Most of the time, I'll have very specific issues to discuss, but this entry is a little more free form, mostly because I have no idea which issues I had -- I just know the Whitman 3-packs were a huge part of my comic book upbringing. These were sold at pharmacies and grocery stores and such and contained three comics, usually based on familiar cartoons, but sometimes containing some of the Gold Key heroes, in a clear plastic bag. (I know I discovered Doctor Solar: Man of the Atom this way, and I also had my first exposure to horror comics, Grimm's Ghost Stories, which I couldn't give away fast enough. I was a real scaredy-cat as a child.) You could only see two of the comics in the 3-pack, and a savvy kid would try to squish the other two comics around in the bag to catch a glimpse of whatever title was sandwiched in the middle. These 3-packs were mainly purchased for me as a treat meant to last me through a couple of days of something, often weekend trips to my grandparents' house.
I vastly preferred the comfort of characters I already knew and loved from television to the low-rent Solar, and the Whitman books I liked the most were Popeye the Sailor, Woody Woodpecker, and Road Runner. There's a particular Popeye issue that stands out to me, as it focused primarily on short order cook Rough House (I liked -- and still like -- stories that expound on underused supporting cast members), but I wouldn't even begin to know how to track that one down. I have no such lasting memories of Woody Woodpecker or Road Runner other than general warm fuzzies. Looking at them now, they all seem pretty disposable, apart from my nostalgia for them.
So why mention them here if I can't get specific? I snagged some of these 1960s Dell funny animal books at Dallas Comic-Con recently (content that ended up being reprinted by Whitman during my childhood) and was just caught up in a wave of nostalgia that saw me chasing down a couple issues of Whitman's Popeye the Sailor at a local Half Price Books. Until getting my hands on them again, I'd forgotten what a part of my earliest comic book reading they were, and how important the books were to my own drawing ability. I taught myself to draw duck bills and pants with belts from these trifling books. I'm still more comfortable drawing in the "funny animal" realm than the superhero one and I can clearly remember studying the panels with these characters in a way that their appearances on television did not allow.
Through reconnecting with these books, I also discovered that my inclusive comic book tastes are something that I've had my entire life. I like comics as a storytelling delivery format, and I'm down to try most anything. This openness had to have been created by having stiff-legged DC stuff alongside kiddie Whitman stuff alongside action-packed Marvel stuff in my formative collection. It was just comics, as far as I was concerned. In my young eyes, it was all a treat.