Let me read you from the comics!

I have wonderful friends who share the most amazing things. This ad from the Ft. Lauderdale Sunday News announces a Sunday radio show where “Uncle Bill Smith” reads the comics over the radio for kids who either don’t have the paper, or who can’t read yet.

This brilliantly old-fashioned thing reminded another friend of Fiorello Mayor La Guardia of New York City, who read the funnies over the radio during newspaper strikes of the 1930s, and “The Comic Weekly Man” (which ran on Mutual 1947-1954), with Lon Clark and Cecil Roy.

I was reminded of this photograph, with Flemish comics superstar Willy Vandersteen reading one of his Suske en Wiske books to his eldest children, Lenie and Robert. And of course of the countless hours that my granddad and parents used to read comics to me, until long after I was able to read myself. I don’t think I did this often with my children — I read lots of books and stories to them, but comics I thought a bit difficult.

Ah well, another good reason to open a bottle of melancholy.

(Vandersteen photograph from “Ik vier het elke dag” by Erik Durnez © 1978, NV Scriptoria Antwerpen)

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