Thursday, April 2, 2020

Florida Trip Day Eight/Nine: Comics in Miami, plus Thoughts on Trump's Nightly Game Show

We are into the second week of shelter in place during the coronavirus crisis. Trump is on the airwaves every night now, thinking he is the host of a high-rated game show called The COVID-19 Hour, sponsored by the MyPillow guy. Trump probably said to him, "Make me some masks and I'll give you free airtime." After an advert for MyPillows and the Bible, Trump plays Wheel of Ventilators. Governors line up at the wheel, spin it and whoever kisses his ass the most gets the biggest amount of medical supplies. Yamiche Alcindor and Jim Acosta try to get him to answer questions, but he just wants happy talk and compliments.

The governor of Florida has finally broken down and ordered a statewide stay-at-home restriction after allowing reckless spring breakers and beachgoers to spread the coronavirus. (And the even stupider governor of Georgia apparently didn't know the disease can be transmitted before you start to
show symptoms.) Will the sunshine state ever return as a tourist destination? I'm glad I was able to enjoy it before the crisis hit. The final two days of my Florida trip were spent with relatives of my husband Jerry in Miami, relaxing after running around Orlando with my brother Jonathan. Friday we drove down to the Florida Keys which I understand is now sealed off to outsiders. Saturday I wanted to drive to a comic store I had visited on my last trip.

A & M Comics is located on a street with a bird's name in Miami. You can miss it if you didn't know it's there. There are crude paintings of superheroes on whitewashed walls and it's right next to a gas station. On the inside, it's like an episode of Hoarders or someone's garage with overflowing boxes everywhere. There were lots of hard-to-find Silver Age comics to fill gaps in my collection at not-unreasonable prices. My favorite purchase was Detective Comics #282 in fair condition. This one is from 1960 during Batman's outer-space phase when the Dynamic Duo were regularly visited by aliens. I also bought a Star Wars Christmas ornament for $10. After about two hours of sifting through long boxes and moving piles around, I made my purchases. The owner told me there was going to be a comic-book convention the next day at the Miami Airport Hotel and he was getting an award for service to the Miami-area comic book community. (I also bought a Star Wars Christmas ornament for $10.) I told him congratulations and said I would try to attend--I could actually make it before my flight back to NYC.

At Books and Books in Coral Gables, FL
Later that day Jerry and I drove to Coral Gables and had a late lunch at bookstore-cafe called Books and Books. I had a lovely ceviche and browsed among the stacks. That night we all went to a Spanish restaurant for tapas. Sunday was my last day in Florida and after a dip in our hosts' swimming pool, I did drive to the Airport Hotel for the Miami Comic Book convention. It was fun and I found lots of bargains--cheaper than at A&M Comics. The convention was mostly people selling comics. I said hi to the owner of A&M and there was one person doing Cosplay--a young woman dressed as Power Girl. It was a special thrill to come across a bunch of Mystery in Spaces and Strange Adventures. I love 1950s and 1960s sci-fi with their weird predictions for our future--one story takes place on New Year's Eve 1999 and foretells we will be living on colonies throughout the galaxy. These books included amusing series such as Star Hawkins, 21-century private eye and his robot secretary Ilda, along with Atomic Knights, survivors of a atomic war in the year 1986. Another great find was Adventure #232 from 1957 when Superboy was the main feature. Also included were Aquaman and Green Arrow.

After returning from the convention, Jerry and I had time to stroll along a street fair and have a nice lunch at a sidewalk cafe. Then we returned to NYC on separate flights and life returned to normal. Now I wonder what life is like now for all the people we encountered in Florida. I read the SeaWorld laid off 80 percent of its staff. What are all the Disney World employees doing, not to mention the trainers at Theater of the Sea, and who will take care of the fish, dolphins, crocodiles and sea turtles? The comic book guy must have had to close his shop and probably so did Books and Books. Hopefully, all will reopen sooner or later.

Comics bought at A&M Comics and at the Miami Comic Con:
Action Comics 294
Adventure Comics 232, 390
Batman 211
Detective Comics 282, 383
Flash 140
Green Lantern 56
Mystery in Space 38, 39
Strange Adventures 126, 129, 158, 176
Superboy 92

An attendee dressed as Power Girl
at the Miami Comic Book Convention 

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