In honour of Free Comic Book day (this coming Saturday May 3rd at All New Comics), I thought I’d talk about what got me hooked on comics.
Here they are…these pictures are of the three comics that first got me. I had read comics before, my uncles Donnie and Ronnie had comics, but it wasn’t until these that comics really got into my brain.
Batman #276 is the first comic book that I remember actually buying at a store. It’s from June 1976, so that would make me about 4 1/2. I still have my tattered, dog-eared copy. It has places in it where I drew over panels, there are places where I silly-puttied the ink practically off the pages, and the cover is so damaged that it’s barely together. A few years back I picked up a replacement copy of it, and I keep the two books together.
The New Teen Titans #1, from November 1980 (making me 9 years old), it featured my favourite super-hero sidekicks teamed up with a bunch of new characters. This was the comic that hooked me for good. I even remember buying this at the Mac’s Milk at Southdale and Adelaide St in London. I still have my original copy, but I got myself a pristine near mint copy a few years back too.
The New Teen Titans #39, February 1984 (putting me at 13 years old), the first comic I ever got through subscription. I ordered this direct from DC Comics for I believe $4.00 a year. Each issue was sent in a brown paper bag, and it even included the oversized Annual issue at no extra cost! I still have that entire run, and though I’ve replaced a lot of them with crisp new copies, they still mean a lot to me.
There are other comics that I hold dear too. Uncanny X-Men 164 from December 1982 was the first issue of X-Men I ever bought, and it’s a run that is unbroken today. It’s funny too because I’ve read the earlier issues in trade and Essentials, but I never bothered to go back and buy the pre-164 issues.
The first independant comic that I remember buying was The Elementals, a series about four people who died and were returned to life as superheroes based on the four elements. It was incredibly rich, and had some really deep themes like death, fame, government, and religion. I think Elementals can largely be credited with my teenage interest in religion (I became a huge fan of the bible for a while in my teenage years from a purely academic standpoint and a lot of stories I wrote were based on biblical archetypes).
Comics introduced me to a lot of cool things. To this day I draw, sketch, and doodle, largely because of comics. My first job at TSN was because I was running a web fan-site for a comic series called Generation X. Today, I make some of my income through All New Comics.
Comics are a doorway to reading too, I’ve read some pretty complex stuff because of an interest that got piqued by comics.
As a dad, I’m trying to encourage an interest in Comics for Kaylin too, not only because her generation is the future, but because I think comics mostly have good moral tales, and help foster an active imagination.
After all, I turned out pretty alright.