“We used to be real close.”
That’s the opening line to Billy Joel’s “My Life” from the 52nd Street album, which was first released on October 12, 1978. What brought this song to mind, you wonder? It was our old friends at The Spinner Rack.
Great art & stories, at THE SPINNER RACK, Nov. 7, 1978! pic.twitter.com/0namqN6QHU
— THE SPINNER RACK (@RackSpinner) November 7, 2019
What a selection. What a time to be young and a comics fan. I know I’m repeating myself every time I look back like this, but I can’t help it—it simply must be said!
I only bought two of those off the stands at the time, ASM #189 (Feb. 1979) and Ms. Marvel #22 (Feb. 1979), but with that Ms. Marvel post still fresh in my mind from several months back, I can recall buying them together at a newsstand on Springfield Ave in Maplewood. This particular stand was a favorite of mine, as I also got my earliest Mad magazines there (as I posted about previously), among other comic gems.
Remembering that issue of ASM naturally conjured up memories of the gripping conclusion in ASM #190 (Mar. 1979), which I also bought new off the racks the next month—maybe on Springfield Ave again, or perhaps more likely the Superhero Shop at the Livingston Mall. I seem to remember leafing through it while crouched inside that giant fake TV in The Children’s Place. (Anyone else remember this? There were stairs going up into the TV on the left and a slide going back down on the right, if memory serves.) Going by Mike’s Amazing World, the release date for the issue was December 5, 1978, so I was likely there with my mother while she was Christmas shopping.
It was a great two-parter, pitting Spidey against the Man-Wolf (as dramatically revealed at the end of #189), one of the earliest foes of his I could remember in my comics-reading life. As mentioned, very gripping and a particularly emotional outing for JJJ.
My one other distinct memory attached to this comic was the Billy Joel song, which must have been heard on the radio during the car ride both to the mall and back several times.
“My Life” was the first single from the album, released late in the fall of ‘78. Some Google Fu reveals that it started flying up the charts in December, then peaked on January 6, 1979.
Once again my memory is proven correct. I can’t recall what color underwear I put on today, but I can remember the comic I was reading and the song on the radio in December of 1978. This says something about me but I’m not sure I want to know what.
…Of course I can’t hear “My Life” without also thinking of Bosom Buddies, a great sitcom favorite of my pre-teen years. “My Life” was the show’s opening theme, only it wasn’t the Joel original but a cover version with Gary Bennett on vocals and Mike Lucas on piano.
Fun Fact: Bosom Buddies premiered on Thanksgiving night 1980. We celebrated the holiday at my house that year, and I remember when the show started nobody had any idea what we were about to see. I can distinctly recall my cousin Benny declaring that the show looked really stupid and that “I’ll bet you I don’t laugh once.” I’m pretty sure he laughed at least a couple of times.
Alright, I’m rambling. I’ll stop now.
2 thoughts on ““Got a call from an old friend…””
Excellent. I’d be interested to read more ruminations about the intersection of comics and music.
You read my mind! I just added the category “Comics and Music” to make it easier to find like-themed posts. I was going to do this just for myself, if no one else, but I’m pleased to hear others are enjoying these types of articles as well!