It’s just Newt talking about his small comic book collection.  He sold almost all of his collection to fund his idiotic movie idea.  The world must see Shark Vampire.

But if it’s comic book *nostalgia* that you’re interested in, I’m bringing it.  Just rapid-fire random *nostalgia*.

I went to a comic book convention at my school when I was in like the seventh grade.  It was just kids from school in a little room in the school selling comics to other kids and possibly weird adults who wandered in.  

There was one kid who was selling the stuff unbagged and his comics were in poor condition.  Nobody was buying his stuff.  It was sad.  Maybe he was slightly poorer than most of us.

On the other end of the economic spectrum, there was a kid whose father was a lawyer and he had a huge collection that he was selling.  Like 20 boxes of shit.  I looked at the prices and said, “I’m not paying this.”  I then remonstrated with the boy’s little brother who insisted that the prices were correct and based on the Wizard price guide.  Wizard was a fairly new publication at the time.  I was still loyal to…Comics Price Guide or something so contended that those prices were more accurate.  In the end, I just decided to take my business elsewhere.

I bought an X-Force #1.  Unbagged.  That’s going for about $4 on Ebay, with the original bag.  So unbagged, I’m thinking about seventy five cents.  The retail price was $1.50.  I probably paid…I don’t know…five bucks maybe.  I didn’t even get the card that came with it.

Oh, they also had kids selling baseball cards at this thing.  Baseball cards were popular with kids of the day.  Moreso than comics by a large margin.  I was never huge into baseball cards because I was one of the few boys in my class who didn’t fucking play the game.  Almost everyone was on a Little League team.  They’d play a version of baseball at recess too where they bounced a ball against a wall.  I never played that shit either.  I also never watched a single game of baseball on tv or whatever.  Still, baseball cards were so popular that even I, somebody who had no interest or knowledge about baseball, bought baseball cards.  It was just part of American youth culture at the time.

So anyway, I’m at this baseball card/comic show…that’s what it was called.  It was a comic book show, not a “convention”, as I said earlier.  I’m not sure if they still use this term.  Comic book show.  Or baseball card show.  Do they always say “convention” now?  

But I’m at this thing with my friend and I ended up stealing a sign advertising the show.  I remember it said “Comic book show today” and some of the words were in glitter and it looked like it took a while for some kid to make this thing.  I hung it on my bedroom wall for a few years.  

It was fun going to that school at night and stealing shit.  There was just something about being in the school at night that was appealing.  There was no supervision.  It was dark inside.  Lights were usually off or only some lights were on.  It was kind of sketchy if we were even supposed to be there.  But we’d be allowed in for Cub Scout meetings or band practice or school festivals and shit.

I stole a lunch tray once but my mother made me return it.  I didn’t return it, I just threw it in an alley but that would have been a cool thing to have.  I guess.  I’m sure that I could have found some use for it.  It could have been like a tv tray.

And there was a time when we were making coupons for like 25 cents off a soft drink or something for some upcoming school bake sale.  We had to like colour in the coupons or something, I guess so that they’d be harder to forge.  

So we were doing this in class and the principal was the one overseeing the class, which is odd because I don’t remember him ever conducting a class at any other time.  And holy shit, everybody was pocketing these coupons.  I don’t know if it was 25 cents off or if it was a free beverage or what but everybody was stealing these things.  You’d colour one for the school for every three that you put in your pocket.

Then one stupid kid raised his hand and asked, “What would you do if somebody stole these?” and the principal said, “You’d have to be pretty low to steal from your own school.”  Trying to guilt us with school spirit.  He knew that everybody was stealing these coupons.

I never even fucking used them.  Who cares?  Free drinks at a school bake sale.  But as a kid, it seemed like we were really getting away with something.

Those school-wide bake sales were pretty lame but even lamer were like the bake sales that were just done by one grade.  The school wide stuff was ostensibly open to the public, but I think only parents came, and done at night.  But the bake sales that were organised by just one grade were student-only and done during class time.  So each grade would get like 15 minutes off to do some shopping for baked goods and we’d have to sit there and sell our shitty popcorn balls or whatever for 25 cents each.

No, wait.  That can’t be right.  I’d remember having to endure that kind of humiliation.

No, I think what it was is that everybody would put their baked goods on a table and then people would pick stuff up that they liked from the table.  So you didn’t actually have to hawk your own wares. 

And then all of the fucking money goes to the school.  So you have your parents bake this shit, put it in a container that you probably won’t get back, and then the school gets every penny.  For what?  The school didn’t do any of this.  If I was able to keep the money, or at least some of it, that would make a lot more sense.  It would also encourage people to make a good product and actively sell it.  

Although, I guess overseeing this would be a problem.  You’d have to keep track of what sold.  That’s just basic recordkeeping, though.  But it would be children doing this.  And it would be rife with corruption.  They’d end up saying that their friends sold more stuff than they actually did and shit like this.  So maybe it’s for the best that there was no profit motive for the students.

I remember that there was a girl in the fifth grade whose family was moving and she was going to change schools but she still had a book checked out from the school library.  And our teacher was really getting on her about returning this book.  The girl would promise that she was going to return it but always “forgot”.  She was obviously going to steal it but who really gives a shit?  It’s a shitty library book.  Eventually, through constant guilting and belittling by this teacher, the girl returned the book.  I looked her up on Facebook years ago and she was in the military.  I assume that she’s not doing that any more but at one point, she was in the military.

There was also a children’s book that had the word “Dick” in the title that we would check out as like a dare.  We were in like the fifth or sixth grade and this book was for first graders.  It was just because the book had the word “Dick” in it that we thought it was funny.  So a different kid would check it out every week until the librarian got suspicious, condemned us, and said that this book is for small children.  She had to know what was up, though.  

There was another book that allegedly had a picture of a topless woman in it.  It was a book on like legends and myths and whatever, sort of like a book about Atlantis and shit like this.  Apparently, there was a picture in the book of a topless witch.  I don’t know if this was some kind of National Geographic African thing or what.  But we knew that this book had a picture of a topless woman in it and we would all run to that book every week to try to be the one who was able to check it out.

I wasn’t a competitive sort of guy, I didn’t like all of the pushing, so I just waited.  I waited until the hype died down and people forgot about it.  Then one day, I saw the book and I casually checked it out.  

I’m in the hallway, we’re at our lockers, and I say to somebody, “Hey, remember that book with the topless woman in it?  I got it..”  A fucking riot ensues.  They take the book from me and start passing it around.  I’m yelling at them to quiet down and give me the book back.  Nothing doing.

Then a girl snatches the book away and says, “I’m sick of this book” and says that she’s going to bring it to the teacher.  I’m begging her not to do it.  My pleas are ignored.  I never had any problem with this girl and I was a well behaved kid so I tell her, “It’s my book”, hoping to appeal to my good character.  She just says, “Well, then you’re the one who’s going to get in trouble” and brings it to the teacher.

The teacher has it for a while and then tells me to collect the book after class.  I expected to get in trouble but no, nothing happened.  She just gave me the book back. 

I now had this book that had the topless woman in it.  I had it at home.  I remember having the book, looking at the checkout history (you had to sign your name on a piece of cardboard every time you checked the book out) and laughing at how many times one particular kid checked this book out.  It was the kid whose father was a lawyer, who I mentioned earlier.  By the way, that kid became a lawyer at the same little family firm as his father.  Never accomplished anything on his own.

So I’m flipping through the pages looking for this topless woman and…nothing.  Either the teacher cut out the page or this thing just next existed.  

That girl was a bitch.  I remember there was another occasion, this was in the seventh or eighth grade, and we had a priest talking to us about jacking off and going to Hell.  He said, “What if you’re a boy who saw pornography and you keep having intrusive thoughts about it?”  It was some existential question about should you go to Hell for thinking about naked ladies even if you try really hard not to think about naked ladies.  

So this girl raises her hand and says, “Well, he shouldn’t have watched that stuff in the first place.”  You could almost hear the groans.  We’d all watched porn and now this girl is condemning us to Hell.  

The priest wasn’t even going for it.  “No, but the boy is trying really hard not to think about it.  Doesn’t that mean –”  No.  The girl was really argumentative.  She insisted that if you ever watched pornography, you’re going straight to Hell.  

This was made all the worse because this was the hottest girl in class.  Objectively.  She won the end of school award for hottest girl in class.  

She got a job working in an electric company or something, last I checked.  She was single with no children.  Nobody met her lofty standards, I guess.  She only dates guys who never looked at pornography.

So that’s Newt Wallen talking about comic books.

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