Start ’em Young

Sep 8, 2022

Vol 11 A

Magic.

That’s what happened when my dad and I would sit on the florally festooned couch in our home on Herman Avenue in Akron, Ohio, Sunday mornings after church. I’d settle in with a piece of buttered, still warm, pumpernickel bread that we’d picked up at a bakery shop on the way home, while my dad read the Sunday comics to me. The comics that interested me the most were Flash Gordon, Dick Tracy, Terry and the Pirates, and of course the ineffable Prince Valiant by Hal Foster (shoe drop alert—the significance of the strips I’m mentioning here will drop later on, so hang with me and all will come out in the shoe store). Especially Prince Valiant, wherein classical Renaissance figures, rather than being frozen in time, came to life and moved from panel to panel. Even at that tender age, I recognized something mysterious and wonderful was happening on those pages. I had no way to wrap my head around what I was seeing and explain what was taking place. But it was magic, and magic I understood.

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