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What Are The Comics That Changed YOUR Life?
G-Man
post Jun 6 2008, 07:27 PM
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Hi everyone.

Want to thank everyone who may have taken the time to read the first Life In Four Colors column and I hope you enjoyed it (despite the two typos that snuck past me.... unsure.gif )

I thought it would really be cool and interesting if you could share a couple of stories concerning some of your favorite all time comics. How many of you out there remember the first comic you read? Why do you remember it?

I know I would like to see some of those responses and I'm sure Chuck would as well.

Not very long ago I interveiwed several different comic shop owners in my area, all in the same day. and asked that question....all for a series of interviews I was doing for another website. They all had some pretty great books and interesting stories, but none as good as Bill Thade's reply to the question. For those of you who don't know who Bill is he owns a comic book store in Dayton Ohio called Fearless Readers and he's the primary financial backer for the annual Gem City Comic Con also in the Dayton area (April of every year.)

Bill has literally HUNDREDS of great comic stories....and he told me this great story about a rainy day in the fifth grade when he read a friend's copy of Amazing Spider-Man #122 and #123 as well as Uncanny X-Men #94 !!! WOW!!! What a great couple of books to start out reading comics with! He also had a really awesome story about when he bought a copy of Incredible Hulk # 181 at the once legendary but now long closed Dayton comic book store, The Bookie Parlor.

The next time you're in the Dayton area, stop in and see Bill....at Fearless Readers Comics 1613 Huffman Ave.
Great Guy. Great Store.

In the mean time....let's hear some stories about some Great Comics !!!

Watch for Life In Four Colors #2 Friday, June 20th. It's gonna be called "Bring On The Bad Guys." I know what you think it's about.....let's see if you're right.


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"Reality is only for those who lack imagination" don't know who first said that....but it works for me!
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Ron Fortier
post Jun 7 2008, 06:22 PM
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Actually G-Man, you should alter your title, as these are two very distinctly different topics. One being, do we recall the very first comic
we ever read? And two, the one you use here, which was the most influential comic that changed your life? Not necessarily the same thing.
For me, the first comic I ever read was a Kid Colt Outlaw, and I say read, but that's really not true. At the time I just looked at the pictures. I must have been five at the time. I just loved the pictures, and cowboys in general. At the time the book was published by
Timely, before it changed and became Marvel Comics.
As for the one comic book I remember more than any other, having the biggest impact on me as a young fan. Easy, its the issue of
Showcase from DC, wherein the Justice League of America was formed! For about a year prior to this book, DC had began to give us readers the new Silver Age versions of the old Justice Society heroes. At 13, I had only vague idea who those golden age greats were,
but once a Flash appeared on the scene, to be followed in quick time by a new Green Lantern, Hawkman and the Atom, you just knew there was magic in the air. Then the summer I turned 13, about to start my freshmen year of high school, DC began promoting the book with house ads showing the combined heroes fighting the alien Star Creature on the cover. Here they were, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern and Aquaman, all banded together in one comic. I hunted for that book throughout my town for nearly a month until the day I found it in a small mom-and-pop neighborhood store. I rushed home and tore into it so eagerly, and it did not disappoint. To this day, that one comic holds so much magic for me.
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G-Man
post Jun 7 2008, 09:06 PM
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Great story Ron! It's really incredible to be able to say you read that type of comic history being made as it happned and not in re-prints like a lot of us out here . Kinda like the Bill Thade story.

As for the first comic you ever read....I automatically thought most people would consider that one of the most important books that any long time comic collector/reader has in their comic collecting history and that's why the line may blur a little for me. If not for that first book...then the rest would not have followed right. At least that was the case with me.

Thanks for sharing that incredible piece of your comic collecting past with us. Do you still have that copy of Showcase? I'm assuming you do, but I was wondering if you were ever foolish enough to have gotten rid of it at some point and had to re-buy it again later like I had to do with so many of my own.


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"Reality is only for those who lack imagination" don't know who first said that....but it works for me!
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ChuckMoore
post Jun 7 2008, 10:25 PM
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Here's some of my earliest memories of comics and the ONE BOOK that changed my life...

I grew up in a restaurant family. My parents ran a Frisches Big Boy in Portsmouth, Ohio, a little town (pictured right) nestled on the Ohio River. It was the kind of family run restaurant where everyone was pleasant and there was a great little candy counter as you checked out. Sometimes, when I was very young, my dad would take me with him when he picked up candy to restock that counter. We would visit a small, locally owned distributor just down the road that in my eyes could have put Willy Wonka to shame with the bevy of treats they had for sale. On one visit, I noticed they had small stacks of out of date comics tied together in blocks with thin rope. They were selling comics by the pound. No joke, they weighed them as you checked out to determine the final price. Since each stack was tied, you never knew what you would get until you made it to your car. I always loved discovering what new titles were in the mix and every so often, dad was good enough to treat me to a pound or two. I can still remember my excitement cutting the string and leafing through those covers. Who needed candy, I had comics!

My dad may get bragging rights for introducing me to comics, but it was my mom who takes the prize for making me a collector. She always had an eye for detail, style and encouraged my creativity. One day, while helping clean out an old attic with a friend she stumbled across a comic which she gave to me. I was maybe eight or nine at the time. I still have it to this day. It was a single issue of Fawcett Magazine's Captain Marvel Adventures. A very old copy of the February 1944 issue number 32 to be exact. That book, quite honestly, changed my life. It wasn't just the comic, but rather the mystery that it could be valuable that hit home with me. I've never parted ways with that issue, have no plans to ever sell it and never looked back from the dawn of a hobby I now love.

With all the respect I can offer a single comic, here's a cover scan (click it for the full size image) of the issue that made me a comic collector. Thank you Captain Marvel. Shazam, like my family, will always make me smile...



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Ron Fortier
post Jun 8 2008, 06:46 AM
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Way to go, Chuck. An awesome story. As a small child my dad would take me to a local barber who kept a stack of really old comics.
That's where I first encountered Plastic Man, Captain Marvel, Captain America, the Justice Society etc.etc. They were nothing like the
comics I was then buying, this being last 50s, just prior to the events I listed before, when Timely became Marvel and DC launched the
Silver Age. It was a wild time to be a kid.
And sadly, G-Man, like you, I did part with that copy of Showcase premiering the Justice League of America. And have yet to replace it.
Although one of these days I'm going to bite bullet and buy the Classic hardback Volume One. Something I need to do before I kick the bucket.
But that story does deserve an epilogue, and here it is. Years and years later, as an adult and would be comic book writer, I was asked by a friend to take a one day train excursion into New York City. My pal was working for DC as an artist then and had to go in for some editorial meetings and offered me to tag along. So I jumped at the chance. During the course of the day we would visit both the DC and Marvel offices. But the real point of this little tale is what happened at DC, our first stop. After checking in with the receptionist, we moved into the corridors, all of which are adorned with framed posters of classic DC covers. Coming around one corner, I found myself staring at that beloved Showcase cover, now full blown as a mounted poster. I froze, the smile on my face, according to my pal, was as big as the moon. Here I was in the DC offices, and here was the comic image that had long ago set me on this path.
Life is just amazing. Ain't it?
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G-Man
post Jun 8 2008, 08:29 AM
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Great stories gentleman...thanks for sharing ! Chuck....man I wish I could have gotten in on that comic books by the pound deal . Just one time. That type of experience would inded have been incredible. and I know where Portsmouth is. My dad is actually from Galapolis Ohio which is in the same area. (more or less)

Ron thanks for adding more to your original tale. Yet another awesome comic book experience I'm glad to have read here....and you gave me another great idea for yet another forum thread...."The Comic Related Bucket List !!!"


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"Reality is only for those who lack imagination" don't know who first said that....but it works for me!
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Glen Davis
post Jun 8 2008, 12:57 PM
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I grew up with comics, and don't really remember the first comic I read.

The first comic I actually remember is an issue of Richie Rich with both Richie and Cadbury dressed up as superheroes on the cover. The innards are actually less than spectacular, but just the image blew the mind of a 4 year old kid.
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Gonzogoose
post Dec 16 2008, 05:40 PM
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I'm not sure there was a specific comic that necessarily changed my life when I first started reading. But I can think of some events in comics that stood out to me and made me realize what the medium was capable of.

First I'd have to point to my introduction to Venom. I had known of Spider-Man and watched the cartoons since I was a kid, but Venom was very new to me at 13-14 years old. This ultimate villian that had Spidey's powers and more, was bigger and stronger, and had this wicked cool costume just really caught my attention. And while the fun was still there, I could see maybe for the first time the depth that comics could achieve. I know many people have grown weary of Venom and think he's overrated, but I personally still think he was the greatest Spider-Man villain ever until they ruined the character.

I'd also have to point to the superstar artists of that era, which would become the founders of Image. I was a budding artist and their art, especially Jim Lee's, really stood out to me and made me hunger for that myself. Guys like Rob Liefeld, regardless of what you may think, gave me hopes that I could draw comics for a living for the first time ever, a dream I never realized of course.

Also in that era were two books I fell in love with instantly, and those are New Warriors and X-Force. There was just something special about those books and those characters that was unlike anything else I had read at that point. Those two books inspired many of the characters I created and probably influenced both my writing and art greatly at that point in time.

The Age of Apocalypse storyline is the next event that I recall having a great impact on me. While I got into the Death of Superman, I was still a Marvel Zombie and couldn't get into DC that much then. And when the AOA story launched I was just taken aback by the creativity of this alternate timeline. It just floored me how good, in my opinion, the writing and art was, and again, how creative an endeavor it was. It was also mature and dark, which appealed to my 18 year old self.

And finally, I'd have to say Crossgen was the last big thing that changed my life. I left comics shortly after the AOA story for a number of reasons, and it was Crossgen that brought me back and made me fall in love with comics again. I was done, couldn't get into them and had moved on from my dream of having anything to do with them. I don't recall what the first Crossgen book I picked up was (probably either Sojourn or The First), but I remember picking up an issue of Wizard on a whim and seeing the ads plastered throughout for Crossgen. I had to check these books out, and when I did I was hooked. They were so different from anything I had ever read or seen and I couldn't get enough of them. I began collecting every single sigil-related title until the very end, though I missed a lot of them due to finances. I was so heartbroken when the company folded, and I don't think I've ever quite recovered from that blow or stopped missing those books.

So if I had to point to one thing that changed my life in comics it would have to be those Crossgen books. If they had never existed I wouldn't be posting here today or having anything to do with comics, I truly believe that.


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joshua
post Dec 16 2008, 10:16 PM
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It was ASM as a kid that made into the geek I am today. Roger Stern did the best work (to me) and those books still resonate very highly with me. I used to think the Hobgoblin was the most awesome villain as a kid. Uncanny X-Men is very close too and the Fall Of The Mutants storyline is probably my all-time favorite. I just re-read it the other day and it's still amazing. What's crazy is that I'm not much of a fan of the Essentials line at Marvel but they are starting to repress the stories I enjoyed and loved so much as a kid that I'm finally getting into those.


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Cary
post Mar 3 2009, 06:07 PM
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comics in general changed my life...but if i had to narrow it down, i'd pick two.




first, Flash #159. i found it in a box full of my uncle's long forgotten silver age books that my grandmother had in the garage. it wasn't my favorite of the flash books honestly, because there were MANY Flash books and it's hard to say which i loved the most...but that cover more than any other before or since has stuck with me. that's the first time a cover has really spoken to me on some deep level. looking back, i consider this cover one of the all time greats in any book of all time. you just get this helpless feeling as a reader when you see it. you think...NO! don't quit Flash! lol it's funny. but that was when i realized how powerful covers could be. plus, it was an impressionable time in my life, and it made me love the Flash all the more.





the second book is easy. Action Comics #775. that book was so awesome as a stand alone issue, i'd put it up against any single issue floppy format you could possibly name. bar none it's the best single stand alone floppy i've ever read. and it pissed me off so bad i could bite nails when i finished it. how is that life changing? it put a boot in my ass and got me kicked off on making my own book. it all traces back to that issue folks. scary isn't it?


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Nik Havert / Pic...
post Jun 5 2010, 09:46 AM
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My first comic book read was probably a Spider-Man or Hulk comic I picked up at a barbershop like a lot of other young boys in the 1970's.

As for books that changed my life, Frank Miller's Dark Knight, John Ostrander's version Suicide Squad, Howard Chaykin's version of The Shadow, Keith Giffen's Justice League International, and Alan Moore's Watchmen all came into my collection at about the same time and made me realize that comic books could be great literature and that I wanted to write them.


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Liam Bradley
post Jan 7 2011, 06:28 PM
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I'm going to get a lot of stick for this...

But the crappy 90s Venom: Lethal protector

first comics I read constistantly from the first to last issue. Before that I just ready random spectacular spider-man issues going from like issue 17 to issue 48 then jumping to 50.

Those venom comics are what made me realised I actually had a passion for comics and that they weren't just something fun to look at.


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Liam Bradley
post Jan 7 2011, 06:28 PM
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oh yeah, and remember I'm a 90s child. So I was like 6 when I read those. If I read them now I'd probably hate them.


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Carl Shinyama
post Feb 21 2011, 08:01 PM
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The comics the changed my life:

The Flash: Run Fast, Die Young story line was what drew me in as a kid into comic books. It wasn't even close to being the first comic book that I read, but it was the one that really sparked a more serious interest in comics for me as a young boy.

As an adult, after I'd lost a great deal of interest in comics, Michael Turner's run on Superman/Batman got me back into comics and back on the drawing table.
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G-Man
post Feb 21 2011, 08:05 PM
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Thanks for chiming in on this somewhat older but very noteworthy and entertaining topic.


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"Reality is only for those who lack imagination" don't know who first said that....but it works for me!
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Carl Shinyama
post Feb 21 2011, 09:49 PM
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Better late than never, I say!
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Mark Ellis
post Feb 22 2011, 08:51 AM
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I guess for me it would be this one:



I was four years old and it was the first non-Disney, non-Bugs Bunny comic I ever read. Not only did I find the story both entertaining and sad, that issue introduced me to Batman and Robin as well as other super-hero comics.


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AaronSmith
post Mar 7 2011, 06:55 PM
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I guess I missed this topic the first time around.
I certainly remember the first comic I had, briefly had. I was 5 and I was out with my grandfather. this would have been 1982. We stopped in a convenience store because he needed cigarettes. That was when I saw it! One of those glorious old spinner racks filled from top to bottom with these colorful things with amazing pictures on the covers! I was stunned, mesmerized. Grandpa saw me looking and asked if I wanted one. Choosing just one was the hardest decision I'd ever had to make at that age. I finally picked a Batman issue because I recognized the character from TV. He bought it for me and I looked through it on the way home. I wasn't quite old enough to read it yet.

It was a Gene Colan story...with vampires! I'm sure you all know what it means when Gene Colan draws vampires (and he does it better than anyone else, in my opinion). Yup, that story scared the willies out of me! By the time I'd looked at the last page, I made Grandpa take it away from me because I couldn't bear to look again! I had nightmares for a week. Grandpa gave the comic to the kid next door, who was a little older than me.

Traumatic? Sure! But in the best possible way. I grew up to love superheroes, comics, and horror and I credit that "incident" with waking up my imagination and leading me to grow up to become a writer.

A couple years ago, I got to meet Gene Colan and I told him that story and thanked him for waking up my love of horror and my imagination. He looked at me and said, "When I was 5, my father took me to see FRANKENSTEIN, with Boris Karloff. Well that scared the crap out of me and gave me nightmares...but it awakened MY love of horror and made me want to learn how to create terrible images. So, if what that movie did for me is what my work did for you, I wish you all the luck in the world in your creative endeavors."

Dry eyes after hearing that from Gene Colan? Impossible!

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Ron Fortier
post Mar 7 2011, 07:23 PM
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That's a great story, Aaron. Thanks for sharing it with us. The first comic I was ever given, I too must have been 5, was a Kid Colt Outlaw. And I've never lost of my love of western comics from that day forth. But it wasn't the the comic that I remember the most fondly.

In the summer of 1960, I was 13 and truly loving comics. Marvel had come on the scene and there were big, big changes over at DC. Slowly DC has started to bring back classic golden age characters via their try-out titles, Brave & the Bold and Showcase. Within a period of one year we'd been given a new Flash, a new Green Lantern and a new Hawkman. And all of them were fantastic. Just like that DC's universe wasn't just Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Then one day, flipping through one of those titles, I found an ad for an upcoming issue of Showcase where all these great characters were all together on the same cover fighting a giant alien starfish and the legend proudly proclaimed the all new JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA!! I was in seventh heaven and for the next four weeks drove my bicycle all over that small town hitting up every single drugstore spinner rack that I knew off. I so did not want to miss this new comic title. And sure enough, one day, in a small Mom & Pop store, there it was!! I think I paid a dime for it (though don't hold me to that...been a long while. Ha) Coming home, sitting in my bedroom and reading Showcase Presents The Justice League of America was one of the greatest comic book thrills I ever had. And then when DC gave them their own title, I was a huge fan.

Some thirty years later, when invited to go into New York with an artist friend, I had the opportunity to visit both Marvel HQ and the DC offices. While walking through the halls of DC, I noted their walls were covered with giant poster images of some of their classic 60s covers. Then turning the corner there was that issue of Showcase debuting the JLA. I froze in my tracks and stood there looking up at it mesmerized. Told my friend, "This was one of my all time favorite comic books ever!" It remains so to this day.

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Casey Campbell
post Mar 8 2011, 06:36 AM
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Wow...Great stories all of them. It would be hard to narrow it down. In the early 70's when I was just a wee little boy I remember my dad bringing home Star Trek by GoldKey comics and Tales From the Crypt among others stuck in my head. I read them..I can't say read I wasn't even in school yet but I could remember looking at the panels and somewhat discerning how the story went from the art alone. I wouldn't say this was an influence artistically but one none the less. Some years later my Dad was still picking up various titles until one day a Conan the Barbarian was brought home and after reading it I remember being locked in solid. On my quest for Conan I discovered the The Savage Sword of Conan and that quickly led me to become a fan of the classic Black and White fanzine comics. Numerous artists from the Warren comics franchise drew me in and from there it was history. I was glad to see the article on Roy Thomas here in comic related..he was a big influence on me as writers go on his adaptations of Robert E. Howards stories.
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