Gary and Simon Rucker

Comics

Gary and Simon Rucker love collecting comic book memorabilia and wearing comic character T-shirts.

“We have original comic books, artwork of original comic pages, autographed posters and prints, scale figures, statues and just about anything else you can imagine connected to comics,” says Gary, professor in the department of theatre and dance at Tulane University and co-managing artistic director of the Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts. “As much as I love and enjoy the hobby, the happiness is multiplied infinitely because I get to share it with my Simon, my 11 year-old son.”

“From the time I was born, I had Spider-Man toys to play with,” says Simon, soon to be a seventh-grader. “As I got older my interest shifted to MARVEL and DC Comics, and my all-time favorite is definitely Captain America and Raven. I have always had a big interest in everything comic-related, and it has really been fun gathering the cool collectables and going around to community comic stores. Knowing so much about comics makes me feel social and smart.” 

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While Simon shares his time between his mom’s home in Mandeville and his dad’s place in Metairie, he loves the fact his dad’s place is cheek-to-jowl packed with comic stuff. “We have stuff in almost every room in the house,” Gary says. “Not to mention that we recently converted the garage to a mini gallery-museum.” Simon, who describes himself as student, actor and tuba player, adds that his bedrooms at both his mom’s and dad’s houses are filled with his cherished comic finds.

“As far back as I can remember, there was always something that I was collecting,” Gary says. “I always displayed whatever I collected in my room and nobody was allowed to fool with anything.” He also shares that there are very few photographs of him as a child when he wasn’t wearing a comic super hero T-shirt.

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The comic hunting duo just returned from Comic Con in Dallas. “It is fun to go to Comic Con because you meet interesting characters and find cool stuff to buy,” Simon says. “It is exciting to see the actors who play the comic characters in the movies.” Gary chimes in to add, “I love the interesting bunch of folks you meet at Comic Con. Everyone is always so kind to each other and they love to share their experiences with you. It is also a great place to look for interesting T-shirts to add to our collection.

“I find a certain comfort in the fact that all of these comic characters are not only still around, but they are still being celebrated in pop culture.” Gary continues. “I love the familiarity; it’s almost as if time has stood still for me. My favorite part about collecting is probably the thrill of the hunt.” The father-son duo enjoys purchasing a new comic character statue, taking it to Comic Con, meeting the artist who inspired the statue, and getting him or her to autograph it for them. “It is something fun we do together that we can reminisce about later.”

Like Simon, Gary made a lasting connection with Spider-Man early on as a child. “My very first comic book was about Spider-Man that I got at a dime store in Mississippi,” he says. “I was immediately taken with the artwork, even more so than the story, and I think the art is what has kept me fascinated and interested all these years later.”

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Gary smiles when he says his son is a laid back child, and doesn’t often show a ton of emotion. “I’ll never forget the look on his face when he got to meet comic legend Stan Lee,” he says. “I have never seen him smile so much. It was a great moment to share together.” Lee is famous for being a co-creator of Spider-Man and several other great Marvel comic characters including Captain Marvel.

(Gary and Simon will step out of their comic world from July 16-26 to become the characters Smee the Pirate and John Darling, respectively, in the summer production of “Peter Pan” on the main stage at Rivertown Theaters.)

 

 

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