When I was a wee lad, I had a small but growing comic collection, but it never survived a house move. Around the same time, I had a collection of toy cars. That survived the move, but didn’t make it through another. Older still, I had a collection of Star Wars comics – but I’ve never known its fate, because it just vanished with no explanation.
I’ve told various people these stories at various times – including in some places on this here interweb. It’s about time I wrote them up on this blog. Starting with those first comics.
I’m not entirely sure how old I was, or what year, but probably early to mid 1970s, and I was almost certainly around six or seven years old. My mother had married my stepdad, I now had a little sister, and we as a family had moved into our first home.
And I was now reading comics – things like The Beano, The Dandy, Whizzer and Chips, Whooppee!, and so on.
I used to keep them on top of the wardrobe in my bedroom. I’d climb up to it via a chest of drawers, not so much to get the comics down, but to sit on top of the wardrobe reading them. That sounds slightly odd when I read it back, but it is something I have a distinct memory of doing; sitting atop the wardrobe reading my comics.
Another thing I’m not sure about is how long we lived in that house – perhaps a year or two? – but we did eventually move. The next house was one in a different part of Bristol, much closer to where the families of both my mum and my stepdad lived.
As moving day approached and things were being packed up ready to be taken, I decided to get my comics down so they could be put in a box and brought along with us. I remember carrying them down into the living room, putting them on the table, and saying to my mum something like “these are for the move” – and then I went out to play with my friends.
You can now imagine that speedy-up fast forward effect – but not for too long, because we’re there already:
We’re at the new house, things are being unpacked, and I’m eager to find out where my comics are, so I can put them somewhere safe in my new bedroom.
The comics were indeed there – but not quite intact.
Nope. Not even close.
Mum had apparently assumed that I’d provided them for use as packing material. They’d been torn up to use as padding and wrapping for ornaments, crockery, etc.
As an adult, I’ve occasionally picked things up at car boot sales, jumble sales, etc. – and even sometimes from eBay. Somewhere down the line, I have picked up at least one item relating to that small comic collection – though it’s not something that would itself have been part of it:
I went through my comic book annuals last week, just to list them in a spreadsheet (as a preliminary step before putting them in a database). If I’d written this before doing so, I’d probably have said I have a few Beano and Dandy annuals, as well as one or two character specific ones, such as Dennis the Menace, The Bash Street Kids, or Desperate Dan. Apparently, though, the only one I have (at least here at home) is The Dandy Book from 1966. Ho hum.
I already had a collection of toy cars. I can remember having them before that previous house, before mum married my stepdad, when she and I lived with my grandparents. Those cars went with us to that first house, and to that second house – and the collection grew. There are a number of very specific cars I remember having, such as a ‘James Bond car’ (which I now know was the Aston Martin DB5, though I couldn’t say which specific version), and a Batmobile (the ‘proper’ Batmobile, from the 1960s TV series – that version is special!).
I don’t remember having them at our next house, though. Somewhere down the line, they simply… disappeared.
It wasn’t until I was an adult, maybe fifteen years ago, that my mum told me where they went, and why.
The ‘where?’ She gave them away. I think she said to my cousin, though I’m not sure which one (big family – I have a lot).
More annoying is the ‘why?’
Apparently – and this is something that I definitely don’t remember – I never played with those toy cars. My memory is that I did, but I was told that all I used to do was get them out, line them up, inspect or check them, then put them away again. If that’s true, it means those cars would have been kept in excellent condition while I had them… and it does make me wonder if any would have been worth anything now. (So you can see why I mentioned the DB5 and the Batmobile!)
I am a bit of a Bond fan. Not to the extent that I know every little detail about all the stories and film adaptions, and could tell you what Fleming had for lunch on the day he finished writing each book… that’s far too nerdish for me. But I do enjoy the films, and I originally read all Fleming’s books while at school. As an adult, I have all his Bond novels (more than one copy in some cases as a result of how I bought them – and I do have one that has an unusual attribute; another post, another time, perhaps). I also have a few Bond novels by John Gardner, although (from memory) I don’t have any the ones written by other authors again – though I do have other books by some of them; Jeffrey Deaver and Charlie Higson spring to mind.
And for a short while a few years ago, I did start picking up some Bond die-cast cars. In some cases, newer editions, which I’ve kept boxed and on display – but also some older, unboxed, DB5s. Just because I could.
The Star Wars comics
And finally, those Star Wars Weekly comics – which I bought from the very first issue, and kept them, though I didn’t keep the various free gifts with the early issues – at least not intact; I made and played with them.
We eventually moved from the house we lived at when I bought those – the house I effectively grew up in, living there throughout most of my childhood after those first two houses – into the one my parents still live in (and now own) today. At that house, I put those Star Wars comics into storage in the loft.
In general, I was the only person that ever ventured up into the loft. I’m not sure why that is but, typically, if someone wanted something put in or retrieved from the loft, it was me who climbed up there to stow or get it.
I actually had quite a lot of stuff of mine up there for a while – not just those comics, but all sorts.
Everything I had in that loft I at some point retrieved, whether to store elsewhere, to make use of, or to get rid of one way or another.
With one notable exception: Those Star Wars comics.
They completely vanished.
But like the cars, and that single case of The Dandy Book from 1966, I have made some purchases as an adult. None of the comics, but a couple of annuals, including the very first: