The fallibility of memory.

§ January 23rd, 2023 § Filed under how the sausage is made, scans § 20 Comments

So if you’re dumb like me and still on Twitter, you may have seen me complaining thusly:

What was this mystery scan? Well, it was from a story that ran in an issue of Action Comics Weekly, that brief period in the late 1980s when DC attempted the weekly comics thing. Overall I thought there was some good work in there, though as it wore on the contents became slightly less killer, more filler. Overall, though, it was a good run and I was kinda sorry to see it go.

Now, the scan in question that I’d thought I’d made was from one of the serialized stories in this run, in which my hometown of Oxnard, CA (“more than just a pretty name”) made a brief appearance. I couldn’t find it on this site here, and it may or may not have been posted by me during my LiveJournal days, but I didn’t see it there, either. I could have sworn I made and posted a sca of the darn thing, but evidence appears otherwise.

And as my tweet there said, I went back into the tattered remnants of the Vast Mikester Comics Archive to retrieve the issue and make a new (or first, anyway) scan of the panels.

Which brought me to my next problem. What issue was it in? I remembered it being from the Blackhawk story (as referenced in this post right here, in the post’s title even) and so my search began, poking through every issue with a Blackhawk story trying to find the darn thing.

I did seem to remember that this was the issue with the images I was looking for:

…but a check of the Blackhawk story there turned up nothing.

And thus I looked and looked and checked purt’near every Blackhawk story in this run and found nothing. But I kept looking at that particular issue of Action, as I was sure that was the issue.

I checked again, this time going through all the stories in #621, and found what I was looking for. In the Secret Six story.

Somehow I conflated the Blackhawk cover image with the pics from the Secret Six story and remembered it as “Oxnard was in the Blackhawk story.” (Or maybe I can claim it was some supernaturally-tinged Mandela Effect, get featured on some Bullshit or Not-type TV show or website and 3) Profit.)

Regardless, here’s the sequence in question, where the characters are passing through my city of residence:

Well, I mean, yes, there are oil drilling sites in the area, and while I don’t think there’s an exact location that street scene is based on, it wouldn’t be out of place:

I thought it looked a bit like part of Oxnard Boulevard, my girlfriend thought it looked like the Boulevard as well, or maybe part of Fifth Street or A Street or thereabouts. Point being, this could be in Oxnard somewhere even if it isn’t.

But it was a neat thing to see Oxnard referenced in a comic I was reading. I mean, yes, yes, there’s Love and Rockets, too, but that’s different, Love and Rockets is from Oxnard. It’s more weird to see a superhero comic, which usually base their stories in New York or Metropolis or other big real-or-imaginary cities, as opposed to cities like Oxnard usually used as punchlines by Johnny Carson (true) or ALF (also true) or referenced on Three’s Company (also also true). Not to mention an episode of Sam and Cat that takes place in town. Don’t ask how I know that.

Oh, and back to comics, I seem to remember an biographical strip by Eddie Campbell in which he makes a stopover by train in Oxnard. Kurt Busiek set one of his comics (Section Zero or Shockrockets, sorry, can’t remember, see this post’s title) in neighboring Port Hueneme, which is close but no cigar.

And that’s that…the saga of Mike’s Brain No Work and the quest to track down that scan from a story. Thanks for tolerating my self-indulgence here, and remember, Call Again and Drive Safely:

…a sign I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen around here.

from Action Comics Weekly #621 by Marty Pasko, Frank Springer and Frank McLaughlin

20 Responses to “The fallibility of memory.”

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    “the saga of Mike’s Brain No Work”

    I don’t think you give yourself enough credit, Mike. You remembered enough details about a 30+ year-old comic to track down a particular scene. That’s pretty impressive! Also, Oxnard’s a good-lookin’ town! I’d love to stop off at the sale at Anthony’s (shoe store maybe?) and then drop in at the bar next door for a beer.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Interesting that a Blackhawk story featured Oxnard. I wonder if Marty Pasko happened to pass through there…maybe on his way to visiting Howard Chaykin in Ventura? That Joe Orlando cover for Action Comics Weekly no. 621 always sort of bothered me due to Orlando –great EC Comics artist and DC Comics editor though he was–drawing Blackhawk with his arms so out of proportion compared to the rest of his body. By contrast, Alex Toth drew an excellent Blackhawk cover for Action Comics Weekly no. 616.

    How about equal time for Santa Barbara’s comic book appearances? There’s All-Star Squadron no. 33 –“The Battle of Santa Barbara” –which riffs on Japan’s WW II
    submarine shelling of the oil refineries close to Ellwood Beach and Goleta. THere must be more S.B. comic cameos. Did Dennis the Menace (who seemed to travel everywhere) ever travel to S.B.?

  • Chris V says:

    Someone didn’t read this whole essay, I’m guessing. Nuke discovered the reference was not in a Blackhawk story after all, but in the Secret Six story featured in the Action Comics issue with that Blackhawk cover. I’m not sure who was writing Secret Six at the time.

    Also, Mike, no reason to be ashamed of knowing about Sam and Cat.

  • Chris V says:

    *Mike discovered…
    I have no idea why autocorrect would fail to recognize the common name of “Mike” and decide that “Nuke” would a better alternative, but here we are, autocorrect.

  • Dave Carter says:

    Always fun (if a bit of a cognitive disconnect) to see one’s hometown show up in a super-hero story. Don Simpson is from Livonia (MI) and would sometimes set stories from his Megaton Man-adjacent comics in Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti or other SE Michigan locales.

    Then of course there was the Detroit-era JLA, which was nothing like the actual Detroit and once laughably had the secret underwater entrance to their headquarters in Lake Michigan… (a long ways from the Motor City!)

  • Chris V says:

    I checked and, coincidentally (or not?), Pasko was writing the Secret Six feature as well as Blackhawk in Action Comics.

  • Mikester says:

    BRB filing paperwork to change my name to “Nuke Sterling”

  • Sir A1! says:

    One of my faves was the early 80s DIAL H FOR HERO that was set in Fairfax, VA. DMV Represent!

  • Mikester says:

    Sir A1! – Fun fact, I used to live in Centreville, just outside of Fairfax! I was only 4-5 at the time, but I was there!

  • Mikester says:

    Jon H – I don’t know how many times I’ve driven past that building and thought about the Kirby character.

  • CP Bananas says:

    It is a treat seeing your hometown in a comic. I was living in the Quad Cities when Wild Dog premiered and Terry Beatty had really done his reference work so it was easy and fun to spot lots of local landmarks.

  • Snark Shark says:

    from M’s twitter: “The one playset I really wanted but never got, which I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, was the Droid Factor”

    I HAD THAT!!! It was a cool toy, but a couple of the parts broke surprisingly easily.
    I say buy an unsealed copy that’s probably complete or at least mostly complete!

    “A little pie-wedge of the Death Star.”

    Oh, that i actually have NOW. I found it at a garage sale for a suprisingly cheap price, LONG after it’s been common to find classic SW toys at garage sales.

    “BRB filing paperwork to change my name to “Nuke Sterling””

    Carefull! Daredevil & Captain America will come and get you!

  • Matthew says: says Oxnard shows up in Divided States of Hysteria #4 if you’re trying to track down every appearance of the city.

  • Andrew Davison says:

    It was easy to find your shop:

  • Nat Gertler says:

    If you think Nukester’s shop is in Oxnard, you are off! Way off! Way way way off! It’s, well, the next town over, in a little city that may not have appeared in Secret Six (or may have, I’m not going to check them all), but Frank Zappa mispronounces it in a song!

  • Mikester says:

    Matthew – Chaykin lives in the area, so that doesn’t surprise me! (See also.)

  • Mikester says:

    Andrew, Nat – Clearly this is a artist’s mock-up of my eventual expansion to another city.

  • Rob S. says:

    If you want to continue your ‘nard-spotting, there’s an episode of The Rockford Files (probably season 1 or 2) where Rocky is trying to get Jim to give him a lift up to Oxnard to take a look at a used truck he’s thinking of buying.

  • Roel Torres says:

    I believe Section Zero was written by Karl Kesel, not Busiek.