Horror movies came to me the same way that comic books did — from my older brother, John. He was the guy who brought home the Western and war comics some of which I still have and present to you now and again in this column. He also ruled the television dial of the family’s black and white set flicking between half a dozen broadcast channels bringing my young eyes a dizzying televisual array of horror, war and Western movies with the occasional Jerry Lewis comedy thrown in just to add a little variety. I was too young to touch the TV so John who is almost 10 years older was the curator of the cathode ray tube. It was glorious. He flipped the tuner through snippets of shows that still haunt me to this day. My brother is probably why I like what I like, however, I think I liked the horror movies more than he did.
Watching The Thing From Another World or The Black Scorpion or the truly terrifying War of the Worlds always stuck with me. They were scary, but fascinating, and an obsession grew. I loved monster movies.
When Aurora re-released their movie monster kits with alternate glow-in-the -dark heads, hands or claws in the early ’70s, I was solidly on board. My younger brother and I had them all except the skeleton prisoner guy and the witch. God, I loved those kits. I didn’t do such a hot job painting them using hobby shop paint straight from the bottle and the cheapest brushes I could find ( I think they came twenty to a plastic bag at the super market and they shed like crazy.) It didn’t matter — I loved the process.
The model kit ad appeared in Detective Comics No. 408 featuring Batman and Robin. It was published in 1970. My brother John probably bought this for me as well. I remember being disappointed that Batman and Robin appeared separately in two different stories in the book. They weren’t together, and it was nothing like the Adam West TV series which I cherished and was still running in reruns at the time. What gives? Where was the climatic slugfest? I couldn’t imagine a Nelson Riddle soundtrack running through this gothic mystery.