Looking Up:

Linda Pressman's Blog

Linda Pressman

Linda Pressman
Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.A.
March 07
The author of Looking Up: A Memoir of Sisters, Survivors and Skokie, available on Amazon, Kindle and b&n.com. Kirkus Reviews said, "Humor and tragedy blend seamlessly in this memoir of childhood upbringing and family trauma...A memoir whose heart pays considerable homage to its subjects." Please visit my personal blog, Bar Mitzvahzilla, and Poetica Magazine where I'm the Blog Editor.


DECEMBER 4, 2010 2:41AM

Comic Book Con

Rate: 4 Flag


I spent a large part of my childhood trudging around with dimes, nickels and quarters, because that's what comic books cost when I was a kid. And candy bars. And those little tiny bags of red pistachio nuts they had in the 1960s.

But what I really lived for were the Marvel comic books, specifically the Archie series. I mulled over Betty and Veronica's mysterious rivalry over Archie and their class war: the rich Veronica always winning out over the middle class Betty which played out over and over again in those pages. And Jughead, Moose; they were like family, along with their world of middle America's high schools. My future?

There was also some fascination with the girls' bodies: nipped in waists and breasts that looked like sideways Mount Everests. Is that what I was going to look like?

My real problem was getting enough comic books. As the child of Holocaust Survivor immigrants, our household budget was pretty much slated for necessities like food and shelter. Comics weren't on the list.

That's when I thought of my nefarious scheme: I wrote to the publisher claiming to be a poor child who'd seen the comic books at a friend's house but who couldn't afford them. Did they have any extras? Maybe some old issues?

I didn't know what would happen with my plot. I know that my sisters and I hatched most of our schemes by poring endlessly over the back cover of the comic books themselves, endlessly analyzing the third-rate ads that appeared there. For a while we sold greeting cards in the neighborhood. We sent away for the world's tiniest camera. We joined the Archie Fan Club. One time, unrelated to the back page, we wrote to Pillsbury claiming to have send money for a Pillsbury Dough Boy and where was he? They said they had no record of any payment. How dare they!

But this time there was a different outcome. One day a few weeks after sending my letter I arrived home to find a pretty big package standing on our front doorstep. Like about two feet high. The comic books for poor little me, the budding con artist.

Did my mother ask where they came from in between her soup-stirring and Yiddish dialogues with all my other foreign-born family members? Of course, because that many comic books were clutter and clutter was part of her territory, the pursuit of cleanliness. And then, just like one lie always leads to another, mine did as well. I said, "My friends gave them to me." Yes, 200 comic books all at once.



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I have got to get a friend to read this. He loves comics. Type in Sir Percival into your search box. I think he maybe a kindred spirit for you.
Best Wishes,
Thanks, Veronica (nice name!)

And Blittie, I'll do that. Really, it's amazing I didn't head off into a life of crime as an adult!
I love that you got so much with your request. Otherwise the comics may have gone to waste. R.
It's not quite con-worthy since your household budget didn't or couldn't include comics. But it's quite the scheme.
Veronica, is that what Grand Theft Auto's all about? I asked my 15-year-old but he said it wasn't. Like he's going to tell me the truth. And I hope that doesn't mean he's going to grow up to be a mercenery since all he does is play these bloody battle games (Left For Dead I through IV)!
Gardenia, that's a nice way to think about it since, obviously, they did have excess. It's just that we weren't poor and I did lie in that letter. Obviously I had seen the comics somewhere, mostly in my own hands! But it does bring to mind what companies do with excess books and other things that kids would love and how to hook the two together.
Abrawang, if I hadn't been so greedy (always wanting more more more) I would've been happy with the couple of comic books I was able to buy per week. Now that I think about this, I might have established a pattern right then for the rest of my life...