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Comic Books

March 25, 2011

(A post from the archives)

 

Day 3 (of 30)

So, I've moved from the Star Wars toys to something else. Of course, I'll still pick up a new toy if I see one, which is rare because of Hasbro's aforementioned douchebaggery. Buying direct has worked much better than the local stores, but it's still a battle.

Anyway, another cool thing I can buy with all my adult money is comic books. And I've bought the hell out of them. Again, it's like collecting something elusive from my childhood. See, when I bought comics as a kid, there was no continuity. One week, I'd pick up an X-Men book and not get another one for months, and the story wouldn't make a bit of sense. I remember the first time I bought two comics in sequence: Spectacular Spider-Man 174 and 175. It was a life-changing moment because I didn't know that they actually finished the stories!

Marvel has something called the Essentials collection, and DC has Showcase Presents. Both are pretty cool collections of a huge number of out of print comics in black and white. The lack of color is a little controversial, but I really like it. Being able to read all the old comics all collected for around 10 to 15 dollars is just awesome. You really start to get to know the artists and really appreciate the good writers over the hacks. It's nice to see their continuity.

So, each comic satisfies the same need as each Stormtrooper: something new, something exciting with a deep-seated emotional attachment. Plus, comics last a lot longer. I'm a pretty quick reader, but it still takes me a few days to work through 500-600 pages of comics.

The quality of the stories can vary pretty wildly between the collections. Most of the early collections start at the beginning - the 1950's or 60's, sometimes earlier like with Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman. Comics back then were geared to a much different audiences. But, I wanted to start from the beginning, so I got Showcase Presents: Green Lantern and SP: Hawkman, two of my favorites growing up. Good lord, they are ridiculous. Green Lantern is a misogynist and afraid of anything yellow, and Hawkman is either an alien policeman or some mutant bird. Those were pretty rough collections that I'm pretty sure I didn't finish.

There are many great stories, though. For me, the best are from the 1980's and 90's because those are the stories I grew up on. The writers also weren't really writing exclusively for children. Another personal favorite of mine, obviously, was Spider-Man, but we had a falling out when I hit my "badass" teen years and wanted more violence/death in my comics. That's not really Spider-Man. So, he wasn't one of the first Essentials I read. Instead, I just finished Essential Punisher. His stories start in the 70's when comics were still a little goofy, but there are some good ones. The Punisher began in Amazing Spider-Man, so most of the comics in this collection are Spider-Man stories. I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed them. It was like rediscovering something: Spider-Man is pretty awesome. It still bothers me that he won't kill anyone because sometimes assholes have to die, but he might take the stage as a new/old favorite of mine.

What's sick is that Hasbro also produces Marvel action figures. One of my favorite characters, Thanos, is another of those that is stupidly rare. I can feel the promise of the hunt again, and I'm trying to stop myself from going after the Marvel toys like I did the Star Wars.

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