Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Reading Comics

Over at Brill Building, Ian shares the story of how he got back in to comics and then asks why, for those of us who had read comics and then got out of the scene, we came back. Initially I was going to post this in his comics, and I will probably link this there, but I realized it was going to be too long of a story to share via comments. I was not really allowed to read superhero comics growing up, G.I. Joe and Robotech were acceptable, but for some reason I was not allowed to read the superhero rags. This means most comics were a forbidden fruit for me. Fortunately I had a friend whose brother had a sick amount of comics and I was able to read stuff from his collection. There was also a local convenience store within bike-riding distance that was fairly well stocked with the titles I read (Uncanny X-Men, New Mutants, and X-Factor). I would go down there and blow some of my allowance on the books and smuggle them back into the house. (Now that I think about it, what was wrong with my upbringing where I had to hide my porn and comics in the same place? Oh well.)

At this time Colossus, Shadowcat, Nightcrawler, and Cypher were my favorite X-characters at this point in my life. Then came the Mutant Massacre storyline. Suddenly Colossus, Shadowcat, and Nightcrawler were seriously injured and out of the books. I remember thinking that Nightcrawler was dead and that Colossus was sure to die. I was so upset about this turn of events that I stopped reading comics.

I didn’t really feel them missing as I had started to get into anime and manga in a serious way, so what little money I had been spending on comics moved over to occasional purchases of the Appleseed manga being released by Eclipse (I think) with occasional bits of other manga as I stumbled across them. This slowly petered out as there was not a good local source for manga and about this time I really discovered the wider world of science fiction and fantasy literature. This is not to say I was not reading before this point, but rather I refocused and expanded beyond Anne McCaffery, Lord of the Rings, and the Star Trek novels.

The Second Age
My first return to comics was a result of the desire to fit in with some of the guys I was working with at the time. This took place in 1994, right after the DC Zero Hour crossover event, and since DC was doing Zero Month, this was the perfect time to hop back on the comics band-wagon. I believe I started with Batman, Legends of the Dark Knight, Shadow of the Bat, Catwoman, Detective Comics, and Robin. I was not interested in anything that Marvel was producing at the time, which was a switch from my younger days when I would not touch a DC book with a ten-foot pole. I was enjoying these titles, and through discussions with my coworkers I discovered Valiant and Image. A couple of my favorite titles from this period were Eternal Warrior, Geomancer, H.A.R.D. Corps, Harbinger, Ninjak, and Shadowman from Valiant, and many of the Wildstorm titles from Image. Eventually Valiant did their Birthquake event and then was sold to Acclaim which was the death-knell of the books that I particularly loved. Image and DC kept on keeping on and I collected for a year or two before I moved out of the house and comics became a luxury I could no longer afford. Thus comics passed from my life once more.

Again, I padded my separation from comics by engrossing myself in other hobbies, some geek and some not so geek. I started playing more RPGs. I started playing hockey in one of the local leagues. I reconnected with one of my college friends and became his semi-permanent third-wheel. We started training with another friend with the intent of rejoining the SCA, in which we participated in college.

The Third Age
I was still going to the comic shop, because as we all know, it is very rare that you can find a good gaming store that is not also a comic shop and I would occasionally take a spin through the comics section to see if anything appealed to me. Then one day it happened. I stumbled across and issue of the Spider-Man manga, and while I was no longer in my it-was-made-in-Japan-and-ergo-better phase, the manga style still appealed to me, so I thought I would take a chance on the book. I was entertained enough by the book to start picking up issues here and there. Then the DarkMinds series from Dreamwave caught my eye.

It snowballed from there. It took a couple of more years before I took the final step to addiction and established a pull list at my then local comic shop, which at the time was BCS Books and Comics. If you are ever in College Station and have a geek-need, check them out. They’re good people. Anyways, that is how I ended up where I am today.

No comments: