Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Falling In and Out of Love and Then Back In Again (and Then Maybe Out...)

Good day, and welcome back to another discussion.  Building off of last week's post on series that at some point "jumped the shark", today we're going to ask about how you got into comics in the first place -- how old were you, what attracted you, did you have friends who collected, etc?  Many of us then at some point fell out of the hobby -- due to that jumped shark, economics, or whatever.  Using a suggestion originally made by david_b, that is your charge today -- a little personal history lesson from you to us!  Thanks in advance for your contributions.

David_b suggested:  perhaps naming any characters, artists, trends (or local comic shops) that brought you into hard-core collecting, and what made you leave, then fall in love all over again.

Doug, I recall we both collected early on, only to have a re-emergence during our college years, pretty much around the same time frame (early 80s).

Edo Bosnar seconded:  I like david_b's idea as well, i.e., a discussion of what brought us into or back into comics.


Redartz said...

Another good topic, folks! You could say Spiderman is partially responsible for my comic addiction. My tale begins at age 7, when a neighbor introduced me to comic books. Initially it was Disney and Casper, but once I persuaded my parents to allow the purchase of more "grown up" books, it was Superman. That same neighbor soon showed me Spiderman, which hooked me like no other. His stoies actually continued, and the dramatic subplots kept you searching each month for the next installment!

By 10 I abandoned comics; my attentions turned elsewhere. But in 8th grade a friend was a big comic book collector and he kept badgering me to try a few, thanks to this thing in town called a "Comic Book Shop". Appropriately, I tried an issue of Amazing Spiderman (#132); the familiar pleasure of Romita art and a good story pulled me right back. Serious collecting ensued, ending only in the late 80's when two factors combined: burnout with the big two (how many X-Men books do we really need), and financial woes (sold most of my collection to pay bills). Again, several years passed until comics reclaimed me. By the later 90's, my sons were caught up watching the animated Spiderman series, and I ended up taking them to a comic store. The fever hit, and I was hooked again. And again, it was due in part to the web-slinger!

Postscript: one great pleasure resulted 5 years ago, when I took both sons to their first Comic Convention. A great day of fun and bonding, seeing them meet creators and scour mountains of back issues!

david_b said...

"Can one ever really love again..?"

Briefly, my comic collecting subsided (for reasoning I mentioned on yesterday's column), and I moved to sci-fi, with Space:1999, Trek reruns and Star Wars filling my brain in the mid-70s.

Moving on to college by the early 80s, having just a pittance of disposable income, I'd check out a 'way-too-convenient' neighborhood store with all the current titles and oodles of back issues. Sci-Fi was once again boring me.

None of the then-current comic titles interested me, I just didn't know most of the artists, was never a X-Men fan (surprised to see how they flourished), and was more surprised that some old Spidey villain called the Punisher was even remembered. Also, the printing process just looked too clean and bright in the 80s, even the art too sketchy on most titles.

So I slowly invested in old Bronze CA&F and Avengers to fill old collection holes. At some point, I gazed upon the Stern/Buscema Avengers titles (with Skrulls, no less) and found.., alas, perhaps I could go home again.

With that and the WCA title just starting, I started picking up that, Avengers, and FF again. No other titles seemed like 'old times' again.

A new roommate who I started attending church with filled me in on a lot of Marvel backstory since the late 70s to catch me up, and got me interested in the New Titans. This new title didn't seem as embarrassing as the reformed Titans of the 70s. In fact, the book actually looked like it had it's act together.

By the late-80s, the titles mentioned above all seemed dull and past their prime once again, alas the last time I vaguely enjoyed current comic titles.

Edo Bosnar said...

Initially, I was bit by the comics bug in about the first grade at the age of 6, when the family was on a vacation somewhere and my older brother bought 2 comic books (an issues of Marvel Tales and Captain America) and tossed them to me when he got bored with them after about 10 minutes. They fascinated me, esp. Spider-man, even though at that point I was doing little more than just looking at the pictures. For the next few years I randomly got any comic my mom was willing to buy me in grocery stores and by age 11 I had become a real fanatic, avidly reading quite a few super-hero titles regularly every month. That initial love affair lasted until about my sophomore year in high school, when I kind of burned out and many other teenage interests began to take precedence.
After that, I returned to somewhat regular a few times, usually during summer breaks in my college years. However, in 1992, I left the US, and this led to my longest break without any comics reading - until about 2005, when I visited a local comic shop here in Zagreb looking for some Krazy Kat albums, and started poking through some of the superhero stuff and got bit by the bug again. However, I never went back to following any regular series, at least not superhero stuff put out by the big 2.

Anonymous said...

My late parents and grandparents would read to me when I was pre-school age. Besides traditional children's books, they would include comics. Most were funny animal comics with characters I knew from TV cartoons. When I was about seven, I "graduated" to super-heroes. The Batman TV show probably served as a gateway drug for me, but I soon got interested in their other super heroes, too. I occasionally read Marvel comics, but was primarily a DC fan. Marvel had too much angst and soap opera for my taste. Maybe if I'd been twelve instead of seven or eight, I would have been a Marvel fan. (My impression, judging by my classmates and neighbors, is that a typical DC fan in the mid-1960's was about 7-10 years old and a typical Marvel fan was more like 12-14.) But by the time I was ten, I was outgrowing comics in general and moving on to other interests. In the early 1980's, I was 22 and came home after serving a hitch in the Army. I sort of wandered into a local comic book specialty store and was amazed at the variety. I was a regular customer for several years. But then several things happened. My favorite LCS went out of business, as did most independent publishers like First and Pacific. That left Marvel and DC, and there isn't any real difference between the two, so there is no variety or diversity in the comics medium anymore. I haven't bought a new comic in years. I sometimes buy back issues of funny comics (Archie, Disney, Hanna-Barbera) which I give as birthday or Christmas gifts to grand nieces and grand nephews. So, I've come full circle.

William said...

I was so young when I first started reading comics that it's hard for me to remember exactly what originally attracted me to the medium. If I had to pick something, I'd say it was the Super Friends cartoon. I used to love that, and I remember wanting to see more of those characters. So, when I would see them in comics on the spinner racks at the convenience store, I'd beg my mom to buy me some. However, I was only like six or seven at the time, so I couldn't get into the mainstream DC comics as much as the SF cartoon. In fact, the first character that appeared in comic books that I remember really liking was Captain Marvel (or SHAZAM!, as I knew him). I used to get SHAZAM! comics whenever I could. They were very cartoon like, colorful and easy to read, so I guess that's why I liked them as a child. Plus, Captain Marvel's alter ego was a 10 year boy, and I'm sure that fed greatly into my wish fulfillment fantasies. The live action SHAZAM! show only fueled my excitement for the character even more. He remains one of my favorite DC owned characters to this day. (At least the way he used to be, not the garbage they are producing nowadays).

As I got a little older, I discovered Spider-Man, and I liked him because he had cool powers, a cool costume, and he was funny. That really is what started my lifelong love of comics (especially Marvel). I got seriously into collecting when I was around 15 years old. For my birthday that year, my mom got me a bunch of "collector" gear from my LCS (long boxes, bags, boards, etc.) and I went through all my comics and bagged, boarded, organized and boxed them up. And then it was on. I went to the comics store every week buying new comics and back issues as well. I remember being more into Daredevil than Spider-Man for a couple of years when Frank Miller was doing DD, but I eventually returned to Spider-Man and he's remained my favorite character since.

I did have a falling out with Marvel during the 90's, especially during the "Clone Saga" fiasco. I actually stopped reading Spider-Man for about 6 months. But you know what got me back into the character? Not a writer. Not an artist. Not a revamp, or a new storyline. Nope, it was the first Spider-Man video game for the Playstation 1. I loved that game so much that it actually rekindled my love of Spider-Man altogether. In the game you could collect comic book covers and find new costumes for Spidey, like the black costume and even one's from the Clone Saga like Scarlet Spider, and Ben Reily Spider-Man. It got me so stoked, that I went back and picked up all the back issues of all the Spider-Man books I'd missed over the six months that I had quit reading.

My interest as peaked and wained from time to time over the years. But I've really never abandoned the comics scene altogether. I did recently stop buying new comics at retail, but I still buy trade paperbacks of classic stuff, and I even check out some of the new stuff in book form from the library once in a while. So, I still pretty much read some kind of comics nearly everyday.

William said...

Oops, I spelled "waned" wrong in that last post.

david_b said...

William, I only catch my mis-spelled words HALF the time.

I love reading what everyone has to share today.

If I didn't answer today's question succinctly enough, it was primarily Marvel, John Buscema, Hawkeye, and the original DC Titans (both vintage and in the 'New' group) that brought me back into 80s collecting, once again embellishing my collecting indulgences.

Redartz said...

Edo: it would be interesting to hear about your LCS in Zagreb. How is the market there for American comics? By the way, I share your fondness for the Kat.

William: Never tried the Spiderman game, but I did get jazzed about the movies. And, Amazing S-M is the only book from the Big Two that I currently follow...

pete doree said...

I can tell you the exact day I got into comics properly: Had read some Superman's and Batman's when I was little, but it all started for me on October 7th 1972. That's the day the first issue of The Mighty World Of Marvel came out, and the first time I saw Spidey, Hulk & the F.F. As I've said before, we had the best of both worlds in the UK - b/w reprints of the early years of Marvel ( in TMWOM & Spider-Man Comics Weekly ) along with all the new bronze age stuff from Gerber, Englehart, McGregor etc etc )

As an adjunct: First time I realized there were comics other than Marvel or DC? Star*Reach 6, that I swapped off someone 'cos I liked the Jeff Jones cover-couldn't believe there were OTHER comics, and they were really good!( Did feel like I was being disloyal to Marvel tho'... )

Gave up in the early '80's-Everything from the big two after Miller left DD was drab and boring, all my favourite writers & artists had moved on and though I liked the stuff Eclipse / First / Pacific were putting out, they were so sparsely distributed, you couldn't properly collect them. The last comic I actually collected as it was coming out was Epic Illustrated, which killed me when it was cancelled. I loved that book.

And started again in 2000, when I picked up a copy of The Essential Conan, and thought: ' Why did I stop reading this stuff?!' Since then, bought a truckload of Essentials & Showcases, an even bigger ton of back issues and, like William, try to check out new( ish ) stuff when it appears in my local library.
Can't ever see me buying monthly again tho;, firstly I'd rather buy a trade, secondly I don't like most of it anyway.

J.A. Morris said...

(sorry in advance for the long post, this topic got me going)
I'm not which came first, but I discovered comics through 2 things:

These Marx toy "statues" of Marvel characters:

And a set of Marvel-themed stickers:

Shortly thereafter, Spider-Man showed up on The Electric Company and in the tie-in comic Spidey Super Stories.
This was the first comic I remember owning, got it when I was 3:

I picked up a few Richie Rich,Bugs Bunny, Flintstones and Valley Of The Dinosaurs issues, but it was mostly superheroes from there on out. And it was mostly Marvel.

Here's the first "real" Marvel story I ever read:

I would occasionally pick up issues at the local gas stations (ASM & Godzilla were my favorites) and my parents brought home a few issues for me too. I didn't get into hardcore collecting until I moved to a new city and met a kid with a huge collection. He introduced me to X-men in 1979. I read about 20 of his X-men issues...and I was hooked.
I went to my first convention the next year and learned the word "back issue".
I collected enthusiastically until about 1987. I still collected after that, but I had already become disenchanted with X-men. I was buying that title simply to maintain a collection and because I still believed my collection would be worth money someday.
During my 2nd year of college, I was going through a rough patch(won't go into detail here).
Around Christmas, I picked up a copy of this Daredevil tpb:

It helped me remember that comics were a big part of who I was, especially Bronze Age tales. I collected for another 5 years. Then the 2nd "Spider-Clone" saga hit, around the same time we got "The Age Of Apocalypse". It was too much for me.

I didn't enter a comic shop for 4 years.
I got excited in '99 when I heard John Byrne was writing & drawing ASM and a new title called 'Chapter One'. They both sucked and I was done. Since then, I've occasionally picked up a new issue to read at lunch break (I work a few blocks from a comic shop). The only new series I followed in recent years was Joss Whedon's run on 'Astonishing X-men'. My wife bought it and I read her copies(she's a big Whedon and Kitty fan). But most of the "new" stuff I get is reprints of Bronze Age stories!

And that's how it's going to stay. I've fallen out of love with comics for good.

Unknown said...

One morning in 1969, when I was four, I woke up before everyone else and turned the TV on by myself for the first time. Luckily, it was Saturday. I saw Jonny Quest, The Herculoids, and the Superman/Batman Filmation cartoons. This was a whole new world opening up before me. Of course, they were all cancelled a few weeks later.

Later that year, I walked into a convenience store with some friends, and saw my first spinner rack. There was Superman & Batman, but besides their own comics, they were also with some other heroes (JLA). And Robin seemed to have his own junior version of the JLA too. I studied the contents of this rack intently, and the mother in charge bought me one when we left. I was hooked.

With the exception of a couple years devoted to the Globetrotters and the Jackson 5, comics remained my main passion in life until I was about 15. By then girls, music, and comedy (SNL, Python) were taking over. My shark jump was reading a Haney/Aparo B & B with Batman/Green Arrow in 1980. There was nothing wrong with it, but I realized I wasn't excited anymore, and was just reading out of habit. I still read Heavy Metal, Epic, and the Byron Priess stuff, but the intensity was gone.

I've never gone back to regularly collecting. But I have always acknowledged my love for comics. These days, I'm more interested in the history or behind-the-scenes stuff. My brother-in-law always gives me old back issues or collections as presents, which is great. My two yr old son has recently started to become a presence at our LCS. He runs in pointing out Iron Man everywhere. His first comic was a Looney Tunes with Marc Anthony & Pussyfoot. I think he's hooked.

James Chatterton

Garett said...

Interesting to see the love for First/Pacific comics here! That was the peak of my comic collecting, and it was exciting to see a third company with good creators emerging.

I think Teen Titans #1 was my first time thinking about collecting. I picked up the preview of the Titans in DC Comics Presents--second hand, as usual through my childhood. It blew my mind and I raced out to see if any copies of Titans #1 were still for sale. They weren't in any of the usual locations like the corner stores, so I rode my bike to the nearby hospital to check their gift shop. A last copy of Titans #1! The excitement of being on board for a new series, with great Perez art and new characters, got me going. For the next several years, as comic shops opened up, I had them set aside my weekly haul of new comics--Miller Daredevil, Moon Knight, Titans, X-Men, Starslayer, Jon Sable, American Flagg, Dreadstar, etc--which I'd oh so carefully read, then insert into the comic bags. I don't remember many back issues at the time, but there were many excellent reprints on high quality paper coming out--Smith's Conan, GL/GA by Adams, Chaykin Ironwolf. Then there was Heavy Metal, with it's "adult" naughtiness and tone.

By '86 I was heading into university, and sold most of my collection just after Dark Knight, Watchmen, and Elektra Assassin came out. In Fine Arts, comics weren't discussed, but I kept my toe in with odd stuff like Krazy Kat. In the mid-90's there was a nearby comic shop closing down, and I snatched up all the new Image, etc for a steal, and rediscovered comics. None seemed readable, and I didn't know if I'd changed or the comics. Savage Dragon by Eric Larsen got me back reading, as it was fun and exciting for the first 30 issues. Then in 2000 a friend brought me to a comic shop that sold extremely cheap back issues--the owner survived by selling in volume. That shop lasted for 10 years, and I built up a big collection of '60s and '70s comics, really learning about Buscema and Kirby, Colan and Kubert at that time. No comic bags now, just for reading and art appreciation like when I was a young kid.

I do buy new graphic novels now, like Criminal and Chaykin's Mighty Love (which I thought was his best work in years!), but almost never individual new comics anymore. Great topic today. I'm enjoying reading the posts.

humanbelly said...

It’s hard for me, but I’ll try to keep my statements as succinct as possible, as my timeline’s kinda long and has as many twists as an extended Prince Valiant plotline. . .

I always liked comic books, even as a very young tyke. . . like 5 years old or so. I distinctly remember that our local barber shop always had several laying out for the younger set, and my Dad got my hair cut pretty often, ‘cause it was rural Michigan, and I sort of liked that bristley “buzz-cut” feeling at the back of my scalp and neck. I can particularly remember that Metal Men were always well-represented, as well as the Hulk (in what must have been his earliest appearances in Tales to Astonish). A particular thrill as an adult collector was recognizing a very early change sequence (head & face only) that I knew from seeing it at the barber shop before I could even read.

BUT— the event that more or less thrust me neck-deep into the river of a life-long hobby was being quite, quite sick in about the middle of third grade (that was the chicken pox year AND the mumps year, as I recall), and while I was laid up, my best pal Bryan Roush hauled over ALL of the comic books his two older brothers had compiled over the previous year or so. This was a huge stack, for a kid like me, and was a complete mixed bag of Marvel and DC. Among the Marvel stuff were near complete runs of Hulk #110-#123; Avengers #58-66; Captain America #100-#118; Spiderman. . .gosh, don’t know the numbers, but it was the whole ManMountainMarko through the death of Silvermane, and such; a smattering of X-Men, after Prof. X died; and I believe a run of FF starting with Blastaar’s first appearance. A few Iron Mans. . .no Thor at all. A lot Marvel Collector’s Item Classics, and even Not Brand Echhs—and certainly a bunch of other random issues. A TON of scattered DC stuff as well. . . including The Geek; Hawk & Dove; Bat Lash (geeze, what a quirky, cool western title, for all its short life); Wonder Woman (jumpsuit spy version); Blackhawk; Jimmy Olsen; Flash; Superman & much more.

Well, that was it.

Somehow, these books never made it back into his brothers’ possession—Bryan and I just kept sending them back and forth to each other over the course of the next several years, while his brothers kept adding to the stash. And for some reason, I didn’t buy my own superhero comic books at that point, but had sunk ALL of my hard-earned allowance shekels into purchasing pretty much every Sad Sack (Harvey) title that hit the spinner rack. And then sometime around 1973 or so, I loaned all of those to Bryan, and when it came time to return them, he didn’t want to sort them back out of the “big” stack (too tedious, I’m guessing), so he just handed me four big grocery bags of comic books, and told me to keep everything, ‘cause the mess was becoming a problem in their bedroom, anyhow. I protested, believe me—but that was it. Much of the above became the foundation of my comic book collection. (Although, oddly enough, I ended up giving all of the Sad Sack collection to Bryan later on, as he had a true fondness for those silly, fun books--- as did I, honestly).

End part one

humanbelly said...

There never was a time after that, that I didn’t acquire at least a couple of titles every month. In college, there were entire years where I didn’t crack open a single comic-book. . . but my Dad was receiving my subscriptions for me & stashing them away. Interest would wax & wane wildly, but I always found ways to fill in holes at opportune moments (I got SO MANY of the Byrne issues of FF for so little at a used bookstore in Elkhart, IN, in 1984; and nearly ALL of my Tales to Astonish run at another one in Louisville in the summer of 1980). And kept the majority of my subscriptions going obsessively all through grad school, as well as buying MANY titles every month—even after getting married to a very indulgent wonderful wife. But finally, Age of Apocolypse and the Dark Beast and similar things began happening. . . and I realized I hated the X titles. . . and dropped them. And my kids were born, and I realized I was stacking up books I’d NEVER read. . . and started culling out the ones that just didn’t interest me anymore (Iron Man, Daredevil). Spiderman had TOO MANY titles, and was often just bloody awful. And then finally came One More Day/Brand New Day—and the thing I liked most about the title (married to MJ & a fun, involved Aunt May) was erased from continuity. Plus it was shifting to a weekly “subscription” rate. Okay--- complete run of Spidey from issue #117, I believe—but done at that point. Thor kept getting cancelled when it was good, and re-booted as something not-so-good. Hulk. . .. MY PERSONAL FAVORITE CHARACTER. . . stopped appearing in his own book with that hack Bruce Jones (is that the right name?) as the writer. Avengers got DisAssembled. Finally, within the last year, I realized that my life-long hobby was actually making me very noticeably Unhappy with every single issue I read. And those issues had gotten exponentially more expensive in a very short time. Thus. . . even though I still have about 3 subscriptions slowly playing out. . . I have completely let go of new comics--- at least for the time being. I’ve been about as hardcore a collector as one can be (and still be considered a regular “mainstream” person, I suppose) for decades, and have absolutely no doubt that I’ve made the right choice. The amount of anxiety that the demise of this medium has caused me was staggering, and I didn’t even realize it until it had lifted.

And thus. . . you have the confession of a happily freed man.

Thank you for your time.


Fred W. Hill said...

I don't really remember how I got really hooked on comics. I recall seeing the Marvel Comics show on tv before my family moved to Japan when I was 4 years old in 1967 and I recall getting comics at the Navy Exchange there. I was probably as much into Harvey Comics, like Sad Sack and Hot Stuff, as the superhero stuff but by the time I was 8 I was almost entirely into Marvel, maybe due to the dramatic, ongoing storylines and the touches of humor. I know for some fans the continued stories were a turn-off, particularly when you could never be sure you'd get that next issue to see how things turned out, but that didn't bother me too much. Probably the main thing was good characterization, so that I cared enough about the characters to want to continue buying the comics to see what would happen next in their lives. The comics that consisted of little more than the hero solving some silly mystery or fighting the villain of the month bored me. By my mid-20s, though, I found myself buying more comics but enjoying them less, not to mention having less time to read so many. I didn't entirely quit collecting, but I did become far more selective. I also filled in most of the holes from the "continued next month" or "continued from last month" issues I missed when I was a kid!

Rip Jagger said...

I'd say I got into comics by way of television cartoons. The Marvel Super-Heroes, the Hanna-Barbera stuff (Space Ghost, Birdman, Herculoids, Fantastic Four), the Filmation stuff (Superman, Aquaman) and such was the impetus.

I dabbled in all sorts of comics (Marvel, Charlton, DC, Gold Key, Harvey) but soon enough I plugged into the Marvel mythology. Captain Marvel and Hulk and the Avengers were my faves.

Then in high school I got into DC and rediscovered Charlton just as I was heading to college. In college I broadened out my interests and found other comic book fans (even some Professors) and my fanboy status was confirmed.

The early comics shops were significant to my collecting and I switched over to First, AC, Eclipse, Pacific, and others of that ilk. Then back to Marvel for a time while I worked on building up my back issues.

Valiant was a big thrill in the early 90's but soon I was needing to cut my comics intake and I cut down to a few favorite books and got more and more interested in trade reprints.

These days I get few actual comics, but lots of reprint volumes and have really gotten more interested in pulps and whatnot.

Rip Off

Edo Bosnar said...

Redartz: there are actually two comic shops in Zagreb; obviously, most of what they sell is either locally produced stuff and (translated) Italian comics - Italian comics and creators were and are immensely popular in Croatia and all the other former Yugo republics. That said, there is a market for American material, both DC or Marvel & indy stuff, but it's pretty modest. Still, I am sometimes able to find reasonably priced TPBs of the stuff I'm interested in - the Krazy Kat albums being an example.

Interesting to note that several people mentioned Pacific and some of the other non-big 2 publishers who appeared in the early '80s. I had just discovered comic book shops at just about the time Pacific launched and remember how exciting it all was - and I still think it's a bit sad that Pacific folded after only a few years.

Inkstained Wretch said...

My story begins at about 8 or 9 years old when I was passed some ragged Avengers comics from a friend and his older brother. I then started buying them myself with the change I was given to get a soda from the store. At the time I didn't grasp I was actually buying the reprint series Marvel Super Action, so I was reading the classic Roy Thomas/John Buscema Avengers tales from the start. So you can see how I got hooked.

Over the next few years I expanded into Spider-Man, the X-Men, Alpha Flight, G.I. Joe, The Flash, Green Lantern, All-Star Squardon and Groo the Wanderer. It gradually grew from a casual thing to a real obsession. Finding a place to keep my accumulating collection became a real problem, one my parents were not overly sympathetic too.

My interest in comics waned pretty quickly once I got a diver's license and a girlfriend in 1987. The fact that the comic companies seemed to get ever more cynical with their constant crossovers, revamps and reboots didn't help. By then I was so sick of the X-Men it kept me out of comic stores altogether. The disappearance of the spinner racks didn't help either.

My interest was briefly reignited in college thanks to the presence of a nearby specialty store, but the Death of Superman storyline and Hal Jordan's subsequent descent in super-villiany snuffed it out again. I didn't need this, I thought and walked away.

My interest was reignited again a few years ago when I returned to my father's ranch and on a whim visited the attic where I had stored my collection in cardboard boxes. To my horror, I saw that rodents had gnawed through some boxes and reduced many comics to shreds. Luckily, the bulk of the collection was untouched. I quickly put them in the trunk and back of my car and stored them in my home.

Reading through the collection at home reconnected me with my youth and love of these stories. I don't collect anything new but haunt the bargain bins for gems and purchase Essentials volumes from Amazon.com. For an hour at a time. I can remember what it feels like to be 13 again.

vancouver mark said...

It's pretty sad how many stories follow variations of the same script: "I loved comics so much until they all got so crappy in the late 80s/90s."

My first comic book memories were of visiting at my older cousins, who had copies of Adventure Comics/LSH, Superman, some Turok Son of Stone, and a few Classics Illustrateds. I was too young to read but was enthralled by the colorful costumes, aliens, and drama, and I would pour over the books, desperately trying to make sense of the stories. I was probably about four then.

When I was five Batman came on TV, and over the next two years television filled with super-heroes. I began to beg for comics every time we even drove near a store. Jim Shooter's LSH was my favorite, along with Aquaman, Superman, and some Gold Keys like Mighty Samson and Turok.

In the late 60s I really liked DC's new titles, especially Anthro, Deadman and the Hawk and Dove.
Then came a shattering disillusionment, as first all the Hanna Barbara superheroes were removed from TV (replaced by silliness like Wacky Races etc), and then DC replaced the LSH with Supergirl and cancelled all the new books I was following. For a while the only superhero title I followed was Teen Titans, and then it got cancelled too.

For the next year or so I read no superhero titles, all my favorites were gone and the remaining DCs (JLA etc)felt boring and sort of sterile. I read Archie comics, and some mystery/horror books, and at the age of ten or eleven was already talking about how much better things used to be.

vancouver mark said...

When I was twelve on sudden impulse I picked up FF 131. I had always avoided Marvels, they felt crude, bombastic, somehow disturbing and usually confusing. (I remember being about eight and having a bad flu, and when my mom went to the drug store for medicine she came home with FF 76, with the Silver Surfer hiding from Galactus in Sub-Atomica. In my feverish, nauseous state I recoiled from Jack Kirby's intense psychocosmic wierdness, it actually made me feel even sicker. Also it was part three of a four-part story and was pretty much beyond my understanding)
But I'd been watching FF reruns after school, had become familiar with the characters, and the comic had a great Human Torch cover.
It was very different from the DCs I remembered, but I was enthralled. The issue featured the FF and Quicksilver in the Hidden Land, so in one comic I was introduced to the Inhumans as well as mutants and the Avengers. It was the first of a two parter, about a week later the next issue was there in the spinner rack, and for the next thirty years I bought every issue.

vancouver mark said...

Oops that should have said for the next TWENTY years, as like so many others my love for new Marvels withered and died by the early/mid 90s.

Through my teens I became an obsessive collector, especially when I was fifteen and vancouver's first Comicshop opened.

In my twenties my purchasing was forced to increase, as I continued to buy all my regular Marvels as well as a growing number of DCs. Soon I realized i was eagerly devouring each week's new DC issues while the new Marvels sat there until I got around to them. My "to-read" pile steadily became a stack. I stopped buying quite a few Marvels, but couldn't imagine giving up on the FF and the other top titles like Avengers, X-Men, etc.
Then they did the "Heroes Reborn" thing, and within a few months I stopped buying any Marvels and have never gone back. My favorite DC/Vertigo titles steadily lost their appeal as well, my favorite books were either ended or lost their best writers.

MOCK! said...

Started with finding comics at my grandparents house. Bought Avengers 227 off the rack and kept at it until the mid to late 90s.

As the first marriage ended, she "kept" my collection. A few years later, a supportive partner convinced me to get my old books back and to start collecting again. Disposable income (forthe first time!) made it easy.

More selective these days, but still going strong. My daughter humored me for a while (even got a letter published) but my son seems a true fan.

MOCK! said...

Sorry for the brevity and typos...home sick and using the iPad....

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