Monday, July 20, 2009
A brief history of geek.
I love comic books. I don't just read them, I analyze them, I contemplate them. If I'm not actively engaging in something else, I'm more then likely thinking about comics. At which point did this go from being a boy's pass time to an adult's love affair? While I can't narrow it down to a single moment, I can reminisce about some of the moments that helped cement my geek-dom.
As a child of the late 80's/early 90's era, comic books and superheros were not as mainstream as they are now. the comic boom helped usher in a new wave of Saturday morning cartoons, which I devoured: Batman: the animated series and X-men leading the way, with spider-man, superman, Fantastic four and others following. I was glued to my TV set on Saturdays. after the day's line up had ended I spent the remaining weekend imaging what's to come next week, and acting out epic battles in my backyard with action figures. these shows help perk my interest, I set out to the local video store to find more, mow as this was the early 90's....the pickings were slim, so to say. after watching all the Superman movies( and the animated shorts from the 40's!), the first Batman, Swamp thing, and even the Captain America movie.....which I'll admit as a youth, i enjoyed. After memorizing these films I found out there were books about these characters, lots of books. All I knew was that I had to learn to read better!
My parents have always been supportive of any thing I take an interest in and when there youngest son takes an interest to reading book, even if they have pictures, my parents were quick to help me. the way it worked was that if I behave all week and did my chores, I'd get to ride up to Eckerd's drug store with my mom. you see this was before I was aware of comic stores, and eckerd's spinner rack was heaven to me. on a good week, I'd be able to weasel two books out of my mom. then we'd sit on the couch and she'd help me read it. the first story I remember finishing was "the mark of Kaine" in spider-man #58 and I've been reading ever since.
I first met my future brother-in-law when I was 8 years old. I was a very impressionable 8 year old and he seemed like the coolest dude around. He took me to my first comic shop: Titan's games and comics. walking in, it blew my mind. Here was a store lined with comics, old and new, magazines dedicated to comics, action figures. Anything you could want. That's when I became aware just how big comic were. I'm pretty sure my brother-in-law regrets to trip, since my every waking moment was spent asking him "who do you think would win? ______ or ______, why?", "how strong is _______?" now that he has a 4 year old son, he's going to have to live through it all over again soon.
This brings me to my last memory, and no doubt the sadist. one summer when I was about 9 or 10 my cousin and I spent the a weekend at our great-aunt's house. the situation was: It was night time, we were the only two kids, and we were bored of our toys and Saga Saturn. the grown ups were scheming to find a way to keep us entertained when my great aunt brought out an dusty, old luggage case and told us to go in the other room and open it. we ran in there, slammed it down and popped the latches, flinging the case open. in that moment the aroma of golden age comic hit my nose. this thing was stacked full of my great aunt's kid's old comic collection. they were all grown now, and she had no need for them anymore. she said she was throwing them out, and thought we might enjoy looking through them. We did. we read those things for hours. I'm talking about golden age Sub-mariner, Captain America, Superman, the original Human torch. I remember reading the first appearance of the Hulk, and wondering why he was gray, instead of the normal green I was used to.For some reason the most vivid memory I have is of the fruit pie ads, I swear those things were on every other page! If I had to guess I'd say the entire collection ran from the 40's to about the early 70's.....now this is the sad part. neither my cousin or I had any idea the worth of the book we holding. to us they were just paper that way about to be trashed. so we rummaged through them with no regard, covers came off, pages were thorn, and when we were done, they all went into the trash can. I still kick myself for that one. the that was my first expose to the golden and silver ages of comics, and the rich histories behind all the character I've grown to love.
I can't remember the exact time I got into comics, because there isn't a time when I can remember not being into comics. It's just always been there with me, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. A friend told me the other day that he just can't get into them, I replied that you're either into or you've not. I can't explain to someone why they should enjoy a comic, they just have to.