Thursday, July 6, 2006

Looking To The Stars - Some Of My Favorite Things

It’s something that every fan must do sooner or later. Maybe you need the money. Maybe you need the space. Maybe you just don’t want that complete run of Animal Man as badly as you once thought. Whatever the reason, we all eventually have to weed the comic box.

It’s not all that bad though. Because as you’re digging through all those comics, you find the lost treasures. The books you read once, put aside and forgot that you had all these years. All the old favorites you haven’t read in forever.

With that in mind, I’d like to take you all along a walk down memory lane with me as I share with you my ten most favorite comics of all time. They aren’t all necessarily classics. In fact, I expect one or two of them to inspire laughter and questions about my taste. But they all mean something to me, for one reason or another. Maybe you’ll find a memory or two as well. Or you’ll discover an old classic worth hunting down.

The First Comic: Nintendo Comics System #1

This was the very first comic I remember making an active decision to remember. There were some Batman and Green Lantern comics I remember from when I was a real little kid. But this one was grabbed up during the first and only time my mother ever took me into a comic book store. And that was only to kill time as we were waiting for a delayed movie to start.

Like most kids in the late-80′s/early-90′s, I was a Vidiot. I kept a home made scroll on my wall with an active tally of how many video games I had beaten. I took photos of myself with the end game screens and tried several times to get my name printed in Nintendo Power magazine. Good thing I eventually matured and moved into a much more sensible hobby like comic collecting.

Still, this comic… which collected a spattering of stories staring the Mario Brothers, Link from Legend of Zelda and Captain N The Game Master (ah for the days when cartoons were openly commercials for the coolest toys), while not fine art, was amusing enough for its subject matter. I still get a chuckle thinking about the comic where Mario keeps getting knocked out and starting his day over and over as the monsters around him are having a tea party, totally oblivious to Mario’s efforts to beat them senseless.

The First Serious Comic: Green Lantern Vol. 2, Issue #90

I’ve told the story before about how, as a young man of 19, while working at a book store, I first got into comics formally. In brief, Green Lantern had been my favorite hero when I was a tyke watching Superfriends. So one day, as I was unpacking magazines for the bookstore, I came across some new comics and noticed a Green Lantern comic among them. I also noticed something strange…

That is NOT Green Lantern on the cover.

I read the issue and was enraptured by the story, which luckily enough had been written as a sort of jumping-on issue for new readers. I read about Kyle Rayner, who has been given the last Green Lantern ring after a chance encounter in an alley. The story showed this in flashback and I would later find out there was some question as to why he had been in this alley in the first place – a question this issue neatly answered while delivering one of the few non-preachy anti-drug abuse messages I’d ever seen in any book. It also hit me kind of hard since Kyle had a lot in common. We were both artists without work (me an actor, him a graphic artist) who were coming off a relationship we were unsure about (him with Donna Troy, me with a girl who is best not discussed)

Before too long, I was looking at other books and trying to figure out what happened to Hal Jordan. That search for answers led me, eventually, to pick up…

The First Series I Put On Subscription: JLA, Issue #8

I shouldn’t need to tell anyone here about the glory that was Grant Morrison’s JLA. But if Ron Marz was the man who brought me into comics, Grant Morrison was the one to keep me in them.

This issue, which started off with a tableau of alternate realities – Superman as a Green Lantern – an older Batman watching his son fight crime as the new Robin – Aquaman playing Kevin Costner in a world full of water – was cool in of itself for that alone.

What really hooked me was a relatively new character: Connor Hawke. He had just come onto the JLA base as an honest new guy and he quickly found himself over his head, facing off against a telepathic bad guy with no weapons but his own body, base cunning… and eventually a whole lot of his father’s old trick gadget arrows…

It was a little corny, but it was enough to get me to buy issue #9 and to eventually start picking up Connor’s solo adventures just months before its’ cancellation. It also inspired me to start reading up on his dad, the original Robin Hood Hero, who I had only known as having had a Super Powers figure with easily lost pieces and having been in ONE episode of Superfriends.

I was strictly a DC Fanboy at first. Apart from Spider-Man, who was always a favorite even though my exposure to him was limited to the old Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends cartoon as well as the occasional tape of the old late-60′s cartoons at my local videostore, I knew nothing of Marvel Comics and from what I heard from my new friends at the comic shop, I wasn’t missing much.

But within a year, someone I was already a fan of would get me to jump ship and (gasp) read something from the Marvelous Competitor.

Who? We’ll talk about that next time.

Until then, two short films you all might enjoy as well.

I’ve mentioned the Flash movies of Mr. Matt Gardner before. This new one, I think, may be his finest yet. The title isn’t much but the story is greatness. So please. Give a view to: Fantastic Four: Doomsday

And for you DC Fans, or anyone who likes gratuitous Solomon Grundy cameos, why don’t you give a look-see to Power Girl: Classified?

Tune in next week. Same Matt time. Same Matt website.

Visit our blog at:

No comments:

Post a Comment