My Life as a Comic Book Reader: Chapter 1: Next on Super Friends

Those are my earliest memories when I first became a part of comic book reading but keep in mind I was two years old in 1980. I couldn’t read yet and I could just remember saying “Uperman”. “No Ryan, it’s ‘Superman’. Said my grandpa. “And that’s Green Lantern.” He remarked. “He was around when I was young.” “No grandpa” I replied. “He’s not that old.”

“Oh yes he is, well… not this one but the original is.” I remember jumping back a bit when my grandfather uttered those words. Keep in mind to a two year-old he thinks his grandpa is just old but his new favorite super heroes couldn’t possibly be that old. How little I knew back then.

My grandpa took me to his side and started telling me the story the first Green Lantern, Alan Scott from way back in 1940. At that time, my young mind could only remember hearing that Alan was a “train engineer”; he found a rock, made a lantern out of it and then said an oath. So, I just listen to my grandpa tell me the rest of the story and I later jumped up and pretended to have a magic green ring that could fight anything unless it was made out of yellow.

In the next few years, I remember hearing: “Spider-man and his Amazing Friends,” “Nananananana…. Batman!” and Christopher Reeves flying. So, my comic book reading was still on TV and not in written form from the corner market. However, in 1984 came GI Joe and Transformers and my comic book reading officially began. I remember my mom asking me what comics I wanted and back in the fifty cents days my choices were simple. Transformers, GI Joe, Spider-man and Green Lantern and have course the occasional issue of Justice League of America. Even though I still called them ‘super friends’. I was six, what else could I say?

Each week we would head to the corner market and each week I would look for my favorite titles and every single day after school I would make sure I had time to watch my favorite super hero cartoons but times soon changed. Cartoons went from old 60-70s series to more 80s shows like Thundercats, M.A.S.K. and more, but my comics didn’t. Most of my friends read comics and bought the toys, but then something happened to all of us… 6 grade.

All of a sudden reading comics wasn’t “cool” anymore. Sure we had the 1989 Batman movie and other comic book adapted films of our favorite cartoons and a few comics during the end of the decade, but we weren’t heading back to the corner market anymore. Teen years came in; girls are more of your focus and trying to transition into puberty ends up taking high priority.

The last official comic I remember buying was the last issue of Transformers from a local drug store in town and hence my comic book reading days were over. Almost 9 years of Optimus Prime fighting Megatron, Spider-man swinging by the Daily Bugle and the pre-Parallax days of Hal Jordan faded into the start of the 1990s and so did grade school.

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