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Don’t you just love these comic books?

As a child, growing up with at least 200 chattering other girls, I lost myself in the world of comic books.

There were: Superman; Batman and Robin; Wonder Woman; Spiderman; the amazing Flash Gordon, who predicted some of what we enjoy today; Dick Tracy, who talked on his radio watch; Black Hawk, with his slew of equally handsome heroes; Patsy Walker, the blonde, and her rival, the glamorous Hedy de Vine; and the classics: “Les Misérables,” “A Tale of Two Cities,” and “Ivanhoe,” again with a blonde and a brunette, and myself unable to decide who was the fairer of the two.

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But my favorites were “The Crypt Keeper” and “The Vault of Horror.” They contained stories that thrilled me no end, like that of the overbearing wife who nagged all day, driving her poor husband to concoct a potion in his laboratory that could make a person almost disappear by getting very small, smaller than a person’s thumb. He became so tiny that he had to climb onto his wife’s coffee cup, waving frantically with both arms to attract her attention, but she wouldn’t stop yapping and she drank the coffee, with him tumbling down her intestines. He died, of course!

I thoroughly enjoyed the “Mardi Gras” story, where revelers danced in the streets all day and all night long, wearing their colorful and innovative masks. This very handsome guy paired off with a very curvaceous body wearing a hag’s mask. He never left her side, laughing, dancing and falling in love before the revelry ended.

In his hotel room, he suggested that she take off her mask. She refused, and he kept asking her because he was so eager to see her beautiful face. But she continued to say no, and even when they finally lay in bed she still refused to remove her mask. After all, she said, it was Mardi Gras, and it was better if they didn’t have to face reality yet, but keep on living in that world of make-believe. Nevertheless he insisted that she take it off, for how would he kiss her and make love to her? Her alluring curves and lustrous blond hair shimmered in the moonlight coming through the window panes, making her all the more enticing in his eyes. So again he pleaded with her to take off her mask. He had had enough for one day and one night; he wanted to make love and go to sleep.

Still the stubborn lady refused, so he grabbed her mask and started pulling and twisting. But it wouldn’t come off. More pulling and twisting, until he observed that she was bleeding all over the pillow and the bed. But still he grabbed and yanked until the mask became a soft, sticky, bloody mess in his hands—and the mysterious lady, faceless, lay dead on the bed.

Then there was the husband who scolded his wife constantly, nagging and ordering her to keep the house spick and span, wanting everything to be in its proper place. He forbade her to go down to his basement workshop, not wanting her to mess around in his private domain. If a single hammer wasn’t hanging in its place, he would use it on her head until she remembered to put it back where it belonged. One day the wife called the police and told them that she had killed her husband. And they came and asked her where he was. She led them to the basement where every tool was hanging neatly on the wall and the shelves had not a speck of dust on them.

“Where is he?” they asked, and she pointed to the rows of jars on the shelves, neatly labeled with the body parts of her husband: one heart, two kidneys, one liver, 10 fingernails, 10 toenails, 4.8 liters of blood, and so on—a complete collection of her husband in different jars, so neat and so nice. She had learned her lesson well and he would have been very proud of her.

Don’t you just love these comic books? I loved them, but when I told these tales to my husband he called me a “weirdo.” Now, that wasn’t very nice!

In today’s real world one would ask: “Why didn’t that woman just walk out the door?” That would have been too boring, but murder is such a messy affair.

So now we are all talking about a divorce bill. Is that really a solution? I think the solution is to make it hard for people to get married. They should go through a process of hard counseling before they are given a license to marry. Someone I know discovered that her husband had been carrying on a six-year affair with a young woman, and she moved very fast against him, immediately filing for separation. But that didn’t happen quickly in this country where things take forever to accomplish. The couple could be dead by the time the separation, let alone divorce, is finalized.

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So, why divorce? Why not “not marry” instead? Remember the husband who not only beat his pretty wife but shot her in the face as well? Love can fly out the window in just a few years. Having a divorce law in our country is like asking, before buying jewelry, if it can be pawned. Why buy at all if the intention is to pawn it?

Shirley Wilson de las Alas, 75, says she loves reading, writing and being alone, “except when I go out to eat.”

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TAGS: ‘les miserables’, “A Tale of Two Cities”, “Ivanhoe”, Batman and Robin, Comic books, Dick Tracy, Flash Gordon, Spiderman, Superman, Wonder Woman
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