Throwback Thursday – Early Comic Book Memories

DC "Jam Poster", Image from  Heritage Auctions

DC "Jam Poster", Image from Heritage Auctions

Images from childhood can be hard to erase from the brain’s cache, especially when they are ones we remember providing us with intrigue and fuel for the imagination.

I've been thinking about the above image quite a lot lately. It is known as the DC “jam poster,” and was commissioned for The History of the DC Universe book in the late ‘80s. In it, many of the original artists depicted their own characters and signed their names at the bottom, including my grandfather. I never had the opportunity to see it, but a mural of it was even at the DC offices for years before it was replaced with an updated version. Over the past few months, I've been seeing the image pop up on my Facebook feed and in various articles, and it got me thinking -- was this the image that started my love affair with comic books?

Things are a bit hazy on this memory, but when I was about four years old, my grandparents received a copy of the poster. For whatever reason, it made its way over to our house. It was in a simple frame, and like many things in our home (a small house stuffed to the gills with five small children), it never quite made it up to a hanging position on the wall. But just because it wasn't displayed gallery-style is no indicator that it wasn't valued or loved.

Little me, one of my brothers, and our maternal grandfather circa 1988.

Little me, one of my brothers, and our maternal grandfather circa 1988.

I've asked some of my siblings if they remember the poster, and while they do, they don't really have any other memories of it besides it just being there. When I asked my oldest sister Shannon about the poster's place in the house, she remarked, “It's funny... I never felt like there was any sign of superhero stuff in my childhood at all. But I guess I just didn't really notice. Or it just blended in.”

I, on the other hand, will never forget its presence in our home and the impact it had on me.

Like I said before, perhaps this image is where my love of comic books started. I don't recollect doing it, but somehow, the framed poster would make its way down to the floor, just around the corner from the dining room table and next to the radiator. I would lie on my tummy (just as I would often do with my treasured Zoobooks), and for what seemed like hours, would go over the characters that were splayed out in front of me. I knew some of their names, especially Green Lantern, and Hawkman (who I was pretty sure was going to be my boyfriend someday), but others, I think I just made up. I remember being so filled with wonder at this poster. How could there be so many of these superheroes, and where did these people find such a big piece of paper to draw all of them on?!

When I started seeing the image of the poster online recently, I told my boyfriend, James, about my memories of it. He, knowing the way to this comic book-loving girl’s heart, found a copy for me as a gift. I'm looking forward to eventually getting it framed and up on our wall so I can soak it in for many years to come.

If this isn't where my love of comic books started, it is at least one of the first objects I encountered in my childhood that set me on the path to enjoying the various art styles by these dynamic artists. If you look closely at the signatures at the bottom of the poster, you'll see many of the artists who in addition to their better-known superhero work, contributed to the romance genre that we love so dearly here at Sequential Crush including Jack Kirby, Gene Colan, Gray Morrow, Joe Orlando, Kurt Schaffenberger, Joe Staton, Jim Steranko, Dick Giordano, Murphy Anderson, and my grandfather, Mart Nodell.

There isn't much to this story, just a small memory that I wanted to share with you all. As always, thank you so much for reading.