Editor’s Dispatch: Comics Memories

By Brendan Burford

Not too long ago I was hanging around with a bunch of comics friends and the discussion turned to our earliest memories of comics. We all sat there trying to remember as far back as we could to that first impression of comics and the imagery associated with comics. It was fun to hear everyone’s first memories, and it was fascinating to collectively realize how early in life these images had an impact on us.

Since sharing these first memories with that group of friends, I’ve brought this up with others to see how far back they can remember comics, and I invite you to share your memories in the comment section below if you like. Maybe I’ll call up some King Features cartoonists at some point and see if they want to reveal their earliest memories of comics, and I’ll post them here in the blog – or maybe some of them will chime in in the comments thread, too.

In the meantime, here are my earliest comics memories. It’s a tie between three things – I can’t quite recall which of these things occurred first, but they were surely right around the same time as one another – I was probably about three years old.

In no particular order, one of those first three is my mother’s copy of THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PEANUTS. I remember the two-color cover with Charlie Brown in his red shirt. I also remember first opening the book and seeing a sea of text – what a rip-off! Where are more pictures like the one on the cover?!

Another one of the memories is my father’s copy of ALL NATURAL POGO. Same sort of sensation that I got from the PEANUTS book. Why were my parents into these books with comics on the cover and whole lot of words inside?! I’ve got a copy of this book myself, now, and I love it. POGO is one of my favorite comic strips of all time, and this book is a brilliant distillation of the strip on an academic level.

The third of these memories is an elastic belt with a magnetic belt buckle, which had a BEETLE BAILEY comic strip running around its perimeter. I was so fond of that belt – it was awesome, and I proudly wore the thing even if the pants I was wearing didn’t warrant wearing a belt. I should mention that it isn’t lost on me that I am now Mort Walker’s editor, and his comic strip is one of very earliest memories of this amazing thing called comics.

Let’s hear from you.