How I got into comics

This is a post I’ve considered for a while, but it kept slipping in and out of my thoughts. Then hannagivens of Things Matter posted her own story, finally inspiring me to do this.

Sega Game Gear The Adventures of Batman & Robin Front CoverWhile comics are a relatively new passion of mine, I’ve had a passing interest in superheroes for as long as I can remember. My first real love was for Batman, thanks to the Game Gear game my one brother had. However, my mom didn’t like me watching the Batman Animated Series on TV, thinking it too violent. Now look at me, laughing while watching horror movies and writing stories that open with people getting their heads torn off by monsters who proceed to drink the blood as it pours out the neck. Also, there’s a funny story about my first R rated movie I might share one day.

Batman_forever_ver7Anyway, my first superhero movie was Batman Forever, brought over by a babysitter one night. Being a kid no older than 9 with little taste, of course I enjoyed it. It would be years until I saw my next superhero movie, after my youngest brother received Spider-Man for his birthday. Again I loved it, but I enjoy the Sam Raimi movies less with each viewing.

20120705-104036About a year later, I had my first experience with what is now my favourite comic franchise, the X-men. I was helping out with an all-weekend kid’s event. At night, the kids tended to get rowdy and would keep us awake. We probably deserved it considering we did the same to our leaders when we were kids. But then we had the brilliant idea of playing a movie, which helped calm them down. It happened to be X2: X-Men United. Even though the movie started at 11:30 and we had to be up by 7, I stayed awake for the whole thing, captivated by the characters, the world they lived in and the metaphors for tolerance.

superman-1978-poster1That week, I bought the first two movies in a 2-pack, and made an effort to watch as many other superhero movies as possible. Even as a teenager though, I found Fantastic Four boring and the Daredevil Director’s Cut mediocre. Meanwhile I enjoyed the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, including the fourth – Nuclear Man is awesomely stupid. I even enjoyed the Supergirl movie – a guilty pleasure of mine. The original Batman movie with Michael Keaton is also good, as were a few others.

Last_stand_posterX-Men: The Last Stand released during my first year in college for computer programming, and I skipped class one day to watch a cafeteria showing. That wasn’t wise, because not only was I already falling behind (I later dropped out due to losing interest), but the movie was terrible. Even not knowing much about the comics, I found the excessive deaths, rushed story and glossed over characters offensive. Wolverine Origins was even worse since it failed on nearly every aspect of action movie making, but still.

Ultimate_allianceThen I started my excessive video game years, where I’d play through an average of at least one video game for the first time every week. Among those where a few Superhero games including Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. By the time I started Journalism in College, I had worn myself out on video games.

Marvel-vs-Capcom-3That’s when Marvel vs. Capcom 3 released. Despite being somewhat tired of games, I picked it up. The game introduced me to a character named X-23, a female clone of Wolverine. I can’t really explain it, but I’ve always been interested in child soldier characters. It’s always interested me to see a character fight through their violent upbringing or conditioning to become a hero, or fighting against the same kind of people they used to be. It’s to the point where I’ve created several myself. You could say X-23 is among the ultimate examples of that kind of character, being literally bread to be an emotionless killer.

1820223-x_men_evolution_002_fan_artI just had to look up more about her character, so I watched her X-Men Evolutions episodes at Marvel.com. With her only appearing in two episodes, my thirst wasn’t exactly quenched. A few weeks later in February, 2011, I cracked and downloaded her origin stories: X-23 Innocence Lost and X-23 Target X, reading both mini series’ in one night. They’re both very well written and possibly among the best origin stories in the X-Men franchise. They showed me that comics can tell a deeply emotional story, and can touch on subject matters that 21st Century Fox seems terrified of.

FEB062081From there, I read her ongoing series (at the time, 6 issues had been released), looked at X-Force volume 3 and downloaded All Star Superman. I then bought X-23’s origin paperbacks along with All Star Superman. X-Force and the Messiah trilogy soon followed, then Cable volume 2 (where he raises Hope in the future), and then my first single issue purchase, X-23 8. At that point, I was hooked.

imageThese days, I still read more X-Men than anything else, and more than half of my paperbacks are X-Men related. While I’m no longer sure who my favorite Marvel character is, X-23 remains my favourite X-Men character. Also among my favourites are Cable, Kitty Pryde, Magneto and the more I read of Cyclops, the more I like him. Batman is my favourite DC character, followed closely by Batgirl (Barbara) and Supergirl. I haven’t read much of DC outside of the New 52 and while a lot of the older stuff seems better, I don’t see the point since they’re basically ignoring the former universe now.

BG-Cv26-ds-d7917Generally speaking, I prefer legacy characters over the originals since writers seem to have more freedom with them, and character development is usually more likely to stick. They’re also rarely over exposed, unlike Spider-Man, Batman and of course, the recently deceased Wolverine who is still appearing in comic titles.

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About healed1337

I am a relatively new comic book fan writing this blog for other new comic book fans and/or people who are interested in comics but don't know where to start. I've always been interested in writing, to the point where I have a college Creative Writing Certificate and I'm currently a year 2 Journalism student. I also have another blog where I mostly make fun of bad movies - www.healed1337.blogspot.com As for how I got into comics, I've always had a passing interest in superheroes: most notably Batman, Spider-man and the X-Men. Until February of 2011 (I think,) my only experience with any of these franchises came from the movies and video games. Shortly after I bought Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 however, I decided to check out X-23, Wolverine's female clone. I ended up reading her Innocence Lost origin story and enjoyed it. From there, I started reading various X-Men comics and it quickly exploded into my newest hobby. My other interests/hobbies include video games, movies, music, playing sports, my dogs and weird news.
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6 Responses to How I got into comics

  1. hannahgivens says:

    Yay for X-Men! (And somehow I was entirely unaware that there’d ever been a Supergirl movie. Was it THAT awful??)

    Regarding the New 52, I’ve heard that Marvel and DC take different approaches to the whole reboot thing… DC changes “canon” all the time. I’d say the “point” of reading the old stuff is that it’s good! My whole comics experience has been valuable in teaching me how to enjoy one version and not mind that other versions exist or that other people like the other versions better. So, lots of versions is now a plus for me in DC, since it means there’s something for everyone (and something for me in all my different moods). Maybe if Marvel has more of a standard continuity that’s one reason (in addition to overall tone, etc.) that people tend to favor one company over the other?

    Like

    • healed1337 says:

      The Supergirl movie feels like five or so plots were meshed together and none of them were given justice. It also brings out bad performances from otherwise great actors, and there’s one scene where a monster attacks Supergirl, and they forgot to add the monster in through visual effects. Helen Slater (who played Supergirl) could have been good in the role, but she has nothing to work with. So unless you enjoy watching bad movies, I wouldn’t recommend it.

      I prefer Marvel’s approach because it means that everything is cannon, yet they don’t reference everything so that you can usually ignore the worst of their stories. DC seems to reboot their universe every 20 years or so. DC’s New 52 reboot could have worked if it was a full reboot, but it wasn’t. Some titles like Green Lantern didn’t have any changes at all, and continued exactly where the old universe left off. Batman sort of did, but changed who had been Robin and who hadn’t, along with ignoring every Batgirl besides Barbara. Superman is almost a complete reboot.

      It also means that they didn’t reprint some of the last stories in the previous universe in Trade Paperback, which includes Kelly Sue DeConnick’s all too short Supergirl run.

      Like

      • hannahgivens says:

        Oh gosh! I do actually enjoy watching bad movies, so I’ll have to see this.

        The New 52 reboot was really strange that way. It kind of felt like when there’s a movie of a comic book, and you spend the whole movie waiting to see what’s been changed and what hasn’t. I really enjoyed most of the Volume 1s, but by the time Volume 2 rolled around a lot of the plots and just plunged in quality. The nice thing is, eventually they’ll reboot it again anyway. 😉

        Like

  2. xmenxpert says:

    I grew up with comics. I really did. My brother is 4 years older than I am, and he read comics, so I read comics. I have no idea what my first comic might’ve been. But I always read them. I even collected the Marvel Universe trading cards in the early ’90s. Then the ’90s had so many great superhero cartoons – X-Men and Spider-Man, of course, which were my favourites, but Batman and Superman also had great cartoons at the same time. I read the Death of Superman, and then Reign of the Supermen. It was not long after Superman’s full return that I ended up dropping DC entirely. I mostly kept with X-Men and Spider-Man, and then Deadpool’s ongoing started up and I read that for a while.

    I also picked up quite a few of the Amalgam books put out by Marvel and DC. I have no regrets.

    I kinda fell away from the comics for a couple years, probably around 2000 or 2001. I got back into them with Civil War. I picked up that, then subscribed to a few comics, I think Amazing Spider-Man and a few X-Men comics. I got more and more back into things, until I became more dedicated than I ever was.

    I also remember buying the X-Men Legends Games, and the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance games. For the movies, I loved the Burton Batman movies, which raises some interesting questions about why I was watching Tim Burton’s Batman movies before I was even 10 years old. Oh well. I also enjoyed the original Christopher Reeve Superman, though I honestly can’t remember if I watched the second, and I know I never watched the others. I liked the Raimi Spider-Man movies well enough, though even then, I had some problems. I liked the first couple X-Men movies well enough, though since I never cared much for Wolverine, his prominence was disappointing.

    I tend to prefer the younger characters. I think part of it is that I love diversity in comics, and the simple truth is that there’s little diversity among the classic characters. Yeah, you’ve got a few scattered here and there, but until fairly recently, comics were dominated by straight white men. And when I was younger, I think I liked plenty of them, but as I’ve aged, they’ve bored me more and more. A lot of the most popular characters – Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine, the Fantastic Four, and tons more – have just never really appealed to me. I found myself kinda rooting for the underdogs. The X-Men in general were always my guys. I loved Generation X. When I got back into comics, I subscribed to X-Factor, and man, I loved that cast.

    I don’t read DC. If I did, the characters I’d be most interested in would be Batgirl (librarian!), Batwoman and Wonder Woman. I hate Batman. Hate him so much.

    Like

    • healed1337 says:

      You should probably make this an official post on your blog sometime. Even if you grew up with comics, it’s a story worth telling.

      The X-Men Legends games are pretty good. I have the PSP version of the second because you can also play as Cable in it. The loading times are atrocious though.

      The Burton Batman movies are great because they’re not really about Batman. He’s more like the Punisher; they’re better than the actual Punisher movies on that front. Although Punisher: Warzone is kind of fun – and awesomely over the top violent.

      Like

  3. Pingback: The Character Spotlight – Special Edition: Laura Kinney (X-23) | The Speech Bubble

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