery store and even in a lot of bait shops as I found out that day in 1976. I’m NOT against web-comics or reading them on the various tablets and smart-phones but they just don’t do it for me. Not the same feel….and NOT the same SMELL.