I’m taking abreak from reviewing my comic stack today in order to join in on First Comic Week (as started by Chris at 2 Guys Buying Comics). I’ve got three books I consider to be significant firsts for me.
Back in the day before I had disposable income, there was the library. The Lincoln City Libraries had a suprisingly large quantity of comics, and the branch I always went to even had a subscription to Amazing Spider-Man. I’d check out a dozen issues at a time, getting the same ones I got 6 months ago to read them all over again. ASM #314 was the earliest issue I can recall reading. In it, Peter and MJ get kicked out of their apartment on Christmas Eve. The cover tells us that much. Other than that, I can’t remember a damn thing about the issue. But that cover was burned into my mind for some reason. Maybe my juvenile 6-year-old eyes thought Todd McFarlane’s art was pretty. Oh, to be that naive again.
Naturally, because it’s the only monthly comic I had access to, Amazing Spider-Man was the be all and end all of comics for me during my pre-teen days. I didn’t buy comics then because a single 20-ish page story cost me an entire week’s allowance (one dollar). Unfortunately, the local libraries subscription didn’t cover annuals, so I was missing out on pivotal plot points (there’s that naivety again). So when I saw a copy of an Amazing Spider-Man comic I’d never seen before in the racks at Hy-Vee, let alone one with Iron Man, Black Panther and Kingpin on the cover, I had to have it. Of course, it would be two whole weeks allowance to buy the one comic. But simple math tells you that $2 for 64 pages is a much better deal than $1 for 20. To a 9-year-old, quantity is a lot more important than quality.
I still remember when I saw the American Entertainment (remember them?) ad in a comic I was flipping through. As a publicity stunt, they were holding a funeral for Professor X, who would be biting the big one in X-Men #41 at the hands of his time-travelling son Legion. I was floored. How could they kill off a character so important to the X-Men legacy, never to return to the land of the living (God, I was an idiot as a child)? I was intrigued. I bought the issue and realized it was the continuation of a story from a comic I had gotten for free in an issue of Wizard (Uncanny X-Men #320). Then I heard about this so-called “Age of Apocalypse” that would be taking placed because Xavier had died before he formed the X-Men. I was hooked. Because Professor X died, I bought every single issue of the Age of Apocalypse, which was quite a lot for my 12-year-old wallet to handle. After the AOA ended, I still continued with Uncanny X-Men, X-Men and X-Man. Then I started buying all the Spider-Man titles. Then Onslaught happened, and I got Thunderbolts. Then Heroes Return Avengers and Fantastic Four. By that time, I was on a downward spiral I couldn’t possibly hope to overcome. I just bought more and more and fell more and more in love with comics. Now here I am spending $50 a week on new comics. Damn you, American Entertainment.