I’m pretty sure the first comicbook I ever bought had a cover price of 35 cents. Must have been the late 70’s. That would put me at around 10 years old. I loved everything about comicbooks. I loved the beautiful action-packed art. I loved the larger then life characters. I loved the way the good guy not only won but I especially liked the way the good guy wasn’t always the biggest or even the strongest. Sometimes the good guy was the unlikeliest of heroes. I liked the exotic other-worldly settings. I grew to be a huge fan of Jack Kirby. I lived for his two-page splash! Later I discovered John Byrne and the more “realistic” styles of comic art. I even loved the very smell of comicbooks. That newsprint smell is one of the greatest smells in the world to me. That smell represents everything that was great about my childhood. That smell helps me forget all the bad parts. Comicbooks were a great escape for an always picked on little kid.
Which brings up a good point. Comicbooks….Marvel comicbooks…at least the ones I enjoyed (and still enjoy today) were not really aimed at little kids. They ain’t now and never really were. I could read these comics and it seemed like not only was I able to read a wondrous tale of sci-fi/adventure but through comicbooks I was privy to a world that often dealt with some pretty serious “adult” themes: addictions, abuse, racism, & violence. Sometimes these things were brought up blatantly as a main story line & other times it was done through metaphors. But still many comics are escapist high adventure & theres nothing wrong with that. Stan Lee the father of Marvel Comics, the man who with his partner, co-plotter & artist Jack Kirby pretty much built the Marvel Universe creating most of the big characters like the Hulk, Fantastic Four, X-Men, etc. and he never talked down to his audience.
Over the years I built quite a collection. I had a big run of the Fantastic Four I had a lot of X-Men. I had a huge Conan collection. Then I did something really stupid. Around 1985 (or so) I quit collecting. I quit buying comics & sold my glorious collection for a pitiful sum I am too ashamed to type here. I don’t know why I did it to this day. It was absolutely one of the dumbest moves of my life.
Flash-forward about 16 years. My 12 year old daughter is in the hospital with a ruptured pancreas. My wife and I mostly lived in the hospital room with her for about two weeks as she recovered from the clean up surgeries. Kristan was pretty bored after a while & so on a whim I go to a local comic-shop to try to find her something to read. I figure I’ll get her a nice reprint (trade paperback) collection of some of the stuff I used to enjoy reading. I find the TPB of “the X-Men: Days of Future Past”. I took it up to her hospital room. As she slept I read the TPB and pretty soon I was once again hooked!
Now I’m collecting and reading along with my daughter. Even my wife reads some of the books we get (Ultimate Spider-Man & Wolverine:Origin are her current favs).
– Larry (WebHobbit) Robertson 10:35 PM 4/21/2002
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