Monday, February 13, 2012

Boxes of Comic Books

When I was in college visiting my boyfriend one weekend, circa 1984, I delved into his pile of comic books while he was busy studying. He had several issues of "Daredevil" and "The Uncanny X-Men". I started with DD and quickly got bored with it. It seemed repetitive (this would have been less noticeable at the rate of one issue per month) and Matt Murdock wasn't the most cheery of characters. I'm sure it was a fine comic, just not my cup of tea.

Taking a step back, my history in comic books up to this point included the kiddie comics of our youth: Richie Rich, Little Lulu, Casper the Friendly Ghost, and Archie, and also a handful of Spiderman books. My brothers and I were big fans of "Batman" on TV (the Adam West version) and we sought out the big compilations of Batman and Superman at our library. We checked those books out over and over. I can't remember how it felt to learn how DARK Batman was in the comics compared to the bright campiness of the TV show.

Back to the pile of comic books: I started reading through the handful of X-Men books and I was hooked! All sorts of characters with different powers and problems; it was like a superhero soap opera! With lots of battles!

I started buying the X-Men comics whenever I visited Berkeley. There was a comic book store on Telegraph Avenue, if I recall correctly. I started buying back issues as well as current and I was able to go back as far as issue 138 (pictured above). Which was funny because the BIG event of X-Men at the time was the death of Jean Grey in issue 136 or 137. Those issues were impossible to find. (My itemized list says I have #137 though so I must have found it eventually.)

Comic books readers would say that they bought them for the art. At first I thought that sounded pretty silly. Comic books? Art? But they were. After a while you can tell one artist from another quite easily. You can even tell the difference between the style of the people who lettered the issues!

I don't know if it's still done the same today but generally, one artist drew the pictures, another did the coloring and a third did the lettering.

When I moved back to Sonoma County I went to a comic book store in Santa Rosa and then one in Petaluma. I bought "The Uncanny X-Men" and most of the mini-series and spin-offs featuring mutants.

I was actually at a comic book store, standing in front of the display of the new ones, and a boy about 10 years old said to me, "Why are you buying comic books? You're a GIRL!"

But I was looking over my itemized list (dated 6/24/92!) and I have NO IDEA what some of the comics are about! There are 6 issues of "Comet Man", for example, 8 of "Fallen Angels", and 16 of "Nth Man, The Ultimate Ninja". Let's see what Wikipedia has to say!

Crazy! I just looked up Nth Man and yes, it does feature an American ninja. I have a complete set, apparently, as it only published 16 out of 24 planned issues. But looking at the plot I see nothing that would make me interested in reading it. It's a Marvel comic but not part of the Marvel world. About a ninja. Who's an American. NOTHING about this screams "I must read it!" I think I must have bought it because it was a new series and I just kept buying them. Dumb.

Now "Comet Man" is more interesting. It was a limited series created by Bill Mumy, Miguel Ferrer and Kelley Jones. I know the first two names: Bill is famous for "Lost in Space" where he played Will Robinson and Miguel is also an actor. He's the son of Rosemary Clooney and Jose Ferrer (and first cousin to George Clooney!) and he brightens up any acting project he's in. I bet at the time I didn't know who he was.

"Fallen Angels" turns out to be a miniseries related tangentially to "The New Mutants". It's just been too many years since I've read any of these!

My very favorite character was always Rogue. I have her first appearance in the "Avengers Annual #10", my greatest find in searching back issues boxes in various comic book stores. I also really liked a character named Karma who was a New Mutant. She was sometimes shown in the "Wolverine" series, which is why I bought that particular comic book, but I never found out what happened to her because I stopped collecting at that point. "Wolverine" comics were a little dark for my taste (more ninja-type stuff, probably, as much of it took place in Asia).

I've also read "The Watchmen" which is an amazing comic series. But I never really got into graphic novels nor have I ever been interested in underground or alternative comics. And manga does nothing for me.

In the early 90s it seemed that every comic book started having multiple covers ("Collect all 4!") or was wrapped in plastic with a "collector's card" and this really drove me nuts. Also? I got married in 1991 and got pregnant in 1992 and just had no time to hit comic book stores anymore. I think it all came to an end sometime in early 1993 because I remember being very pregnant at my comic book store. Which is no longer around by the way.

Now I am behind by over 20 years worth so I will never get back into comic book collecting. And my old spreadsheet list is out of date. (I made it on Lotus 1-2-3, NOT Excel!) And it's certainly time to weed out the ones I don't want anymore. The boxes, as I've mentioned in a previous post, sit next to my dresser, "decorating" my bedroom.

So my comic life only existed for a short while, about 1984 to 1993. RIP Comic Book Kelly!

1 comment: