Resource War

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Relampago! Created by Judge Garza in Corpus Christi, Tx. On record as the first Latino American superhero.

Sometime last year I was asked to contribute, with other creators from the broad spectrum of “Geek Culture”, to a collection of essays. The point of the collection, as I understood it, was to create a sense of empowerment in young people who identified as geeks and were getting some grief because of it. So, basically, stories in which we, the authors, had felt embattled for who we were and what we loved, and how we coped.

The collection hasn’t come out yet, but I’ve decided to post my essay here in advance. It’s about a lot of things. Mostly it’s about the 1980’s Role Playing Game scare and how that affected the bible belt community in which I lived as an avid gamer. But it’s also about my first comic book store in Corpus Christi, and the legendary man who ran it, Judge Margarito C. Garza, creator of the first Latino American superhero. And it’s about my family, about how I was raised (the dark and the light of it), and the part that geek culture played in politicizing me. Basically it’s comics, role playing games, family and politics. It’s all here.

It’s not a honed piece of writing. I’m not sure if it deserves to be published. It’s pretty wild and broad in its swing, but I present it for anyone interested in the great “Role Playing Scare” of the 80’s, or for any other South Texan who might remember those fine and perfect days at Collector’s World, and would like to read my recollections on the Judge who ran it, and hear how he managed to change my life.

For those who give it a read, I thank you.

Here’s a link to the PDF: Resource War

And here’s an excerpt from the the opening to see if you’re feeling it…

“It was like a zoo, but with ideas instead of animals. And the parents dropped us off there, sometimes intending to leave us for so long that we would have sandwiches wrapped in cellophane stuffed in our little filthy pockets so that we wouldn’t die. It was a large, hollowed out, converted two-bedroom residential house painted with life-sized superheroes on the outside and stuffed to the rafters inside with bagged and boarded comics, many current, but many more aged and cared for and kept in beautiful wooden bins propped low enough for young ferreting eyes, or pinned up on the wall, venerable, something to long for. But there was more than just comics. There were models and Robotech toys and twelve-inch GI Joe action figures and role-playing games and it was almost windowless, but well lit and it smelled good inside, like a secret clubhouse. All that pulped paper and long dried ink, probably a lot of mold, some dust in its grooves, the sweaty candy smell of kids left unattended. Unattended save for The Judge.

“Collector’s World. That’s what it was called. It was the first comic book store in my hometown of Corpus Christi, maybe the first in all of South Texas.”

Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Journal, Writing

2 Responses to Resource War

  1. David

    Thanks for sharing the name of this comic book store! I had forgotten it since I visited in the eighties. Truth be told I think I only visited once, but the memories will be with me forever. It was the first comic book arrow iever visited (I grew up in the Rio Grande Valley). I will always remember buying Crisis on Infinite Earths new, off-the-rack there and the large painting out front of Maggie from the cover of Mechanics #1. I was so glad to see him years later at a collector’s show where he asks me some issues of Relampago that I will always treasure. I was truly saddened to hear of his passing passing years ago. He really loved comics and through his shop expanded the world of comics into a universe unto itself for so many living so far from areas where anything approaching that type of experience is more commonplace. Thank you, Judge Margarito.

  2. David

    Ugh. Please forgive the typos… it’s too late/early for me to be typing!

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