Comic Book Spinner Rack, May 1956
I don't remember where I got this photo, but it reminds me how much I miss the comic book spinner racks that used to be in every drug store, and quite a few supermarkets, when I was growing up in the 1970s. When did they disappear? Late '70s? I think specialty comic stores began to get better deals from the manufacturer/distributor, comic book geeks flocked there, boom. Another example of our social fragmentation.
The photo must be from around May 1956 since the Superman comic in the kid's hands is this one, which is May 1956. Other clues: The Action Comics on the rack is most likely this April 1956 one, while the real key is “Matt Slade, Gunfighter,” which only ran for four issues, all of them in, of course, 1956. The one on the rack appears to be Matt Slade #1. Collector's item!
For all the nostalgia of the photo, it was a bad time for comic books. The post-war comic bonfires of the late '40s were followed by Dr. Frederic Wertham's denunciations of how comics warped young minds (made us violent and/or gay); this was followed by U.S. Senate hearings. As a result we got the Comics Code Authority and a lot of westerns and kids comics (Little Lulu, Casper, Woody Woodpecker) as well as celebrity comics, such as “The Adventures of Bob Hope,” which ran from 1950 to 1968, believe it or not. What superheroes remained became toothless. Marvel/Timely was in fact out of the superhero biz: Its remaining hero, Capt. America, ended his run in Sept. 1954.
Kid seems happy enough, though.