I was pulled into comic shops by a Comic not considered a classic – Camelot 3000. It was the first maxi series on Baxter paper and I loved Brian Bolland’s artwork. It was meant to be monthly but there were sometimes months in between issues. For someone used to regular UK weekly comics (except during a strike) it was slightly frustrating. However the bus fare to Glasgow wasn’t wasted as there was plenty more to read.
Sure, there was the usual titles you now know and love. Watchman. Dark Knight. The anticipation of getting those comics as they came out was amazing.
I’d read about comics in Escape, Comic Book News, AKA, Arkensword and Comics international and experiment beyond DC – Knockabout, Maus, Love and Rockets and several small press titles all come to mind. I also caught up with my 2000AD stories Id missed with the Eagle Comic reprints. But for the most part I’d make mine DC.
Titles I’d recommend to you now would be Alan Moores’s run on Swamp Thing (a true favourite and the creation of Sting lookalike John Constantine, of course), George Perez Teen Titans and Wonder Woman, Superman Annual #1 by Alan Moore Dave Gibbons followed by Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, John Byrne Man of Steel (and all the Superman titles around 86/87), Batman Year One, The Question, Kevin Maguire Run In Justice League (a hoot!), Mike Grell Green Arrow (and 70’s GA & GL drug stories reprinted at same time), Killing Joke, Grant Morrison Animal Man, V For Vendetta from Warrior and completed at DC and Batman Death of a Family.
There was also Sandman – I bought everything produced by the Vertigo line (even the bad stuff!), Arkham Asylum, Gotham by Gaslight, Adam and Andy Kubert on Adam Strange, Doom Patrol, Shade the Changing Man, World’s Finest, Neil Gaimans The Books Of Magic, Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle Detective Comics, Batman v Dracula, The Spectre, Death Of Superman, Superman the Wedding, Kingdom, Frank Miller Batman and Robin, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely All Star Superman, Geoff John Superman Secret Origin…are you starting to see the gaps around the mid to late 90’s.
Comic collecting became expensive! I was holding down three part time jobs to maintain my fix. And that’s not all. I began to work out I could sell my comics to pay for new Comics, via the Glasgow Comic Marts. So I waved bye bye to my collection of Cheeky Weekly, Roy of the Rovers, Eagle, Crisis (etc), Megazine and 2000AD. Occasionally I’d buy two copies of the same title, knowing full well I could sell them a month or two later for more. I recall selling the first Topps X Files for £25 only months after purchasing it for a couple of quid.
Then selling the Comics became a habit – I soon worked out I was selling on titles I hadn’t even read yet! I then realised it didn’t bother me because I was losing interest in most of what I was reading, except for occasional special progs and titles that peaked my interest.
Comic censorship was becoming a non issue, but I felt Comics were losing the imagination writers needed to avoid the censors wrath. Characters seemed to get out of potential scrapes with more violence or simply pulling out a massive big gun and blasting everywhere rather than something creative or witty. It’s true the great writers of 2000AD like Pat Mills, John Wagner and Alan Grant probably hated the censorship they faced, but that’s why they pull great stories out of the bag even today. Their imagination had to run riot and as a reader we didn’t just get good stories, we got great stories! We still get it from them today – which is probably why they stood the test of time whereas other creators peaked or disappeared very early in their careers.
So here I am, revisiting my passion for comics again. A mix of the old, the new and some of my own creations over the years (you can read other posts about Atomic, Captain Scotland and other projects on ComicsFlix.org). I am selective about what I indulge in, in comics or films, largely due to other interests. I’m sure to many of you the story is familiar – there were ‘millions of readers’ after all! But if you are new to Comics then check out how we got here, support the websites and blogs that will help guide you – and enjoy what is to come.
Diary, til next time….
….make mine ComicsFlix.org