That colorful wall.

This was my very first comic book store, Fairmount Market.

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Amidst the sundries and the beer & soda coolers and a deli counter in that back that made (and still makes to this day) some great sandwiches (best sub rolls in the city), they had one tiny rack of comics near the register. Not even a spinner, just one that hung on the wall and displayed maybe a dozen or fewer different books. And there was never any consistency to what they'd get. Sometimes you'd see Superman or Batman or G.I. Joe or whatever, and then months would pass before you'd ever see an issue of those books again, their spots being filled in the meantime by Richie Rich or The Fury of Firestorm.

Not that that mattered in the slightest. I was just happy to get the chance to get a comic book... who cared what it was? Marvel's Greatest Comics was as good as Archie's Pals & Gals or Super Friends. Not that I didn't have my preferences. I'd have to get Adventure Comics if they had it... Aquaman, Plastic Man, and Starman in the same book? Definitely. Always had to grab Captain Carrot if they had it, too, ahead of even Superman or Batman.

A few years later, I'd discover the comparably enormous selection at the local Mr. Paperback location, which seemed to get everything - or at least everything I had ever heard of at age 8 or 9, anyway - on a monthly basis, and that's when the collector bug really bit me. And a few years past that, Bangor finally got it's first dedicated comic book store, Wizard of Comics, at which point I was a goner.

But I miss the simplicity of that lone rack at Fairmount Market, and the days when genre and even title didn't matter. It was all just comics.

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