… looked for something… Wait. The beginning.
My Uncle Donnie was a would-be writer and a great collector of things. It is from his and my grandmother’s strain of the Greene genetic code that I get my love of reading and my want to collect. I would see my uncle pour through an entire table of books at a flea market, tiny list from his wallet in hand, and witness the excitement when he would find one of those books.
In my uncle’s house he had a library. Everyone called it a “book room” for some reason. In this room, lined to the ceiling with shelves, were books stacked two deep. Some of the books were comic books, but most were novels and of those many were Science Fiction/Fantasy. I spent many a summer visiting my uncle’s house across our tiny town and asking if I could go into the book room. I wouldn’t touch anything usually, for fear of damaging something and getting yelled at, but I would pour over the shelves and wonder what was in those books. Eventually my curiosity took over and I would tilt something out from the shelf to see the cover. This is where I saw Frank Frazetta’s work for the first time. The images of the majority of these books has been erased from my memory, but Frazetta’s images are the ones that have stayed.
My primary mission during the curious phase was to find out what the comics were. My uncle had stopped buying comics before I
was born. He sold his collection. There were two shelves of comics left from that collection. One was on a high shelf, second highest in the center of the largest wall. The other shelf was in a low corner behind a piece of furniture (a chaise maybe?). The high shelf was not easy to access and involved standing on the back of a worn out couch. The low shelf was first and consisted of a bunch of Tarzan comics, and old Charlton comics like Captain Atom (with Ditko art) and Peacemaker. I was blown away by these exotic comics. I was a kid used to typical 80’s Marvel and DC, so seeing Peacemaker was weird. The top shelf was underground comics. I never took one out, as I did with the Tarzan/Charlton comics, because I knew if I was caught with one of those I would be in big trouble. However one of the comics that I tilted out was Hup #1 which promptly seared itself to my retinas.
If I had actually had the balls to read the COVER (I put it back really fast) then maybe I would have laughed at the irony.
Things stayed this way through much of my youth. My fantasy playground, a museum in my mind, unable to touch or read many of the things that seemed so amazing. When I was in my teens I started to talk to my uncle about comic stories that I was concocting. He and I would talk a lot about comics and these conversations reignited his interest. I was also into Science Fiction, so he gave me some “doubles” he had. He gave me a couple Conan books, some Edgar Rice Burroughs books and Almuric (Robert E. Howard), which was my favorite for a few years. I read a few of them and at some point my uncle and I went into the book room and looked at some books.
One of the books he showed me seemed really weird and maybe funny, but I had never seen anything like it. Some of the details were burned into my brain but the rest was forgotten. One of the things I forgot was the TITLE. This happened when I was around 13 and since I have not been able to find out what that book was. I have searched all over the internet, with little information. Much like my search for that stupid skin flick, I was armed with a few random details and certainly not enough to find the book.
It has been at least four years since I’ve searched and I found it. The only detail I had was “lonely hawkman”, which took me to the cover, which I remembered. It is called Autumn Angels, written by Arthur Byron Cover.
I ordered it via Amazon Marketplace. It will be here in a few days. When I’m done reading it I will publish PART II of this email. I can’t wait.