Comic Books and my 40 Year History of Reading Superheroes and Funny Pages

I have been reading comic books since as long as I can remember.  In those early years the comic books I read were varied.  Reading comic books as a kid it was more about what was available as opposed to reading certain comic books month after month.  Back then I didn’t much know what I wanted to read either.  My earliest comic series that I sought after and collected to the best of my ability as a kid was G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.

Early on I also discovered comic magazines like Cracked! and Mad Magazine.  Reading Mad Magazine felt like I was reading something that I shouldn’t have been reading at a young age and it was my first comic book with adult material in it.  I was often in fear of being told I couldn’t read it that I would cover up the bad parts in the magazine.  Cracked at the time was much calmer and often sometimes funnier but it would not stand the test of time, either for collecting or publication.  I would continue to read Mad Magazine on and off until this very day.  Along the way I obtained a complete digital collection of the first 500 issues, such a cool way to go back and read old issues.

And Where is the Batman?

comic books

Funny thing back in my early reading days is that as big of a Batman fan as I am I had very little if any Batman comics.  I can’t actually look back and figure out the reason but it wasn’t until the Michael Keaton Batman movie came out that I really started my Batman comic collection.  It was that time frame at which I really started reading comics too.  I finally had the means and the knowledge to keep up with comic books both in collecting and determining which books I would like to read and know when they were coming out to buy.

During this phase I would really solidify Batman as my favorite comic book hero.  Although somehow I missed getting those all important Death in the Family issues (although I would grab a copy years later) I amassed a nice collection of Batman issues during this time including first issue of Legends of the Dark Knight, the first Tim Drake Robin and the Breaking of the Batman.

The Lost Years

My comic collecting and reading fizzled out during my high school and college years.  I had been collecting for quite a while and it was a lot of fun but eventually it became more video games and less comic books.  The Batman movies eventually got bad and ended and the comic shop that I had been going to closed.  There were a few comic books that I picked up from time to time if something big happened but overall I wasn’t reading anymore.

During this time I only picked up a few comics here and there if I heard about something I thought I needed.  This was also the period when comic book prices started to increase significantly from where they were when I was at the height of my collecting.  Ironically at this point is when all those comics I collected during “The Batman Movie Years” started to decrease in value, significantly.

Too Old to Grow Up

After college I moved back home and got a job in Scranton, sometime around then I started visiting Comics on the Green.  In the years since I think I have pretty much been a pretty steady customer.  I’m not gonna lie, there were times when I wasn’t into comics much but stayed a customer anyway due to the supreme customer service and shopping experience.  No time was that more apparent than when I went back last year to catch up on all those comics I collected and didn’t read.  During this time I also collected a lot of trade paperbacks and collections that I still have to catch up on.

Probably the most active period was during the recordings of Too Old to Grow Up, which ran from 2008 to 2011.  It was during this time when the comic book movie resurgence began as well.  Of course by the time Too Old to Grow Up had ended I was pretty much well into collecting again, and also settling in to the series I would continue to read for many years.  Titles like The Walking Dead, the new continuing stories of G.I. Joe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Ironically still not Batman.

The Many Ways to Read Comic Books

Today there are so many different ways to explore reading comic books.  It’s of course great to have a comic shop with a nice subscription model so I don’t miss the titles I am regularly reading.  On top of the current series I have tons of trade paperbacks and graphic novels I have yet to read.  Getting new ones at the comic shop as well as on Amazon make going to the backlog easier and catching up.  Digital comic services such as Comixology for picking up digital comics or adding ones included with physical copies make traveling with stacks of comics easier.  The Marvel Unlimited comic subscription service is something I absolutely love (and dearly wish DC would offer) since it makes going back and reading multi comic story arcs and events easier and much cheaper to read and enjoy.

The Rebirth Finally Brings Back Batman

My goal these days is to try to read a comic book each day, and read at least a trade paperback each month.  Of course with so many choices I bounce around a bit, reading different stories from the past decade plus of comics.  I still read my regulars and I am finally once again reading Batman!  After seeing the Justice League movie I was excited to read a Justice League comic and a recent visit to Comics on the Green got me back in to reading Batman again.  Rebirth and the Marvel Unlimited app have seemed to cure the problem that I have not wanting to ready DC or Marvel due to the often large crossovers.

I have been reading comic books for the better part of 30 plus years and I’m still happy to be reading at 42.  There is a joy that comes from being able to enjoy comic books at this age.  It’s certainly easier to collect and enjoy them.  We may age over the years but our heroes never do, here’s to another forty years of comic books.