Month: October 2013

Comics that Scared Me – Swamp Thing #25

Swamp Thing #25I can’t tell you much about what my life was like as a 12 year old.  I have snippets of things from back then, a fun vacation to Niagara Falls, some trips to Ipperwash and Grand Bend, some great birthdays, lots of terrific times at my grandparents farm…but I can vividly tell you exactly what I did and what I had for lunch the second Saturday in May, 1984.

It was a beautiful warm day, super sunny, with just a hint of spring chill still in the air.  I rode my bike to Les’ Variety in Old Wortley Villiage.  The comics were at the back of the store on a low shelf.  Les had a ton of comics, probably consistently the biggest haul of anyone around, and his was the shop I would go to when I was looking for something in particular.

I picked up three comics that day.  Batman Special #1, featuring a new character called “The Wraith” who was basically the bad guy version of Batman (his parents were killed in front of him as a child by police officers in a very Bonnie and Clyde reminiscent scene).  Blue Beetle #1, featuring a brand new super-hero who was really a stuntman who gets trapped inside of his special effects costume.

The third comic was Saga of the Swamp Thing #25.  I bought it because the cover was striking, it had an image of the swamp monster crawling out of the muck and grabbing a white haired girl by the leg.  The title was formed out of the negative space in the vegetation, and the design of everything really appealed to me.  Of course 12 year old me just thought it looked cool.  The interior art was really creepy and awesome too.

I didn’t know it at the time, but 12 year old me was about to be introduced to both Alan Moore and John Totleben.  Names that years later would mean a lot more to me as I got to learn more about the British invasion of comics, and Miracleman in particular.

I went a couple of doors down to the Wortley Road Diner and ordered a plate of french fries with gravy and a Coke.  I sat down and started reading Swamp Thing #25.  Here’s the brief description from ComicVine.

Paul’s parents, Chris and Jenny have accidentally released the Monkey King using a ouija board, they both get killed by him and his son is taken to Elysium Lawns, a center for autistic children, the Monkey King has adopted Paul as his master and is using him and the rest of the kids in the center to feed.

Jason Blood, The Demon, gets to Baton Rouge, where he has tracked the demon, to haunt and destroy him; he and The Swamp Thing have felt trouble ahead. Meanwhile, Abby has gotten a new job at Elysium Lawns, as she is shown the place she knows Paul, who seems to be very disturbed by the thing that has happened to him and his family. The Monkey King is ready to attack again and he’s getting stronger.

I had read some Demon stuff from Jack Kirby.  The character was kind of goofy, with primary reds and yellows, and a cute little rhyming gimmick.  I had seen some Swamp Thing stuff before by Bernie Wrightson.  What I had never experienced before though was Alan Moore’s storytelling.

It starts with Jason Blood telling a travelling salesman that at 5:32pm the salesman would be impaled by a swordfish, and ends with that story coming true.

The final scene is of the Monkey King cuddling up to the little boy in the story, its muzzle wet and warm with blood.

I was both terrified…and hooked.  I really enjoyed comics before then, but that day, with a fresh out of the fryer plate of brown gravy topped fries and a Coca Cola, I fell in love with the medium of comics.

For some reason, the Monkey King reminded me of a Work Sock Monkey, and from that day on I was terrified of them.

Top 50 Comic Book Runs 5-1

Here we are in the final 5. Remembering my initial rules, it’s easy to see why this last five was the hardest.

My number one choice has been number one since I read it in 1984, and to me will always be my favourite comic story of all time.

Once again – The Rules
The rules were simple, they had to be comics I was incredibly excited when they came out. I had to have bought them off the shelf when they were released (so Watchmen, Camelot 3000, Dark Knight Returns, Captain Britain, and a few others were disqualified). One shots didn’t count, so that left out Killing Joke (which is one of my favourite stories comics or otherwise of all time), and original graphic novels were out too. This list was about anticipation, and these are the comics that I went absolutely nuts waiting for 30 days to go by so I could find out what happened next.

Without further ado…the finale of my top 50 comic runs of all time.

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Top 50 Comic Runs 10 – 6

The Top 50 Comics 10-6

Okay, seriously…what is wrong with me?  I’ve had this damn list finished for going on three months, but I haven’t posted the last two parts.

Time to rectify that!

First…the rules.

The rules were simple, they had to be comics I was incredibly excited when they came out. I had to have bought them off the shelf when they were released. This list was about anticipation, and these are the comics that I went absolutely nuts waiting for 30 days to go by so I could find out what happened next.

Second, the previous list (the kids call this “deep linking”).

And now, for the very dramatic penultimate listing of the top 50 comic runs that I collected as they came out in stores.

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Why I Love Kickstarter

One of the sources of frustration for my lovely wife Charlene and a source of great amusement for my friends and co-workers is my seeming obsession and addiction to Kickstarter.

For those of you who don’t know, Kickstarter is an online crowdfunding tool that allows artists, entrepreneurs, and makers to get their ideas funded before they are produced.

To date I have backed 17 different projects, some big, some small.  I have backed projects for as little as $3.00, and as much as $500.

I have backed real, physical things, and virtual goods as well.

So why do I do it?  There’s a few different reasons, and they speak to different parts of my nature. Continue Reading