In the world of
What Influences Your Comic Book
note: Throughout Dennyís
column youíll references to many webpages.
They are footnoted after the column for you to explore.. Enjoy J]
first began reading comics in 1982.
One of my dadís friends was moving back to the states and
needed to get rid of some things to lower their weight cost.
One of the items he left behind was a huge box full of comics
that he gave to me. It was
pretty cool as it had a wide range of Marvel and DC titles.
I soon chose my favorites, Spider-Man and Daredevil.
I loved those two titles. The
comics that captivated my six-year-old mind and the selection of titles
within the box influenced my reading choices.
I moved to Fort Knox in the summer of 1984, my parents let me pick up a
comic of my choosing. I
hadnít made any new friends yet and wanted to find something to occupy
some time. The first comic
I ever bought was The All New All Different Peter Parker the Spectacular
Spider-Man #107; I always did like Spidey best.
From there I picked up all of his titles: Amazing, Web, Marvel
Tales, and of course Spider-Man in 1990.
A new Spidey comic would come out every week, giving me something
to look forward to. This was my treat. Some
kids got ice cream, but I got a comic book, and I devoured each new
issue when I got home. When
the Fall of the Mutants story came out, I remember trying to convince my
mom to buy it for me. My
mom told me no. She said that I read Spider-Man and that I wasnít allowed
to start buying everything that caught my fancy.
You might think itís mean, but it makes sense, otherwise
youíll have a child wanting to buy every comic he sees and that could
become very expensive. I
was getting at least one comic a week and prices were starting to go up.
My parents from 1984-1990 influenced my comic buying.
1991, we no longer lived on the military base, my father died, and I was
beginning to buy my comics from an actual comic store.
I saw X-Force and X-Men #1 and convinced my mom to buy me those
two comics. Thus began my
purchasing of the X-titles, which increased my reading from 5 titles to
8. As we all know, a year
later seven hot artists left Marvel to form their own upstart company.
As I was a big fan of Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen, Jim Lee, and
Whilce Portacio, I had to go check out their creator owned titles,
probably my first exposure to that term. My mom was cool about it and supported my love for comic
books. She always said,
ďHe could be into other things like drugs.Ē
Wizard was also beginning to get hot at this time and they hyped
a lot of Imageís books as well as other Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse
titles I never read. So my
comic purchases slowly grew to a $75 a week habit.
I was reading Marvel, Image, Valiant, Ultraverse and DC titles.
Wizard Magazine influenced my comic purchases by what they
spotlighted and said were hot. I
was a part of the speculator mentality, and it influenced my purchases. Can you say ďmultiple copies?Ē I knew you could.
I went to college I had to start cutting back, which wasnít too hard.
Once you stop buying multiple copies, Valiant, Ultraverse, and
everything Liefeld put out (the man released more books than Marvel and
DC combined) you start saving money.
I started being more selective in my purchases although they
mainly were from Marvel, DC, and Image.
I was apprehensive of picking up new books as I was burned by the
speculator era. I was still
influenced by Wizard as they were my source of what was going on in the
industry, the lingering memories of the speculator era, and mainly being
April of this year I got a job in a government agency, which was
experiencing a downtime that lasted four months.
I had access to the Internet and started looking for comic
related sites. A friend at
the comic store told me about Warren Ellisí column at CBR
started reading CIA as well as Master of the Obvious by Steven Grant.
This led me to start reading some comics I had never looked at
before like Hellblazer, 100 Bullets, and Whiteout.
Ellis was saying some great things and was telling people to go
out and read comics that they have never read, to question your
purchases, and speaking about the industry in general.
He recommended other trades to read, which was a foreign idea as
I only bought the serials/original issues, and Internet sites to visit.
site Warren recommended was Jinxworld. 2
I was interested in Bendisí works and found his board, which
had some pretty cool people on it. I didnít agree with everything they said, mainly about
societal issues, but they were talking about some good comics, I soon
learned. I got on eBay,
checked comic stores on the East Coast, and went to conventions to start
tracking down books I was told were really good or had thought of
buying. Ironically my first
purchase wasnít a comic but two novels by Derek Raymond recommended by
Warren Ellis. In regards to
comics, I bought a ton of stuff. The
Morrisonís Invisibles Vol. I-III, Animal Man, Doom Patrol, and Arkham
Mooreís From Hell & Swamp Thing
Eisnerís Graphic Novels
Wareís Acme Novelty Library 4
Michael Bendisí Fortune & Glory
Speed-McNeilís Finder 3
Judd Winickís 5
are numerous other titles that Iím looking into right now like The
Waiting Place 6, Optic Nerve 7,
and Berlin 8 at Comicopia
9 in Boston.
My ďfriendsĒ on the Bendis Board 10,
Warren Ellis 11, and his forum
12 are influencing my
the point of this column? Well
it is posing to you, the reader, a question.
What is influencing your purchases?
I think most everyone is influenced by internal and external
reasons. Internal reasons
include love for reading, love of art, wanting something quick and fun
to read, a collector mentality, obsession to get the run, addiction to
the format, and being immersed in the storyline.
External reasons include comic magazines, retailers, the
Internet, creators, and friends.
influences you, you should make sure that you are getting the whole
picture and not just parts of it. As
you can see from my history I got pieces to the puzzle over an
eighteen-year period. I never gave independent titles a look.
At first I never even knew they existed as they were not getting
to the newsstands like Marvel and DC and later when I started seeing
them I felt they didnít have the same quality.
They were, after all, black and white comics, published on
cheaper paper, and where were the enhanced covers?
titles such as Cerebus, Love & Rockets 13,
and Stray Bullets have proven that black and white independent books can
be as good if not better than mainstream titles.
Ultimately, it is up to you to go out and find books that you
enjoy, whether they are by the major companies Marvel
16, smaller companies Fantagraphics
17/Oni Press 18/Drawn
& Quarterly 19, or an individualís company such
as Lightspeed Press 20/Aardvark
Vanaheim/Abstract Studios 21.
thing is, you can not rely on one source to show you everything comics
have to offer.
influences people to possess the speculator mentality, hypes projects
mainly by Marvel, DC, and Image while mentioning some independent titles
but barely hitting the tip of the iceberg.
Letís not even mention that CGC crap they are pushing.
Comic Journal hypes independent titles and gives little attention to the
mainstream comics, but do mainstream comics need that attention
considering Wizard spotlights them.
Warren Ellis influences people with his message of
wanting to see a growth of other genres and changing formats from
serials to trade paperbacks and original graphic novels.
He wants to see the comic industry look more like the book
wants to go away from the on-going series and more towards
mini-series/original graphic novels and speaks out against super-hero
books. Is this wrong?
No, itís his opinion. I
like his ideas, but is he giving the whole picture?
I donít think so, but thatís not his job.
I think Warren is trying to get comic readers to think outside of
the current model.
influence people by recommending titles for numerous reasons.
They enjoy the title and know it is good, want to get it out of
the store, carry it, or want to make money.
Unfortunately, many comic retailers donít carry some great
titles because of a lack of funds, exposure, or interest or an
unwillingness to take a chance on a new title due to the distribution
system or state of the market.
influence other friends in the purchasing of comics. There is a chance that they may have more pieces to the
puzzle or be willing to try comics you would not.
On the other hand, they may be influenced by the same outside
sources that you are, have just as limited an exposure to what is out
there as you do, or close minded.
own unwillingness to give a new comic a shot can be keeping you from a
title you would love. Whatever
is influencing you, make sure you are at least getting all the
information available to you so that you can pick up comics you want to
read and will enjoy for a long time.
Thatís Just My Opinion.
thanks to Alysha, Cth, and LWK/Princess for the inspiration, Shawn
Baldwin for proofreading, Jason Pritchett for those hard to find links,
and Chris Ryall for some great advice and input, look for his Worst
Column Ever at Comic Book Galaxy. I
am married to an amazing woman and serve an awesome God!
Thanks for the opportunity Andrew.
promised, here are the links for Dennyís column.. Drop by these sites
and check them out! Tell em
Denny sent you..
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