Graphic novels. Weekly rags. The @$$holes.


Postby ozza on Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:21 am

Hi guys,
Over the past couple of months I've been trying to slap some comic sense into the high culture mandarins of The Times of London and increase its coverage of the world that I love (yes, I'm a filthy journo). It'll happen, slowly but surely. Now, it may seem like all I'm doing here is shamlessly plugging a few interviews - which I sort of am - but I'm also here for another reason ("It's not to score touchdowns"). I want to start a thread on what comics mean to us, on the memories that bind us to certain books and characters. I started thinking about this when I was writing up my interview with Joe "She's my wife now" Quesada. He told this very moving story about his father: "I still have first three Spider-mans my father gave me that got me reading comic books. They are torn up and worthless to anyone else. I think a lot of us do that with comics.

"My idea for Daredevil Father grew into a story about how the actions of our fathers can have an impact on the kind of men and women we grow up to be. My father was a really gentle and tolerant guy. He allowed me to be an artist during an era when every child of an immigrant was supposed to be a doctor or a lawyer. My dad said, ‘Yeah, go be an artist. It’s pretty cool.’

"I happened to write the story in a hospital by my dad’s bedside. I sat there for a week and wrote the entire story. When I was done the next day he passed away. It was cathartic because he was awake the entire time and just sat there for a week and saw me do what I do for a living."

John Romita Jr has a similar touching story. He said that he was first introduced to comics when he snuck into his father's attic studio at a young age and found him drawing a character unlike any he had seen before. "He was working on Daredevil No.12, with Kazaar and the Plunderer on the cover. I was shocked to this on his desk and so I asked him, 'What is that? What's going on?' I know my eyes must have been like saucers. He said, 'This is a character called Daredevil and he's a superhero and he's blind.' 'What? Not a chance. He can't possibly be blind. How's he going to fight these guys.' And so he had to explain Daredevil's powers and what a superhero was. From that point I was hooked, that was moment when comics began for me."

The funny coda to that story is that when JRJR started on Kick Ass there was a slight role reversal. He had to sit down his father and explain to him why the little girl in the comic he was drawing was hacking off heads and saying c***.

Mark Millar's story is that he snuck off to the toilets half way through a date to read the last issue of Watchmen (quite worrying to think that he came back to the girl with a glow on his face and a rolled up book somewhere on his person).

My own abiding memory of comics is from when I was 14 and thought myself too cool for superheroes. I had about a hundred or so issues of UK Transformer comics and thought that I could make a quick buck or two by selling them to my local comic shop in Dundee, Scotland. (The shop itself was a strange place: it was called the Zoo and Graphic Book Shop and was on one side a pet store and on the other a haven for all things geek.) And so I hauled this heavy, bag-bursting pile of comics across town, dreaming of the huge wods of cash I would get in return. When I got to the shop the owner laughed in my face and told me that my comics were worthless. The reason? The night before I had punched holes in my pristene collection and placed them in three huge ring binders to make carrying them the next day easier. I left the comic shop a broken man. I still shiver whenever I look at a Transformer comic.

Don't worry. I'm not going to plunder anyone's memories and publish them in the Times. Stuff said here stays here.

Meanwhile here's the links to the interviews on Times Online:

Joe Quesada: http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/ ... 941759.ece

Tim Sale: http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/ ... 851662.ece

Kevin O'Neill: http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/ ... 767132.ece

Dave Gibbons: http://timesonline.typepad.com/blockbus ... -dave.html

MM and JRJR on Kick Ass: http://timesonline.typepad.com/blockbus ... r-a-1.html

There will be more interviews posted in the coming weeks, including more from MM and JRJR and Arvid Nelson on Rex Mundi and Kull.
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Postby instant_karma on Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:06 am

The first comic I can clearly remember reading was in issue of Worlds Finest in which some bad guy creates kryptonite snow which almost kills Superman until Batman comes along and saves his ass. It was bought for me by my uncle on trip to Blackpool when I was a kid. I can still remember the cover very vividly. Superman laying in a drift of green snow, drawing his last breath, while Batman stalks along the street towards him, wearing some kind of protective suit.

Every now and then I'll go onto google and type in 'kryptonite snow' to try and find out which issue that story appeared in so I can try buy a copy somewhere.
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Postby Leckomaniac on Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:35 pm

I didn't get into comics until much later. As a kid, I always loved the Spider-Man, Batman, and X-Men animated series', but I never took the initiative to track down the further adventures of these characters in comics. My younger, brother, however, did and he always had stuff laying around. I would read them occasionally, but never got fully invested.

For me, it all changed with Batman Begins. I thoroughly enjoyed the film and thought "I would LOVE to experience more Batman stories". And I remembered where I could find those stories: comics. I took the bus to my local Borders and found their GN section and bought Hush, Long Halloween, and Year One. I was 18. Shortly after that I bought WATCHMEN, V for Vendetta, and Superman: Red Son and I realized the potential the medium possessed to tell a variety of stories.

I think, ultimately, I got into comics so late because at the time I spent most of my nights reading heavy philosophical literature. From Nietzsche to Hobbes and everything else you can imagine. Comics helped me balance out the heavy and introduced something new into my life. I don't continue to read comics because of some slavish devotion I developed as a child, I continue reading because I enjoy the stories that are told and the myths that are crafted.

I also believe my love for comics blossomed simultaneously with my introduction to the Zone. My younger brother stopped reading comics shortly before I started and so I had no one close to me to talk with these things about. Enter the Zone.
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Postby jasonoh on Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:36 am

Hi. To instant_karma or anyone interested to know what issue of DC's World Finest he was referring to, it's
from World’s Finest Comics No. 303 May 1984 described with the cover of Batman in protective suit, Superman and Metropolis citizens (and corpses) engulfed by “green snow”. Title of Story: “Plague” (23 pages).

:) To me, this comic cover made me continue to remember the joy of collecting and reading comics for twenty plus years now. I remembered buying this comic for that momentous cover alone at the local newstand and it remains lodged in my subconscious memory until instant_karma posted his message. From young, I had loved the partnership of Batman and Superman more because they have to remain heroes no matter what life situations they are thrown into.

For me, comics always remain a warm friend. So, instant_karma, my hopes for the best that you can find that particular issue again.
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Postby RaulMonkey on Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:15 pm

Sweet! Good going, jason. I've just PM'd instant_karma to let him know you answered his question (since it's been a few months and he hasn't been around lately.)

Out of curiosity, did you come across i_k's question just browsing the Zone, or did you find it some other way? In any case, welcome!
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Postby Pacino86845 on Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:01 pm

Seriously that is one of the coolest thread bumps EVAR, and in a first post to boot! :shock:
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Postby Tyrone_Shoelaces on Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:04 pm

It's currently dirt cheap on sale at Mile High Comics. That is a pretty cool cover.
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Postby DennisMM on Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:32 pm

What do comics mean to me? Ken King, who used to own The Comiclogue in Des Moines, Iowa, once told me what comics meant to him, and I came to understand what he was saying. This was about 25 years ago.

"Comics are the only place left where the good guys win."
"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." -- Noam Chomsky
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