Growing Out Of Comics, by Mike Gold

Mike Gold

ComicMix's award-winning and spectacularly shy editor-in-chief Mike Gold also performs the weekly two-hour Weird Sounds Inside The Gold Mind ass-kicking rock, blues and blather radio show on The Point, and on iNetRadio, (search: Hit Oldies) every Sunday at 7:00 PM Eastern, rebroadcast three times during the week – check above for times and on-demand streaming information.

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23 Responses

  1. Martha Thomases says:

    Mike, I love you dearly, and I understand that different people have different backgrounds and different tastes. I, myself, was impressed with the bagels we got in Youngstown at the deli, and would still enjoy them if the deli was still there. However, the best bagels are made in New York. That's the law.Meanwhile, I think that's how I read FANTASTIC FOUR #1, and, alas, it didn't change my life.

  2. Mike Gold says:

    Towards the end of my honeymoon 15 years ago, we were leaving Vancouver for Seattle (to hook up with Mike Grell) and Linda went around the corner for breakfast. She brought back some bagels. With true New Yorker machismo, I said how in hell could Vancouver have a half-way decent bagel.Of course, it was one of the best I ever had in my life. Vancouver, B.C.The best bagels WERE made in New York. And that WAS true about corned beef. Then NYC's water, once the best in the nation, turned to crap… and took the bagels down with it. In fact, most NYC corned beef is no longer made in, or even near, New York.However, NYC's H&H Bagels — whereas not what they used to be — are still excellent. I'll happily take you to Kaufman's (now in Skokie IL) any time you like.

  3. Marc Alan Fishman says:

    Ok… I actually just shot out of my chair in excitement… I love Kaufman's!!!! Well, that being said, I "loved" them. Sadly, the last time I'd been there (the newer one on Touhy in Skokie) they had almost doubled their price (and thank the lord NOT their recipes)…. and their staff was now entirely new. New enough to not know how to deal with a pile of north side (formerly south sider) Jews who all want that "personal" treatment from their baker. It ain't right I tell you. Albeit, their bagels are still devine… especially with good lox from the produce market on Waukeegan and Dempster (where my grandma (a former south side turned north side Jew) lives.).Loved the article, and to have grown up with those issues my generation only saw in reprint, in archives, or mentioned in silly documentaries tacked on to DVDs…your experience is truly such that should be recounted. In a similar story to yours, it reminds me when I was in the 4th grade, I was introduced to X-Men comics through a friend. It was akin to the later Pokemon craze (which I boast was starting immediatley after I was "no longer" a kid) where I felt like I needed to know every mutant by superhero name and power. But the fad to me died when after purchasing 20-30 issues of varous X-Titles, only to see similar stories where they didn't even utilize those way-cool powers… I thought maybe comics weren't for me. By now it was 6th grade, and X-books had chilled my heart to comics. I met my best friend on the second day of 6th grade. A tall, funny looking fella who's intro essay included amongst the "I Likes:" things like : Drawing, Comics, and Video Games… One short conversation later, he'd be my best friend for life (and still is). Well, I told him of my waning interest in comics, and he handed me a big thick book that he'd just finished. "Read this one dude, you'll change your mind."It was "the Watchmen… and here I am today.

  4. MARK WHEATLEY says:

    For me it was the fanzines and stories like Don Newton's SAVAGE EARTH in the old RBCC and Larry Ivie's MONSTERS & HEROES Altron Boy series. But in comic books – I would say SWAMP THING pulled me back from the edge.And even then – it's not like it was a "done deal" after that. Because I had decided to tell stories in comic books I kept buying lots of them. But it is still a long hop between the really good ones. And of course – we have to be at the right age and frame of mind to get hooked again.

  5. Mark Behar says:

    Mike, you could (can?) read a comic book in a moving car? If my parents had tried that one on me they would have gotten vomitus on the backs of their seats. Probably not the best strategy for silencing the kvetches of an 11 year-old. Specific bagel shops aside, I think that Montreal bagels are the best. I dare anyone to eat a sandwich at Beauty's and tell me otherwise. And, no, I'm not from Montreal. New York bagels are pretty much the standard, no? What's unique about them? I've tasted several, and none of them really impressed me.

    • Mike Gold says:

      Yeah, reading comics in a moving car used to be my superpower. Now that I'm driving, though, I'm too busy texting.I recall Ben's Deli in Montreal as being pretty good. NYC bagels used to be the standard; in fact, there used to be an awesome corned beef on bagel sandwich in Brooklyn that was as great an experience as I've ever had with my clothes on. As noted in my response to Martha, above, sadly those days are gone. But there's still a lot of excellent deli in NYC, and the Carnegie remains quite an experience — and not just for the food, either. Be prepared to wait outside in line, and bring cash.

      • Mark Behar says:

        I have to say that in 2006 the Carnegie Deli served me the grossest excuse for a corned beef sandwich that I have ever seen. I requested my meat "lean", whereupon the server, a pretty rude type in his own right, glanced at me like I had asked for my sandwich on Derek Jeter's grave stone. He returned five minutes later with a sandwich that must have contained about 2 lbs. of beef and at least 1 lb. of animal fat. Absolutely repulsive! Maybe things have changed, but to me it's little more than a tourist trap. I've been there three or four times. The only time I wasn't disappointed I ordered the chicken soup with matzo balls. And that's really hard to ruin!

        • Mike Gold says:

          Geez, Mark, whereas I acknowledge the wait staff at the Carnegie is professionally rude, in my world the phrase "lean corned beef" is an oxymoron. It ain't gonna be health food no matter what, and the lean stuff tastes like crap. Or, at least, carp.I believe their sandwich only contains one full pound of meat. It is an experience. I've taken Mike Grell there, a man who generally eats his food on the hoof, and he was startled by its size. I never order a side dish, certainly not dessert, and I eat there about once a year. More frequently back when I was working for Jenette Kahn at DC.And if it's crappy chicken soup you're looking for, come here to Connecticut! Everybody here excels at putting the "ick" in "chicken."

  6. Miles Vorkosigan says:

    For me, that first comic that really hooked my was an issue of Tales To Astonish with Iron Man and the Sub-Mariner. It was second or third-hand, the cover was gone, but I kept it for nearly ten years after I got it. Oh, there were others prior to that; Disney stuff, Superman/Batman, but nothing really earthshaking. Somewhere after that first Iron Man I got going on Avengers, Cap and The Falcon, FF, X-Men, and pretty much the entire Marvel pantheon. I started getting Jim Warren's Spirit reprints, Cerebus, Jon Sable… I had a complete run of Staton's E-Man, no matter who wrote it. And Nexus. And Badger. And my finances got crappy, and I sold them. It's always the case. As to bagels, I'm in Nashville. With the possible exception of Noshville Deli, which I think is run by a pair of transplanted Noo Yawkers, you don't get good bagels here. In fact, most everything culinary here is meh. I haven't had decent barbecue since Memphis, nearly eight years ago. A lot of my favorite watering holes in Nawlins are gone. The best burger I ever had that wasn't by my own hand was at Ruby Red's, and it's gone. My favorite pizza joint is in Memphis, although Italia, eight blocks up Woodland here in Nashville, is close. Who'da thought a Egyptian could do pizza?Gotta go. Coffee awaits.

    • Mike Gold says:

      Ah, but if you're into bbq ribs the drive to Memphis is certainly worthwhile. And you're not horribly far from Kansas City, barbecue mecca (I'll get more shit for saying that than my comments about NYC bagels). KC's got first-rate bbq brisket and perhaps the widest variety of styles I've ever seen. Calvin Trillin and I are partial to Bryant's, I'm also quite a fan of Zarda's and of LC's.Damn. Now I'm hungry.

    • mike weber says:

      In fact, most everything culinary here is meh. I haven't had decent barbecue since Memphis, nearly eight years ago.Never had Memphis BBQ; best BBQ nearer Nashville than Birmingham i can recall is a joint in Louisville, the Feed Store (and i see they've built three new locations since i was last there…)But the Golden Rule in Birmingham ( is *it* (though Dreamland, Tuscaloosa, B'ham and Roswell GA would prolly be better if their menu was wider…) – continuously in business since 1891, there just ain't no better.

      • mike weber says:

        Ah ha.They have a location in Clarksville: i were you, i might take the next train to Clarksville sometime…

        • Miles Vorkosigan says:

          That takes money, Mike. Something I ain't got. And wheels, something else I ain't got. But when I get employed again, or hit Powerball, it'll be one of the first places I go. I've been telling people here that our neighborhood in East Nashville needs one of three businesses; a bookstore, an instrument repair shop, or a tobacconist. Now I realize that this city needs a proper barbecue joint, poor folks style, serving the real stuff. Not what some high-powered restauranteur thinks is barbecue. And who better than me, a born Memphian who spent 45 years immersed in the culture of rock, soul, and South'n cooking?Now all I need is a backer.Miles

          • Mike Gold says:

            Rock, soul and Southern cooking: the heart of living. Toss in a few good comic books, and I'd be set for life.

          • Miles Vorkosigan says:

            Apart from the cool stuff I find in here, the best things I've run across in comics lately have been Dwayne McDuffie's FF issues where T'challa and Storm replaced Reed and Sue for a bit. There was just enough humor to make it fun, and the plot was well executed. Uatu showing up in the kid's yard to tell him that he was needed was a hoot. "The neighborhood association is the least of your worries, young human."And Common Grounds was really good. I could see a tv series of that. I think my favorite of those stories was the one with Blackwatch and Commander Power; one living in a refrigerator case, the other living in a big house by himself… and the homeless one is the former hero, and the retired villain turns out to be his savior. Beautiful. If we could get that level of writing from Hollywood, we'd be going to the movies more often. Mike

      • Miles Vorkosigan says:

        If you go to Memphis for barbecue, odds are you'll get directed to the Rendezvous or Interstate. Or, possibly, The BBQ Shop in Midtown. Interstate is good for a large shop, and The BBQ Shop is okay if you want barbecue by white folks who have a working knowledge of whatit should be. You'll get dry rub at Rendezvous.But for real, serious, done right poor folks barbecue, there's only one place in Memphis to go, assuming the little old lady who owns it is still alive, and that's Payne's. It's on Lamar, just shy of McLean, in a poor part of town. And her prices are cheap, her food is good and plentiful, if served without a lot of artistry. I'd buy four big barbecue sandwiches for me and my mother, and we'd get two meals off them unless we were really hungry. Mama Payne's bbq sandwiches were served on huge institutional hamburger buns, and she loaded them down. Slaw on the side. Beans extra, with little chips of pulled pork in them. You'll find her in a converted gas station. The dining room stopped smelling like motor oil a long time ago. Never had Golden Rule. Haven't even been to Birmingham in decades. Miles

  7. Russ Rogers says:

    When the price of comics climbed to 35 cents an issue, I gave up on my weekly habit. A habit I had supported into my teen years with my paper route money. I just couldn't grasp the economics of getting less than three comics for a dollar!It wasn't until several years later that a friend gave me a stack of 20 comics, because he was cleaning out his trailer home. In that stack were several "underground" comics and several comics by "alternative" publishers. Growing up, the alternative to Marvel and DC was Gold Key or Archie. So, I went to a comics specialty store and was WOWED by the number of different publishers: Eclipse, PC, First, Comico. The list went on and on. There was a new comics publisher every other week. The specialty store also had racks of used and remainder comics, some priced as cheap as 25 cents a piece. And I got hooked again. I started buying new issues. I started having issues pulled for me. I ended up with a collection of THOUSANDS. I was spending 25 to 50 bucks a week on comics!Then I got married. I had children. I couldn't justify the weekly expense of comics anymore. It was hard justifying the 18 long-boxes stacked up in the basement. I keep hoping my daughters will take an interest in reading comics. I stopped buying comics. I would occasionally check them out from the library. But … well, I didn't read them as much anymore. It wasn't the same. So, eight months ago, I'm dinking around on and I find out that newer GrimJack stories had been published by IDW. I start Googling and come across ComicMix. GrimJack is BACK! And so is SABLE! And wait, here's "Demons of Sherwood" and "EZ Street!" These aren't just new stories from the old comics I LOVED, but there are also NEW comics, innovative, experimental, exciting, IMPORTANT stuff! Seriously, I was struck by that same WAVE of excitement I first felt picking up a 100 Page Super Spectacular as a kid. Or that RUSH of awareness, finding there were more comics than just Marvel or DC AND that Marvel and DC were now doing new, cutting edge stuff again, like "Ronin" or "Watchemen."BANG! ZOWIE! POW! ComicMix has comics that are just as cutting edge, just as exciting, just as thrilling as X-men #100 or The Rocketeer. And I can read them for FREE! (Ha! I saw "HA!" to my frugal, family-man pocketbook.) Not only that, but I can feed my nerdy, Internet lovin', kibitzer soul and comment! Oh frabjous day!Seriously, Mike, the same thrill you felt at finding Fantastic Four #1 on the racks, that's the thrill I felt finding ComicMix! I had been blithely unaware of the revolution of Web-comics. Like Mjolnir to the back of the head, ComicMix, with it's stable of top notch reprints and new comics, has been mind expanding. Thank you.

  8. Alan Coil says:

    I'll stop reading comic books when they pry them from my cold, dead hands.

    • Mike Gold says:

      … and give them to Charlton Heston?Actually, Mr. Heston was single-handedly responsible for one of the rarest of all comic books. When Marvel produced their first issue of Planet of the Apes, they didn't know they didn't have Heston's likeness rights. So Mr. Heston had Marvel trash the print run (I'm not certain they were ever bound; the copy I saw was what is called a "make ready" — an untrimmed copy of the guts of the book), they redrew the faces in question, and went to press.

    • RD Francis says:

      I tend to agree – however, from what my son has said, no prying may be necessary. He may just start the bonfire while my corpse is still holding some.

  9. Tyson Durst says:

    When I first started reading comics with any regularity, comics were about a buck and "the one" was a cheesy Ninja Turtle book that came with my Ninja Turtle sweatshirt that I just had to have for back to school in Grade 5.Not as glamorous as reading an FF #1 original but, oh well.The diversity across print and the web that I've discovered in recent years, and continue to discover, has reinvigorated my interest in comics. Superheroes are great and I still enjoy them but if all that was on the racks and shelves or on the web today was just one genre, I probably would have walked away years ago.

  10. Chris Gumprich says:

    I've been reading comics as long as I can remember, but it was a passive activity until 1985 — my dad was a big collector, until his store decided to cancel his pull account. Instead of going somewhere else, he quit collecting entirely, leaving me without my fix.There were three comics that kept me biking down to the local 7-11 or mall bookshop, and they're almost never comics on anyone's top five list. GROO, BLUE BEETLE, and WOLFPACK. They hit just the right notes at just the right time in my life to ensure that I'll be reading for a long time to come."Cold, dead hands" is about right!