Friday, July 15, 2011

How I became addicted to newsprint or Confessions of a Comic Book Junkie - Part 1

Hello, my name is Will and I'm a newsprint junkie.
The other day one of my friends from work dropped by my office. I gave him a high level tour of the CSS Blog you are reading. He asked genuinely (as opposed to condescendingly) How did I get started and whats the kick? He had had a few as a kid but it was a phase that had a beginning, middle and end for him. He moved on..

I told him that I had been to the HerosCon in Charlotte earlier this year, and I had a chance to get my Green Lantern #76 autographed by the Artist Neal Adams (as if you didnt know). Explained that the book was key issue. That it was the 1st comic with a social conscience and that many consider this book tied with House of Secrets #92 as the start of the Bronze age. I like the history (niche' as it may be). I like the smell of newsprint and the texture. I like that it is a "right sized" distraction. After work and getting the kids fed and in bed, a comic is a great way to find a calm place for me and unwind. I like something to hold in my hand. As an older reader, I've been around the block a few times and I've seen cycles of similar stories advance and retreat. I try to imagine what I would do if I were writing and the changes I would make. That seemed to abate his question. He was satisfied.

But it got me thinking, where DID it all start....

I cant really remember a time before comics. When I was very young like 3 or 5, a friend of my Mom's whose name was Ray? gave me stack of comics as he was headed off to the Navy. I remember my Dad reading them to me... One, I think, was some flavor of  X-men #2 where Iceman makes a bowl of ice-cream. I remember THAT distinctly. Could have been some flavor of reprint or the genuine book who knows.. I remember Spider-man fighting Doc Ock in some warehouse. I remember Spider-man fighting some girl with red hair that could grapple. most likely the Inhumans Medusa. I remember my Dad reading about the orange "Rock-man" to me. I wish  I could say these were lost to time - but I know exactly what happened to them. I burned them. If they were simply "lost" I may have forgotten them. But NO, I torched them in the fireplace one winter cuz I like the way the newspaper burned. Pyro-boy strikes! I abused them. I immediately felt bad knew I had done something wrong and had remorse. It was under supervision, but I the same I wish my folks had just stopped me and put them to the side. Lets call this Tip for the Comic Collecting novice#2: Fire is bad for your comics.

My parents owned and operated a store. An honest to God Mom and Pop convenience shop. It had a comic spinner. I could always grab one and read. I remember Cain and Abel. DC horror comics REALLY creep-ed me out. So much so that I bypassed heroes and fled to the peaceful oblivion of Riverdale and Richie Rich's where I hid for years.

Ultimately, the folks got rid of the spinner in their store. I remember going somewhere with my Dad to meet one of his colleagues, another store owner, and whining when he wouldn't buy me a comic as we were leaving. It was a Giant Size X-men 1. Yeah that one... on a spinner. I remember it!

Well by now I had about 7 milk crates FULL of comics.  That was my starter set.

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