I grew up in the 70s and 80s and comic books were the devil, at least according to teachers and grown-ups. But comics were what taught me to read faster, better, and more importantly: more. And I have my Grampy to thank.
From Depot News to Flo’s Variety
Chris Brogan and his grandfather
My grandfather was a candy salesman, who had a route that covered the capital city of Maine, Augusta. When I begged and pleaded enough, he’d take me along. We’d visit all the places where candy was sold (besides big grocery stores), and back then, that was the Greyhound bus depot (Depot News), and the little drug store on Sand Hill (Flo’s Variety).
Back then, every place that sold candy sold comics. There weren’t “comic book shops.” And Grampy would get hit up for buying comics at almost every one of these stops. I wanted “serious” comics, even though I was five or six. That meant Justice League and Batman and Spider-Man. I had a scary one with Morbius: The Living Vampire, and sometimes a Casper the Friendly Ghost comic got snuck in somehow.
I’d pore over every detail, ask questions about tricky words. (At five, most of the words were tricky.) Sometimes, I’d “fake it” and tell my version of the stories based on the pictures. Batman pulled on the popcorn vendor’s face only to discover it was actually the Riddler hiding in a costume! That doesn’t need a whole lot of narration. But it let me tie pictures to words.