Wednesday, May 30, 2007

May, 1977

This is another post that I should have (would have) posted last Friday had I not been preparing for my vacation.

My first Legion issue was Superboy 212, which was on the stands in July 1975. I was almost 9 years old. It wasn't too long after that it became my favorite book, the one I looked forward to the most each month (even in the skip months).

On May 16, 1977, the final issue of Superboy came out (according to Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics) - the next issue was the "giant-sized" issue 231 of Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes. Too bad the cool Mike Grell cover was better than the story inside. Jim Sherman turned out to be a pretty good penciller, but I never liked Jack Abel's inks, they always tended to dominate whoever did the pencils. It also had the story of how Bouncing Boy gained his powers back (with much better pencils by Mike Nasser).

That was on a Monday. A week later, all anyone could talk about was this movie with lots of great advance buzz called "Star Wars" that was opening on Wednesday, May 25.

I didn't get to see it until Saturday. By that time people were trying to see it a second time or even third time. The lines famously stretched around the block. At the Menlo Park Cinema in Edison NJ where I grew up, the line wrapped more than once around the theater. I was almost 11 years old, and I went with my 8 year old sister to see an early afternoon show. It was sold out, so we bought tickets for the next one, which was a dinnertime show and walked back home. My dad was upset at us for buying those tickets, since that meant we'd have to eat dinner much earlier than we usually did. But we did, and we went to the movie. We had to sit all the way up the balcony to find a spot where my sister could see.

I was blown away by the opening scene and stayed there the whole movie. (My sister, who was so impressed that she still hasn't seen the movie since then.)

I managed to see Empire and Jedi on opening day, and I even did all three prequels at the midnight show.

I think that even at such an early age, that movie changed my life. I had been enthralled by the Skylab astronauts in 1973-74 and the Apollo-Soyuz hook-up in 1975 (I even built the Revell model for that one!), and I had just discovered Star Trek reruns. I thought that movie was so cool that I decided I wanted to be an astronaut (whereas my friend Mark Bernard decided he wanted to go to film school to make movies like that). I never made it there (Mark never did either), but that set in motion a chain of events that brought me to where I am today.

Has it really been 30 years since the movie came out? The 2-screen movie theater has been long since torn down, replaced with a Macaroni Grill restaurant. The 7-11 where I bought my comics, though, is still there, but they don't have a spinner rack any more. But nothing can match the wonder of that 11-year-old mind, though. And adding special effects and making Greedo shoot first doesn't change that.


MaGnUs said...

Nice memories Michael. As a Star Wars fan, as well as a LSH one, I share the happy birthday feelings.

Since I was born in 1980, I know I only saw ROTJ in the theather (my mom tells me she took me), but sadly, I don't remember that.

I hope I can keep my son (2 years and a half, an already a Star Wars fan) ignorant of the fact that Vader is Luke's dad, so when he's about 5 or 6, we can sit down and watch the original trilogy, and I can vicariously live through him that amazing suprise.

Greybird said...

A delightful memoir, Michael. I remember avoiding the crowds in mid-June of '77, right after I graduated from high school, to see "Star Wars" on a screen built for Cinerama. Now, that was a trip, never equaled in any venue (or episode) since! My ex-girlfriend sold me the popcorn {sigh} ...

Tamara said...

What is it about that issue of Superboy & the LSH? 212 was my first issue as well. I believe it was purchased while on vacation and I was also 9. Wacky. I was hooked from that moment on and have been a die-hard Legion fan ever since.

ahtitan said...

How odd. I, too, cherish issue 212. I only occasionally got comics when I was a kid, and that was the only Legion comic I ever got, but I remember it fondly. My current liking for the Legion in things like Heroclix is directly due to that issue, and I even did a mod of Night Girl!