Our post on this photo of a comics shop in 1965 has drawn a few responses. Mark Evanier has a detailed memory of the shop in question, Cherokee Books, for anyone interested in the early days of the comics subculture.
A visit to the store was an adventure. I don’t believe Burt Blum was actually the manager of Cherokee Book Shop. I think his brother Jack was. But Burt presided over the comic book division, which was upstairs and open whenever Burt felt like being there. You’d sometimes go in and be told Burt was off surfing…so too bad. Even when open, the business revolved around Burt’s whims. No prices were marked. You had to ask him and he’d charge you whatever his mood (and his estimate of your desperation to own that issue) told him to charge. Some fans went to enormous lengths to get on Burt’s alleged good side, which I’m not sure I ever saw. Most of the time, I’d see him barking at kids to unbutton their jackets. He treated every one of us as a potential shoplifter, which was justified. There was much thievery, though usually not by the folks he suspected.
Likewise, Scott Edelman was inspired to do more digging in the UCLA photo archives, where we found the picture:
As fascinating a photo as that is—you can see a copy of Action Comics #1 out on a table rather than under glass—I’m not going to share it with you here, since you can wander over to Heidi’s site and check it out for yourself. But as soon as I heard of the existence of those UCLA archives, I immediately went and did some research of my own. I found this fascinating photo of Los Angeles city councilman Ernest Debs holding horror comic books which he had purchased in his district.
I have no idea what Deb’s role was during the comics censorship scare, but from his expression, I’m guessing that he didn’t enjoy the experience!
Click on the link for the photo in question.
I’ve been taking photos of the San Diego Con since 1989; two years as an official con photographer, which was when this Eisner Awards photo was taken. Today, Tom DeLeon and his team of photographers have so many more panels to cover. All of it goes into the San Diego Comic-Con archives and perhaps one day they will let the public have access to viewing it through a website. Until then, people can only get a glance of the SDCC and comic book’s long history by whatever fans manage to post like Alan Light’s great 1970s and 1980s SDCC photos on his FLICKR site.
We’ll close this off with another old photographic memory, above, from 1942 of a German refugee child reading a comic. The way the photo is shot makes this particular issue of SUPERMAN appear to be in a pre-Treasury edition format. Photo from the Corbis archives.