I like comics. I like them quite a lot. In fact, I have made a good portion of my life comics as I now work in the industry AND I read them for fun AND…well, I’m starting to attempt to sort of kind of make things that are not exactly comics but…you get what I am saying here? I live with comics. But there is this world, this…comics blogosphere, if you will, FILLED with people who have a lifetime love affair with comics. That is not me. Comics and I have a long-standing relationship. And it’s the good kind, the kind where you can be apart for a long time but when you are back together, you pick up right where you left off. You still have the same issues (ok, that was kind of a pun, but an ill advised and not particularly effective one, I know), but at the same time, everything has changed so you have plenty to do together.
I started reading comics as a kid. I was an avid reader and comics, well, they were 10 more minutes of reading as far as I was concerned. My brother was a serious comics reader, not reading serious comics, but the kind that reads the series…a seriesous reader? I don’t know but he was a comics regular. Me, I was more about picking what looked interesting from the covers. And we bought remaindered comics (that’s sooooo illegal!) but they were 10 for a dollar, well within my childhood budget.
Mostly I read Richie Rich. Maybe a little Archie, an occasional Spider-Man, especially if the Green Goblin was on the cover. I shoved the books under my white four-poster bed (with Katie Patchwork canopy) when I was done with them, pulling them out now and then to supplement my reading. Eventually my mom made me clean under the bed and I remember dragging two or three FULL TO THE TOP lawn trash bags of comics out to the curb. I kind of regret that now. They wouldn’t have been worth anything but still; I’d like to read some Richie Rich comics every now and then.
Then there are gaps in our friendship, the comics and me. I don’t remember much of what I read in high school, probably what ever was lying around on the floor. But in college, a very strange little man named Marc gave me an X-Men and I was back in the game. I would walk to the drug store once a week to pick up a few books. Usually X-men, Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck. Maybe a Spider-Man or two. I started thinking, “Hey I could do this” and I started drawing every day. Mind you, I had always fancied myself a bit of an artist, it’s not as if I just picked up the pencil and started one day halfway thorough my English lit studies. But I started to realize that there were careers here…and I might be able to have one.
I wrote illustrated sequential art style letters to friends. I always drew them in blue ink so they became the slightly inappropriately named “bloo toons”. I was taking costuming classes, so I drew superhero figures to match my costumes for “The Birds” (it’s a good play, look it up). But somewhere along the way, I got side tracked by English lit and midterms and whatever else, so it never went much farther than that.
Years after college, I re-entered the nerd world and dated a comic book collector. He introduced me to some “artsier” and sillier kinds of books and I was welcomed back to the fold with open arms. I fell in love with The Maxx and Tank Girl. Bought tons of Kid Infinity comics (never read them but they had cool covers, I think I still have them some where), I think I even read some of Those Annoying Post Brothers.
Eventually, I moved to L.A. fell in with a bad lot and started frequenting comic book stores and the monthly convention at the Shrine. It all culminates in a job in comics and a box the size of a small car next to my bed, overflowing with comic-y goodness.
Comics and I are friends. We get along just fine. I dabble here and there and go back to my classics every now and then. And comics, they just do what they do. Which right now happens to be pile up and collect dust. But that’s a whole other story.