As I write this, I stand a few days away from receiving my Bachelors degree. I have finals this week, was in danger of failing a few classes, still have to take a test for Graduate school... and I am looking for a job so I have some spare money, assuming I get into Grad school. As such, I haven't had comics on the mind that much this past month.
Looking back though, it's funny how comics are tied into my college life. I got back into reading comics my freshman year... nigh unto five years ago. I was working in a bookstore and saw an issue of Green Lantern on the magazine rack. Surprised by the unfamiliar youth in the robotic mask, I read it... and went on-line that night to find out what had happened to Hal Jordan, who I remembered from the Superfriends cartoons of my youth.
A year later. Sophomore. I was addicted. I bought all the Batman books, everything relating to a JLA member and was slowly getting into Vertigo. I was reading fan fiction and got into some weird little fan magazine for DC books... you might take a guess which one.
Year Two. 2nd Sophomore year. Started reading an odd DC title called Starman. Also submitted a piece to this fan magazine I loved so much, not expecting anything to come of it.
Year Three: Junior year. After a year of submitting random pieces, I get my own column in this magazine which will remain nameless. Going against all my DC prejudices, I pick up a book called Daredevil, because some movie maker I'm a fan of wrote it. Don't expect much. Put it on my subscription list the next week.
Year Four: Senior year. Said movie maker is now the patron saint of my two favorite art forms. I rename myself, in reference to my favorite comic. Everyone now swears I am Jack Knight incarnate. Reading more Marvel books and some independent works. The Batman books dip in quality and I drop them.
And now here it is... Year Five. And what has changed in the comic industry since I got into? Well, Kevin Smith... the unknown filmmaker who wanted to write a few comics is a big dog who can do pretty much whatever he wants. My favorite comic book ever ended its run. I joined a Rocky Horror cast in my hometown and became known to my fellow actors, technicians and fans as "Starman Matt", after my Yahoo ID. My pull list now numbers an even mix of DC, Marvel and Indie titles, since I decided to read books based on writers and characters not just which universe I liked better. (On that note, if you aren't reading Mark Waid's take on the Fantastic Four, just because it's a Marvel book... kick yourself). I've written "The Mount" for longer than I ever thought possible. I even got a job at my comic book store over the summer and found a new look at the industry and how things are done.
But most astonishing of all, this year, I rediscovered an old hero. Thanks to a new movie, a new book, a new batch of writers and a new editorial direction, I found myself thrilling again to the exploits of a character I had long thought past FUBARed. This hero, who got me into super heroes in the first place, with a little help from his amazing friends. The hero who taught me that you didn't have to be the best or the strongest in the world. That it was enough for you to try your best and hope things would work out. Even when everything in life told you that was about as likely as the pretty red-haired girl accepting your invitation to go out. The guy who gave me hope for my own lack-luster love life when he DID get the girl. The guy who was, like me, a geeky wise-cracker with brown curly hair, glasses and a desire to do the right thing all the time even if it made him miserable. The guy that I dressed up as for Halloween, inspired by my sudden weight loss over the summer and a childhood dream.
Sorry Jack. And sorry to everyone who can't believe a writer at the biggest and best DC fanzine there is, is saying this... Peter Parker is back at the top of my list of heroes.
Things change. That's the way of life. But wherever I go, I'll always remember these things... Knowledge is Power. With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.
And With Great Knowledge, Comes Great Big Student Loan Bills.
One more to go before we close up shop, kiddies. Come back next month for the final shoot-out before I mount my horse and ride into the sunset.