I have been a fan of Batman for an extremely long time. I vividly remember going to the comic shop where I grew up and purchasing Batman: Arkham Asylum. It was mind blowing, Batman was locked up in order to catch the killer Zsasz. They stage a cop’s murder and blame Batman, declaring him insane to land him in Arkham. What unfolds is an awesome detective story mixed with complete insanity. I was 14, maybe 15. I was officially in love with Batman.
I was all set to write an article about how excited I was about the Google Marvel comics app when I discovered that Matt was already working on one. Instead I’ll tell you a tale of how I started collecting comics, and the dark dark day that I stopped.
The Beginning: Now I was no stranger to comic books or super heroes. I had been grabbing comics from 7-11 since I was about 3 years of old. Oddly enough, comic books actually taught me how to read. I knew what Gamma Radiation was before I knew how to add or subtract. When I was old enough to ride my bike to the convenient store I would peddle my way across town and pick up whatever comic had the coolest cover… they were about 75 cents back then.
At my 9th birthday party someone handed me a poly-bag filled with comics. In the 1980s retailers used to sell comic books in bulk at places like K-mart and Eckerds. Normally within one of these mysterious grab bags you’d get a random assortment comics like Captain Carrot, Man Thing, Marvel Team up, or Spider Man. Within this particular mystery bag of comics were Uncanny X-Men 210 and 211, two issues that would suck me into the world of comics, seemingly forever.
“…I recall taping kitchen knives to my hands and running around the yard yelling “SNIKT… BACK OFF BUB!”
The Mutant Massacre – I don’t recall anyone ever dying in the comics I read as a little kid. Seeing so many mutants wiped out during the pages of the Morlock Massacre (210+211) was shocking and pretty damn amazing. After reading these issues I was forever transformed into an X-Men fan, and Wolverine became my childhood hero. I recall taping kitchen knives to my hands and running around the yard yelling “SNIKT… BACK OFF BUB!”. My elementary school friends quickly hopped on the X-men bandwagon, and literally all the boys in my elementary class would pretend to be The X-Men during recess… It was the best of times.
I went on to be a big collector. My parents loved that I was reading, and would drive me over two hours to the closest comic book shop about once a month. I started getting back issues and scooped up everything that I could. I collected for years, and attended my first big comic book convention when I was 16. Todd McFarlane signed some Spider Man issues for me and was actually incredibly nice.
I found myself feeling bullied and pressured by local shop owners into buying things I really didn’t want or need. So I quit… cold Turkey.
After filling no less than a dozen “long boxes” over the years, something clicked and I had finally reached my saturation point.
I was in my twenties, getting about 5 or 6 titles a week, and quickly was running out of space. At about $3.00 a pop this added up very quickly. On top of that I found myself feeling bullied and pressured by local shop owners into buying things I really didn’t want or need. So I quit… cold Turkey.
That’s not to say I didn’t borrow great books from friends like Powers, Y-The Last Man, Walking Dead, etc. I read them all, but I promised myself I wouldn’t be buying any more issues. After all, I already had an entire closet in my home devoted to comic book back issues.. enough was enough.
The Future – With my copy of Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 I received a free month of “Marvel Digital Comics: Unlimited” which is exactly what it sounds like. One flat fee, all the comics you can read in a slick digital, easy to read format. No pressure, no paper, and all comics that you could possibly ever wish to consume. I sat down this Sunday and read about 15 back issues and was in absolute heaven… I have to say… I’m back….bub.