While we were visiting family in the city, we did some shopping in the downtown core. My Aunt Barb was stuck watching me for some reason, and I (predictably) dragged her into a comic shop. I had just started buying some X-Men comics and a few later issues of Dazzler.
In the comic shop they had all the back issues of Dazzler, and I had probably five dollars to spend. I took all the issues of the comic that I had not read out of the long box in their bags and laid them out, trying to make a decision based on the covers and characters which precious few issues I’d be able to afford. I imagine every kid who loves comics has gone through similar rituals. There is always more to read than a kid can afford.
Anyway, God only knows how long Barb watched me doing this. I will never know what was going through her mind when she finally came up to me and looked at the pile of comics with the roller-skating laser-blasting Disco Barbie on the cover. But what she said was, “Do you want all of these?”
As a child, I was seldom asked what I wanted. I can imagine I must have hesitated, but I must also have nodded or said “yes”, because with a few brisk efficient movements Barb gathered up the whole pile, took them to the counter, paid for them, and gave them to me.
I still keep a few boxes of comics that I’ve saved over the years. Most of them were acquired after age 21, but the old run of Dazzler 1-28 is still in it, along with a few Spider Woman and Red Sonja comics I bought as a child. At age 12 I was looking for a female-bodied idol, someone I could aspire to be. But that day, Aunt Barb was my hero.
It remains to this day one of the most affecting memories of adult kindness I can recall.