Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven!
Bicentennial celebrations in every city.
Silent Movie, Murder by Death, The Omen
Welcome Back Kotter, Barney Miller, Bob Newhart,
"Afternoon Delight," "You Should Be Dancing," "Shake Your Booty"
The Heritage of Hastur, A Midsummer Tempest, Interview with the Vampire
Camping in Minnesota, where I got on my knees in a cute boy's room.
My first sexual experience, with Todd the Violinist at music camp.
But it was impossible to get in Rock Island. The price of new comics had gone up from 15 to 30 cents in just two years, and would double again by 1979. Schneider's Drug Store and Readmore Book World no longer stocked them.
If you managed to get a ride to the Mall, you could find a few scattered titles at the Waldenbooks, but nothing reliable - and you had to listen to a clerk's snarky "Going to do a little heavy reading tonight?"
Then I heard through the grapevine that a store specializing in comic books, the Comics Cave, had opened on 19th Avenue in Moline, about a mile from my house.
An easy summer walk.
I didn't have any friends who were still into comic books, so one Thursday afternoon in August, I walked down by myself: 20th Avenue to 46th Street, up to 19th Avenue, across the border into Moline, past the A&W, the Eagle Supermarket, the Belgian Village where we often stopped for Vander Reubens, and finally to the Comics Cave.
Plus a box of discards, including a lot of Four-Color Dell titles from the 1950s.
I was in heaven!
I brought a pile of comics, enough to clean out my allowance, up to the counter.
Moment of truth: would the clerk let me buy Archie, Harvey, and Gold Key comics without ridicule?
Yep -- no jabs, no digs, no "got some heavy reading to do tonight?"
I became a regular, stopping in at least once a week, usually on Thursdays when the new issues came out, through high school and college, until I moved away to go to grad school in Bloomington.
Chad, the owner, wasn't really attractive, a little chunky, with a sharp face, an intolerably big nose, and a red beard.
But the customers were exclusively male. A scattering of little kids and adults, but mostly high school and college-age boys.
A science major in tight jeans leafing through back issues of The X-Men.
Two tall, thin, androgynous guys, obviously boyfriends, making plans to go to the Chicago Comic-Con and meet Stan Lee.
Chad and a cute redhead discussing whether the new Captain America tv series lived up to the comic book.
No discussions of girlfriends, no interrogations about which actress you would like in your bed, no "isn't that woman hot?"
A roomful of guys looking at, thinking about, and talking about muscular men.
It was like a gay bar, without the hookups.
No wonder I went back week after week.
The uncensored post, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood.