I’ve always been an avid reader.  One of my most prized possessions during my elementary school years was a leather-bound copy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.  I recall sitting down in my basement, writing up summaries of each act of every play, carefully recording them in a dedicated spiral-bound notebook.  As an early sci-fi fan, I never wanted for books growing up.  My mother fed my reading habit with the likes of Asimov, Clarke, Bradbury and Ellison, encouraging my love for literature with the paperback treasures she would often pick up on her way home from work.  While clearly dubious about the merits of comic books, another literary childhood obsession of mine, mom would nevertheless,  occasionally, reward me with the odd issue as a special treat.

The Japanese have a word, “natsukashii”, that roughly translates to “Boy, that takes me back!”.  Like the madeleine that transported Proust back to his childhood, there are certain comic book covers that will engender in me a wondrous and familiar excitement, a surprisingly precise sense of nostalgia that places me back in an exact instant of my youth.

I’m 8 and thoroughly ecstatic, having just bought this comic book from a second grade classmate for the staggering sum of 50 cents.  I can’t imagine any heroes cooler than Sandman, Hourman, and Dr. Midnite.

I’m 11.  I’m sitting in my room, trying to process the wonders of this delightfully atypical, twist-laden issue written by Tony Isabella and Scott Edelman, its payoff so perfect that I think “These are the types of stories Ray Bradbury would write if he were working for Marvel.”

I’m 11.  It’s Christmas night at my cousins’ house and I’m downright giddy, having discovered this beauty beneath the tree.  My mother had finally acquiesced and gifted me my first comic book.

I’m 12 and have just been emotionally bulldozed by Jim Starlin’s stunningly bittersweet tale.  Oh, Pip.

I’m 13, it’s after school, and I’m with my best friend Cas Anvar (The Expanse’s Alex Kamal).  We stand in awe before the Holy Grail of comic books, Giant-Size X-Men #1, hanging on the wall of my local book shop, available for purchase – at a premium.  Which I gladly paid.

My interest in comics has waxed and waned (but mostly waxed) over the years, but my love and respect for the genre has remained strong, shaping my creative and, in turn, my career.  I owe much of my success to all of the writers, artists, letterers, colorists, and editors who fueled – and continue to fuel – my imagination with their amazing work.

I’ve heard some describe this era, with its proliferate superhero-themed big budget features and television productions, as a Golden Age.  And, while I won’t disagree, I can’t help but point out that beyond all of the onscreen explosions and Easter eggs, the amazing action and dazzling visual effects, the origin of it all, the source material, the comic book, continues to reign supreme.

So do yourself a favor and hit your local comic shop or, if you’d prefer to go the digital route, check out Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, IDWComixology, or countless other online shops.  Discover new titles.  Make some new memories.  Prepare to be Astonished and Amazed by tales as Incredible and Uncanny as they are Sensationally Spectacular.  Support the industry.  Read.

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baterista9 AKA gildermcc
baterista9 AKA gildermcc

Shared with Elder Brother, whose comics were part of my early reading.

KathyC
KathyC

I never really read comics growing up; so I never really got interested in all the super hero movies, tv show, etc that are taking over. My sole super hero experience is the Superfriends animated tv show. I find it difficult as an adult to get into the style of comic books or graphic novels, but I try reading them every now and then. Want to broaden my horizons as much as possible, as I am an avid reader as well.

JeffW
JeffW

My main comic to follow was The Flash. Somehow, the various live action attempts never measured up to what my imagination filled in between those panels on the comic book page. The animated Justice League series came close, but they never really spent as much time on the Flash as I would have liked.

Then I got too busy…

Maybe I should buy some digital ones to read on the rest of my plane flights this week.

jimfromjersey

I wholeheartedly support this blog entry!

While I don’t read as much as I’d like to these days, I was a rabid comic reader and collector in the 80’s and 90’s. And since I don’t get to read much, I’m absolutely thrilled to see some of my favorite heroes come to the big and small screen in the last few years.

About two years ago I sold my entire saved collection of six 3′ long comic cases, each comic boarded and sleeved; for the arguably paltry sum of $250.00. It made me sad to do it, but we cleaned house and I hadn’t touched them in 20 years, so off they went.

My favorites were The Punisher, Iron Man, X-Men, Wolverine, Spawn. I still remember my Mom gifting me Iron Man #5 for my 13th birthday. https://comicbookrealm.com/series/1047/0/marvel-iron-man

maggiemayday

I loved my brother’s scifi paperback books, and unintentionally read far above my grade level. Lots of fantasy too, especially Tolkien and Fritz Leiber. I wasn’t into comics because my older brother was not. I did eventually end up with The Forever People and the short run of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, but not much else other than Underground Comix. Zap, Fritz the Cat, the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Leather Nun, Cheech Wizard … I now have most of my brother’s collection since he passed, had to pay my greedy SIL for that privilege. Yeah, those reading selections warped my teenage brain. Eek.

Mal

For a few years as a kid, I lived up a hill from a comic shop that was run by a comic artist of the time, Rich Buckler. You’re absolutely right, I can pinpoint moments of my life from that shop, all the way to here and now, and I’m thankful for the fuel to my imagination.

This was the start of an indie boom, and though I had a few Marvel mainstays, my heart belonged to large magazine format comics like Nexus, Love and Rockets, the Epic Illustrated imprint, Heavy Metal, and more. Those were, and still are, the days!

Quantum Mechanic®👽🌊 (@JamesEFinch)

My first comic books were Bugs Bunny, Superman and Pinocchio (Classics Illustrated) when I was about 3. It’s how I learned to read. Then it was Superman, Magnus Robot Fighter, Archie and strangely, Little Lulu. I was a DC fan before I was a Marvel fan, but as I grew older, I learned to expand my horizons to indies & B&Ws. I became so enamored of comics, I read Overstreet Comics Guide cover to cover every year until 1991 when I opened up my first comic shop. Then opened 2 more shops in 1992, but then folding in 1995. Sometimes just love isn’t enough. That said, I’ve never regretted my love for comics and am trying to make one of my own, having had bad experiences with film (almost losing my life in 2002 pursuing that industry). Comics are safer! I have about 3000 hard copies and 100,000 digital comics that I hope my son will appreciate. My archive spans comics of all types from 1939 to this week. It’s one of the best mediums to express one’s imagination.

shinyhula
shinyhula

Thanks for taking us through your origin story, I hope you still have all those treasured editions. I hope your early adventures will become a Stranger Things sci fi dramedy.

I wish I knew where all our comics vanished to; my dad’s stack that he kept in his shed, and the stacks we kept in our closets haven’t been seen in decades. My brother still looks for them each time he goes home, without success.

Mattias
Mattias

Best friend Cas Anvar? That’s cool, you must know when his birthday is?

2cats

Wow, you really ARE into comics. Well, me, not so much. I enjoy some of the artwork, but the stories don’t hold me generally speaking. I do peruse a few at the bookstore, but don’t buy.

Like Maggiemayday, I started reading sci-fi books very early and way above my expected grade level. I think the last time I was tested for a school reading comprehension level was in 6th grade (age 12) and then I was at senior college grade level, to the great astonishment of my teacher. The only explanation for a superb vocabulary and comprehension are hours and days spent with Bradbury, Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov, Dick, LeGuin, Herbert, Wells, Vonnegut, Larry Niven, Jules Verne, Silverberg, Delaney, Pohl, Brin, Aldiss, Sturgeon, Anderson, and more recently, Scalzi, my God, I could go on… all so wonderful to read, imagine and enjoy!
A good sci-fi book should transport you out of yourself, away from your hum drum life and propel you into another reality. It’s been a while since I’ve found a book that does that for me. But I remember well the sensation.

And I also love reading Shakespeare for the sheer joy of it!

PBMom

Archie was my comic in comic book form growing up. I also loved the comics in the Sunday paper. Peanuts, Garfield, Family Circus, Ziggy, For Better or Worse, Blondie, Underdog, Scooby Doo, Augie Doggie, Captain Caveman, Magilla Gorilla (wow, I read a lot of them now that I’ve written them out) and a few others I read religiously but have forgotten over time.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic

What a nice post. Thanks for sharing and my gosh, glad you mention those colorists. They are like unsung heroes. We must be the same age too as I have those vintage era The Avengers books and The Uncanny X-Men books too.

Oddly, I simply cannot get into these Marvel films in the same way I had a passion for the books. Best regards.