Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Comics rule - part I

I've been contemplating a really long entry on comics and why they're awesome ever since I started this blog. I soon realized that I'd never be able to write everything that I wanted in one entry. I then started to try and map out exactly how I would do this, and then it started to seem more like work. This blog is intended primarily as an excuse to write for the sake of writing, and it's a nice added bonus that not only do friends and family members read it, but I sometimes seem to get complete strangers from all over the world checking it out as well.

So, I have no plan here, and I don't know how many entries this will be, but I figure that I have a good subtopic right now to get this thing started. And without further ado...

I'm not sure exactly when I received my first comic book. I remember that there were always plenty of things to read for me while I was growing up, most of them children's books, but there were also some comics as well. I seem to recall getting a couple of large, oversized comics when I was I was three years old and in the hospital for open-heart surgery. I still have one of them, and the copyright date on it is 1976, so my memory is probably correct. It's a Batman comic, and it has quite a few stories in it - one of them written by Dennis O'Neal, whom I would meet as a teenager and have a long talk about writing at a comic book convention. (Not that I paid attention to that sort of a thing when I was little.) Flipping through it, I still think it's a pretty cool book, and I'm amazed that it's in as good of a shape as it is. It's basically just a little worn, but the cover and all the pages are still intact.

There were others, I'm sure as the years went on. I believe my Mom told me that she bought them for me and my sister when we lived in Iran. I seem to recall some Archie and Scrooge McDuck comics for the most part. However, it wasn't until we came back from Iran when I was five that my mom bought for me the one comic that would have the biggest impact on me. It was another Batman book, an issue of Batman Family, which was regular-sized, but it was basically a collection of stories featuring different writers, artists and characters. The feature story had Batman fighting an old man who transferred his mind into a giant gorilla.

I still have that one, and I still think that story is cool. There were also some stories featuring Robin, Batgirl, and Batmite. And then the story in the middle, the one that REALLY freaked me out featured The Demon. I thought that was scary as hell, and Michael Golden's art really gave me the heebie jeebies. In fact, I was so creeped out by it that I was afraid to actually read it, yet at the same time I found something to be strangely compelling about it.

As the years past, I probably got a few comics here and there. The ones that I remember are an oversized Superman comic that my oldest sister bought for me on Christmas and an adaptation of Return of the Jedi (which featured some really awesome art by Al Williamson). It wasn't until I was twelve and some kids were bringing in issues of Transformers and GI JOE that I started to think about getting them on a regular basis. After all, I was getting an allowance - I had to spend my money on something!

So, I started off with Transformers, but it was only a matter of months before I moved on to the monthly issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, since Spidey had always been my favorite hero (despite the Batman comics). My first issue was Amazing Spider-Man #276. The last issue that I bought was 586, just last week. No, I haven't bought every issue in between. However, I doubt that I've gone more than a month without going to a comic book store since I was twelve.

I remember my aunt asking me when I was a teenager when I was going to get "out" of comics and start getting "into girls". (I never understood why they had to be mutually exclusive.) Well, I'm 35 and married now. Somehow, I don't think that I'm ever going to get "out" of comics.

Why? Because comics rule. Lots more to come on that.


Ingrid said...

Your memory is correct. You got your first comic book from the boy in the bed next to you when you were in the hospital at age three. The aunt must have been Ruth, right?

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Did he give me that Batman comic? Wasn't his name Lance too?

And no, it wasn't Ruth.

Ingrid said...

Yes to both. Good memory you have.