I’m an avid comic reader since early childhood. Some of my first loves were Ritchie Rich and Casper the Friendly Ghost. As I got a little older, I found Mike Grell’s Warlord. Man, I thought Travis Morgan was the bomb. Then my cousin introduced me to Peter Parker and the Uncanny X-men. Oh my god! The action! The drama! The crossovers! I was hooked.
From the Death of Superman to Wolverine losing his adamantium, I devoured all things DC and Marvel. If either press published it, I bought it. (I bought what I could afford, anyway.) I had them all and read each issue like a junkie. And then I fell prey to the “collector’s hype,” wanting gold foil variants of every title. Alas—I shortly learned my habit wasn’t sustainable at that magnitude, and I left the hobby around ’95.
Five years later, around the time Marvel’s Ultimate line launched, I walked into a comic book store and my excitement for comics returned. I really enjoyed Ultimate Spider-man, The Ultimates and Ultimate X-men. I bought every issue, and then some. I wanted to rekindle the joy I felt from titles like Wolverine Volume 2, but I didn’t have the cash. Though I wanted them all, I had to leave so many books behind, on the shelf. I started doing all the old things that caused me to leave the hobby before: buying every #1 issue of re-launch, purchasing every book on a crossover event, hunting down limited variants. I was headed for broke, and that’s when I realized… I needed to step back. Was I really enjoying what I was buying or was I just buying comics because of some perceived value/rarity?
My tastes in stories and titles were changing, and they weren’t “collector’s hype” oriented. I didn’t want a typical collection of capes and tights. I wanted something different, something I could enjoy reading over and over again. Enter The Walking Dead circa 2003, a zombie apocalypse tale with blood and guts, and I thought, “Eh… what could it hurt?” I bought one copy and fell in love with my first modern Independent. (In hindsight I wish I’d purchased the whole stack.) Incidentally, did you know there are two different covers of the now famous issue one of The Walking Dead? One cover depicts the words, “Mature Readers” in white, while another cover, depicts the words in black.
Today, some 15-years since my re-emergence into comic collecting, I really enjoy creator-owned works, especially original concepts. The imagination it takes to step “off the beaten path” of hero comics, away from the tried “capes and tights” formula stories, and try something new is–in my opinion–phenomenal. Currently on my pull list is almost everything from smaller presses (not exactly all “small,” cause… you know… Image, Dark Horse etc.).
I read comics ‘cause I like them. I’m not here to speculate. I don’t fancy myself a talented writer, so I’m not looking to write or draw my own comic; I’ll leave that to the experts. Comic writers and artists can have my money. I just really enjoy the energy of this hobby, and reading comics brings me happiness. I only write about books I like. If I read a series and think it holds a good story, I want to tell others about it.