FOUR COLOR EULOGY is about comics and comic book collectors. But, to me, it is much more about family. What makes up someone’s family? What stories do families build for themselves over the years? And, of course, how comic books connect to family. Well, in honor of Friday the 13th, I thought I’d share a comic book horror story for you that pertains to my family. This story will most likely have every comic collector out there crying and cowering in the corner by the end. This story is not for the four color faint of heart.
My Dad, John Contini, grew up with what is known as The Marvel Age of Comics. As a kid, he collected all the major titles. At one time (not anymore) he actually owned THE FANTASTIC FOUR #1-300, THE AVENGERS #1-50, INCREDIBLE HULK #1-6, AMAZING FANTASY #15 (The first appearance of Spider-Man), and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #2-50 just to name a few. But he also had X-MEN #1-50. I remember as a kid, he would bring a box of his comics upstairs from the basement and we would spend a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday just looking at those beautiful old comics. I was too young to touch any of them, of course, but I remember sitting right next to him as he would turn the pages and show me panel after panel of bombastic superhero action.
Well, as a young stupid kid usually does (and I was most certainly stupid), I made a B-I-G mistake. One Saturday came along where my Dad was busy all day and we were not able to look through any comics. I was bummed. So (and here’s where the stupid young kid part comes into play) I took it upon myself to go downstairs, go into Dad’s comic boxes and look at them by myself. All was fine until I came across the X-Men comics. I remember pulling X-MEN #1 out of the box and staring at that awesome Jack Kirby cover through the plastic bag it was in. I turned the book around, carefully peeled the tape off the back of the bag, opened the top flap and took the comic out of it’s bag. I was in awe. I was actually holding X-MEN #1 in my hand. I decided that I was careful enough up to this point, so I’d probably still be careful enough if I tried to read it. Cue the horror movie music.
I opened the front cover and started to read the first page of the book. All these superheroes flying into Professor X’s office, costumed and ready for battle. It was so cool. That was when I got too excited, lost my balance and tripped. I caught myself quickly and stopped myself from falling over, but the comic was not so lucky. I didn’t drop it. I held on to it. But in my wobbliness, I held onto the book too tightly and the next thing I knew…I held the comic in one hand and the cover in the other. I had torn the cover off of X-MEN #1!! I tried to put everything back the way it was in the bag but it was too late. There was no hiding it. I had committed four color murder. And Dad was sure to find out eventually. And find out he did.
I don’t remember what my punishment was for such a heinous crime. I could have been sentenced to three weeks of extreme yard work or been forced to take over all of my brother’s chores for a certain period of time. It didn’t matter. No punishment that Dad could give me would be worse than the guilt that I would have to live with for the rest of my life. I knew that I would never get past that moment. I still, to this day, wake up in the middle of the night, screaming. I, a comic collector, committed the ultimate sin. I ruined a classic Marvel Comic Book.
So, that’s my “Four Color Horror Story”. Pretty awful. What’s yours? Share with us a Friday the 13th comic book related story that happened to either you or someone in your family here in the comments section of on our facebook page. We’d love to hear from you.