subtitled: How Comic Books Made A Spelling Champ Out Of Me

Panel from Marvel Comics’ The Avengers No. 133, March 1975 – written by Steve Engelhart, art by Sal Buscema

As I wrote about briefly here, I started reading a lot of comic books starting around the 4th Grade and lasting until, oh, late this morning.

The comics series that I more-or-less most into early on were the Avengers and Spider-Man. Now these are both hit movies. Both of these I would collect via on-going (new) series and via their reprint titles Marvel Triple Action and Marvel Tales, respectively.

About a year ago, I moved my ~4,000 issue comic book collection from my brother Matt’s garage to my place. This probably wasn’t wise, because instead of letting them remain untouched by human hands, I’ve been re-reading nearly all of them. Unfortunately most of the issues, including most of the Avengers, don’t hold as much interest for me as they did in their day. Though I then eagerly bought new issues and sought out back issues of the Avengers… today I re-read them and it seems like a great deal of the plotting is pretty flimsy, and most of the art is unremarkable.

Nonetheless I think they were a good influence on me at the time. 

I recently came across the above panel from Avengers No. 133, from March 1975 when I was in 6th Grade in elementary school. It’s the Vision, a red-faced android avenger, who hasn’t yet appeared in movies. I distinctly remember this panel, because when I read it, I didn’t know the word “suffice.”  Suffice is merely the verb form of the word sufficient, which I am pretty sure I did know then… but I remember suffice was in that panel twice, and I didn’t know what it meant so, I looked it up in the dictionary.

That means means that comics got me to learn vocabulary – though probably most of the new words were stuff like apocalypse, Armageddon, Mjolnir, miscreant, paladin, etc.

I also remember an early 7th grade spelling test – I think for placement. I did well at spelling, and I think I was one of the only kids who got the word “annihilate” correct.

’nuff said.


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