Childhood Favourites

We all have them. Songs, comics, films. Things you can wrap around you like a warm and comforting blanket, a time machine that can instantly transport you to a different place and time.

This blog is about mine.

Come with me on a journey, fellow Viners, to 1996. To some of us, it feels like yesterday - although I know that for several people here, I'm talking about before you were born. On the radio, you can expect to hear Alanis Morrissette, Tori Amos, Fun Lovin' Criminals, The Eels, Smashing Pumpkins, The Prodigy, and No Doubt (and, on a horrifying note, "Ooh Aah...Just a Little Bit" by Gina G. The horror). In the cinemas, Jumanji, Toy Story, Seven, 12 Monkeys, Independence Day and From Dusk Till Dawn. It is a leap year and, come summer, the weather is wonderful.

I am eleven years old, and I am SO awkward! It is the year I start "big school", and the first year that I start to become a grown up, both physically and mentally. We've all been there! We're talking greasy hair, glasses, bodily changes - a real catch, basically! But there's something else, and this is the part which makes this blog relevant: other than The Beano, Dandy and Buster, I have never read a comic book before.

It's my dad who introduced me to comics. One day, I came home from school to find a comic in a little see-through plastic wrap. My dad tells me he saw it at one of the little comics stalls in town (at the time of writing this, there are NO comics shops in my hometown anymore), and it looked like it might be worth a look.

The moment I see it, I am transfixed. It is like nothing I have ever seen before.

In 1996, very few people looked like Scream Queen.

On the surface, I can see how this might seem like just another comic. Some throwaway, unsuccessful title (comparatively speaking) about a teenage rock band who can barely even play their instruments. But at eleven years old, reading about the teenage misfits while on the cusp of becoming a teen myself, it was everything. Everything.

So what's the big deal? How can something so small be so significant?

Let me explain. Even as an adult, Scream Queen is my hero. She was back then, too. You see, I was a very awkward and strange girl growing up. I only had a few friends, all of whom had varying degrees of difficulty in fitting in, just like me. And yet here was his cool girl, who went out of her way not to fit in, who didn't care what anybody thought of what she did, or what she wore. Scream Queen is always herself, has nothing to prove, and offers no explanation. Take me or leave me, she seemed to say on every page, I couldn't care less.

But admire her - hell, worship her - as I did, I couldn't relate to Nina. At eleven years old, that kind of self-confidence seemed like some unattainable dream.

The character I could relate to was Jimmy.

Slither

Jimmy - or Slither - spoke to young BumpyBoo in a way that few characters ever have. You see, Jimmy is a lizard boy, but he used to be a normal human being, until his dad's experiments inadvertently turned him into a monster. In every issue of Scare Tactics, he struggles to deal with the changes his body is going through. These changes are so unpredictable and frightening to him that he feels like a stranger even to himself. He feels painfully self-conscious everywhere he goes, not only because he looks different but because he never knows when his mood will change, turning a normally laid-back young man into someone violent and unpredictable. And reading this, I felt normal. Amid all the raging hormones, social anxieties and general hideousness I was going through at the time, Jimmy really hit a nerve.

A small minority of you will already know how much I love this title. After all, I have reviewed it, spent hours on Wiki edits (with so much left to do!), and bring it up on the forums whenever I can. But a blog is different. In a review, you still have to be objective. A review that simply says "This comic is awesome! Ooh I could just EAT it!" may be honest, but it doesn't help anyone. In a blog, you can give the real reason you love a book so much, and this is mine. I love Scare Tactics so much because for a short time every month, it was okay to be the weird kid. It was okay to be different.

So, do you have a childhood favourite you still read today?

45 Comments
45 Comments
Posted by Night Thrasher
@BumpyBoo: It seems that you fit well into the "target demographic" of this book. I'm pretty sure Jimmy was written with someone just like you in mind and the creators might be proud to know that they did their job properly. For me the comic was Troublemakers.  Can't say one particular character stood out to me, it was more of the dynamic between them.
 
  
Posted by BumpyBoo

@Night Thrasher said:

@BumpyBoo: It seems that you fit well into the "target demographic" of this book. I'm pretty sure Jimmy was written with someone just like you in mind and the creators might be proud to know that they did their job properly. For me the comic was Troublemakers. Can't say one particular character stood out to me, it was more of the dynamic between them.

Exactly, the marketing guy would have loved me haha! :) I've not heard of Troublemakers (does some googling), but it does look very cool, I'll be sure to check it out. Thanks for reading :)

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Posted by Night Thrasher
@BumpyBoo: Can't say it's worth the read. It's pretty standard. But, at the time, I felt that I was the only one reading that particular comic and enjoyed it. Might have to dig up some old issues and reread them.
Posted by BumpyBoo

Very honest of you to say so :) It's worth rereading these things, if only for the nostalgia

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Posted by TheBigRedCheese
Posted by BumpyBoo

@TheBigRedCheese said:

Epic :D

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Posted by lykopis

Wonderful blog and awh, I can commiserate with you on many levels (as can much of us here). Hmmm....1996 found me more like graduating kindergarten lol but reading what was going on at the time, clearly I was born a decade too late. Or two, lol.

If only I was aware of Scare Tactics.. **sigh**.. I strongly suspect it would have led me on a path of Nemi-ness instead of pretty much just another quiet kid who liked to stare at things/people. :)

k - onto my comic-that-made-a-difference-to-me. Like you, I just turned ten -- was bored and went adventuring in my uncle's basement one late summer afternoon. Cue sounds of angels and accompanying crescendoing harps and lo and behold, a treasure-rove of X-Men comics dating back to 80's. At first it was a great opportunity to organise (they were just -- ugh, all over the place and in no real order) but curiosity got the best of me when I came across this pretty freaking-looking chick with a white stripe in her hair on the cover with an awesome scowl on her face behind a short snarling triple-clawed Canadian:

Two people so misunderstood and lost and wanting to do better and losing more than they won? Words fail to describe the impact it had on me at that time of my life.

They have been my favourites ever since.

:)

Posted by BumpyBoo

What a response! I loved the sound of angels in particular! :D It's great to hear how you discovered it, and why it means so much. Thanks for sharing.

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Posted by GundamHeavyarms

Lets see, in 1996 I was 8, I dont really remember much, but the first comic that stuck out to me, the one thats around to this day is:

I was a gamer (and still am) before I got into comics, and I thought that Sonic the Hedgehog having his own comic was the coolest thing ever. Its pretty good, and its a fun read. What I like the most about it, and all archie comics in general is that it knows what it is, and it doesnt try to be something its not. Archie and the gang are slice of life, sonic sonic universe and mega man are action adventure and new crusaders is their superhero title. I never thought I would be praising archie books this much, but here I am.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh
@Night Thrasher: Trobulemakers looks like the UK Superhero show MISFITS. I love the show. You should watch it online somehwere.
Online
Posted by MadeinBangladesh

96, I was like 5, I just got into comics recently but back hten, WHen I used to live in my homeland. We didn't have much comics, but I used to read my brother's comic books. I LOVED Tin Tin and still do. I'm think about collecting and buying all the tin tin books from online. 

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Posted by BumpyBoo

No, I know what you mean :) Sometimes it's nice to just read something happy and fun!

I love him too, especially that little dog, Snowy

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Posted by PowerHerc
Hanna-Barbera 1967
The Six Million Dollar Man

The 70's were a pretty cool time to be a kid!

Posted by BumpyBoo

Wow, I'm quite jealous of 70s kids now :D

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Posted by RedQueen

1996...I was three. I feel so young :p Beano and Dandy were early favourites...then a couple of years later I moved on to Marvel then DC then Vertigo/Image e.t.c. Though it was a time I spent watching cartoons religiously, like Dexter's Laboratory and Powerpuff girls. And video games, Spyro/Crash Bandicoot e.t.c. The 90's were great *sigh*.

Sadly, I've outgrown Dandy and Beano. But I still read Marvel and DC so that counts. Dark Phoenix Saga was the first comic book (issue 134?) that I ever read of Marvel's....and that definitely brings back a load of memories.

Posted by BumpyBoo

You ARE young, damn you! :P You know, I'm eight years older, and I was into all that same stuff. Not the most mature person haha :D Yeah, I miss the 90s too. Crash Bandicoot was amazing!

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Posted by PowerHerc

@BumpyBoo said:

Wow, I'm quite jealous of 70s kids now :D

It was a great time to be a kid, imo! ;D

Posted by Rumble Man
Posted by BumpyBoo

Now we're talking! I grew up reading Asterix too :) Good call!

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Posted by Rumble Man

@BumpyBoo: you familiar with lucky luke?

Posted by BumpyBoo

Not yet :D (googles lucky luke) The cowboy?

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Posted by JonesDeini

When I was a shorty I was all about Cable, Bishop,& Gambit! I wanted to be Gambit or Batman when I grew up. And I decided that being a thief with exploding cards and a way with the ladies was the better career choice.

Posted by BumpyBoo

Oh my gosh, I used to get up early every Saturday morning to watch X Men with my dad :) Rogue was my hero!

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Posted by Rumble Man

@BumpyBoo: The best damn marksman in comics

Posted by BumpyBoo

He looks awesome :D

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Posted by Rumble Man

@BumpyBoo: his sidekick is a talking horse, how could it be less than awesome?

Posted by BumpyBoo

It couldn't :) Thank you for introducing me to him, really, can't believe I never heard of him before. And I absolutely love cowboys.

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Posted by AssertingValor

I was mainly an outdoor kid, always in the woods and riding my bikes at that time...

Posted by JonesDeini

@BumpyBoo: We spent the day after my roommates born day party (EPIC NIGHT!!!) sobering up and binging on the animated series on Netflix

Posted by BumpyBoo

Niiiice! :D

Climbing trees was always my thing :) And roller boots.

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Posted by Mr_Winchester

Things I liked to do as a kid... 
Ride the matress down the stairs when parents were out. That was awsome. 
Play on SNES. 
 Come up with comicbook characters.. 

Things I liked to watch (90s kid) 
 
Dont be afraid of the dark. 
Batman TAS. 
Hulk cartoon. 
Ironman cartoon. 
X-men cartoon. 
Spiderman cartoon. 
Hey arnorld. 
Doug. 
Rugrats.

Edited by Rumble Man

@BumpyBoo: Try these three (oldies but goodies)

Posted by BumpyBoo

@Mr_Winchester said:

Things I liked to do as a kid... Ride the matress down the stairs when parents were out. That was awsome. Play on SNES. Come up with comicbook characters.. Things I liked to watch (90s kid) Dont be afraid of the dark. Batman TAS. Hulk cartoon. Ironman cartoon. X-men cartoon. Spiderman cartoon. Hey arnorld. Doug. Rugrats.

Thanks for the reply, I used to love Doug :D And Rocko's Modern Life. I watched Rugrats Go Wild the other day, I still love them now :D

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Posted by BumpyBoo

They look so adorable :) A lot of the older, more innocent comics are lovely.

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Posted by Rumble Man

@BumpyBoo: Lil Lulu, Nancy and Monica's Gang

but I also read oriental comics (old chinese ones)

Old Master Q

and Jademan Comics (martial arts sequences literally off the roof, as in anything in western and japanese media eat your heart out)

Posted by BumpyBoo

I bet your comic collection is fascinating! :D Such interesting recommendations, again, thank you :)

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Posted by Superguy0009e

I use to watch so much tv as a kid, mostly cartoons.

Digimon, Samurai Jack, SpongeBob, Power Rangers and more took up my childhood, I even watched some Toonami as a kid(it was pretty cool). Once video games came into my life, I spent countless hours playing Pokemon Ruby, Super Smash Bros, Kirby and (my personal favorite) Chibi Robo. God I love cartoons.

Posted by knighthood

In X-Men #133 Wolverine went solo to save the X-Men. I remember being completely amazed when I found this issue in my father's stack of comics. As a much lighter 8 year old, I started hiding in the hallway ceiling every time my sister got on my nerves (I also used to walk around on all fours like Beast). Sadly, the X-Men became crazy popular in the 90's and I find today's Marvel comics nearly unbearable to read. Especially with Wolverine being completely overused. But the Dark Phoenix Saga is definitely my childhood favorite.

Posted by Queso6p4

@BumpyBoo: Very nice post. For me, the first comic I ever read was The Untold Legend of the Batman #2. I made my mom get it for me as it was in a cereal box. I was quite young then so she actually caved to my demand. :) Although the cover has a few really bad bends on it I still read it every now and again. Besides that, I still read X-Men (Vol. 2 ) #1 from time to time as well. It was my introduction to the comic book X-Men and I still love it, despite its hilarious flaws. I bought and still have, all of the covers. XD

Posted by BumpyBoo

@Superguy0009e said:

I use to watch so much tv as a kid, mostly cartoons.

Digimon, Samurai Jack, SpongeBob, Power Rangers and more took up my childhood, I even watched some Toonami as a kid(it was pretty cool). Once video games came into my life, I spent countless hours playing Pokemon Ruby, Super Smash Bros, Kirby and (my personal favorite) Chibi Robo. God I love cartoons.

Hell yeah! That's exactly why I made this post about Scare Tactics though - the style of the art and the type of humour made it feel just like watching a cartoon. Also, Samurai Jack is arguably one of the best animation series ever made, I mean that most sincerely :D

@knighthood said:

In X-Men #133 Wolverine went solo to save the X-Men. I remember being completely amazed when I found this issue in my father's stack of comics. As a much lighter 8 year old, I started hiding in the hallway ceiling every time my sister got on my nerves (I also used to walk around on all fours like Beast). Sadly, the X-Men became crazy popular in the 90's and I find today's Marvel comics nearly unbearable to read. Especially with Wolverine being completely overused. But the Dark Phoenix Saga is definitely my childhood favorite.

I know exactly what you mean, I used to be crazy for the X Men but they just aren't the same now. They do overuse Wolverine, and Rogue is just some whiny kid now, compared to the Rogue I grew up with.

@Queso6p4 said:

@BumpyBoo: Very nice post. For me, the first comic I ever read was The Untold Legend of the Batman #2. I made my mom get it for me as it was in a cereal box. I was quite young then so she actually caved to my demand. :) Although the cover has a few really bad bends on it I still read it every now and again. Besides that, I still read X-Men (Vol. 2 ) #1 from time to time as well. It was my introduction to the comic book X-Men and I still love it, despite its hilarious flaws. I bought and still have, all of the covers. XD

Thank you very much :D Isn't it nice though, to be able to go back and read them time and time again, and still feel the magic?

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Posted by Rumble Man

@BumpyBoo:

And a classic from our own local writer RA Kosasih who passed away at 93 , 24th July may he rest in peace

Posted by BumpyBoo

Yeah, I was just reading about him. So you're Indonesian?

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Posted by Rumble Man

@BumpyBoo: yeah

Posted by BumpyBoo

Cool. I'm Welsh :)

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Posted by Rumble Man

@BumpyBoo: good to know :)