Thursday, February 09, 2006

Comic books aren't just for kids anymore

(the title of multiple comic-related articles I did for different student newspapers, in more innocent times)

I'm in the process of sorting and eBaying the very last of my once-mighty comic book collection. I quit buying anything new and purged 90 percent of it a few years back -- partly for space reasons, partly in the interest of not lugging those boxes through another move. It's a slow process, not least because it still isn't hard to get me to give them a last read for old times' sake (I read every issue of "Nexus" again, all 80 or so, before putting them up on eBay), and now that I'm into the last bastion -- the Legion of Super-Heroes -- it's just going to get worse.

From the age of 11 or so, the LSH was my favorite comic (for the uninitiated, it's a group of super-powered teenagers in the 30th century), and dragging these out into the light of day for the first time in some years... well. It's a trip. At one point I had all but about 15 appearances of the Legion, dating back to the late 1950s, and on Christmas morning I'd wake up at around 4 (this was before I learned to appreciate -- nay, covet -- sleep) and read them all, in chronological order, waiting for my parents to awaken. Interesting thing I've realized in the past few days: when I was a kid, I had all of the Legionnaires' powers, identities, and first appearances memorized, and I guess I STILL DO. Wildfire - emits energy blasts! Drake Burroughs! "Superboy" #195! Dammit.

Eventually, and fortunately, I discovered girls and real life, and comics became a background hobby (and I no longer felt compelled to pursue my one-time dream of owning every DC Comic ever published, thankfully). Other factors -- repeated revampings of the Legion's history, rising cover prices, and on one unfortunate trip to a comic store, overhearing a group of fans debating the merits of various female characters' breasts -- dulled my interest, and eventually I quit cold turkey.

I still feel a slight tug when I pass the comic rack in Borders -- like seeing an ex-girlfriend that had her fun points -- but to my relief, a quick perusal of the covers indicates that the storylines are healthily incomprehensible to me now. And while selling them off produces some nostalgia, it's not difficult, just as selling off my record collection was easier than expected. Better they go to someone who'll read them, rather than just sitting in my closet, taking up room.

(And I still have my geeky habits: I own game-worn hockey jerseys, for pete's sake.)

So this is it -- barring some head injury a few years down the line that encourages me to start buying and reading again. The long-delayed closing of a chapter in my life that once upon a time, produced a lot of fun for a quiet, lonely kid.

(Timber Wolf - Super-strength, speed, and agility! Brin Londo! "Adventure Comics" #327!)


fredoluv said...

I've been catching up on the (now two years old, I think?) McSweeney's Comic Book issue, the "Black Hole" monograph, and my girlfriend has been reading "Jimmy Corrigan" (after we went to a "Comic Art" exhibit at MOCA!).

Can you talk about these?

gsdgsd13 said...

I quit reading comics. Didn't you read the damn post??

fredoluv said...

I only skimmed for word and thought bubbles.