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Comics Mean Favorite Stories and Characters

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. (prompt courtesy of Comics Kick Ass Week)

batman442I’ve spent the last few days sharing some brief, loose thoughts on some of the things that comics mean to me, have been to my life.

But I haven’t talked about my favorite stories, my favorite characters. And truly, anything actually comprehensive on that front could be an entire blog in itself, something far larger than the scope and intent of this week’s posts. So I’ll touch on a few only.

Superman was the first–Superman is the reason I was introduced to comics. I touched a few weeks ago on the significance of the Death and Return of Superman Omnibus, aos500collecting that entire saga under one cover, as the ultimate story from my childhood is presently the ultimate single volume in my collection.

Another Superman story that holds a lot of meaning for me is Man of Steel, the John Byrne series that reintroduced Superman to the world, introduced the version of Superman that I consider “my Superman.”

Over on the Batman side, there’s A Lonely Place of Dying. Tim Drake–the third Robin (or now, Red Robin in the New 52)–had only JUST been introduced as I got into comics. So the character has been around the xmen041entire time I’ve been into comics, had comics of my own…but while I was new to comics, Tim Drake the character was new to being Robin. As he grew up, I grew up; as he gained experience, I’ve gained experience. Sadly, where Tim was once several years OLDER than me…even if they portray him as being 20 or so and not mid-teens…I’ve now got nearly a decade and a half on the character. And for that, Robin–the Tim Drake version–is also one of my favorite characters.

With Batman, significant stories that I think of quickly include A rune000Death in the Family, as well as Knightfall, KnightQuest, and KnightsEnd. No Man’s Land was also quite important as it got me back into the Bat-verse for awhile, sampling the various titles since they tied in, and I tried to follow the entire thing (though trailed off when I went off to college).

On the Marvel side, while I kinda loosely followed some of the X-Stuff (particularly Fatal Attractions, the X-Men 30th Anniversary crossover/event) I didn’t actually start trying to follow ALL of the X-books until Legion Quest and the Age of Apocalypse. I got all the issues in batman497December 1994 that ended with the cliffhangers as those titles seemed to rather abruptly END…and then followed all the Age of Apocalypse titles for the 4-month event…and then for a few months afterward, I tried to keep up with the entirety of the X-books, learning about the characters I didn’t already know, learning about their “real versions” as opposed to their AoA counterparts, etc.

And of course, there are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was introduced to them by other boys in my Cub Scouts group having the interest, but their interest soon became my own. The comics, the cartoons, the movies, etc.–the tmnt050TMNT have actually been part of my life longer than comics, I believe. 

The Avengers and the non-X-related Marvel characters became a much larger part of my life in the late-1990s, having grabbed my attention with Heroes Reborn, but it was the Heroes Return where–for a brief time–I was buying everything Marvel that I could, while offhand sticking solely with Superman books from DC. I followed Avengers through Busiek‘s entire run, and a couple years each of Fantastic Four and Iron Man, and stuck with Thor a couple years longer than Avengers.

mantra001And significant as Marvel and DC were, I jumped onboard the Ultraverse with its launch in June 1993, and had the intention of following it in its entirety, though that quickly fell by the wayside due to the price ($1.95 to the $1.50 of the Superman books!) and sheer volume of titles. Ultimately, I followed Prime from the beginning to the very end, as well as Mantra, and I jumped on the Rune #0 promotion and so followed the Rune stuff in that entirety as best I could (I’m STILL missing one of the crossover issues with Conan!). Over the past couple years I’ve worked on tracking down the Ultraverse issues and titles I’d missed, and I’m down to a (relatively) small list of xo000missing issues from having a complete story collection of the Ultraverse…or at least, complete enough for me.

There have been book series and authors that I’ve followed–Brad Meltzer, Aliens, Dragonlance, Magic: The Gathering, Left Behind, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and the Olympians–but ultimately…quantity-wise, it’s comics that have had the most impact on me, the greater variety and writers of stories that I carry with me.

Other posts in my participation in Comics Kick Ass week:
Comics Mean Memories | Comics Mean Connection | Comics Mean Education/Entertainment/Escape | Comics Mean Marking the Passing Time

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