Tag Archives: bikes

Willie The Ice Cream Man

19 Mar

March 19, 2018

I was going through my last few remaining comics. I once had 32 short boxes full of comics. Each box holds around 200 issues, more or less, so that’s 6,400 comics. But I had many loose ones in stacks on shelves, probably at least three more boxes full, so that’s around 7,000 comics. Over the last few years I sold or gave away nearly all of them. I have just about 65 comics left. Yes, I downsized 6,935 comics.  So those 65 comics amount to around .0085% of what I used to have. But each one has a meaning or a sentimental value. I kept them not because they are valuable (a couple are, most are not) but because they all have a story, not between the covers, but behind them.

To drive home the point, where I once had hundreds and hundreds of Batman comics I now own exactly 5.

These are my two favorites.

Detective Comics 406 and 409, published in 1970 and 1971. In the condition in which I own them they are worth around $15 – $20 each.

But they only cost me 25 cents each, and that’s the background of this story.

It was around 1980, maybe as early as 1978, maybe as late as 1983, but I date it to 1980 because I distinctly remember riding my bike up and down the street pretending it could fly like the motorcycles on Galactica 1980

It was summer, of course. There was no better time to be a kid than in the summer. We had an ice cream man who came every summer day in the afternoon, and when school started he came around a little later after we were home. His name was Willie and we all knew him because we were kids and what kid doesn’t love ice cream? He peddled around the neighborhood on an old fashioned ice cream cart, basically a bicycle with a freezer in the front.

He’d jingle the bells on the handlebars and we’d hear him coming down the block. Since I and my brother lived in an apartment building (we were city boys) we didn’t have time to run all the way upstairs to get money. We’d just yell for our mother to come to the window. “MOM! MOOOOOM!” Half the mothers in the building would look out the window to see if it was their kid yelling. But our mother would come to the window and we’d yell “the ice cream man is coming!” and she’d put some money in a can or a box and she’d toss it out the fifth floor window to us. We never caught it though. We’d always have to crash through the bushes in the front of our building to retrieve it. 

So now we’d yell “Willie! Ice cream! Over here!” and he’d peddle over to us, jingling all the way, to borrow a phrase. But this is the best part. Not only would we get ice cream, we’d get comic books too. Willie had a box somehow lashed to the back of his bike with old comic books. They were old even then, and he sold them for a quarter apiece. 

Was there ever a better summer day? Playing outside, riding bikes, eating ice cream, reading comic books. This is what a kid’s life should be.

So when it came time for me to pare down my comic collection the two Batman issues had to stay. Sure the covers are great, and yes, I like the stories, but I had gotten rid of issues with better covers and better stories. But none of them had a story that I was part of, that reminded me of the days of my youth. There are very few comics that I distinctly remember buying and reading when I was a kid, and not many that put a smile on my face, so these two issues are keepers.

(The Incredible Hulk 216, which I bought new from the corner candy store is another, and yes, I still have that one too.)



And by the way, here are the flying motorcycles I used to pretend I was riding. 


Before I go, one quick ice cream man story. One day Willie was not there, and someone else was driving the cart. He was coming down the block, ringing his bell. We started calling out “ice cream man! Ice cream man!” and waving to him.

He looked at us and, with a big smile, waved back. And kept on going.

We didn’t get ice cream that day. 


Death Rides an American Chopper. (Senior vs. Junior Week 4)

3 Sep

September 3, 2010

Was it the Black Widow bike?

They say that life imitates art. This week, American Chopper Sr. vs. Jr. copied a comic book. Specifically, it was the cover of The Adventures of Superman 481.

In a real world tragedy, a workman who was fixing the roof of Paulie’s new shop fell through a hole to his death on the concrete floor below. His name was not released, but The Editor’s and Staff of Mr. Blog’s Tepid Ride wish to send their deepest condolences. No one’s death should be fodder for either a reality show or a silly blog.

But as Vince McMahon said, the show must go on.

The usual comic book antics took an even sillier twist this week when it was revealed that Mikey’s assistant, hired to organize, well, everything about Mikey, was discovered to be legally blind, leaving Mikey no choice but to drive around his assistant on the assistant’s errands. (Did I mention that his license was suspended three months ago? No I did not. I could not make this up if I tried.)

What Mikey did not realize is that his new employee, Matt Murdoch, is secretly the blind superhero Daredevil, the man without fear.

Tragically, even Daredevil was unable to prevent the terrible events about to unfold, as the war between the Teutuls was about to take its first fatality.

While fixing Paulie’s roof, a workman succumbed to the fumes from all of Mikey’s open paint cans and fell through a hole in the roof.

Death, on his customized OCC chopper, rode in and not even the Man Without Fear could  prevent his death.

Paulie, grief stricken, called in his very creepy pastor to counsel the crew. The pastor showed up, waved around a paperback that may or may not have been a book about Roswell but was definitely not a Bible, muttered some new age aphorisms, and vanished in a puff of smoke.

Oh, and three days later Paul Sr. called to see what’s up.

%d bloggers like this: