Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Yes, Virginia, There Once Were Comic-Book Letter Columns

Long ago, when the world was less gross and more green (from the late 1950s through the 1990s), comic books devoted a page of their precious page count to letters from comics fans. People might ask questions about a certain storyline, or why a character did "Y" in this story when he did "X" in a similar situation last year.
As a big fan of Superman, I remember reading letters from a guy named E. Nelson Bridwell, who grew up and moved to New York to become DC's resident brain trust. I remember Clark Kent's Social Security Number being given in ACTION #340 (092-09-6616).
In the 1990s, the Superman titles began, just for fun, to hand out a "Baldy" Award to one letter each month. It might be for nearly any reason -- indepth analysis, a subtle observation, a wry joke -- and part of the "fun" and "mystery" was that, unless you won a Baldy, you didn;t know what it was!
Well, since then, the penny-counters have decided that the goodwill of fans was worth less than another ad page. Besides, let 'em use the internet, right?
I believe the folks who made this decision were never fanboys who wrote to lettercols. There is NOTHING LIKE seeing your name in print, on paper, in a favorite comic book!
Anyway, *sigh*, those days are gone, for now.
But I CAN solve the mystery of the Baldy Award. I won three, and they are reproduced herewith. As walter brennan used to say on the old TV show The Real McCoys, "No brag, jest fact." Of course, I also agree with you that it's a pretty small achievement. Yet it was a joyh to receive the things in my mailbox.
And to quote another great philosopher (Robert Browning this time), "Every joy is Gain, and Gain is Gain, however small."


Anonymous said...

>> As walter brennan used to say on the old TV show The Real McCoys, "No brag, jest fact." <<

Actually, I think he said that on "The Guns of Will Sonnett."

-- Dave B

Mark Alfred said...

Yep, you're right, Dave! --Mark

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