When I was a small child, we’d go visit the various museum-y things through-out London. I’d really enjoy trips to places like the Cutty Sark, and HMS Belfast. From this, my parents understood that I’d like a future in the navy (or similar). I don’t remember every expressing that, but to be honest, I was a child, so I’m sure I wanted to be pretty much everything. They managed to get me into a specialised school, with a slant towards Naval based activities. (Sailing, Rowing, Nautical studies etc). The only real issue with this being that the school was located about 15 miles from home, so from the age of 11 I was travelling in to the centre of London by train every day. As a parent, this would freak me the hell out if my kids needed to do that, but it was a different time (and I’m pretty sure it freaked my mum out back then.)
In Primary school, I was bullied pretty badly. During school time, I’d often be punched in the stomach/face, and after school groups of kids would try and catch up with me to beat the snot out of me. I became a pretty fast runner to avoid this, and in my last year of Primary school I fought back a few times. It slowed the bullying, but was always a thought in the back of my mind.
With the thought of going to a school that had no children in from my primary school, I threw myself into the concept of travelling so far each day.
Trains ran every half an hour, and to make sure I was on time for school, I left myself plenty of space with train time tables, in case of cancellations. I was often at school an hour ahead of time. This meant I’d have an hour to kill either in the playground, or on the way from the station to the school.
I’d often spend 20 mins of this in the WH Smiths shop on the way in. They had a small comics section, which would have the main superhero comics. Superman, Spiderman, Xmen & Batman. I couldnt afford to buy them, but if I was sneaky, I could look like I was browsing, and read the entire comic.
Whilst I enjoyed all of these comics, the one that spoke most to me was Batman. This was a hero, rather than a super hero. His power didnt lie in super powers, but instead in how he approached things. Sure having shedloads of money, and training in various martial arts helped, but technically these are things anyone can get!
When I finished school, and started working, I started buying Batman comics. The guys at the local comic book store pimped out other stories, and I started collecting these too. At my comics collecting height, I was spending 30-40 pounds a week on comics. (thats about 10ish issues a week). I amassed a collection of aroun 1500 comics before I realised I couldnt really afford to keep buying comics. Real life got in the way, so I had to stop.
However, over the years, I’ve still managed to sneak in the occasional comic/graphic novel, and I’m still up to date with what Batman does.
He turned 75 today, I must say, he’s looking good for his age! Happy Birthday Batman, from someone who’s grown up with you, and whos kids are now doing the same!