For all my years in general geekdom, comics is a realm that I didn’t really explore with any sustained interest for quite some time. I was largely deterred by the staggeringly large library of titles and series, and the smaller series that lie within, like some narrative set of Matryoshka dolls. Was I really going to play catch-up on 5+ decades of Spider Man lore? Did I need to?
I wasn’t sure…and my interest in other distractions like video games, Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, anime and numerous other hobbies gave me plenty to do while justifying keeping my distance from the hobby that topped 1.2 billion dollars in sales in 2019.
My most profound comic book memory until this point was that I owned a copy of The Death And Return Of Superman on tape when I was a wee lad of about 10 or so. I would read through the issues that I had, along with the tape, and was completely enthralled. I still remember one line clear as day:
“That punch looks like it could have caved in a mountain – and Superman took it!”
I think my admiration for voice actors probably started around the same time…but I digress.
Aside from my foray into comic fandom with the Death and Return of Superman run, I never made an effort to buy more comics or build a collection of my own.
Well, until now that is.
Fellow contributor and personal friend RogueSymbiote, AKA Lance Watkins, recently started up a comic book podcast with the talented artist behind our character designs and logo: Chris Daily. We link it on our main page, but in case you’ve missed it, you should definitely check out Comic Book Keepers.
Lance’s passion for comics, as well as my recent discovery of Donny Cates’ superb Thanos run, inspired me to want to start a personal collection. I already had a handful of trade paperbacks, mind you, from Neil Gaiman’s classic Sandman to Kieron Gillen’s fantasy adventure Die, as well as approximately a dozen more books.
The real question was, if I was going to start collecting, where would I even begin?
A classic piece of advice, and one that I found to be extremely helpful as I began this journey, was to collect what you like. I really enjoyed Thanos, but more for Cates’ superb ability to weave a compelling narrative together. The outstanding art was definitely icing on the cake.
So, I sought out more of Cates’ work – his recent work on Venom, to be more exact.
I immediately fell in love with Cates’ rendition of the Symbiote antihero, and sought out the additional trade paperbacks, as well as issues 26 and (as of today!) 27 to be completely caught up on the series.
But, comic collecting isn’t just about stacking up trades. I wanted to seek out issues of older series as well. Lance let me know about a shop called Coffee with Comics that hosts weekly comic sales on their Facebook page. The owner, Jo, was doing a “build a box” special with dollar books – and suddenly I found myself with the doors flung wide open to expanding on my fledgling library.
I found some All-Star Squadron, a team of DC heroes including the Flash and Wonder Woman. I picked up some Deathlok – which Lance explained as a character that’s “Super ugly and can shoot well.”
Some more familiar series came across my path as well: Amazing Spider Man, some old Hulk issues, Aquaman, Wolverine, and more.
I also came across a run of Deathstroke from the New 52 universe.
Before long, I found myself in the position of starting off a proper comic book collection!
As my series continues, I’ll be documenting the series I’m following, new issues and finds, and personal experiences as I explore the world of comic fandom. You may also hear me guest-star on Comic Book Keepers to share my thoughts on certain stories and characters as well.
We’ll be working more closely with Coffee with Comics in the future as well, so you can look forward to more new comic release reviews in the coming months.
I hope you’ll continue to join me as I grow my comic book collection! If you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them in the comments as well!
UPDATE: The Journey Continues…
What Mith’s Reading:
Venom – Issues #13-25
Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider Man Essential Series – Vols 1-3
Batman: Night of Owls
Venom – Issues #26-27
Thor (Cates Run) – Issues #5-6