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Comics Mean Memories

The week of April 29th leading into Free Comic Book Day on May 4th, I’m asking bloggers, podcasters & artists to post something explaining what comics mean to you. (Comics Kick Ass Week)

Comics mean memories. A connection to the past, and to others. Comics have provided an example, provided escapes, provided inspiration. Comics present heroes and thoughts and ideas. Comics are education, and analogy, and rite of passage. Among so many other things.

For today, let me touch on comics as memories. While I no longer recall the exact timeframe, I do remember Grandpa bringing a stack of comics when he and Grandma visited once. These were DC issues–silver agey stuff. I don’t recall the Batman comic whose cover sticks in my mind right now, and haven’t a clue the Superman comics from this stack…but it was Superman. And Batman and Robin, and The Joker. (And I remember being surprised to learn Robin’s just a kid!)


I remember being at the mall the following spring, and my sister came up to me in Waldenbooks with several comics, pointing out that they still make them. Superman and Batman, anyway. Mom bought at least a couple for me. While I couldn’t swear with any certainty if she bought all four in one go or if they were a couple different times, I do know my first four comics were Superman #31, Adventures of Superman #453, Batman #439, and Detective Comics #604. I have on my desk beside me what I believe to be THE actual copy of that Adventures of Superman issue from Waldenbooks, from spring 1989.

I remember talks with Grandpa, the shared interest in these brightly-colored comic characters. I remember his excitement at tracking down the entirety of the Avengers‘ crossover Operation: Galactic Storm.

I remember he was so tickled when he came across the 1999 or so Batman Beyond #1 while at a Kmart. He wasn’t bothered by the new character–he was excited to read it, and went on and on about this “new” Batman, that the original had finally retired and a new guy was going to be Batman.

Jumping back a couple years, I remember sharing the Heroes Return early issues with him–especially Thor #s 1-2 and how he enjoyed those.

I remember the day Superman died–of Dad going to the comic shop to pick up the whole story (we’d reserved and elected to wait for the end of the story), and of our sitting in the living room that night, reading the entire story; and the couple months after as we (weekly) shared the experience of reading the Funeral for a Friend issues.

For that matter, I remember all those weeks that Dad would get home from work, ready to just settle in and relax for the night, but he’d turn around and go back out with me so I could get a couple new comics for the week.

I remember the shared interest in comics with my friend Zack, especially the summer of 1992 and throughout ’93 and ’94; the death and return of Superman, Batman’s Knightfall, the beginnings of the Spider-Man clone saga, the Infinity War, Eclipso: The Darkness Within.

I remember the shared interest in comics with my friend Jim; of his introducing me to the X-Men…through the Pryde of the X-Men vhs tape, a couple issues of Uncanny X-Men from the 1991 “relaunch,” of him “quizzing” me on characters I now know as Storm, Wolverine, Bishop, and others. He introduced me to Thanos, through The Infinity Gauntlet, and it was the realization that Adam Warlock was to appear in Rune and my recognizing the character from Jim often talking about him–that caused Rune to be one of the series I followed most closely in late 1995.

I remember sharing and talking comics at lunches with my friend Craig, and of incorporating comics into papers I’d write for school.

I remember countless bike rides in good weather (and bad) to the comic shops–biking as far as 30 minutes just to get to the comic shop.

I remember making friends with a “neighbor” in the dorm freshman year at college–talking X-Men, X-Man; the Shattering and The Twelve.

I remember reading all those Hellblazer issues the summer I worked at a camp in Michigan, bonding with a couple other workers over the Vertigo stuff. And that winter, my parents giving me several Sandman volumes for my birthday; of reading/discussing those with my friend Drew. (And my parents gave me the rest of the volumes for Christmas!)

I remember getting into early Ultimate Spider-Man with my friend Mike, and the shared reading experiences there.

And I remember all those Fridays with Mike, Drew, and Greg–going to the gaming store, the comic shop, Skyline Chili, and in general hanging out so many Fridays that year.

I remember seeing my letter published in an issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles vol. 4, and how cool that was to me–also tied to the memory of finding the new TMNT toys with Drew, and his not only not discouraging me, but ENcouraging me to just buy all 4 turtles rather than regret it and have trouble finding them later.

I remember going with Drew to the Wizard World: Chicago con in 2007; meeting Paul Jenkins and Jim Starlin, attending a bunch of the DC and Marvel panels; the comics stuff we found and bought and shared.

I remember Lonnie introducing me to GI Joe, and buying an “extra copy” of Master & Apprentice #1, and giving that to me–which led to me tracking down back issues and following the Devil’s Due GI Joe series for years. (And beginning a tradition of comics-related ‘exchanges’ wherein we acquire stuff for the other and periodically actually get stuff to the other).

I remember several comic con excursions with my friends Earl and Michael–a couple small local cons, a new con this past November, and a trip to the Wizard World Columbus con a couple years back.

I remember talking comics often with my friend Hillary, and of at least a couple years our hitting several comic shops for Free Comic Book Day.

I remember a couple Free Comic Book Day trips with my friend Bridgett along with Earl and Michael; and a definite once-in-a-lifetime experience, meeting Stan Lee at the Pittsburgh Comic Con last year, and her agreeing to be in a photo with me with Mr. Lee.

I’m sure all this truly just scratches the surface. But all these positive memories because of comics…and this is hardly with even looking at the stories themselves…but the social bonds, the friends I’ve made, the friendships developed at least in part due to comics.


I came across this Comics Kick Ass thing the other day, and decided it’s well worth sharing, and provides an excellent prompt for at least a couple posts this week. Find out more at the Tumblr page or Facebook event.

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