Sure, comic book characters are all the rage now, but when I was a kid, we used to read about them, not watch them. Few things made me happier as a kid than getting my allowance for a job well done (whatever “job” that happened to be that week), racing down to the corner store, and flipping through comics for hours at a time until the clerk told me to buy something or get out. So, with a whole dollar to my name, I’d stack up on seven or eight DC and Marvel titles, but really, they were all great. We had a lot to choose from back then, be they the gritty war stories of “Sgt. Rock,” the colorfully cheesy, post-Adam West tales of “Batman,” or the real world angst of every teenage boy’s favorite, “Spider-Man.”
They were an escape, and at the time, I had no idea they’d one day be worth a fortune. For me, they just felt right rolled up and sticking out of my back pocket, or hidden inside my World History textbook during study hall. Mind you, this was a ritual that went on for years, so by the time college arrived, I had amassed well over a thousand comics, including a few rare ones that would later help me put a down payment on my first house. Unlike many in my generation, mom never threw out my collection: She saw how much I cherished them, and had this crazy idea that I’d one day pass them on to my own children. In a way, I did…only instead of reading to my kids about The Incredible Hulk, I painted that same character onto my son’s bedroom wall. I kept up with comics for decades to come, and even used to attend the old conventions when they were still called “trade shows.”
Comics have pretty much overtaken mainstream Hollywood in the last 15 years, and with that saturation has come a little bit of longing for the simpler times, when a boy could escape into his tree house at midnight and run away to a world with characters that felt like old friends. Hard to get that same feeling from a CGI flick with a $200 million budget, but hey, with great exposure comes great responsibility…or something like that.
– For a look at the evolution of comic books.