If you are reading this you can more than likely relate to me. At one point in your life you collected comics, stopped as you got older, and somehow they found a way back into your life. This my story and I’m sticking into it. I am going to try to tell you a bit about how I got out and what got me back in and some of the things that I have noted since my return to this addiction…I may ramble a bit, but if, again, any of you can relate…then your stories are similar.
I was this kid back in the 70s who had a fairly happy child hood….played outside a lot had a lot of the fun toys, but when it came down to comics and cards, I was all over them. Me and quarters were easily separated every time I went to the corner store and had an agonizing decision to make over trading cards or comics. I remember it getting to the point that my mom and grandmom threatened to throw them out because they were all over the house and see…we actually READ them back in the day, it’s not what it is now with variant covers and getting them for the art and so forth…I also remember many Sundays, my grandfather taking me to the news stand and with a dollar or 2 I came back with enough Superman or Batmen or Spiderman to keep me busy for the rest of the afternoon.
But what really caught my attention back then was Star Wars. After the movies came out, the comics came and of course the toys and I was hooked. The comics were the biggest bridge that you had in between the movies since there were no cartoons (no…Droids and Ewoks don’t count…any kid worth his salt wanted lightsabers!) And of course growing up during that time we were fed a steady diet of Superfriends, Spiderman and Friends, Hulk and the Fantastic Four.
But, at least where I lived, you couldn’t tell other kids that you liked Star Wars comics. It wasn’t even really considered a comic book…because ti was based on a movie and they needed to stay separate. So if you weren’t reading about Thor battling Loki, or Spidey vs Doc Ock, you weren’t cool.
Eventually, I decided to step back out and try some of the other stuff. The very first thing I remember getting that really grabbed my attention was X men 173. On the cover was Wolverine and Rogue and it was baddass.
You can’t look at that and tell me me that cover isn’t the hotness!!!!
I read that one and then I had to go and find 171 and 172 to really understand the story arc. And from there it was on. Secret Wars? Got it…Spiderman (Amazing, Peter Parker, Web of and so on?) got it…Transformers, GI Joe…and on and on. I even got some of the off the wall stuff like Power Pack and Cloak and Dagger because that is what comics did and still do well…have something for everyone. I can go on and on but I may bore you with the gory details of my younger years and collecting habits suffice to say that in my later years I slacked off because comics were going up and my pockets weren’t deep enough to go with it. I started college and even then I was picking up scraps here and there. I got into back into Batman for a brief period after the 1989 movie redefined his bad assedness and after the cartoon kicked in. Tales of the Dark Night was my poison and probably the last book I picked up regularly before I finally left comics alone.
So, for the most part I was on the sidelines during the Death (and resurrection of ) Superman, Batman being broken by Bane, Venom and Carnage, Supes and Lois finally getting married…and the rise of independent publishing groups like Image, Dark Horse and a few others along with all of the insanity that went on during the 90’s. If it wasn’t for my friend Neil who has collected comics religiously and still does to this day, I wouldn’t have been able to keep up with some of the goings on now. Then of course the newer ‘toons came out, with X men being my top favorite but again, I was getting older and getting into that “cartoons are for kids” mentality.
Of course, towards the end of the 90’s triggered the trickle of superheroes movies, with Spawn and Blade and whispers of an X men movie and one of my then new friends, Elden and I, were hoping and praying that Patrick Stewart would play Charles Xavier, needless to say how my prayers were answered…heh!
So of course, you can imagine my dismay as many of these movies came out and I began to think how so many of them were ‘butchered’ beyond what my childhood memories were. But little did I realize how so much had changed in the comics universe.
There were many times I was tempted still to pick up a book here and a book there, but you know you can’t just pick up one…although I STILL kick myself for not picking up the WTC issue of Spiderman when I had it in my hands and shed a tear. Still regarded today as one of the few times when real life events can captured in such a way that it triggered that response (I wound up getting the TPB years later…I sill may buy an original one day just cuz…). But slowly it started. A TPB here and there. Anything that kept my interest and started building it back up. I still followed my favorite mutant Wolverine and bought a pile of stuff off of Ebay that I missed getting back in my younger years…not enough of a trigger but it was building
What had astounded me, was how comic events were beginning to make news. As I had mentioned one of the earliest I remembered in recent years was the WTC Spiderman issue…then it was the Civil War , with Spiderman coming out and revealing his ID, Captain America’s death and then Spiderman and MJ’s marriage dissolving. And the more this went, the more I started saying to myself, the more this makes news, the more this means that someone at Marvel is effing up!! And some of the movies weren’t helping….who here wasn’t disappointed with the Dark Phoenix Saga in X men 3? Who wasn’t pissed that the Batman Franchise went down the toilet after part 3? Here here HATED Ang Lee’s Hulk but understood the story while telling people that the Hulk from TV and the Hulk from the comics were 2 different things? Who here believes that Blade 2 was great and that Wesley did Blade 3 for a paycheck? Who here believes that last year Spiderman 3 was a flop because it should have been ALL about Venom with the other 2 villains waiting their turn for a flick and that Ghost Rider was aight but nothing to write home about and while Fantastic Four: ROTSS was marginally better than the first but still needed some improvement? Who here have had multiple comic orgasms after seeing this year’s crop of Superhero flicks? Iron Man? Check. Hulk…gimmie a cigarette…Dark Knight…pure hotness…that ‘magic trick’ will go down as one of the top lines in comic movie immortality. And of course if you saw the trailer for Watchmen…you wet your pants.
By the time this year rolled in, I was getting a few TPB and graphic novels and getting sucked right back in. Kev put me down with the Civil War and after I devoured that, I picked up the hardback of Planet Hulk, New Avengers and a few others. The first set of comics I remember getting was the One more Day line, I got them for my nephew…he looked at them and was like…huh? I guess the typical 5 year old doesn’t do comics huh? So, I read them and thought they were cool and kept them for myself. I even got back into Wizard magazine and heard about this Secret Invasion and Final Crisis thingie coming along….I remember earlier this year Kev had tried to coax me into getting them and I remember telling his “Nah, I don’t need it….I will wait until the TPB comes along.” Even my fiancée, because she tried getting me something different bought me the entire Annihilation TPB series. Loved it….it was one of the books that set up the Secret Invasion line. Then came the fateful day, I took drive over to Big Planet Comics in College Park, MD. I was on the trail of a TPB of a Batman book I wanted and was truly amazed by how organized the place was and how knowledgeable the guys running the shop were as opposed to some other places I have been.
Sidebar: No offense to you 20 year olds but if you guys have only been around ½ the time I have been alive and only been reading comics for ½ of that…you don’t really know your comics….unless you have been reading your grand pop’s collection!
With that being said, in a matter of weeks, I set myself up with a subscription there and been full bore ever since. I almost feel like Captain America coming out of suspension as I get used to how much the comics universe has changed over the years. Also getting used to some of the re-defining done by the Ultimates, the aftermath of House of M the forming and disbandment of many of the different teams. So far, my head is above water.
I missed a lot but I feel like I am reuniting with a lot of old friends and few new ones…especially through independent publishers. The Boys is at the top of my list right now, Kick Ass is second. I have even come back to the Star Wars universe and the new Legacy series puts a new spin on everything.
So, what my complaint? Hehehe….MONEY!….but hey times change and you have to change with it. Also, not being knowledgeable about some of these books I really have to ask the guys in the shop about what’s good and what’s not because as with when I was coming up I still feel that there are too many titles for one here or group of heroes. For instance…I am not feeling the Uncanny X men too much but the Astonishing X men has gotten my attention and brought me back to why I got 173 in the first place…bad assed-ness
So, I will finish this off by saying that I still find it enjoyable as I did when I was younger and to any of you who are collecting, please enjoy it for the sake of enjoying it…don’t do it just for the money because comics won’t make you rich, but you can always have fun trying.
Some of my future blogs, I will plan to write about some of the differences that I have noticed over the years and so on, but if anything ever happens to catch your attention….let me know!
Thanks for taking the time to read that thing and thanks for stopping by our page!
– Aitch !