Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Liberry comix!

Today at the library I explored the comics section. In addition to the expected books like newspaper strip reprints, my local library has an interesting selection of other stuff, like a dozen or so volumes of R. Crumb, some Sandman, and some trades of Powers, which I believe was Image Comic's attempt to deconstruct superhero mythology. Not a whole lot of straight superhero stuff, unless you count a slim volume of Witchblade. I picked up Will Eisner's A Contract With God, mainly because the back cover said it was the first published graphic novel, and the Watchmen. I'm probably about a decade overdue on reading Watchmen, but the fans of it back in college were just a little too enthused about it. I don't mind a nice normal recommendation, but at one point I was positively proselytized. Ten years later and people still acknowledge it as one of the greatest stories ever told in the medium, so I'm finally going to read the darn thing.

It's kinda interesting. I'm a big superhero fan and I love supers roleplaying, but I've never been much more than a casual comic reader. There were a couple of years in the early nineties (coinciding with the Death of Superman stuff) in which I tried to be a good little fanboy, subscribing at the local store and all that, but it was just an aberration. My brief fling with comic collecting was more about having some pocket money and no girl to spend it on. Nowadays it really takes something special (like the Superfriends trade paperbacks) to get me to spend money on a funny book. Speaking of the Superfriends, I think TV cartoons is where I really get my love of superheroes from. And not just the Superfriends show either. I remember watching the Bozo the Clown show broadcast from WGN in Chicago, long after Bozo had any appeal to me, because he would occasionally show an old Superboy or Batman short. Spider-man and his Amazing Friends was also a fun show, especially when they featured other well-known Marvel figures. The episode that guest-starred the X-Men and the 'Ten Little Superheroes' were both a lot of fun.

Don't get me wrong, I read and enjoyed comics as a kid. But I grew up on a farm a good 30 or 45 minutes from the nearest seller. Following a storyline from month to month was just not feasible. Heck, I remember how delighted I was to be able to acquire just two consecutive issues of Doctor Strange! It was during the storyline in which Dracula infilitrated Avengers Mansion to steal the Darkhold. It would be years later that I would discover that the story ended with the Doc using the Montesi Formula to destroy the vampire menace. I'm sure that little victory has been retconned out of existence since then. You can't keep Dracula down. Speaking of Dracula, I had at least two other comics in which he made appearances. One was an issue of Superman in which the Count attempts to drink Supes' blood to gain super undead kryptonian powers. Our hero trounces him by squeezing a children's balloon until the hydrogen inside starts fusing, creating a micro-sun. The other Dracula comic was a Gold Key/Whitman comic, one of Doctor Spektor's adventures.

I had some non-vampiric comics, too! I collected as many volumes of Marvel Universe as I could find. I had the first appearance of the Morlocks in The Uncanny X-Men. And a little sprinkling of other stuff. Daredevil putting the hust on Cobra and Mr. Hyde. Thor melting a frost giant by ripping open a gas main and igniting it. Rhodey Rhodes disco dancing with a French chick while Iron Man puts out an oil derrick fire. The Hulk throwing down with an undead cowboy. Good times, good times.

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