By CM Team | CultureMass Staff Published: 06/15/2013 10:00 am EST
In honor of Father’s Day, and the connections we’ve made with our fathers through literature, Graphic/Novels looks back at some of our favorite memories of dad, both as a reader and as someone who inspired us to read.
Andy Mansell (Contributor):
I was six years old and completely obsessed with the Marvel Super Heroes cartoon show. Each day I would get three episodes featuring a different hero with a different theme song: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Savage (that’s right…Savage) Sub-Mariner, The Mighty Thor and best of all—Cap!! Sing with me: “When Captain America throws his mighty shield, all those who oppose that shield know they must yield!”
These cartoons were (very) limited animation panel-by-panel adaptations of the great Marvel comics from 1965-1967. I suggest you go to YouTube and check them out. They are a blast. And those theme songs will be super-glued into your subconscious. You’re welcome.
Anyhoo… My father knew I loved these heroes even though I’d never even seen a comic book! So on Christmas morning I tore open a present that proved to be…a Golden Book Record 33 1/3 LONG PLAY of Avengers #4 (Captain America joins the Avengers!)
The purpose of a Golden Book Record was for kids to learn to read by following along with the book whilst listening to the record, so it included a facsimile copy of the comic! Thanks Dad!
The record was a word-for-word dramatic representation of the classic comic. One can never fully appreciate Stan Lee’s dialogue unless it is interpreted by a bunch of over-actors and foley artists giving it their all. I monopolized our Sears Silvertone Record Player for weeks on end as I listened to it day and night, night and day, until one day it mysteriously disappeared. By then, Dad had bought Whipped Cream and Other Delights by Herb Alpert and after staring at that album cover day and night, night and day, superheroes just weren’t that important anymore. Thanks Dad!!!!
My father has been gone for almost 20 years. I miss him dearly. For my birthday last year, my wife presented me with a copy of the same Golden record (No, the original comic book was not included, what do we look like—the Kennedys???). I plan to listen to the entire record every Father’s Day to pay homage to that sweet man who not only raised me right and sent me to college, but also bought me my first comic book and my first record—all in one perfect present! Thanks Dad.
Caroline Whitney (Columnist):
Trying to think of my favorite book memory with my Dad was harder than I expected. I know he (or my mom) read to me every night when I was growing up, but nothing really stood out at first.
Well, that is until I thought back to the summer before 6th grade. That’s the summer I discovered Harry Potter. That’s also the summer my family went to the Outer Banks in North Carolina for our summer vacation. I devoured Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in just a few days. I was dying to read the second one, and kept begging my parents to take me into the mainland (we were on an island at this point) to get the second book.
My dad, the superhero that he is, drove me to a bookstore on the mainland, just as a hurricane was about to come rolling in. All I remember was it was dark, rainy, and my dad was amazing. That’s just the kind of dad he is.
For me, that was one of the best memories of that trip.
Thank you, Dad, for always being there to support my book addiction! I love you!
Brian Martin (Graphic/Novels Editor):
My father was never a comics reader. He would often tell me that, beyond some issues of Classics Illustrated, he had never really been interested in the medium (he would usually offer this information after I would ask him if he was sure he didn’t have some old copies of Action or Detective tucked away in a box somewhere). A baby boomer, my father grew up during a period when westerns and romance ruled the market, and my dad would have just rather been outside fishing or causing some good ol’ American mischief.
To his eternal woe, I ended up going in the opposite direction. While he accepted my interest in characters like Spider-Man and the Avengers when I was younger, by the time I hit 13 he was clearly getting annoyed with all of it. He would often lean on the “market is saturated, they’ll never be worth anything” defense, as though that was the reason I kept reading. But I read everything I bought with my allowance or grass cutting money, and I loved them all (despite how awful some of them are in hindsight). Despite my best efforts, I could never seem to convince my dad of just how enjoyable comics were.
While he begrudgingly tolerated my comic hobby through my teens, by the time I was in college he was fairly open about his distaste for it. He often criticized my spending, which had only increased as I began working and earning more, and when any financial discussion happened (and they happened frequently) comics were the first luxury my dad would insist I should cut. Even then, however, I could see in his eyes that his attitude wasn’t stemming from contempt, but from a lack of understanding. This is kid’s stuff, right? Why are you still reading it?
Several years and countless conversations later, I found myself recalling my dad’s love of those old Classics Illustrated stories. It was no surprise he had latched onto those as a kid. He was a fan of literature, and those comics no doubt paved the way for his interest in some of the prose works on which they were based. Then, it hit me. Maybe there was a modern comic series that I could hand my dad that would make him finally understand why I held onto the medium so relentlessly.
For Christmas in 2007, I gave my father a copy of the first volume of Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It was a Hail Mary; I figured if anything was going to convince my dad of the merit of comics, it was going to be this series. I was never sure that he would actually read the thing, but I hoped that maybe he’d give it a shot.
It wasn’t a month later before he called me and said that not only had he finished the book, but that he was relatively amazed by it. I remember him expressing the same level of shocked enthusiasm I did upon the revelation that James Moriarty was behind the whole thing, and being interested enough to pursue watching the theatrical adaptation (which I was, fortunately, able to deter him from). I’m not sure if my father still thinks my comic spending is a bit excessive (although I’m actually inclined to agree at this point), but one thing I do know is that he hasn’t said a word to me about it since.
Cameron Cook (Editor-in-Chief):
When I was in high school, John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces turned me into a comedy snob. It was so funny, so honest, and so smart that I think it may have broken my sense of humor for a number of years. I passed the book over to my dad, who had a similar reaction to the material. Because he’s so busy, my father doesn’t have a lot of time for novels, especially novels as long and complicated as Toole’s, but he read it almost immediately and fell in love with it like I did. We still quote it to this day. Nothing brings a father and a son together better than a book about the stupidity and arrogance of the American people.