Why We Do What We Do (Comics Rule!)
September 6, 2008

One of my friends here, SDMike, has commented to me that while most of the the topics in the forums are about toys, his first love is comics.  Considering how much we discuss toys related to comics, I think that most of us are comic fans too.

As my user name, superfriend, indicates I am a big fan of the Super Friends show.  It was my introduction to super heroes.  Not sure when I started watching, but it was before 1976.  I distinctly remember watching an episode during a garage sale my parents were running one Saturday that Spring.  I was 11.  We were in the process of moving, and my whole life was about to change.  I started reading comics later.  I had read one here or there at camp, but most of what I’d seen was Beetle Bailey or Donald Duck.  Great in their own right, but not super heroes.  My reaction to finding out that you could read stories about the Super Friends was ‘awesome’.  The first superhero comic I bought was just OK.  The next one kicked off a life time of comic book reading.

JLofA 148.  Part two of an annual event where the JLA and JSA teamed up.  And to ramp things up, that year they threw in the Legion of Super Heroes.  But I am getting ahead of myself.  There I was, with a comic in my hand with more heroes than I had ever seen.  5 JLA, 5 JSA, and 9 Legion as I recall.  I had never heard of the JSA or the Legion.  And the JLA was not just the basic Super Friends, it included Green Arrow who had been in one episode and Black Canary who I had never met.  3 ‘demons’, each controlling a group of heroes, forcing them to fight against each other.  The JLA were badly out numbered in the beginning with only 3 heroes available.  It was barely a taste of each of the heroes.  But the scope of the story hooked me.  It was easily 5 years before I got to read part 1 in JLoA 147, but it didn’t matter as the recap included was enough to explain how the story got to that point.  This book still ranks as one of my favorites.

 

And that was it.  The following month I was back.  JLoA 149.  And All-Star Comics ("JSA" as I called it) 69.  It took a while before I decided to launch into the Legion.  Eventually, I even crossed the pond and read Avengers, West Coast Avengers.  In 1990, with XForce 1, I took the plunge into the XMen universe.  I also read the Mighty Crusaders from Archie Blue Ribbon comics.  Any team book.   I’ve followed some of these teams more than others over the years, but the one team I’ve never let go of is the Justice League.

So, what was your first comic, the one that stuck with you, that made you  go in a certain direction, that you are still reading today?

Erik "Superfriend" Skov
"Gathered together from the four corners of the universe." Oh, wait, that's the show, not me. Erik "SuperFriend" Skov never actually got to appear on the show, although he did watch it every week. Erik spent 6 years working for Hasbro in Pawtucket, RI before leaving for a job that paid more (Why else would a collector leave the company that was making Star Wars, Transformers, and while I was there Batman). I used to post all over the net. These days I tend to hang my hat at AFI.
Read other articles by Erik "Superfriend" Skov.

 

 

 

13 Comments »

  • bambam says:

    The first comic I remember reading (and still have)is Batman #363. The story introduced Nocturna, and was written by Doug Moench and drawn exquisitely by Don Newton. Got that from a local grocery store that sold variety packs of comics. I was around 5 years old, but did not continue reading comics as my immigrant parents were very tight on the purse strings.

    In my high school years I started ‘collecting’ comics. It was really silly and immature in retrospect, so I nearly quit when the direct market started to collapse.

    Then the new JLA by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter was released. I rushed to the comic store every Wednesday when they released next issue of the ‘New World Order’ storyline. I was completely amazed, entranced, immersed, etc! Each issue was carefully read 4-5 times in the first sitting. I’ve been chasing that dragon ever since.

  • Jeff Cope says:

    My first comic was Marvel Team Up #20 featuring Spider-man and Black Panther vs Stegron the Dinosaur Man. Cover price 20 cents!

    I remember I actually wanted that comic more because of Stegron. Like many little boys (I was 9 when the issue came out in ’74) I was dinosaur crazy and I thought Stegron was just the coolest thing ever!

    Little did I know that issue would turn me into a life long comics reader.

  • Robiwan says:

    Superfriends was a staple Saturday morning activity in my house. My dad would put a deflated basketball on his head (making him bald) and pretend to be Lex Luthor and let me chase him around after the episodes were over.

    When I was in 4th grade, I bought Avengers # Twofiftysomething because not knowing the difference between DC and Marvel at the time, I mistook Firelord for Firestorm on the cover. I thought it was cool that Firestorm would be fighting alongside Captain America. I was really disappointed when I discovered that one of my favorite Superfriends was not actually in the comic but I was hooked on the Avengers and Marvel for years.

    In the 90s, it was Grand Morrison’s run on JLA that brought me back to DC and the League is definitely my first love again.

    -R

  • Robiwan says:

    Superfriends was a staple Saturday morning activity in my house. My dad would put a deflated basketball on his head (making him bald) and pretend to be Lex Luthor. I was Superman and would chase him around after the day’s episode was over.

    In the 4th grade, I bought Avengers # Twofiftysomething because I mistook Firelord for Firestorm on the cover. I thought it was cool that Firestorm was fighting alongside Captain America. (Obviously, I did not know about different comic companies at the time.) I was really disappointed when I discovered that one of my favorite Superfriends was not actually in the comic, but I was hooked on the Avengers and Marvel for years.

    In the 90s, it was Grant Morrison’s run on JLA that brought me back to DC and the heroes of my childhood Saturday mornings are my first love again.

    -R

  • Danny Cantina-Dan says:

    My brother got me a subscription to G.I Joe for XMas one year (1983, if I’m not mistaken.) I was around 11. The first issue to come was number 21. Had Snake Eyes on the cover repelling off a building. The cover said: “The Most Unusual GI Joe Story Ever!!” The reason: there was no dialog in the whole issue! I eventually got hooked on the letters page. Fans were split over that one :-)

    That was my first comic. Got me started in the Marvel universe and that’s where I stayed for many years…

  • elvis8batman says:

    From very early on, I was always a fan of superheroes, and would watch Spiderman and his Amazing Friends each week, but we didn’t have any DC animated shows on British TV at that time. We did have the re-runs of the Adam West Batman show, and I loved that!! So my interest was there, and when my older brother showed me some of the comics he was buying, thats when I made the jump to getting my superhero fix from the original source.

    And as they say, the rest is history. But I have always loved toys, and action figures of superheroes are just a marriage made in heaven as far as I’m concerned.

    Thats a big reason why I buy action figures, because I’ll always be into these characters.

  • Jeremy SpyMagician says:

    My first comic was an issue of “Arak: Son of Thunder.” Not a great comic but enough to get me hooked. The series that really captured my imagination though were “Crisis on Infinite Earths” and “Secret Wars.”

    But even then, it was the toy connection that drove my love of comics. “Secret Wars” had toys, and SuperPowers were the de-facto DC toyline in the 80’s.

    I also read “G.I. JOE” and “The Transfomers” because I loved the toys. Joe was a good book, TF? Mostly awful, lol.

    So for me it’s been toys and comics hand in hand. I remember reading “Man of Steel” or old issues of “X-Men” and wishing for more superhero toys.

    Today though, it’s more toys than comics for me. Barring some real gems (Johns on GL, “The Immortal Iron Fist” thus far) the way modern comics pillage the rich history and characters for cheap, short term sales makes me think of quitting comics more and more.

    DC is most guilty of this. Under Dan Didio, it seems all they do is these awful marketing driven crossovers, made to sell more comics despite bad writing, inconsistent continuity, and cheap shock value deaths.

    There’s something really great about cracking into a good comic book, but more and more now I find I’d rather re-read a good trade I really like than most of what’s currently on the market.

  • Scott Rogers Scott Rogers says:

    My first comic was Batman 241 – a great Neal Adams cover but a throughly mediocre comic story. What cemented my love of comics was Batman 176 – an 80 page giant full of reprints of super-villain stories that happened to feature a reprint of Batman 73 “The Joker’s Utility Belt” – a story that I had on a comic book/record I had gotten a year or so earlier.

  • John Cage says:

    I had a couple of Archie Comics and some of the Disney stuff before, but Batman Adventures #3 is the oldest comic I still have and the start of many years of fevered collecting. I kept up with the series until the final issue, and continued to keep up with the follow-ups over the years (I’ve since made it a goal to collect every DCAU comic published and am about 30 issues shy of that by this point).

    As an aside, I didn’t realize BA #3 was the third part of a Joker story until I found #2 a few months later, and #1 in August 1993.

    Have a good day.
    John Cage

  • Lt. Clutch says:

    Wow, great post, SF. My “first” comic ever was probably World’s Finest Comics #260, but it wasn’t until I started watching the Super Friends cartoon on Saturday mornings that my interest in the genre really began.

    In 1981, I began collecting at a nearby U-Totem mini-mart. Super team books were always my favorites. My first issue of JLA was #195, part one of the annual JLA/JSA cross-over with the now classic centerfold drawn by George Perez. At Marvel, Avengers #212 began my love of that series. Being an action figure collector, I later branched out into toy-related teams such as G.I. Joe and the Transformers.

    Nowadays, I read Geoff Johns’ current JSA book and a few other ones, but I do agree that times have changed a bit for us older comics readers.

    Count me in among those who’ve always viewed comics and toys as a whole package: I even apply this thinking to other media, such as Star Trek, Star Wars, or Doctor Who. If there are toys involved, chances are I’ll read the accompanying comic as well. It’s like vanilla and chocolate, they both just go great together.

  • Hourman says:

    Justice League of America #171 – or at least I think that’s the issue number. Its the second part of the JLA/JSA crossover where Mister Terrific is murdered. That’s the first comic I remember being able, at 6 or 7 years old, to make out enough words to understand what was going on.

    Prior to that I had comics but I just looked at the pictures. One I particularly remember being taken with was, I think, Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2, with the Thing and Spider-Man and Kang the Conquerer, who had several Avengers captured and in some kind of suspended animation. And I remember being amazed at how many superheroes were in one story.

    But like a lot of people who were kids in the late ’70s, toys and comics and movies and TV were all just a sort of cross-promotional hurricane – comic books and “Super Friends” and Megos and “Superman: The Movie” and “Wonder Woman” and “The Incredible Hulk” on TV and Power Records book & record sets. I wonder sometimes how anybody who was a kid in, say, 1977 or 1978, *didn’t* end up a comics-and-toy-loving geek – especially when you throw the cultural juggernaut of “Star Wars” (which I refuse to call “A New Hope”) into the mix. It was the perfect storm.

  • Jim Abell says:

    My love of superheroes really comes from watching the Filmation DC stories and the Adam West Batman from a time before I could walk. But the first comic I remember buying myself was when I was about 5 and I picked up a 20 cent Superman story where Luthor had somehow brainwashed the world into forgetting that Superman existed. The drug store I frequented at the time only carried the DC heroes and the funny books so my exposure to the Marvel Universe came through afternoon reruns of the ’67 Spider-Man series sometime later but by that time the DCU had cemented my notion of what a superhero should look like. Comics, cartoons and toys have always gone hand-in-hand with me, not that I read many of the comics anymore but I still love and appreciate the art form.

  • Arsenio3 says:

    A family friend worked at Marvel. She used to give my brothers and I dozens of books at a time (many of them stamped “not for sale” or something). I guess because she got them in bunches it would be everything that came out that month, so I really fell in love with the “universe”concept. Spider-man guesting in Transformers (it was the 80s). I really fell for the X-men but couldnt really tell you why. I never went to her office (still regret that!) but my cousin told me that her office was just littered with comics, some DC too, and for the most part she let him take whatever he could carry. She has since retired and moved to Florida–she wasn’t close to me so I never even found out what she did at Marvel.

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