Saturday, November 28, 2009

A salute to Paul Ward

I've always heard it said that the smartest Bostonians are the ones in Roslindale. Though I haven't been in Boston as long as some people, I did stumble across a nugget of proof that this factoid has been true since at least 1962.

I was reading a less-than-mint condition copy of Fantastic Four #6, "The World's Greatest Comic Magazine!" cover dated Sept. 1962. While poring over the letters column on page 14, I noticed an item about a contest that appeared in Issue #4 asking readers to explain a plot point in that story that occurred all the way back in Issue #2. A $5.00 prize was offered to the reader who came up with the most logical explanation.

The winner was Jonathan Latham of Raleigh, SC, but as the editor noted, there were so many plausibly correct answers that the prize was given to the first one received. Everyone else got their names printed on that very page.

Out of all the logical answers, only two were from Bay Staters. One chap was from Milford and the other was one Mr. Paul Ward of Roslindale, Mass. The name fairly leaps off the page, being the second name in the left hand column. Nice work Paul Ward! His answer is lost to posterity but, knowing the ingenuity of Roslindale folk, you can bet it was spot-on.

In one of those quirks of old comics, though the cover date is September, the editor notes that the winners' list was compiled on March 14, 1962. Even allowing for usual deadlines, this issue probably hit the stands in late June or July. Yes, the stands. Those were the days when a kid could buy a comic book at any corner store. Perhaps Mr. Ward, older and presumably wiser, can answer why a kid can't buy a comic in his neighborhood nowadays.

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