Missing Out on Comic Books

1st person photo of me holding a copy of Captain America (2018) #2 on the beach

Comic book characters have made an indelible mark on me. The legacy of comics permeate our culture and populate some of my earliest memories. Episodes of Adam West’s Batman on a wood cabinet CRT television in my grandparents living room. An Incredible Hulk vinyl record picked up at a garage sale. A copy of Superman 3 on VHS. A pay per view rental of Batman and Robin on a family vacation.

From middle school through to my adulthood comic book movies have boomed in popularity. In middle school, a copy of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man passed around on CD-R. In high school taking a date to see Superman Returns, or a friend to see Batman Begins. In college, Iron Man and the Dark Knight. Since then, no less than 20 movies have been added to the Marvel cinematic universe.

As time passes the impact of comic books becomes ever more clear. The characters and worlds are more and more broadly accepted. We immitate the characters and stories as they immitate us. Comics are inextricably intertwined with our culture.

And yet, I’ve never read comic books. At least not in earnest. I’ve had a couple short forays. I was briefly mail order subscribed to a monthly Sonic book when I was about six years old. I read a dark phoenix trade from a public library in middle school. When I was in college I read the Watchmen to prepare for the movie release.

Each time I enjoyed the experience, but each time I got distracted by something else, usually a glowing screen. For as important as the ideas have been to my life, comics remain somewhat exotic in my mind. Something I’ve heard much about and assume to be a great pleasure, but have never been able to focus myself enough to enjoy. I suspect this is true for most my age.

So I decided to make an effort to step away from my phone and my computer and my game consoles. I found a local comic book shop, and I went. I picked up a trade and several new #1 issues. I’ve been reading.

I want to see where these characters and ideas that so capture our imagination come from. I want to see what this is all about.

A stack of first issue comics

· comics