Friday, September 23, 2016

Collecting Comic Books & Sports Cards

Memories & Nostalgia

Comic Books (1960s): Action Comics Vol 1: No, 321 (February 1965). This came out in the middle of what is called the Silver Age (1956–1972) of comic books. It is more than likely that I bought this issue for 12 cents, since in the 1960s, I bought comic books weekly at the corner kiosk not far from my house and Action Comics and Superman was always on top of my list. By the time I donated my sizable collection in 1982, I had close to 500 comic books. No one I knew then viewed comic books as collectibles potentially worth a lot more than we paid for them.
Image Credit & Source: DC-Wikia

Both superheroes and sports heroes (or athletes) had a prominent place in my life, particularly during my adolescent years, while growing up in the 1960s and ’70s. I have written previously on why superheroes are important for our society. In the article (“Why We Need Superheroes;” February 4, 2011), I then wrote: 
A Superhero is the Universal Man, not bound by nation or state, but by the universal principles, similar to those enshrined on the United Nations Charter. The Superhero is the Modern morality play, where Everyman is replaced by a unique individual who has special powers, super powers that are a testament to his virtues of good[ness], honesty and justice. He is often the caped crime-fighter, whose true identity is kept secret. His day job is far different than his evening crime-fighting duties, sometimes diametrically opposed (a la Clark Kent and Superman)
Like many, Superman was my favourite superhero, having all the virtues that one should have. My view on superheroes has remained the same, although I no longer collect comic books. 

Sports heroes, on the other hand, are humans of exceptional athletic ability. We watch them, and marvel at their abilities. Those of us who have lesser abilities wish we were able to do the things they can do with a ball, a puck, a bat, a stick, a racquet, or with an arm or a leg or a head. 

In another post, I wrote about how sports fans still want sporting competitions to be fair. In the article (“The Good Sport;” December 10, 2010), I then said:
Mr. Lapham, the noted writer and former long-time editor of Harper's Magazine, explains in his poetic fashion why we delight in sport. The battle. The competition. The heroic efforts. All of this is taking place in a controlled fashion. But we also wants fairness and integrity. An unfair contest casts doubt on the validity of the results and destroys the illusion of innocence. This makes the playing field uneven and tarnishes the game.
Sports is now viewed as entertainment, and some of us old-timers can bemoan this fact, since money can corrupt athletes, as so many stories in the media report. Athletes are not superheroes, but, rather, humans with exceptional athletic abilities, and not necessarily having the moral or ethical standards to match. Yet, one of my sports heroes was Jean Beliveau [1931–2014], a professional hockey player (1950–71) with the Montreal Canadiens who was without a doubt up to the task. There were a number of such examples then in professional sports.

Perhaps it is unrealistic to expect athletes today to be viewed as role models. It might be that money has changed sports, destroying any and all illusions of innocence. In so many cases, the athletes are young and are untested and ungrounded in the area of moral decision-making; thus, they get caught up in the unbounded and unchecked excitement of the high life that money and fame can purchase. Yet the best of the athletes in all professional sports know how to play within the boundaries of legal competition. 

This can still be “magic.”

Trading Cards: Some of the hockey and baseball trading cards in my collection: from the late 1960s to the early 1970s still in my possession. None are in vintage condition, which would make them collectibles. No one I knew viewed them as anything other than trading cards. Cards came in packs of 10 and cost a dime per pack; it came with a flat rectangular piece of pink gum.
Photo Credit & Source: ©Perry J. Greenbaum, 2016

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