When Comics Used to Excite Me (just a fond remembrance)

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So, I'm logging onto Comic Vine, and of course, being the weekend, there's nothing new on the articles page. No comments in my inbox either. I've been through the forums three or four times today, and I haven't seen much new there. So I feel a little bored. I haven't bought any new comics recently, because there's no money in the budget for them at the moment, and it's about ten o'clock, so I feel just cynical enough to ask myself, "When's the last time a comic excited me, anyway?"

Honestly, it's been awhile. Oh, there's a few that I follow, when I have the money - Savage Dragon, Dynamo 5, Invincible, Walking Dead... probably a few others - and while I enjoy them immensely, they don't excite me. It's going to sound weird, considering its sort of lackluster ending, but the last comic that excited me was Infinite Crisis. You read that right - Infinite Crisis.

You have to understand: I grew up in the Seventies and Eighties (that's right, kids, that old, and you'll be there before you know it, so pipe down). I got to read the original Crisis on Infinite Earths and DC Who's Who straight off of the grocery store spinner rack, and it was an exciting time. I didn't get to read all of the tie-in issues though, because I just couldn't con my mom out of that much money as she was paying for the groceries. That's why IC excited me. In my mid-thirties, I had a good job and plenty of extra money in my pocket, so I could afford to follow this event and all of its tie-ins. I had such a good time. I added Infinite Crisis to my pull list - both covers (something I never do) - and all of the related issues. I read all of the "One Year Later" issues, and read through both the 52 and Countdown to Final Crisis series. When I found that I had paid for a glorified advertisement in Countdown... um, DC Universe #0, that was where the excitement ended. I will eventually pick up the Final Crisis and Blackest Night stories in trade paperback, but for now, I just try to scrape together five bucks for the Previews every month, and follow CV, so I know what's going on, without buying the books. Lately, I've been reading about some cool stuff. Shadowland sounds awesome, and there's a few trades I'd like to pick up eventually.

You know what else excited me back then? The appearance of a mini-series. They were a new thing around that time, and they'd have this little banner across the corner of the cover, or across the top, declaring "#1 in a 4 issue limited series." There was no Previews then, and no Internet, and no Wizard, so a new series just sort of showed up one day, and you either bought it or didn't. I remember reading all kinds of mini-series, like Cloak & Dagger, Starriors, Crystar, the original TransFormers mini, the original Namor (or Sub-Mariner - I forget) and Aquaman minis, Conqueror of the Barren Earth, Night Force, Jemm: Son of Saturn, and a personal favorite, Spanner's Galaxy. At least half of those were real stinkers, but it was just fun to pick up this comic and know the story was going to be done in four to six issues. I even read the original Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld (12 issues, and both specials, the series, second mini-series, and the tie-in issue in DC Comics Presents). Why? Because it was something new! Different! "Limited!" Dang they were fun!

Probably the last thing that excited me in comics back then was the free "preview pullout." Probably the most famous of those is DC Comics Presents #26, which previewed The New Teen Titans, and yeah, I bought it off the rack (with mom's money or my allowance). I also remember previews for Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew, Masters of the Universe, and probably my second favorite (after New Teen Titans) Dial "H" For Hero (here's an example of the preview, in LSH #272).

Dial "H" For Hero was doubly exciting, because not only was I guaranteed to see new heroes and villains every issue, but they were created by fans! The ultimate excitement being that you could win an "I Dialed 'H' For Hero" T-shirt, if DC used your character! Wow! ...Never did win one of those T-shirts, but then, I was creating characters like Superlad (exactly like Superboy, with the spitcurl maybe going the other way), Flasher (Kid Flash with the color scheme reversed) and Wonder Boy (you guessed it: a guy in a blue version of the 80's Wonder Girl costume [yeah, I didn't quite get the difference between boys and girls yet]).

Comics excited me then! Every new issue was another exciting chapter in a favorite character's story. Every new #1 was the introduction to a new character. Every blurb promising "the sensational new character find" was to be believed! Comics were bonafide magic. They could take me to the ocean floor, to outer space, the distant past, the far flung future, around the track, down the road, to the big city, or maybe just to Aunt May's house... <sigh> They were just fun.

There's really no point here - just tellin' ya how much fun I used to have with comics, and enjoying some of the memories of laying on the bed with the window open and the Superman record playing, while I read the latest issue of whatever caught my fancy at the time. How far back do your memories go? What excited you as a kid? Let me know in the comments section, and thanks for reading.


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8 Comments Refresh
Posted by Winfield

cbishop I know exactly what you mean. My prime collecting days were mid 80s - maybe early 2004. My staple was Batman and Tec when Denny was still calling the shots. Over the years Id pick up a series here and there though theres nothing from my old pull list that I would say was outstandingly good. A ghost rider run here, an Xmen run there, I fondly remember a few runs with ninja turtles, sin city, turok, and even meridian. The pull list which started at about a dozen titles a month slowly shrunk over time. Eventually I dropped my monthly standing order altogether and would pick up the odd trade.
The last time something came up that made me excited about new comics day would be Hellshock v2 but that very quickly fizzled out as the issues just stopped coming out. I was genuinely excited to pick up the definitive edition that came out a few years back, but really I dont think there has been anything in a long time that has made me think "I have to have that comic" or "I cant wait til the trade comes out" 
In all honesty there have been so many times that Ive walked into a comic store fully intending to spend money but walking away empty handed because nothing was interesting enough to spend money on. Apart from Sandman I dont think theres a lot on my bookshelf that I'd even want to revisit. But still I keep up to date on the recent news and drop into a store from time to time hoping something will pop up that I'd like to have. 

Posted by brc2000

Really, I think it's the internet that's made not just comics, but everything unexciting for me.

Edited by Amegashita

  Well, I can't really say that comics don't get me excited.  I mean outside of the ones I usually read, yeah I see your point.  Comics like Batgirl, Birds of Prey, and of course Gotham City Sirens are a total yawn-fest for me, with their sheer and utter dullness.  There are more comics that I refuse to read and you could say I have valid reasons.  But there are a few comics that get me excited.
  Specifically, anything with Tim Drake in it...  I know, I might be a fan boy, don't judge me =P.  He's a great character.  Outside of him I did really, really, like Identity Crisis.  It was just a great way to blow open the thought of how Superheroes are dull.  Blackest night was great too, especially some of the tie in one shots.  The Green Arrow one was quite the eye opener.   Of course, I can't really say the same about his ongoing.  I do like some of the JSA series, but outside of Red Robin, Countdown to Mystery was a very fun, and excellent read that got my imagination running for a few weeks after I read it.

Posted by cbishop
@Amegashita: I think that Tim Drake is a great character!  Doesn't make you a fanboy to have a favorite.

Well, I think maybe I was a bit inaccurate in my blog last night - it's not that nothing excites me now, it's just that more excited me when I was a kid.  Now I look at so much stuff through an adult lens, and it has to be better than when I was a kid, to hold my attention.  I think that Savage Dragon still excites me, because anything can happen in that book.  The police are talking at the station, and suddenly a bunch of villains bust in through the wall, and wreak havoc.  Dragon's battling Overlord, and the Fiend interrupts the fight and flies off with Dragon impaled on its arm.  Dragon regains his alien memories.  Golden Age heroes from the public domain are introduced into the story.  That stuff's exciting to me.  I'm maybe a little unsure of where it's going now, but I have a pretty good idea that I'll be surprised by it.  Larsen's writing almost always excites me.  A well written work really gets me pumped.
Dynamo 5 is cool, because I like that it focuses more on the action than the angst.  Although I'm always happy to see the next issue, it's hard to get excited about it, because a single issue of D5 reads so blinkin' fast, you wonder why you spent the money.  Walking Dead and Invincible I read in trade, and those excite me too, but mainly because I think they're so well written (yeah, the art's nice too, but I know more about writing than art, so I try not to comment on art). 
I go back to the stuff from when I was a kid though, and I get excited all over again, but for whole other reasons than when I was a kid.  I think the absurdity of some of it jazzes me now.  I mean: Green Arrow having an "ink pen arrow" that hooks a car bumper and leaves a trail for GA and Speedy to follow.  That's crazy.  The original Teen Titans were always responding to mail from teenagers, and settling small town disputes between teens and adults, ending everything with a moral lesson and mutual understanding.  Whatever. lol 
I've really enjoyed some of the classic material that's been collected too, simply because that stuff was told with a different narrative style, so it takes longer to get through it, making me feel like the money spent on the trade is well worth it.  I've enjoyed Saga of the Super Sons, Huntress: Dark Knight Daughter, and Sword of the Atom
Winfield, the thing you said about not revisiting stuff on your bookshelf is something that's been nudging the back of my mind lately.  I've got four or five bookcases full of trades, and I lately, I keep wondering why.  So many of them are unread, and the ones I have read, I probably won't go back to either.  So I've been reading the unread ones, starting just this past week.  If I like it enough to keep it, it goes back to the shelf.  If it was just okay or I didn't like it, it goes in a comic box.  When that box gets full (and I suspect it will) I'm going to take them to a used bookstore, and trade them or sell them.
Posted by Liberty

I know how you feel.  Good Blog.

Posted by Donovan Montgomery

Two words came to mind while reading this...."Booster Gold",  I just put elsewhere the last things that got me worked up about comics (missed Booster in that post), they go way back to the start of 2099 and Hero Illistrated.   
As for being excited about comics, Shadowland and this new take on DD it brings has me both excited and sceptical at the same time. 
BTW, I remember pretty much all of the titles you mentioned, and have pretty much all the Crisis tie-ins as well......don't ask me how, lol.   
You remember the likes of Dakota North (5 issues), and Angel Love? Got those. 

Great blog, keep enjoying :)
Posted by cbishop

@Liberty: Thanks, Liberty!  

@Donovan Montgomery: I remember both of those, but didn't get around to reading either.  Dakota North intrigued me at the time, but I had no interest in Angel Love.  Was it any good?  I read about - I think - the first year of the original Booster Gold, and cut it for something else.  My allowance only went so far at the time. lol

Posted by Donovan Montgomery
I'll see if I can find the Angel Love issues and try a review of them some day.  They wern't bad, girly (I did buy them for my sister), but not bad.