Eventually my brother and I ran out of DC and Marvel comics to read, having digested and regurgitated the boxes and boxes of my father’s 50’s and 60’s comics. By regurgitate we mean plagiarize. In the summer breaks between grade school years each of us would create our own comic book. Mine was Power Turtle, obviously with all the powers of Superman. Soon his group of super friends grew in number, each one with a super power uncannily similar to those of the Legion of Superheroes, engaged in adventures uncannily identical to those of the Legion of Superheroes. What once started as original stories eventually devolved into outright plagiarism from the Legion stories, written by Edmund Hamilton and Jim Shooter. Looking back the only difference is that Power Turtle does not seem to have a similar sense of justice and morality—whenever he catches bad guys he throws them all to the sun. My brother’s comic book was Power Duck. He also plagiarized the Legion. Hence where the Legion had Ferro Lad he would have Ferro Doggie. Who also died saving the universe from the Sun-Eater.
We would eventually reread everything, but in the interim there was nothing else new to read, not having any money or opportunity even to buy the new comic books of our generation. The only things left to read were Funny Comics, featuring Niknok Manok and the Planet of the Apes. I’m not sure if anyone even remembers Funny Comics, all I know is that the stories weren’t very funny. Like Archie. Nothing really hilarious, but they pass the time. Planet of the Apes had a character called Garutay. I told this to my mother and she told me never to say that name again, ever. Apparently Garutay is some name never to be spoken of. I never figured out why. And since my mother never reads this blog: Garutay garutay garutay.
Soon enough I was able to get my hands on Kilabot comics, obviously featuring horror stories. They seemed fascinating, and every story seemed to be obsessed with something naaagnas. Always, in every story, something is naaagnas. I remember a haunted house story where one by one the family members were killed. The aunt was killed thru dancing. Yes, dancing. The ghosts or something instructed her to dance, and she did endlessly until she died from exhaustion. I think she danced in the nude. That was the extra fascination—there’s always someone taking a shower, or some white lady in a magic kamison, or someone dying while in the act of fornicating. This, of course, I would also plagiarize. I created a female character called Sakgona. I don’t know how I came up with the name, but Sakgona is this haunted house girl or something who perpetually seduces some guy and kills him. The 2nd feature in my comic book features Versit. A guy with a chainsaw. And a hockey mask. Yes, I was also watching Friday the 13th in Betamax back then. The only unique thing about Versit is his origin. You see, in Versit’s “Secret Origin”, a woman is in the public market, looking for clothes. She sees a nice looking T-shirt and she wants to buy it, not noticing that inscribed on the front of the shirt is, gasp, the number 666! As she takes the shirt from the hanger, hockey-masked Versit springs out from the t-shirt wielding a chainsaw and chainsaws her to death.
In Developmental Psychology back in college I learned that illustrating and creating visual art are inherent in all children. Every child uses pens and crayons, and it is only in the process of growth when they discover that they are not gifted in that manner—ie, they suck—that they stop drawing. I suck in drawing, so I eventually stopped. But not before completing 14 notebooks worth of original and plagiarized Power Turtle. My father apparently valued these Power Turtle, Power Duck, and Sakgona/Versit comic books, as he had neatly boxed them, the boxes now sitting safely beside the boxes and boxes of classic Action Comics, Superman, and Legion of Superheroes. Cool.