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How did you come to love comics?

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How have you come to be a comic book reader?

 

I'm an Aussie but it was in Ireland that my connection to comics began....For the first 11 years of my life I was raised in western Sydney but shortly after my eleventh birthday the family was uprooted and moved to rural Limerick not far from the Kerry border where my dad had inherited the family farm. Up until then I'd never really read comics.

 

Rural Ireland in the 80's was a bit of a shock to my system. In the suburbs of Oz I'd ridden my bike around the streets until it was dark with dozens of kids. Every day there was a game of rugby league or cricket on someone's front lawn. In Ireland there were barely a dozen kids at my local national school. The nearest kid my age lived miles away from the house.

 

As far as entertainment went, inside the house was not much better. On TV we had RTE1 and RTE2. If my dad was home this meant news, current affairs and more news. If my mum was lucky she might get to watch some Glenroe. For me and my little brother things were looking grim.

 

Anyway in town after midday mass one Sunday I picked up a British reprint of Marvel's Secret Wars, Mike Zeck's artwork mesmerised me and I was hooked. The magazine came out weekly which meant you only got a few pages of the story each issue and they had various back ups.

 

At the newsagent there was actually another comic that was jumping out from the stands with mind blowing covers (to these virgin eyes at the time) but I was leery of this title due to a juvenile nationalism.....that title was Captain Britain.

 

When boredom finally outweighed republican sentiment I caved and bought an issue and kicked myself that I hadn't done it months earlier. Written at the time by Jamie Delano and with powerful black and white artwork by Alan Davis this was the title that cemented my addiction to comics.

 

It also created a domino effect as I discovered old Mighty World of Marvel's and The Daredevils' issues in a used book store in Tralee. The Daredevils' reprinted Frank Miller's (first?) Daredevil run as well as new episodes of Alan Moore's Captain Britain so I was fortunate to be exposed to both these guys in the same magazine. There was a also V for Vendetta's David Lloyd illustrating Night Raven strips and short stories.

 

British Marvel magazines didn't toe the party line as much as American Marvel which refused to even acknowledged other comics publishers existed and so through the letters and review columns I discovered various other titles that would become favourites (although it wasn't until we returned to Australia and I discovered that shops devoted entirely to comics existed that I was able to track down some of the books mentioned).

 

We only ended up staying in Ireland for a year but I brought that love of comics back with me, after all these books had helped stave off the isolation and loneliness that I was feeling. It's also probably responsible for my tendency to follow books and writers outside the mainstream superhero universe(s).

 

TL;DR:

 

I discovered comic books when the family moved to Ireland in the 80's.

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I'm an Aussie ...

Damn. Now I feel less special. :sad:

 

biggrin.gif

 

One of my earliest memories is reading Australian reprints of Donald Duck comics. Most of them were by Carl Barks, so I was guaranteed a lifelong love of comics.

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Long trips with my aunt. We took AMTRAK alot, so she would give me a few bucks to spend at the bookstore at the train station. Dig this, when I was 10 years old the price of comics had just gone up from a quarter to 35 cents. I felt ripped off because I couldn't buy as many. My first comics were the X Men and Batman and the Metal Men. I also read Action Comics but always found Superman so boring until I saw the movie in 1979. I had a lot of Whitman comics back then. I also bought a lot of Heavy Metal magazines which had great comics in them. I wouldn't call me a comic collector though until I became an adult and learned how to take care of them and store them. I have the first ever issue of Teen Titans which is wortha ton of money in good condition. Mine isn't so it's worth $10 or so .

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I'm an Aussie ...

Damn. Now I feel less special. :sad:

 

biggrin.gif

 

One of my earliest memories is reading Australian reprints of Donald Duck comics. Most of them were by Carl Barks, so I was guaranteed a lifelong love of comics.

 

Hi Jason

 

Did you ever read the Australian comic Cyclone which evolved into Southern Squadron?

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Long trips with my aunt. We took AMTRAK alot, so she would give me a few bucks to spend at the bookstore at the train station. Dig this, when I was 10 years old the price of comics had just gone up from a quarter to 35 cents. I felt ripped off because I couldn't buy as many. My first comics were the X Men and Batman and the Metal Men. I also read Action Comics but always found Superman so boring until I saw the movie in 1979. I had a lot of Whitman comics back then. I also bought a lot of Heavy Metal magazines which had great comics in them. I wouldn't call me a comic collector though until I became an adult and learned how to take care of them and store them. I have the first ever issue of Teen Titans which is wortha ton of money in good condition. Mine isn't so it's worth $10 or so .

 

I'm sure collectors would be mortified by the state my comics were kept. Which is why I have to use the term comic reader.....

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Did you ever read the Australian comic Cyclone which evolved into Southern Squadron?

Sure did. I still have 'em, along with Dark Nebula and the others from that era.

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Are you still based in Ireland or have you moved on ?

 

I grew up reading two classic British war comics - Battle and The Victor. My one childhood dalliance with US comics, that I can recall anyway, was sparked when I saw the first issue of Marvel Secret Wars in my local newsagents with a transfer set offered as the obligatory free gift. Eventually both my weekly reads ceased publishing, Battle ended up merging with The Eagle so my horizons were broadened to include some sci-fi (Doomlord!) before even that Frankenstein disappeared from the shelves.

 

In my very late-teens, maybe early twenties, one of my brothers wanted some X-Men comics for Christmas - which took me into a 'proper' comic shop for the very first time, Forbidden Planet. On a Friday - which was new comics day in Ireland back then - a couple of weeks before Christmas. The place was tiny and packed out the door, did not make for a pleasant shopping experience but I grabbed the sibling requested titles and beat a hasty retreat. On the journey home I decided to read some of the comics, one in particular really grabbed my attention - it featured Wolverine fighting Sabretooth and included a fold out section spanning several pages showing them tearing each other to bits before the surprise conclusion....Wolverine popping one of his claws into Sabretooth's skull and reality crumbling into crystal - the start of the AOA. I was hooked!

 

So I followed that event over the course of the next few months, really enjoyed it but eventually the status quo was returned and my interest started to fade...which was when a Wildstorm cover (can't recall which one) caught my eye and I ended up shifting my attention to that particular superhero universe for a little while. It was the same brother who got me into the 'hobby' that led me to Vertigo too - the guys at Forbidden Planet wouldn't let him buy Preacher so I went in to get him an issue which involved my first trip round to that particular part of the shop. And that's where I saw this...

 

hb109.gif

 

...and that was that!

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Nahh John that was just the year. Sad to say I haven't been back but the farm is still in my Dad's posession outside of Abbeyfeale. The Celtic Tiger was not even a cub at that time and so rather than get paid NOT to produce milk we all packed up and came back to the same house in Sydney.

 

Was an interesting time for me personally - despite my joke at the expense of RTE it introduced me to Miami Vice on a Saturday night, MTV which had yet to reach Australia and even saw the movie Airplane for the first time on Christmas day and it was so heavily censored that it ran for less than an hour. :)

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Did you ever read the Australian comic Cyclone which evolved into Southern Squadron?

Sure did. I still have 'em, along with Dark Nebula and the others from that era.

 

I always thought Gary Chaloner the artist/creator of Jackaroo was the standout artist from that bunch. Later on Shea Anton Pensa came through and he ended up getting a few gigs in US comics which I think was down to Mike Baron's friendship with the Cyclone people.

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My first comics hit was when I bought 2000AD prog 2 when I must've been about 6. It was sooo grown-up compared to what I'd been reading before that (Whizzer & Chips, Buster) and I loved Flesh and Mach 1. And the biotronic stickers!!!

 

As with most things when you're that age my attention came and went over the next couple of years, but I started buying it regularly again in about '79-'82.

Ditched it again (I was in high school and far too mature to be reading kids' comics, obviously) but started again around 1986 when comics became cool again.

 

American comics were almost non-existent in my home town, but we would always seem to get them when we went on holiday. English seaside towns always seemed to have shops with those circular freestanding metal racks, stacked with random comics in no particular order. They were always a special treat when we were on hols, and I remember the thrill of buying 2 consecutive Captain America comics where he was fighting some big green gargoyle monster or dragon or something.

 

About '87 my older brother started buying US comics (I was about 17, he was about 20) and I started reading his. JLI, Green Arrow, Black Kiss(!), Batman. That got me into buying my own from the fondly remembered AKA Comics in Glasgow (probably around the time of JLE and Morrison's Animal Man) and I was hooked for a few years. A short break when I was at university (beer money more important than comic money, although 2000AD was a constant) but a friend recommended Hellblazer and I picked my first fateful copy - #62, January 1993. After that, the titles started coming thick and fast.

 

Been constantly collecting ever since, although 2000AD was dropped somewhere along the way.

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My Gramma used to put Marvel comics in my Christmas stocking every year, mostly Spider-Man. Always loved 'em. My brother helped feed my habit when TMNT came out and Elfquest and things like that. Also used to dig readin my step-father's Heavy Metal magazines from the 70s featuring Den by Richard Corben and stuff like that. Was probably way too young for it but oh well.

 

Then I got out of it until my 20s when I decided for no reason at all to pick up a copy of Preacher. How could there be a comic book about a preacher? What could he possibly get up to? That opened my eyes to a whole new breed of comics. Several thousand comic books later...

 

I used to buy by favorite character. That got real goofy when Marvel started doing dumb stuff with The Punisher and Venom. I learned to buy comics written only by people whose stories I have enjoyed in the past.

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I learnt to read with Mortadelo y Filemón.

I was not interested in foreign comics. Then I watched Spawn, I must have been sixteen or so. Then I started the collection. Then Curse of Spawn and Sam & Twitch. Friends were passing me comics from Metabarons, Sin City and other stuff. Eventually, thanks to a parody of fandom that was published in Spain, I met this strange magician, Konstantin. I found the source and started Hellblazer.

I hope I didn't bore you.

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From my dad recounting or reading directly, tales of the DCU during the Silver Age, before bed.

I was pulled right into stories where anything could and did happen. Stories of heroes in disguises, used for inspiration and/or concealment, fighting the good fight, making the world a better place. Very appealing to a young me.

 

So I started reading some of his collection, then he got me some DC comics of my own. Eventually, I branched out and checked out some Marvel, due to peer pressure.

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Then I got out of it until my 20s when I decided for no reason at all to pick up a copy of Preacher. How could there be a comic book about a preacher? What could he possibly get up to? That opened my eyes to a whole new breed of comics. Several thousand comic books later...

 

Preacher was my first "adult" comic if you don't count Heavy Metal. But Heavy Metal was closer to a comic digest since it seldom had the same comic in it twice. But I loved Preacher and it was Ennis and Dillon. When it was over, I sought out more Ennis and Dillon which got me to Hellblazer. Carey was the current writer, so I would buy the Ennis/Dillon trades and the Carey issues monthly. I was overloaded and overjoyed with Hellblazer because I never got sick of it--even when I got to the John & Kit frame by frame talkfests and Heartland. Comics I never would have imagined me reading when I was buying 35 cent comics in train stations in the 1970s.

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Ut was 1982, and G. I. Joe #1 had just been released. My cousin bought a copy, and we were both interested in this strange illustrated book.

We decided we liked this G. I. Joe comic book.

We were in the 3rd grade, and so my cousin (who was my best friend and attended the same school) and I decided that we wanted to read a comic book series with a history

We thought long and hard at the drug store spinner rack about what comics we would read.

We decided that DC books (Batman drew us) had too long a history to collect. Batman was already nearly up to issue #400, I think.

So, we were drawn to Marvel.

I quickly picked up the new X-Men issue, which was during the classic Chris Claremont run. It had a scary demon on the cover.

He chose Iron Man.

We both got hooked right away on the series we chose.

I would read his Iron Man each month too.

We decided to collect all the back-issues, and set about trying to hunt down the earlier issues of X-Men and Iron Man (respectively).

By the age of 25, I had finally acquired every issue of Uncanny X-Men, except for the issue #1.

Basically, that was it.

 

Comics helped me get through some really hard times in my life too, which is how I became addicted to the childhood hobby.

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Maybe...

They didn't have many 7-11s around me, actually.

I grew up in a more rural, small town, outside of Flint.

The local drug store, Perry's Drug Store, had a spinner rack.

And, the local grocery store, Kessel's, also had one.

Both stores are long gone now, replaced by the chains.

I was always so excited when my grandparents were going to the drug store.

That "squeak, squeak, squeak" sound the rack would make as you looked for the comics you wanted.

I'd find comics I didn't buy at the grocery store, and grab one, and walk around the store reading it, before putting it back. I'd always be nervous that someone was going to stop me and ask, "Are you going to buy that book?". heh

 

The comic book store I visit now bought an old spinner rack. They put their 25cent books on there. It's a nice bit of nostalgia.

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Damn silent comics. Such a rip-off! heh

I still have most of my collection. I forget which issue I bought up to, but I sold the first 10 a while back. Nobody wanted any of the other issues, so I was stuck with them, and stored them in my grandparents' attic.

 

I have early memories of TMNT also. That was the third monthly book I started to buy (after G.I. Joe and X-Men)...back before it became such a big hit with the kiddies, when it was still cool.

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I recently read JK Rowling's final graphic novel, "John Constantine: The Teenblazer!", published after her brain was unplugged from the creative vortex and, deciding I'd like to read more of these "comics", stepped into my Dad's time machine, inadvertently over-shooting the start of the Hellblazer series by a couple of decades. I got stuck in the sixties and had to read everything chronologically as it was released.

 

More accurately, my Grandparents used to teach me to read using comics like The Dandy and Beano, then moved on to Batman comics when that was on telly. Being British, there was a steady flow of comic series and my tastes moved on to the sports and action comics to Roy of the Rovers and Starlord & 2000AD. At the same time, through my teens, more and more comics shops appeared, specialising in Marvel and DC types.

 

In the earlier days, I read a lot of the quirkier super hero stuff, notably by Steve Gerber.

 

There was a lull from 16 to 22 as I got into the football and music.

Once I moved to London, a couple of friends shared their collections and we were treated to the rise of more adult-themed comics such as Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman and that lot produce, Brit comics like Crisis appeared and partly rekindled the interest. But it was the Swamp Thing, Sandman and Hellblazer era leading into Vertigo that mostly launched my current interest.

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I always thought Gary Chaloner the artist/creator of Jackaroo was the standout artist from that bunch. ...

 

Yeah, definitely. The other names pop up every now and again — today I spotted a book by Lumsden & DeVries in a library.

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I always thought Gary Chaloner the artist/creator of Jackaroo was the standout artist from that bunch. ...

 

Yeah, definitely. The other names pop up every now and again — today I spotted a book by Lumsden & DeVries in a library.

 

Would that have been a new comic?

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Short answer: Generous neighbour(s)

 

***

 

Long answer:

 

As a very young child, I used to race to the door on certain days of the week to grab "The Beezer" before my brother and "Misty" before my sister. Some years later, we had a new neighbour whose husband and sons had amassed too many comics for their loft to hold and so she would give us piles of their older comics (including Spiderman nos. 1+, Hulk nos 1+, Doc Strange, Rampage, Mad and Frantic) in order to clear space for more meaningful loft clutter. I loved these comics - they made the Beezer and Misty seem so tame and childish.

 

My brother started to buy DC comics with his Saturday job money and, of course, I would sneak a read of these. However, I preferred the Marvel cast-offs as I found the DC superheroes to be far too squeaky clean and shiny. Then our kindly neighbour from heaven handed me (because I always said "thank you") a great pile of 2000ADs: issue 1 through to about 100. All in pristine condition. My brother, by that time, had discovered girls and had only a passing interest in this strange comic with its green host: Tharg. I, on the other hand, became hooked. I even got myself a weekend waitressing job (for which I lied about my age) so I could buy the current issues.

 

I remember developing a fantasy crush on the tusked chappie in the Halo Jones series (I was already weird: Captain Scarlett used to rock my young boat too!) I also remember the day that 2000AD went full colour as I hated the change and stopped buying it for a while. To fill the void, I started to read and collect a new comic called Hellblazer. And in later years at uni, because I didn't know better - having no role model other than the kindly neighbour from heaven - I gave all of my early Hellblazers to a guy I used to hang out with. (Doh! Doh! Doh!)

 

Oh...and the pristine set of 2000AD's and early Marvel issues? As soon as I had left home to attend college, Mum redecorated my bedroom and placed all of my comics in boxes in the garden shed. Mice, damp and mould killed off any possibility of early retirement from the sale of first editions. I didn't appreciate the enormity of these losses until shopping for replacement back issues in my early thirties.

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Hey, Mezz, good idea for a thread.

 

My first love in reading was Robin Hood, with the whole idea of Daring Do and doing what was right even if it made you an outlaw, and Merry Men flocking to your cause because it was right and the very King Himself smiling indulgently on your mugging the deer of His reserves because He found you had also been protecting His laws in His absense. All those things the real world must crush out of a kid the moment it smells the impulse on him/her. Comics, especially the ones with a determined moral sense, in which we can certainly include Carl Banks' wonderful Donald Duck comics, as we all must agree*, didn't offer anything but the same stories in two mediums for the price of one, to my ideas. All the things like the beauty of art and the special abilities of Comics to tell a deeper story passed me by.

 

I loved the idea of a Captain America, who would simply do what was right, wouldn't know what else he could do. I loved the idea that someone would choose a Hal Jordan for the sake of his spirit, and empower him to do virtuous deeds. I even liked the idea of the Big Blue Boyscout, and though it was years before I read someone elses reasoning of Ma and Pa Kent having set his heart into human form in the alien frame, the fact that he did his duty and, ( to use an All Blacks frame of reference ) every time he kicked the conversion, turned his head and jogged humbly back to his "position" of being Clark, was moving to me.

 

And then later, 2000 AD with its cynical and worldly take on the whole issue of Heroes, yet they remained Heroic.

 

Comics. An updated take on the stories of the tribes' virtues, distilled and re-told from a billion campfires stretching back into Africa.

 

 

* No, seriously, don't you go talking about Donald being a blustering bully or a clown, I won't hear it, so don't waste your breath.

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