Posts Tagged ‘reading’

How I Fell In Love With Comics

I was reading one of my favorite websites/blogs, Whitney Matheson’s Pop Candy on USAToday.com. Today’s edition featured an article discussing how many creators fell in love with comics. And I have to talk about that. There are few things I love more than comics. It’s a short list that includes women, Disney World and travel.

I can honestly say that there is nothing in this world that has affected my life on the level that comic books have. It started, I imagine, with my love of reading. Most of that I attribute to my Mama buying me those illustrated books like Dr. Seuss and the Disney ones. And as I grew older, I became fascinated with mythology. In particular I loved stories about Greek myths and the legends of King Arthur. In fact, I took it so seriously, I can remember becoming upset as a child when I found out Guinevere had an affair with Lancelot. I felt sort of betrayed. Weird, huh? I think it was because I never really had any friends, and to me, these were real people. In many ways, the fictional worlds that I love are all real to me.

But I digress. I don’t remember specifically when I started reading comics, but I know it was in grammar school. I know it had something to do with the trading cards that Marvel Comics had started putting out at the time. I saw some kids in after-school care trading cards, and I asked questions. Suddenly, I was buying cards as well; learning about the Marvel Universe and all of it’s wonders. Not long after, I bought my first issue of X-Men. It was the first part of the Muir Island Saga, a crossover that re-defined the X-Men for the next decade. It was drawn by Jim Lee, a man who would come to be my favorite artist of all time. It took me all of five seconds to become hooked. And all of a sudden I became emersed in this world. A world where Gods walked among us. I wanted to be there. I wanted to live that life, and knowing that I could not… I wanted in on any way I could to be part of it. I dreamed of being the next Jim Lee. But realistically, I know that would never happen. I didn’t have the talent.

Comics are responsible for so much of who I am. The truth is, I have always been an outcast. I don’t think or act like other people. I don’t know how to. And when I was a child, no one wanted to try. Even among my family, I’m the odd man out. Often people discuss where they got their traits and their talents. But with me, the truth was, I’m nothing like my parents or anyone else I’m related to. I’m an anomaly, genetically and personally. To me, that made me a mutant. And I used comics as a form of escapism from everything. I hid within this fictional world to shield myself from a world that didn’t understand me and oftentimes hated me. It was a familiar theme to me.

But there was more to it than that. I needed something to believe in. And the world of comics was where I found that something. I didn’t have heroes or role models growing up. But I had Spider-man to teach me about responsibility and show me that things work out, even for guys like me and Peter Parker. I had Batman to teach me about hard work. Superman was all about doing the right thing. The New Warriors taught me that sometimes you aren’t just born into family… sometimes it finds you. And the X-Men to taught me about perseverence and tolerance. I needed those lessons. I needed those heroes, because when I was growing up there weren’t any. But in the world of comic books, men did the right thing, not for rewards, but because that was the right thing to do.

I had better heroes than most people to guide me.

But in the long run I gained more than that. Comics taught me a lot of things that I wouldn’t have payed any mind to in a classroom. They fostered my love of art. And ultimately, they made me want to be a writer. Writing is in my blood. It’s what I am. I learned that from reading the works of Chris Claremont, Fabian Niceiza, Mark Waid, Peter David, James Robinson and Garth Ennis. They taught me to be a man. They didn’t just change my world, they gave me one to be a part of.

And as a result, I still live in a world of heroes.

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