My Life as a Comic Book Reader: Chapter 3: Hello old Friend

So, I felt low to the point I was suicidal but you hear that voice in your head that tells you, your life is just beginning and you start climbing out of that hole. You seek advice and one question comes to you: “name one thing that made you smile each time you picked it up?”

“Comics” I said without hesitation.

“Then you should read them again.” He replied.

Yikes, was I just told by a professional to read comics? Seriously?! Well, I wasn’t one to argue with that kind of advice and in the spring of 1994 after a month delay (and my mother yelling at the principal). I had just gotten my license, jumped in my car and drove into town but where? The corner market had stopped carrying store shelf comics years ago but fortunately; there was three comic book stories in town (today there are only 2).

On that warm Wednesday afternoon after school, I walked into the comic store right off the main road in town and began looking around. I hadn’t stepped foot in a shop since my pre-teen days but where I was and with all the books laid out on tables. So many choices and while books were $1.95-$1.99 back in those days, the ten dollars I had in my wallet could buy a lot of books.

I looked over and saw Green Lantern ‘yonk’. Then about a few books over I saw Spider-man ‘yonk’ again and then… um… good question. There were so many books from known brands to independent companies that I had no idea what to choose next.

“Can I help you?” a voice called out. I turned to see one of the managers of the shop next to me.

“Yes.” I told him. I went on to explain how I had been out comics for a few years and I was just getting back into them. I then told him why I had chosen Spider-man and Green Lantern and then he started rubbing his chin.

“Hmm” in that voice only a true salesman working at a store could make. He took a few steps back and then picked up a comic book buyers guide and handed it to me. He then told me to flip to this month’s comic book reviews and read up on their picks for the month and then go from there.

I put my Green Lantern and Spider-man books down and started thumbing through the magazine. I read one review to another but one piece stuck out to me… Daredevil. I don’t remember the full article but the words that were highlighted in the section still stick out to me to this day: “Not only is this a new direction and creative but it’s pretty darn good too.”

Talk about a sales pitch, after reading that my trinity was complete. Daredevil was my final choice in returning to comics after such a drought. Once I had paid the manager and grabbed a few bags and boards to preserve my comics, I quickly rushed home and started reading. Soon this big smile came across my face.

I was back baby! That joy had returned and in the weeks that followed that ember ignited and before I knew it I was making a weekly pull list, buying a long box to store my books in at home and sneaking a read in-between homework sessions. Did I just stop at myself? Oh, no. I started corrupting my younger siblings but only my brothers ever truly took a shine to comics (boys will be boys).

Now, while I was resuming my comic book reading experience, this type of reading didn’t go unnoticed at school. I had friends and classmates seeing me read my comics and they would later lean over and said: “Can I read that when you are done?” who was I to deny that kind of request? Before I knew it, comics were back in my life daily, there were new animated series of my favorite characters on TV again like Batman and Spider-man that I couldn’t see enough of.

Then there were my favorite parts of summer when I would take a comic followed by a good regular book I was reading, a soda or drink and head out to the front lawn on a warm day and just sit in the grass and read and relax. Now, those were some lazy summer days you couldn’t get enough of and that are when I felt it for the first time.

That dark part of me was gone, life was good and yes even girls took interest to me even if they chuckled when they saw me reading a comic but it was in that cute type of laugh. Of course that part was only meant to last so long.

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