Friday, February 13, 2009

Issue #0: Secret Origins

So you’re wondering about me? How does a nice girl like me get into comic books?

Blame the cartoons. It’s usually the easiest explanation. The Super Friends cartoons took over my Saturday morning in the mid-late 1970s, so it was only natural I might discover comic books. Because I loved Wonder Woman (and I still do), I naturally gravitated to the books she appeared in: Super Friends, Justice League of America and Wonder Woman. (There might have been a lot of Richie Rich comics, too. I was very young. Don't judge me.)

My first Wonder Woman issue was #236 from the first series. The tv series’ impact was shown by shifting the stories back to the WWII era. Within a blink of a year or two, she’d be back in present day in NASA or wherever. I went through several incarnations of Diana through a short period, so I’m always amazed I wasn’t more confused.

Then I came across New Teen Titans #33 at the newsstand and I was completely hooked. For the first time, I wanted all the issues, not just whatever showed up on the spinner racks. My very indulgent mother discovered comic book shops, namely the old Geppi’s Comics at Crystal City. There were whole stores with comics and things called back issues! And there were little day conventions at some local hotel where I’d dig through the boxes to find some treasure trove.

I read a lot of comics in those pre-Crisis days, mostly team titles. New Teen Titans introduced me to Batman & the Outsiders. My love of WWII and the JLA/JSA team-ups yielded All Star Squadron and Infinity Inc. I loved the Earth-2 heroes, especially the Huntress. She was a long-running backup feature in the Wonder Woman book, so she was a favorite of mine. Somehow I latched onto Legion of Super Heroes just as they added five new members. That involved more collecting and more lists. I was surprisingly organized in those non-Internet/non-Wikipedia days.

Maybe because of my mother’s presence or my age, I never had the bad experiences other girls had. I never had the leering looks or the comments. They'd ask what I was looking for, I'd answer or I'd pull out my trusty list, and they'd be perfectly happy to take the money. Maybe I was just lucky.

Then the Crisis on Infinite Earths hit. By the end of I’d lost three of my personal heroines: Supergirl, Huntress and Wonder Woman. The JSA went into Ragnarok limbo, the Legion had a pocket universe and half the stories I adored as a girl no longer counted or mattered. Oh, I know, my favorites have come back in various forms. I adore the current Wonder Woman especially. But it’s not quite the same.

Post-post-Crisis I went through what would be called my indie phase when I was buying Ghost, Buffy and other non-superhero comics, mostly Dark Horse. I tried Sandman, but I preferred Wesley Dodds to the Dreaming. That’s comics heresy I know, but I’ll live with it.

And then I stopped reading comics for the longest of time. I was aware of the big stories in the news, but I mostly didn’t read them. I missed a whole generation of stories. I still don’t know or understand all the Young Justice-era characters. I did dabble in the X-men comics, after the movies, but I didn’t have the same urge with my old stomping grounds.

A funny thing happened to this comics fangirl. Wait for it, yes, they made a cartoon. People kept encouraging me to watch the Justice League cartoon. So I did.

Being online was the other impetus. I was hearing friends chatter about my old friends, I was reading scans of old issues I’d never seen and suddenly I wanted to go back to the DCU just to see. You know, like a visit to the old neighborhood... a quick look see and then go back home to safety. Except I decided to stay... again.

I do venture out into other neighborhoods these days. I love the older more obscure Golden Age heroes, mystery men & women. I read some manga, but I still love my superheroes and my escapism. I still think of myself primarily as a DC fangirl -- a thoroughly retconned fangirl with a penchant for the old and the obscure, but there you go. That’s me.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Welcome to the world of blogging.

Like you, my first introduction to comic books actually came from cartoons--Super Friends, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four. It was fitting that the first comics I collected were the Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Thundercats comics that Marvel published in the 80s. I'd pick up a random trade paperback here and there, or an issue of Fantastic Four or What If? at the local baseball card/comic book show.

I started collecting regularly in the mid-90s, between the success of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES and the boom of comic book movies.