Raymond Cummings just asked his facebook friends an excellent question that I’m amazed nobody has ever asked me before:
“Who were the most important writers of your youth? Let’s make the cut off point age 13 or so (13 is the intended ceiling).This can mean: Novelists Comedians Cartoonists Lyricists Poets Comic book authors Etc”
This was my answer (though I may have forgotten some); feel free to post your own (and even explain why — or as Raymond suggested, “What about this work by these people made an impression on who you eventually became?”), if you want.
Columnists in Detroit newspapers, some syndicated, often baseball-oriented: Joe Falls, Bob Talbert, Mike Royko, Erma Bombeck.
Jim Bouton, for Ball Four.
Brendan C. Boyd and Fred C. Harris, for The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book
Gardner Soule, for The Maybe Monsters (cryptozoology book — I loved reading about dinosaurs too, but can’t think of any particular book that stood out)
Erich Von Däniken, for Chariots of the Gods
George Gamow, for One Two Three…Infinity
Walt Kelly, for “Pogo”
Favorite kids book writer was Richard Scarry, hands down.