I'd been away from comic books for a couple of years. One day I walked into an arcade in downtown Cleveland and discovered something called a Comic Book Store. When did this happen? The place was called Super City and some kid named Bendis was behind the cash register penciling a page.
The comics had changed. Half the titles had an X in them and apparently everything printed was a collectors item. Gold covers, platinum covers, titles numbered zero and something called ashcans were available. There were long convoluted story arcs and numerous crossovers. As one writer once put it, I had entered a club to which I did not know the secret handshake.
Not wanting to start into some story arc that was in its second year knowing I'd have to buy half a dozen crossovers to fully understand the story I turned my back on the Marvel and DC racks. At current prices it just didn't seem worth the investment.
There was an "independent title" rack and THAT is what got my attention. Love and Rockets, American Splendor and Mr X appealed to me. The lack of color wasn't an issue to me. I started buying comics again.
Life happened and my visits to comic book stores became less frequent. I had a family and was frittering away my money on food and shelter. I'd considered trying to become an inker until I did the math. My hourly wage, plus benefits, and overtime, not to mention the tax situation made better economic sense compared with an inkers page rate, expenses, lack of medical coverage and tax liability.
A move to Texas showed great promise until the jobs we moved here for disappeared. I found a local Comic shop and the old itch returned. I started trying to learn to ink. My beginning efforts have been posted on this web site.
I guess I kept my interest because as I grew up, the medium had grown up as well. I won't say comics were better "back in the day", just different. There were back then and are today awesome talents working in the business. I don't pass judgments. Comics are supposed to be fun. Nothing wrong with that.