Friday, June 16, 2006

From the 60s on, I have been a comic book fan. My favorite comics were Justice League. Every summer the Justice League would team up with the Golden Age Justice Society. From the first team up I ever read, I have been fascinated by the heroes of the late 30s and 40s. Roy Thomas came along and wrote The Invaders. Back then, finding comics in Fredericksburg was a hit or miss affair. The local store might get every issue of a Batman and Superman, and maybe even Spider-man, but it seldom got every issue of anything else. Nonetheless, I enjoyed The Invaders. When Thomas went over to DC and create All-Star Squadron, I was living in Austin close to a comic shop and bought the entire run, along with all the back issues of The Invaders. The All-Star Squadron, made their headquarters in the Trylon and Perisphere on the 1939 World's Fair Grounds.

I suppose Raiders of the Lost Ark, Bring 'em Back Alive, and Tales of the Gold Monkey fed this fascination with all things 30s.

Last month, at the local library book sale, I picked up 1939: The Lost World of the Fair by David Gelernter. Decorated with the Trylon and Perisphere, I couldn't stop myself from picking it up.

Now, halfway through, I have to say that I'm impressed. It's an odd amalgam of social criticism, history and love story that is oddly compelling. Gelernter tells the story of a young couple touring the fair, mixing it with the history of the fair and the pavilions, and his anti-modern societal commentary. While I expected a walk through of the fair, and the book falls short on that, I didn't expect to find myself learning so much about the customs of the 30s, and I couldn't be happier.


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