I first read this Pete Hamill column when it was first published in the New York Daily News on June 5, 1978. In those days, I read and collected any mainstream articles about comic books that I came across, keeping them all in a three-ring binder, scrapbook-style. This piece in particular always stuck with me though, a far cry from the typical sorts of “ZAP! POW! OLD COMICS ARE WORTH MONEY!” pieces that one would usually come across. That binder full of clippings sadly disappeared over the years, and it had been literally decades since I had read this piece, though I remembered the basics of its contents well. But recently, Dr. Michael J. Vassallo, who has been collecting old newspaper comic strip sections, posted the thing in one of the Facebook groups he was a part of. And so I reproduce it here for your own enjoyment.
As a kid, though, I took entirely the wrong lessons away from this piece. The whole thing didn’t sound sad to me, but wonderful. Here was a full-grown adult who was able to continue to indulge in the passions of his youth–the same passions I myself was stoking. Far from being a cautionary tale, it provided me with proof that it was possible to be a grown-up and still read and collect comics. And while I have a wife who does understand, and my own home isn’t anywhere near as ramshackle as the one described in the article, I can still trace a direct line between Casey and myself. I don’t know that it’s healthy, or particularly wise, but it has proven to be largely a happy existence, and so I regret nothing. Thank you, Pete. Thank you, Casey.