On #fourcomics and That Feeling
Yesterday, writer Jim Zub started a hashtag on Twitter that quickly took off into this glorious internet waterfall of remarkable comics. There’s lots of great stuff there with both creators and fans chiming in that definitely makes it worth scrolling through the tag.
I did, of course, share my own four.
It started with my older brothers’ comics. A few Aquaman, but mostly stuff like G.I. Joe and Punisher and I remember one cover that had Nick Fury on it, but I can’t recall if it was a S.H.I.E.L.D. comic or Howling Commandos or what. Those ones never appealed to 7-year-old me, but Aquaman … oh my God, Aquaman … with his pretty blonde hair on that cover, so colorful and happy looking—that definitely drew me in. I would sit and read those comics in the attic when my brothers weren’t home so they didn’t know I was touching them. And while Aquaman himself was amazing, I eventually met Mera and couldn’t believe how beautiful she was and how fierce. That is my earliest memory of comics, and when I think about it I still get that same feeling I had when I read them so long ago. That warm, incredible feeling that something like this could exist—characters like that could exist. I wish my brothers still had those issues, but none of us have been able to find them for years, and I’m lost as to what happened to them.
I still have my hands on that Ren & Stimpy, which was the first comic I ever consciously chose for myself, picked up off the rack at the comics shop during a trip with my brothers. Calvin & Hobbes came after, a collection that my sister had and encouraged me to read again and again. Most of the jokes and brilliance of that book were quite far over my head at the time, but it was still enjoyable and further fueled the addiction. I just recently asked my sister if I could have that well-loved copy of Calvin, but was met with a resounding no. (In fact, I think the exact words were “HECK NO, I love that book.”)
As my siblings got older, spent more time being social, and eventually outgrew comics, my access to the good stuff took a big hit. It wasn’t until my preteen years when I was on a trip with my parents and happened to walk into a bookstore that—shock!—sold comics, that my love for them was reignited. They had collections of re-printed arcs, and I remember seeing an X-Men cover with Savage Land Rogue on it. That was the moment it was all over. The deed was done, the cement block of love walloped me on the head, and I was finished. I saw that issue and thought I MUST HAVE THIS.
And I did have it.
And it was like a drug.
I was already a huge Rogue fan, having grown up watching the X-Men animated series, so realizing that the story was still going and that I could, in fact, get more of it was life-changing. I continue to collect X-Men to this day. And while there’s more to my particular history of comics—working in a comic shop, branching out to genres outside of superhero, even sacrificing comics for a time—the one constant has been that feeling I always get when I pick up a book that speaks to me. It’s a feeling that no other medium can replicate. Like going home.
The #fourcomics trend from yesterday gave me that feeling a hundred times over.
I’m scouring eBay for that issue of Aquaman.