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It's been a long, strange trip since the newspaper comics!

aZuL PiNoY was born in Portsmouth, Virginia to parents immigrating to the United States from the Philippines by way of the U.S. Navy. How'd aZuL PiNoY get into comics? Babs made him do it! Haha :)

In all seriousness though, aZuL PiNoY's mom and dad read comics in the Philippines growing up. They saved some of them and put them in a box in the attic when they moved to their home in Virginia. Growing up, aZuL PiNoY LOVED cartoons. He used to watch Super Friends, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, the X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men pilot (whenever it came on),

Masters Of the Universe Minicomic # 7

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, G.I. Joe... basically any super hero show that would come on network television in the 1980's Saturday morning cartoons!

aZuL PiNoY's parents caved in and started buying him toys when he would throw tantrums in the toy aisle at stores. He thanks Mattel for putting minicomics in all of the He-Man action figures. The Masters of the Universe minicomic was his first exposure to comics, and he really didn't know what to do with them as a young kid. All he knew was that he loved the cartoon, and the way he relived the show (before his family had VHS) was to re-enact the comic panels with his army of toys. His parents eventually had to start putting excess toys in the attic.

The Amazing Spider-Man # 312

When aZuL PiNoY's parents were getting his toys out of the attic one day, he noticed that there were big comics like the ones that came with his He-Man action figures. Those were the very same comics his parents had put away that were in a different language (Tagalog). His parents wish for him to stop watching television so much and begging for toys. They were very supportive of his education and wanted him to start reading more, so at age 7, his parents bought him his first comic book at a Navy Exchange. Amazing Spider-Man vol. 1 # 312. Green Goblin vs. Hobgoblin in "The Goblin War!" He will never forget that issue. He even developed a fear of seeing something other than himself when looking in a mirror from one of the panels in the comic. Todd McFarlane is sick. 'Nuff said. After collecting a couple of different comics, aZuL PiNoY learned how to trade comic books with his friend for different ones.

aZuL PiNoY's first mutant comic was Excalibur vol. 1 # 31. He remembers seeing "X-Men" on the front, and he remembered how much he liked that pilot episode and wondered why he didn't see any more new ones from Saturday morning cartoons. Dave Ross introduced him to Nightcrawler, and the elf's been his favorite hero since. He learned about the X-Men when he picked up his first issue of The Uncanny X-Men. Issue # 272 was part 7 of his first X-Over, the X-Tinction Agenda, and of course he fell in love with Chris Claremont's writing. Jim Lee's art also gave him a lifelong crush on Psylocke (go Jim!).

aZuL PiNoY started getting the other issues of that crossover, which really broadened his exposure to writing styles and art work. His dad was deployed to Operation: Desert Storm, and people would send his dad's unit comic books through care packages. aZuL PiNoY's dad sent those comic books to him attached to the letters to keep in touch. That's when aZuL PiNoY learned more about the DC Universe. He was die-hard X-fan since he was a kid, and he followed their publisher's battle cry of "Make Mine Marvel!" His parents grew tired of buying comic books for him at the store, so they let him get two subscriptions. Thor starting with issue 430, and Avengers starting with 344. It wasn't until Image formed that he truly started branching out from the world of Marvel.

Around his 8th grade of school, aZuL PiNoY's parents separated and his mother left him and his little sister in the care of their father. He read the Age of Apocalypse x-over, but stopped reading comic books regularly for a long time. He graduated from Western Branch High School, then went on to further his education at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA in 1999. aZuL PiNoY wanted to pay for his own way through college, so he decided to join the U.S. Army in April 2003. In December 2003, he was pulled out of school by the U.S. Army Reserves and deployed overseas to Operation Iraqi Freedom. He attained the rank of sergeant in Iraq, then switched components to the Virginia National Guard Halloween 2005. He did a stint as an Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet when he returned to ODU. After returning from the war, he battled with substance abuse, eventually dropping out of college in 2007. Since then, he has done a lot of soul searching, found recovery in March 2008, and regained his rank of sergeant. He went back to school, started working in the mental health field, and has advanced his military career. He has experienced being a lower enlisted soldier, an ROTC cadet, and a non-commissioned officer, as well as being a soldier in the U.S. Army Reserves, a citizen soldier in the Army National Guard, and a full-timer as Active Duty Operational Support.

aZuL PiNoY still has his comics from when he was 7 years old. aZuL PiNoY has always had an affinity for comic books and has never strayed too far away. Over 20 years later, he still reads and collects comics! He started reading the Civil War story arc, and then ran into a priceless tool for any comic book aficionado. In June 2008, aZuL PiNoY found an aspiring website called Comic Vine dedicated to comic books, and in May 2010, he recommitted to helping it grow. He picked up X-Force Vol. 2 # 26 after hearing something tragic happened to one of his childhood heroes and has decided to jump back into the X-Universe. He dreams of opening his own shop one day, and hopefully to even start writing his own comic books! Who knows?

In 2011, aZuL PiNoY was called upon to deploy in support of Operation New Dawn. He be deployed until December and returned two days before his daughter was born. He plans on raising his daughter and any other kids to love comic books too! In true fashion, his wife, daughter and he went to Heroes Aren't Hard To Find's 30th annual of HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC -- their first convention as a family!

Well, that's his ever-growing story and he's sticking to it. No retconning here!

aZuL PiNoY's favorite way of closing is as follows:

ilessthanthreecomics,

~ Aerock