Saturday, May 2, 2020

For the love of Comic Books.

JENN McKINLAY: One of the 2020 spring cancelations we're feeling most keenly at my house is the postponement of : 

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY


Usually, FCBD happens on the first Saturday in May and our visit to our local comic book store: Samurai Comicsto snag our free comic book and shop 'til we drop, is marked on the calendar early in the year to save the date. It's considered a legit holiday in our house! Its postponement got me to thinking about comic books and why I love them. So, here's my nod to comic books! Please chime in and tell me your faves!

When did my love of comics begin? I was eight or nine and, while on an interminable driving vacation with the fam, my older brother hooked me up with my gateway drug comic book: The Amazing Spider-Man. It was awesome. We spent the entire trip driving across the country, reading and rereading the stash of comic books that he brought and, of course, acting out our favorite bits around the campfire where ever our RV parked for the night.  



What was the appeal of Spider-Man for an eight year old girl? The dude could sling webs! He was a teenager! He helped people! And, for me personally, he was hilarious! Spider-Man, in my humble opinion, is the quippiest of all the comic book heroes and I'm quite certain I learned my love of dialogue and humor from him. Take that college writing professors!


LOL!

As a child who read every Spider-Man and then X-Men comic book that came along, FCBD has long been one of my favorite days to share with my dudes, even now that they're taller than me and read comics that I don't! One of them is a Deadpool guy, the other rocks the Flash, and the Hub is partial to Batman. 

We are such a comic book family, this was our family holiday card a few years ago: 


         And, yes, I chose Wonder Woman because I felt the need to        
         represent a female superhero, besides, who doesn't love      
         Wonder Woman? 

When I worked as a youth services librarian, comic books and graphic novels were some of the most popular items for our teens. 
My own love of comics gave me the ability to talk to these displaced kids who really didn't have anyone else to talk to about comics, school, and life. For that alone, I am ever grateful for artists and writers who create the comics I love so well.


Library Outreach in the park with Batman!
So, tell me, Reds and Readers (I'm looking at you, Jay) what do comic books mean to you? Are you a reader or have readers in your life? What is your favorite superhero (and, yes, I'll forgive you if your only knowledge comes from Marvel movies).

For Triss and the other library/superhero lovers: ALA's poster








135 comments:

  1. I never got into comic books as books. They always seemed to me like you'd read them too quickly for the amount of money they'd cost. I preferred to spend my money on books that would take me longer to read.

    Any wonder I went into accounting?

    Having said that, I've always been interested in the characters. Which is why I've seen all the Marvel movies and am hooked on the Arrowverse shows on the CW. (Well, may be tiring of them, but they are all getting so dark.) I mean, who doesn't love the idea of having special powers and saving the day?

    I've always been partial to Superman and Wonder Woman. But Spider-Man certainly does get the best lines. I did read his comic strip for a while in college and loved the one liners. He's definitely in my top three as well.

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    1. Mark, I gave up on the Arrowverse years ago. It was not just boringly repetitive each season, it's like they never learned. Finally ditched it all last year.

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    2. One of my dudes is still hanging on with Arrowverse, but he's said the same. It jumped the shark. I so loved the first couple of seasons of The Flash. I thought Gotham was great, too, but I always feel like the writers were caught unprepared for success. As in, they had plans for the first few seasons but then got renewed and didn't know have time to dig deeper. I say this as a writer whose had series renewed when I was unprepared. So, I get it.

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  2. I haven’t thought about comic books in a while [except that I read about postponing the Free Comic Book Day] . . . .
    When we were kids, I remember reading Action Comics, Superman, and Batman. We also used to read Classics Illustrated, which were comic book adaptions of literary classics . . . .

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    1. Joan, I read some of the Classics Illustrated growing up.

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    2. Never had Classics Illustrated but I do remember Action Comics.

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  3. My granddaughter reads certain graphic novels (comic books). I certainly enjoyed reading them along with big brother when we were kids. Superman, Batman, Blackhawk, Donald Duck, Classics Illustrated, Archie, Casper and his gang. I’m sure there were lots more competing with the Nancy Drew books. My grown little brother reads comic books on occasion but I haven’t had the urge.

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    1. Pat D, the Archie comics and other kid friendly titles are what I buy the most of to give out on Halloween. I give out entry level stuff to the youngsters hoping that it will encourage them to read and as they get older, even if they don't stick with comics the love of reading will transfer to prose novels.

      My dad loved the Blackhawk comics. When DC published an archive edition collection of some of the issues, I got it for him for Christmas one year.

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    2. I love giving compendiums like The Batman Archives for the Hub, natch.

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    3. Sorry, Pat, but graphic novels and comic books are not the same. The content may be the same in many cases, but the format is different. I'm not trying to be picky, just pointing out.

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  4. What do comics mean to me? They are just as important to me as far as storytelling goes as any other work I've read in my life. They tie me to my past, they continue to entertain me now. They are a renewable source of joy on a weekly basis. After all, the hell with Prince Spaghetti Day, Wednesday for me is New Comic Book Day!

    They served as a way to irritate teachers, which was more than a passing fancy for me. I passed a test on Greek Mythology when I was in the 6th grade. My teacher asked how I got the highest grade in the class. I told her it was because I read Thor comic books. She got mad because that was both comic books (not considered literature at all during my school days) and was NORSE mythology. She didn't like it when I said reading the comics got me interested in Norse mythology which then carried over to Greek mythology and I remembered all the stuff I read when it came time for the test. She was less than pleased with what I thought was a perfectly logical chain of knowledge acquiring. She was the teacher I thought of when the graphic novel MAUS won the Pulitzer Prize.

    I've been reading comics since I was a little kid. I stopped for about 9 years because I got bored and didn't have the money to keep up the hobby. I got back into them when on a whim, I picked up a Spider-Man title off the newsstand and it was so bad (the writing) that I went back to my LCS (Local Comic Shop) thinking, "They can't all be this badly written". I've never left again.

    My tastes started out with both Marvel and DC, the usual suspects. Sorry ladies, I was never a Wonder Woman comics fan until much later but only when Greg Rucka wrote the series. I was more into Batman, Spider-Man and Daredevil. But I bought a lot of different titles back then. I was spending 80 bucks a week at one point, and that was back when the books were 2 bucks and under!

    I go to comic conventions and have met a ton of well known and independent creators. I got to meet J. Michael Straczynski (the creator of the TV show Babylon 5) in 2005 when he was writing the Fantastic Four series! I met Jim Starlin and bought an original piece of art from him (more on that later). I also got to meet the sublimely awesome Jennie Wood at a convention. She had an independent graphic novel series called Flutter and I was so taken with her and it, that when it came time to do the third and final volume, I backed it on Kickstarter. Louise Simonson wrote the series Power Pack about kid superheroes that I loved when it was being published. I have a signed copy of the first issue when I got to meet her in 2005. I have many more tales like that and more than a few photos on my Facebook page of everyone I've met related to comics (and pop culture).


    (more to follow in replies because what I wrote was too long)

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    1. As for Free Comic Book Day, I've been a huge supporter since the beginning. I would work at a former LCS (now long closed) helping out the owner by manning the tables where the free books were laid out so he could man the cash register. Believe me, no one can pimp out comics like I can.

      These days, I don't work on the day but I go out to stores in the area and make a day of it. I try to do something new each year, though this past year was a down year for that. I go to a different store or I meet someone new. I pre-order a bunch of copies of the free books and pick them up on the day so they can go into the big box(es) of comics that I give out on Halloween. I also make sure to buy something at each store I go to in order to help offset the costs of the books. The books may be free to the consumers, but the stores still have to pay for them!

      Almost every year, I end up finding a new book to read out of the many and varied titles I pick up. When they release a Marvel movie to coincide with FCBD, I usually go see it that weekend too.

      When I go to my LCS these days, I know I'm going to be there for a while, so I buy pizza for the workers and creative talent that are at the store on the day. They've had artist Mike Lily there a few times and I've gotten some great sketches from him. I keep threatening to ask him to draw the visual representation of the cartoon character I made up called Buddhist Hot Dog Man.

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    5. Who are my favorite superheroes? Like I said, as a kid it was Daredevil, Batman and Spider-Man. I loved the Super-Friends cartoon series a lot. (It does not hold up if you watch the episodes now). I had a lot of other favorites too. Probably my top favorite title growing up was The New Mutants. Essentially, they were the mutant teens that were brought together to be trained and become the next X-Men team. The original team was the best with Dani Moonstar, Wolfsbane, Cannonball, Sunspot and Karma. Adding in Magick, Magma and Warlock was also great. A great 3-part story called The Demon Bear Saga remains one of the best stories I've read in comics. By the way, if they ever get off their butts, they made a horror movie version of the New Mutants about two years ago that still hasn't gotten a release date. I loved Rom: Spaceknight, The Micronauts, Batman and the Outsiders, Infinity, Inc., Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, Red Sonja, G.I. Joe, Star Wars, The Legion of Superheroes and the list goes on. I got some letters of comment printed on the letters pages as well.

      These days, I'm reading stuff like Usagi Yojimbo, Love & Capes and the continuation series for G.I. Joe and Star Wars. I read the Firefly comic book series and some of the Star Trek comics. Greg Rucka writes a series called Lazarus that's pretty cool. There's stuff like Lady Mechanika. Hell I even read any mystery titles I can find like the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. There's a comic side of the Hard Case Crimes imprint and they've put out some good stories. The best for me was Normandy Gold which was written by names that should be recognized by most everyone here, Megan Abbot and Allison Gaylin.

      There's a fantastic independent series called Star Power by Michael Terracciano and Garth Graham. It's an online comic that is then collected into graphic novel format which is how I read it. Sean Wang's Runners series is great too.

      Probably my favorite series both then and now is Conan. I buy all the various titles that are published with either Conan or any of the other Robert E. Howard characters that get published like Valeria, Belit, Dark Agnes and more.

      The most recent bit of excitement was when Jim Starlin (if you don't know the name, I'm sure if you watched the Marvel movies, you have seen his best known creation...THANOS!) announced a Kickstarter campaign to fund an original graphic novel for his Dreadstar series. When I was a youth, it was one of my all-time favorite series. When I got to meet Starlin, I asked if he was doing commissions and when he said yes and asked what I wanted, I couldn't say "DREADSTAR!" fast enough. It's a giant space opera with a small band of rebels caught between the warring Monarchy and Instrumentality. It was grand in scope and the story telling was immense. The unslaked thirst for more Dreadstar was magnified when Starlin suffered a traumatic injury to his hand that left him unable to draw for years. But physical therapy got him back to being able to go back to the literal drawing board. Proving how much fans wanted this story, the Kickstarter was fully funded in 14 hours, including by me.

      My passion for the comic book medium is part and parcel of who I am. You don't get one without the other. Much like any other story telling artform, there's high adventure, drama, humor and you might even learn something on occasion. As with traditional prose novels, you can go anywhere in comics. Whether it be to the Xavier School For Gifted Youngsters, to Gotham City and Metropolis, from soaring the cosmos with the Silver Surfer or visiting the Hyborian Age, comics has it all and Free Comic Book Day is an excellent way to gain entry into the four-color world those of us who love these characters hope to see you all share with us someday.

      I've rambled on long enough (or perhaps too long). Let me just steal from Stan Lee and close by saying "Excelsior!"

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    6. Jay, my grandson also knows mythology inside and out, but not from comic books. He was hooked on the Rick Riordan books with Percy Jackson as the hero.

      It's too bad your teacher was too rigid to understand that all learning is good, no matter where it comes from!

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    7. Jay, I think that both my husband and my brother read the comic book versions of assigned literature. My husband prepared for a test or wrote a book report or something after reading the comic. He still laughs about it.

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    8. Excelsior! We have so much to thank Stan Lee and Jim Starlin for.

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    9. Excelsior! Brilliant. Jay I knew you'd be a fountain of info. Your love of comics warms my heart. I am absolutely looking up Dreadstar to catch up on that one. Starlin's personal story is so perfect for the basis of a novel. Sorry, I'm a ghoul, I know. I recently wrote a female protagonist (rom-com) that was a comic book artist. It got shot down, but I am NOT quitting on that idea. The comic references alone would have been so much fun, not to mention having her attend Comic Con SD. We've always gone to the PHX version - Phoenix Fan Fusion - postponed from May to Sept this year, but I'm wondering if that will happen. (sigh)

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    10. Also, how much do I love that you mentioned MAUS? Tremendously! Also, your teacher was, well, very short sighted. That's the nicest way I can say it. Ugh.

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    11. Awww, Stan Lee. Bless his heart. I agree comics can be a bridge to books. And there were always teachers and librarians in my youth who were very snobbish about reading material. The idea is to read! And your dad liked Blackhawk? Ouch. You mentioned Robert E. Howard. At one time he lived in Cross Plains, Texas which was where my mom was born. There is a movie about him called The Whole Wide World. It was pretty interesting but who knows how much of I was true.

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    12. You are amazing, Jay. I agree with someone further down - you should teach a course!

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    13. Karen, I wouldn't say that I know mythology inside and out these days. But back in the 6th grade, I really got into it a lot and it started with those The Mighty Thor comic books. As for my teacher, she was old when I had her for a teacher so she definitely came from the "old school" of teaching which meant comics were not educational in the least. It doesn't make it right, but it was what it was.

      Judy, I never specifically read comics in lieu of the regular material to get by on the tests it just happened in that one particular instance. But I can see how it would be the easiest way to get through tests that are designed for the repetition of facts and figures as opposed to the fuller understanding of something.

      Cathy, I came within a mile and a few hundred dollars of getting to meet Stan Lee a few years back. Definitely a missed opportunity. And yes, we have so much to thank Stan Lee, Jim Starlin, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Bob Kane, Bill Finger, John Buscema, Barry Windsor-Smith and so many other great writers and artists who laid the foundation and then expanded upon it.

      Jenn, MAUS is a big sticking point in my memory because any time anyone would badmouth comics, I could point to it and see...THE FREAKING PULITZER!!!! As I said to Karen, it's just how my teacher was from being of the Old School. I don't hold it against her or anything, like most other things, I make up my own mind regardless of what others think or thought.

      I'd love to see that story of a female comic artist even if rom-com books aren't my thing. However, just to be nitpicky it is San Diego Comic Con or SDCC for short. I've been to conventions in Philadelphia, Boston and Providence plus smaller shows in other places. But I'd love to go to SDCC someday or DragonCon in Atlanta. Perhaps even NYCC too. However, to do those huge conventions right, you've gotta have a lot of money. I did some figuring a couple years back and to do SDCC the baseline way I would want, I'd need 5K. Also Jenn, check your FB messages for an answer to what you said about Dreadstar.

      Pat D, yes my Dad read Blackhawk comics when he was a kid. I mean the original characters were created in 1941 so they've had a long career in the grand scheme of things.

      Edith, thanks but my knowledge is a piddling drop in the bucket compared to the really smart people out there in the world of comics. Mark Evanier is one of the biggest names I can think of for having an encyclopedic knowledge of comics and comic history.

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    14. Pat D, I forgot to respond to your message about The Whole Wide World. I've seen it. It starred Vincent D'Onofrio as Robert E. Howard and Renee Zellweger as Novalyne Pryce Ellis. I actually liked the movie and thought D'Onofrio was amazing in his portrayal of Howard. There's a scene when he's describing Conan the Cimmerian to Zellweger and they cut in sounds of clashing steel and sounds of battle as he told the tale. It was captivating. The movie was based on her book ONE WHO WALKED ALONE.

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  5. I remember growing up reading the Archie comics and then Batman, Superman later on.
    Never got into the X-men or Marvel universe in comics or movies.

    I have watched Star Trek Picard Season 1 and I know there are comic prequels that came out just before the show aired that may be interesting to read.

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    1. I love the Archie Comics. Jughead being my fave.

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    2. The Archie comics were favorites of mine, too, Grace.

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    3. I like the Archie Comics when I get them for the Halloween box. I read everything I get. However, I prefer the traditional house style of illustrating the characters. The updated modern take on the art in some books doesn't work for me.

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  6. Goodness! I'd never heard of Free Comic Book Day until I read this post. As a kid I read Superman and Batman and Archie, and the classics. Does Mad Magazine count? We were big on that in my family. And I still read the comics in the newspaper every day.

    But (and I'm ready to duck) as an adult I do not like graphic novels at all. I find them annoying. I wonder if that came about because of reading them aloud to my kids. Reading a comic book out loud is somehow way more annoying than reading a children's picture book. I was so glad when my sons started reading them solo.

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    1. No need to duck. As a librarian, I encourage a love of all books but understand not every format is for everyone. I came late to graphic novels (2007?) and then I slid into Manga. There are some truly brilliant story arcs out there but you hav to know where to look. As a librarian :)

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    2. Jenn, my son was into Manga big time, and I think he still reads it at 32 years old.

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    3. Edith, if you have youngsters in your life, Free Comic Book Day is definitely a way to make their day. I would agree that trying to read graphic novels out loud would be annoying because unlike chapter books, there is so much more going on in the graphic novels that you have to be able to see the art as you are reading.

      I have no problem with comics not being someone's cup of tea. I only get mad when I run into someone who will denigrate the medium or the fans of said medium in some snooty look down their nose at you kind of way. As Wolverine would say, "Them's fighting words, bub!"

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    4. There is a Jodi Piccoult book centered on, and including, a graphic novel that illustrates the various circles off Hell. One of my book clubs read it. I enjoyed the discussion far more than I enjoyed the book itself. To each their own.

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  7. Jenn, did you ever see the old poster DC Comics created for American Library Association? Pretty wonderful! I have one- I'll try to email a photo, if you tell me where to send it. (I worked there for awhile. They had a large collection of their own material and I fell into job of making it more of a library)

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    1. No! And I've love to see it. jennmck at yahoo dot com :)

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    2. Oh, Triss, I’d love to see that poster, too!

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    3. I'd like to see it too! Maybe post it here?

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    4. I'd be happy to post but don't see a way to do it. Sent it to Jenn, though, by email, and Jenn could post it.

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    5. I just got it and will add to the blog!

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    6. ALA post is added! Fabulous!

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  8. I must confess that I've never read English comic books. I'm surprised at the variety described here and that there are enough of them to have a Free Comic Book Day.
    I don't think there are so many in French but maybe I've never known about them. I have only read Tintin and Astérix. Are they translated in English ? Can they be considered to be comic books ?

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    1. They are translated into English, Danielle. We had those in French when we came back from a year in Mali and both my young sons were speaking French fluently. We wanted to keep it active for them, so my sister in Quebec sent us the French versions. They're kind of comic books, I guess.

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    2. Oh, Danielle, YES! Asterix & Obelix and also Tintin -- I would most definitely classify them as a type of comic book cum graphic novel/story. In my family, We loved all of both series, and we read them in English and in French and even in German. It is fascinating to see how the word-play shifts in the different languages.

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    3. Yes, Danielle, I read both Tintin and Asterix in English as a child.

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    4. Yes, they are available! We had them at the library.

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    5. These are the books that were going to be available today at participating comic shops worldwide today if the event had happened: https://www.freecomicbookday.com/catalog

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  9. I know this is lame, but for me comic books were all about the drama of Archie and Veronica and Betty--that's probably why I love women's fiction! Though I love Wonder Woman, and love your Christmas card to death Jenn!!

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    1. Thanks, Lucy. We were at peek superhero that year. And, yes, the Betty-Veronica drama. LOL!

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    2. I believe it was The Wicked Witch of the West who said it best Lucy, "I'll get you yet my pretty!"

      I'm sure there's something out there that you'd enjoy. We just haven't found it yet.

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  10. I'm with Lucy: my comic book reading was limited to Archie and gang. I don't remember reading about Spiderman and co.

    Now, I enjoy graphic novels and non-fiction books -- such an interesting way to tell a story and also to read a story. All those images contribute so much to the experience.

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    1. What I love about graphic novels is their ability to strip away the extra. I'm not a "prosy" writer or reader. I don't want to read paragraphs describing a sunset (unless your James Lee Burke) just tell me its orange bleeding to purple and let's move on. LOL.

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    2. Amanda, graphic novels are really just one big comic book with a complete story. And with the company's collecting storylines into trade paperback collections, you can purchase complete storylines that were originally published as single issue comics.

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    3. Wow, Jay: Thanks for that info. I had no idea...

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  11. Jenn, yeah, your Christmas card rocks. (And you sure look pallie with Batman. HM-m-m, with that mask on, it's hard to tell if that is Bruce Wayne or someone else.)
    Jay, from now on I will call you "Professor Comic Book!" You could teach a class, in fact you should. It's amazing to see how much you love this genre and I am still awed by your generosity at Halloween. You are my super hero!
    As a kid, I read some comic books. I loved Wonder Woman and Superman and Supergirl and I also read the kids' comic books with Archie and friends. My brother was an avid comic book reader and he always had tons of them around. But, I was mostly a book person. Still, I love the movies that have been spawned by comic books and certainly admire the artists who create these works.

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    1. The best thing about the movies, I think, is that they have led a generation of readers back to the comics. Yay!

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    2. The best sign of being smart is probably knowing how much you don't know. I thank you for the compliment Judy but I'm not nearly smart enough to teach a class about comics. I might know more than the people here but my knowledge base is pathetic compared to true comic historians. My real area of knowledge doesn't go back much further than the Bronze age of comics. I'm sorely lacking in most of what I would need to know about the Golden Age and the Silver Age.

      I never read much of the early Supergirl stuff. The only Supergirl series I really liked was the one that was written by Peter David and that was a bit different from what most people remember about the character.

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  12. First of all, Jay, I really enjoyed your long posts. Clearly Jenn hit upon a passion of yours!

    I was never much into superhero comics, but like others here remember reading Archie and Richie Rich and others like that. And I was so glad to see Edith mention Mad Magazine! I know it isn't really a comic, but in my heart the two topics are linked. I think it is because both of them remind me of my father. He worked away most of the week, so my other reading pleasures were mostly shared with my mother. But it was clear that he enjoyed comics and Mad Magazine, and would often bring them home to me and talk about them with me.

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    1. What a lovely memory of your dad, Susan.

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    2. I must say, Mad Magazine was not -- is not -- a comic book. I t was a humor magazine, as was Crack'ed.

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    3. Susan, I've actually started collecting a specific Richie Rich title. (You wouldn't believe how many different Richie Rich titles Harvey Comics used to publish) It's called Richie Rich Vault of Mystery. It's silly stuff but each issue is a mystery story so that fits with my love of all things mystery.

      Mad Magazine and Cracked were definitely humor magazines but they had tons of different comic art in them. Neither is being published anymore at least not with original material.

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  13. My mother who was a free-speech liberal and let us read just about anything did not let us have comic books... like twinkies they were forbidden fruit . I loved romance comics (do they still exist?) and Archie ... the perennial question: are you a Betty or a Veronica? I know, I’m dating myself... ps I also loved horror comics

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    1. Hallie, I learned to draw people by copying the faces in romance comics! I'd forgotten about them.

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    2. Loved the teardrops oozing from the corner of their eyes

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    3. Oh, yes! Always with the overflowing tears. LOL

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    5. Without comics (Creepy, I think was one and Classics Illustrated was definitely an influence), we'd have no Stephen King.

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    6. I’m a Betty, Hallie! I’d forgotten about the romance comics and those tears. Hahaha!

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    7. I’m a Betty with aspirations to Veronica

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    8. Hallie, I don't think they publish any new romance comic titles these days. However, it is not my area of interest so I can't be sure. I do know that I occasionally see collections of the old books being published, so you might be able to get some that way.

      I never read many of the straight up horror titles myself but I'd come across a few here and there.

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  14. Jenn, your family is a hoot. And of course you're Wonder Woman. What else would you be, corralling the Hooligans all this time?

    At the end of my third-grade school year, in 1960, we moved into my aunt's and uncle's house for the five years they were to be in Argentina. My two cousins, five and four years older, left a lot of their coolest stuff in the basement: a giant stack of Boy's Life magazines, another pile of Mad Magazines and Cracked Magazines, and a double stack of every kind of comic book you can imagine. Me, the bookworm, spent most of those five years reading from that mother lode of fascinating material.

    They had the Archies, Nancy and Sluggo, Little Dot, Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck, Richie Rich, Blondie and Dagwood, and the Katzenjammer Kids. Then there were the superheroes: Superman, Supergirl (loved her), Wonder Woman (Great Hera!), Batman, the Flash (my favorite), Green Lantern (second favorite), Aquaman, and the extremely creepy Bizarro World--which was the opposite of Earth (and which I'm reminded of nearly every day now).

    I don't think Spider-Man was yet born, and I have no memory of Captain America, but I'm sure I'm forgetting some of them.

    Thank you, Jenn, for this little trip down Memory Lane. What good memories this brought back.

    I've apologized to my cousin for wearing his probably once insanely valuable comic book collection to a shred. But he understands!

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    1. Karen, Spider-Man was created in 1962 so you were a couple years early for him. But Captain America was created in 1941 so he was around in some form.

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    2. Jay, my cousins' comic books were collected over a period of years, I'm sure, and the collection would have ended in early 1960.

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    3. Aquaman was always a fave of mine. I loved Saturday morning Super Friends, although I fear jay is right and it doesn't hold up.

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  15. When I was a kid I read Archie, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman -- until I found an issue of Captain America that my brother left at our grandparents' house.

    My husband is a life-long comic collector so when we married I read many of his collections: Captain America, The Justice League, Dr. Strange, The Justice Society, Green Lantern, etc.

    My two favorite characters are Captain American (the epitome of a good man) and Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers).

    Before she was Captain Marvel, Carol was Ms. Marvel. In 2012, as more women became comic writers, editors, and artists, Carol became Captain Marvel, earth's mightiest hero. This was also the time there was a shift to more realistic body types and uniforms. Yay, for women writers, editors, and artists!

    What I love about Captain Marvel is, despite her powers, she's still not perfect. She's quirky (loves flying, Star Wars, and punching things) and she has weaknesses (daddy issues and alcoholism). I wonder if she and Tony Stark have their own Avengers Alcoholics Non-Anonymous group?

    Who doesn't love Carol's cat? (No spoilers in case you haven't see the movie or read the comics.)

    Nowadays, my husband and I read Marvel comics on our iPads by subscribing to Marvel Unlimited. Yes, some lucky person at Marvel is digitizing the entire library. I'll never run out of comics to read!

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    1. Cathy, Carol Danvers had a couple of other names in between Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel. She was Binary and Warbird as well. Warbird was just a precursor to being Captain Marvel but Binary was incredibly different. If you have an interest, you can read about that here: https://www.marvel.com/articles/comics/when-captain-marvel-became-binary

      I like the character but I wish I'd liked the movie more than I did.

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    2. Same! I wanted to love the movie but it lost me along the way. And why didn't I get that librarian job? Digitizing the comics would have been fabulous!

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    3. Jenn,

      The Captain Marvel movie was OK, but that's it. I liked the first 3/4 of the Wonder Woman movie but watch what happens if you point out that the last quarter of the movie was some pretty weak tea. Which it was.

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    4. Jay, for the sake of non-Carol fans, I was trying to NOT write 20 pages on everything that had ever happened to Carol. :)

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  16. The Action and Marvel comics get all the attention, but Batman was part of the Detective Comics series originally.

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    1. Detective became DC Comics. Superman and Wonder Woman are theirs too


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    2. The publishing history of Detective Comics - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detective_Comics

      Detective Comics #27 is the first appearance of Batman and is one of the most valuable comics in history.

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    3. Can you imagine finding mint condition early Detective Comics? We need to get Hallie's husband on this during his yard sale hunts :)

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    4. The only way you are ever going to find a mint condition Detective Comics #27 is to hijack the TARDIS and travel back to when the book was published and bring it back through time.

      And if Hallie's husband ever found a copy at a yard sale, the owner of the home should be jailed for crimes against humanity.

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  17. Cathy Akers-Jordan, isn't it fun to see the female characters emerge among the superpowered?

    My little grand-niece Bella turned 4 in February, and the theme of her birthday party was superheroes. Every guest was encouraged to dress as one.

    My 90-year old mother was the oldest living Wonder Woman, and it was epic! Bella was thrilled beyond belief.

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  18. I haven't read comic books for so long that I don't remember much about them...but I do have a Spider-Man T-shirt! (Two hyphens!) I do like graphic novels, most recently the ones in Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series. (Although I like the regular novels more, because they're much longer. Comics/graphic novels are over way too quickly!)

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    1. The Rivers of London series in comics are published as single issues. I've seen them and then they get collected into a trade paperback. I tried reading one of the storylines but I couldn't get into it.

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    2. I do like when single issues get put into a compendium. Pricey but awesome.

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    3. It kind of depends on how many issues are in a collection, whether it is published in hardcover or softcover and if it is a color reprint or the black and white reprints that Marvel (The Essentials) and DC (Showcase Presents) used to do.

      I buy a lot of classic series in trade form because tracking down the single issues is way more expensive.

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  19. I adored comic books growing up. Seriously, my parents were worried about me, about how much I loved them. Justice League of America--J'onn J'onzz Manhunter from Mars, and AquaMan, and The Flash and Green Lantern. And Wonder Woman, right? ? I loved when the teams of Superheroes worked together, each one using their special ability. I adored Superman, SO much, and Lois Lane, although she did seem a little myopic for such a star reporter. I was more of a DC girl than Marvel, somehow. I liked the smart superheroes, not the hulky ones.
    Archie, yes. Completely. (Yes, Veronica, I am embarrassed to say.) Not the romance comics though, I think I thought they were icky.
    I was iffy on Batman, I admit. All his STUFF did the work, not him. I know--I'm wrong about it. And MAD? Oh, yes, I adored it, and still think about it! But I don't think of it as a comic. I wish I still had mine, though. Mom threw them out with all my Beatles magazines.

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    1. The famous "mom threw them out" thing. Why on earth did moms feel they had to toss out the kid's stuff? Obviously they thought it was junk, but still. Without even asking???

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    2. I am so impressed that Hank knows The Martian Manhunter's real name of J'onn J'onzz. :D

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    3. I love knowing this about you, Hank.

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    4. With you, Rick! Ahhhh..... And Jay, I love that you are impressed, YAY! Aw, Jenn...xoox

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  20. And you see how psychologists are telling parents to convince their kids to wear masks outside by telling them they get to be superheroes? Because they all wear masks...

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  21. Jenn, the Wonder Woman was a favorite comic book when I was a kid. I remember reading the Sunday comics before I started learning how to read. My first day of Catholic school was on my 4th birthday and within weeks, to everyone's surprise, I learned how to read and write. Even though I knew how to read, it was easier for me to read picture books like Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. I loved comic books. I read everything available from the local dime store. I remember Spiderman. I remember Superman. And I remember Batman comics.

    When I started reading books with no pictures like Agatha Christie books, it was a big challenge.

    Diana

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    1. I remember that transition, too. I still a great illustrated book, tho.

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  22. It is 1955. Cold War fears have swept the nation. I am 9 years old. Brooklyn based child psychologist, Dr. Frederick Werthham, has been pushing the idea that comic books are 'evil'. Essentially children who read them are all doomed. My mother always anxious, always trying to be right, banned all comic books.

    I continue to read them at the drug store, and at the grocery store. Would buy one candy bar and read Batman. I never occurred to me that Batman and Robin might be in a man /boy love situation. It never occurred to me that Lois Lane was a capable woman. Stupid Lois I thought. Scrooge McDuck was my idol. I can still recite his litany for swimming in his pool of money. Comic books were the 'pulp' paper backs for children. Good stuff then, great stuff now. Thanks Jay for your expertise.

    Edith. Technically Mad Magazine does not qualify because it was published on slick paper (a higher grade) Comics used the cheapest grade of paper... why they are so much rarer today.

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    1. Wertham has a lot to answer for, that SOB.

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    2. LOL - Jay! Indeed. I don't care what a kid reads so long as they enjoy reading.

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  23. Jay, thank you for the comic education! Wonderfully eloquent writing, and so interesting! And I admire your generosity to the kids on Halloween. Who knows what writers and artists might emerge from those thoughtful gifts?

    I did read comics growing up, although I can't imagine that my older brother did. My partner in crime was my boy cousin who the same age as me. He was crazy about MAD so I read those, too. Superman, Wonder Woman, Spider Man( the best!)

    The last couple of years I've been reading the Ben Aaronovitch graphic novels co-authored with Andrew Cartmel. Great fun!

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    1. I can only offer a limited bit of education on comics but I do love getting to share something I'm so passionate about with everyone here. When I first started giving out the comics, the first kid at the door was dressed as Superman. I gave him a Justice League (kid friendly version) comic and he was so excited that he ran down the driveway yelling to his mother, "Mom! I got a COMIC BOOK!". I had to call down to his mother with "Hey mom, tell Superman to fly on back up here, he forgot the candy!" I have heard my house referred to as The Comic Book House on Halloween and I've got this one girl who always asks her mom when they go out on Halloween, "When are we going to the comic book house?"

      I also give out comic book related action figures, including a number of figures from the DC Super Hero Girls line.

      It would be great if someone that got the books ended up becoming a writer.

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    2. Jay - that would be awesome. I truly adore this about you and I really wish we'd had a comic book house in the hood when I was a kid.

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    3. Jenn, when I met Brad Meltzer last year, I told him about giving out comics on Halloween. He said he usually gives away the comped issues he gets to hospitals and such but that he might think about giving some of them away on Halloween. Imagine getting a comic book on Halloween from the guy who actually wrote the book he's handing you?

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  24. I have a very limited exposure to comics. My cousins had some comics when we were growing up, Archie and Jughead and the gang. But that's about the extent of it. Comic books would be the luxury item that we couldn't afford. I don't remember ever seeing them in a library. The daily paper provided the comics of the day. It has been movies and TV that has introduced characters to me, authentic or not, black and white reruns or colored, more contemporary versions - that it's.

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    1. Deanna, comics would not have been in the libraries until the last few years or so when they started gaining the respect they deserve. Stories like "The Great Darkness Saga" or "The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man", "The Night Gwen Stacy Died", "The Killing Joke", The Watchmen series, "A Death in the Family" (written by Jim Starlin!), The Death of Captain Marvel (also by Jim Starlin) are all stories that go beyond just being comic book tales. There are many more that could be singled out but that's just a sampling.

      One of the more personal stories for me was Peter Parker Spider-Man #33 written by Paul Jenkins. It was a done-in-one story called "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" and instead of a tale of derring-do, it was Peter Parker remembering how Uncle Ben would take him to a Mets game once a season. It struck a huge chord with me remembering my dad and how he took me to my first Red Sox game (They lost 3-2 to the Minnesota Twins when Gary Gaetti hit a two-run homer in the 7th inning...see, the memories stick). I got to meet Paul Jenkins at a convention and had him sign that story for me and got to share with him how much the story meant to me.

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    2. It's a shame that libraries were late to the party on this. In Phoenix, we started in the mid-90's when we built a new building and had an amazing head librarian, who loved kids and reading and embraced everything kids loved to read, including comics.

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    3. Jenn, that's fantastic. I haven't investigated what my local library does regarding graphic novels and/or manga but I'm sure they have some stuff.

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  25. I'm late to the party, but this is just in from Julia:
    Another exciting event with Julia, TONIGHT,
    Saturday, May 2, at 6pm EST at the Brookline Booksmith on Crowdcast

    Julia Spencer - HID FROM OUR EYES, and Archer Mayer - Bomber's moon; talking about their latest books, publishing amid the COVID crisis and all other things mystery.

    To attend this Event you must register in advance. Go to: https://www.brooklinebooksmith.com/events/2020-05/virtual-event-archer-mayor/
    Under the photos of the books, CLICK the link on that page, and follow the directions to register. They want an email address as well as your name. Once the registration is complete you get a link to tour Crowdcast and chat with others. This looks Iike fun. Celia registered and got a reply immediately. See you there.

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    1. A great appetizer for the Agatha Awards announcement at seven! Thanks, Celia.

      Oh, I made your pasta a few days ago. With all the sauce on only half a box of spaghetti, Hugh declared it too salty. I loved it!

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    2. I wish I could take part in that event. I'm a big fan of Archer Mayor and his new book was fantastic. Plus, this might be the only way I ever get to talk to Julia ever again unless this damn virus crap ever ends.

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    3. Thanks, Celia! I'll check it out!

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  26. Jenn, thank you for this wonderfully fun topic today. I confess that I wasn't aware of Free Comic Book Day. I still have a few comic books from when I was growing up, including an Archie, a couple of Illustrated Classics, a couple of Disney, and a Twilight Zone one. I loved the Illustrated Classics (The Pearl Princess was a favorite) and Archie, although I don't think I was what you'd call a huge comic book enthusiast. When I got my Masters in Library Media, in my late 40s, graphic novels had hit the scene, and I thought they were wonderful. I have Maus, or rather I did have Maus before my son took it to his apartment never to be seen again in my house.

    My son, who is 32 now, is a Batman fan, over Spider-Man and Superman. He also got heavy into Manga, and he probably still is some. He also read some graphic novels, like Neil Gaiman's Sandman series. I always felt like he was reading and engaging in creative writing experiences when he read comic books and graphic novels. He read books, too, so I didn't believe the argument that comics and graphic novels were a deterrent to other reading. I viewed it all as reading, and as a teacher I did the same.

    Thanks to you, Jay, for the fascinating information on comics. And, your generous Halloween tradition of giving out comics is so wonderful and capable of those far-reaching effects. Jenn, the Christmas card is just the coolest. In fact, your family is the coolest, too. Oh, and I now will never forget to put the hyphen in the Spider-Man name thanks to that witty clip.

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    1. Thank you, Kathy. I think graphic novels are so important for the visual learner kids - of which my son is one. It bridges some of the gap for the dyslexic, too, which also runs in my family. Thanks for the kind word son the fam. We do have fun.

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    2. Kathy,

      I just like to do something a little different than giving out a couple pieces of candy to each kid at the door. Plus the little ones get this big smile on their face. It's Christmas a couple months early for them. You should see the stuff I have already for this year, though I don't know when I'll get the stuff I already pre-ordered from the FCBD book offerings this year.

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  27. I was never into super hero comics. I liked Weird War, Ghost Rider, Swamp Thing and Tomb of Dracula.

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    1. Sandy, I haven't read the Weird War Tales series but I do read war comics like Sgt. Rock, The Unknown Soldier and 'The Nam. I also read the Ghost Rider series in reprinted collected editions.

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    2. Ghost Rider was a huge thing for one of my dudes.

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    3. Jenn, which version? Johnny Blaze, Danny Ketch, Robbie Reyes or the original Ghost Rider who was a cowboy like character in the Old West? :D

      I'm just teasing. The ones I'm reading are the Johnny Blaze stories. I read an issue here and there when the series was first being published but never stuck with it. So I bought the first three compendiums and I'm slowly working my way through those. There's a fourth one to complete that series but I haven't been able to get a copy yet.

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  28. I love comics, then and now. As a kid, my parents only let me buy Disney comics. After church on Sunday, at the supermarket, I was allowed to turn in the glass soda bottles, and with the 20 cents I got buy two comics. It would be Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck if they were there, or perhaps Casper. The DC comics, which I wanted, were deemed to violent for me at the time (before Wertham). So it was Disney and I loved them and wore them out. Thankfully, most of those can now be had in (somewhat pricey) collections.

    I read Mad when I could get it from friends, but it wasn't a comic but rather a humor magazine. I stopped reading comics for years, but began again when I was in college in the Sixties. Then I was reading mostly Marvel stuff, Fantastic Four, Spiderman, Iron Man, Avengers.

    In the Eighties, I made a trip to a great comic store in Tustin, CA, Comics, 'Toons & Toys every Wednesday. "Comics people" know why that day of the week, it's when the new comics were delivered by Diamond distributor to the shops, so it was new comics day. I had a standing order there for a couple dozen monthly comics, some of them coming out each week, and I always bought a few extras and a graphic novel sometimes too.

    Now, I'd say Batman is probably my favorite, and I have quite a few of the graphic novels, most of which are really collections of story arcs from comics. I also really like and recommend Fables by Bill Willingham, which takes place in a world where fables are real. I worked for CrossGen Comics for a short while in the late Eighties, doing website support, and became friends with the owner, artists and writers at that time. I have several original pages of that art.

    I haven't bought any comics in a few years, but I did recently buy Batman, a Celebration of 75 years and am reading it now.

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    1. Rick, you worked for Crossgen? Oh wow, I am so jealous you lucky dog you. They had such great titles like Scion (#26 remains one of the greatest comics I've ever read), Meridian, Mystic, Sojourn, Ruse and many others.

      I remain bummed they never got to finish what they started but for a brief couple of years, they were the best comics publisher on the market.

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    2. Jay, Alessi was not, but not great with the business. As has happened with many other comics start-ups, he overexpanded and overextended. Ron Marz and I had some long talks about the problems, as they became apparent. I bailed long before the writers and artists, as I was nonessential.

      If you have access to MYSTIC issue 7, look at pages 20-21. My net name at CrossGen was Jazzrat, and that's me behind the bar at Jazzrat's.

      Yes, too bad they didn't keep going, at least with the first four titles, but Disney bought it all up and it will probably be buried forever.

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    3. I've met Ron Marz, he wrote Scion #26 so while everyone else was having him sign some of his better known work, I brought that one to be signed. It was a great moment to meet and talk to him for a minute or two. There's a pic of him and I on my FB page.

      And yes, Crossgen messed up by going to fast too soon. Losing them to the buried for all time vaults of Disney is a tremendous loss.

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    4. "Disney bought it all up" seems very doomsday to me.

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  29. That was supposed to be "Alessi was nice"

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  30. After I retired, I stopped getting my comics on Saturday so missed Free Comics Day. When I was a child, I read every kind of comics I could find. DC, Archie, Classics, Gold Key, Disney, etc. But after Marvel started and then expanded, I stuck to their comics, and eventually just superheroes. Over 50 years and still reading Marvel. I do watch the CW DC shows, though, and of course, the Marvel movies and TV shows.

    My first exposure to mythology came from a companion to our encylopedia but Thor and other comics helped me hone it. I never understand why people want to limit things. You can learn from any medium.

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