03 April 2012

C is for... Comics

It started off innocently enough.  My husband-to-be introduced me to Neil Gaiman's Sandman.  "This isn't your usual comic," he told me.  "It's brilliant.  You've got to read it."  And so I did. And he was right.  Sandman was one of the most profound pieces of writing and art I'd ever had the opportunity to experience.  I wanted more by this wonderful man.  It wasn't long after that that he dipped into the Marvel Universe for 1602.  I had a passing familiarity with some of the characters.  I knew Peter Parker was Spiderman, that Reed Richards was Mr Fantastic and that he had a long running feud with Doctor Doom.  But some of the other characters, and some of the allusions, eluded me.  I needed to know more.

My first non-Gaiman comic that I picked up was a collection of early Fantastic Four works.  I was excited to find out about what happened to cause Doctor Doom to hate Reed Richards so much.  And I lapped it up.  I wanted more, but didn't really have the money to buy more trade paperbacks.  So I let me burgeoning interest wane for awhile.

Until I happened to be browsing the non-fiction section of my local library and found shelves upon shelves of graphic novels. (Don't ask why it's in the non-fiction section.... I have no idea myself.)  For whatever reason, even after reading Sandman and 1602, I had relegated comics to something that kids read.  It wouldn't be in the adult section.  Why would it?  But there it was, shelf upon shelf, book upon book, hero upon hero.

I'm not sure why I drifted away from Marvel. Was it seeing more Batman and Superman cartoons growing up than Fantastic Four or Spiderman?  Was it the titles that drew me in - instead of Marvel Presents: Spiderman, I was seeing titles like The Tornado's Path and Identity Crisis.  Regardless of the reason, I became a devotee of DC Comics. And head and shoulders above all the rest was my super-hero boyfriend, Green Arrow.

Image Found at Green Arrow Wiki via Google Image Search

I mean, he doesn't have a super power, he's just damned good with a bow.  He's hot as hell.  He's got the same political leanings as I do.  He's a wiseass to the extreme.  Just about everything that I love in my fantasy guys.  So for awhile, I was reading everything involving Green Arrow that I could get my hands on.  Mostly it was the trade paperbacks from his series, books like Quiver and The Sounds of Violence.  But I picked up some of the other Justice League titles and my world started to expand.  

Once I'd finished all of those that my library had (at all branches - thank you, branch request system!), I needed more.  I was like an addict, needing my next fix of superheroes.  So I branched into some Batman, some Superman, the Justice Society of America.  And my need never abated.  And often, new books that I'd find would come because of something that I saw in the back of other books.  I just went everywhere.  I even came back to Marvel when something about the Civil War story line caught my attention.

It's gotten to the point that I don't want to wait for trade paperbacks to be made and my library to purchase them.  I want to know what's happening now now now.  So I started getting a subscription to several monthly comics.  Along with a few of my favorite DC titles (Green Arrow (of course), Birds of Prey and Tiny Titans for my oldest), I also get a few based on some of my favorite shows, like Doctor Who and Charmed. I'm getting a wonderful short-run (6 issues) series called Memorial that I'm thoroughly hooked on.

I love my comics.  I came late into the game, but I'm passionate about them.  And I'm instilling the same passion in my boys. Teddy picks up comics from the library most of the time now (with a few chapter books occasionally thrown in).  Peter loves his Green Lantern and Silver Surfer toys.  And, as a family, we'll turn on the latest episodes of Avengers or Ultimate Spiderman (and the only reason we don't turn on Batman: Brave and the Bold or Young Justice is because we don't get Cartoon Network).  We love to dive into this world where the pictures are as important as the words and it's a melding of talented artist and talented writer that brings these heroes (and others) to life.