Anyone know who this is? I'll give you a hint, he is part of the problem. I have a huge addiction that I have spent thousands of dollars on.
I bet the vast majority of my readers have NO idea who that fella is. His name is Banshee and he is a member of the X-Men. Yeah, the same team Wolverine is on. But this character is no where near as popular as my fellow Canuck. Banshee is quite an obscure comic book character. And what does that make me? That pretty much makes me an obscure comic book collector.
Yes, I admit that I am an avid comic book collector.
I own a lot of comic books. There are tons of boxes in my bedroom loaded with hundreds of books. In my den, I have two full bookshelves loaded with graphic novels and tradepaperbooks. Basically, more comics in book form.
My comic book collecting habits have changed a little bit recently. Lately I have been on a one-man quest to complete my collection. I am working on getting a collection that has no filler, just all the good stuff I enjoy. That means rooting through thousands and thousands of comics and handpicking the ones I want to keep. It also means going back and picking up comics that I had as a kid. Comics that have vanished from my current collection and some are so battered and torn that they need replacing. And there are comics that I don't have and never had that I want part of my collection.
Is that geeky? Yes, so therefore I admit it. I am a geek. It should be pretty obvious, I run the Alan Davis Message Board (my favorite comic book artist) and I also have the world's only blog devoted to Banshee called the Banshee Blog. I have no problems being called a geek and I am proud of that fact. I read and enjoy comics quite a lot. My house is loaded with comics and trades and other comic stuff. I have comic shirts and I have a tattoo of Banshee on my chest. Okay, I am making that last part up. But I do have a mini statue of Banshee at my desk.
How many geeky things can you find in this picture of my desk? Can you see the Banshee statue? The Princess Leia in her Slave outfit action figure? I have another shelf on the other side of the desk full of comics.
Comics have influenced my life and will continue to do so. So how did I get into them? Lets start at the beginning. My parents were very supportive of my habit, in fact they are the ones that started it. It started out with Donald Duck and Archie comics and then they got me into Super-Friends, Spider-Man, Batman and a bunch of others. It was a random sampling of books but sometimes I would have small runs of comics. Super Friends was one of my favorite books.
Here I am at five years old reading an Archie book. Notice my cool curtains?
The late 70's and early 80's were a great time to be growing up. I was three years old when my parents took me to see Star Wars and like every other kid, I was absolutely taken by it. I remember back in the spring of 1979 when my dad came home from work with some Slurpee's and two comics. Battlestar Galactica #2 and Star Wars #22. My dad liked to read the comics too so I would get a new Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars comic almost every month. I used to re-enact the comics with my collection of action figures. I was a real happy kid growing up.
FUN FACT: I was not the only one that loved the old Marvel Star Wars comics. One of my best friends, Joel, was a huge fan of the series as well. He grew up collecting the comics and we were reminiscing and looking at the old Marvel series and picking out our favorite stories. He picked out issue #76 and remarked to me that he never got that issue, which was the conclusion of the fun Isakalon storyline. That story was one of my favorite ones too. Joel said that he saw the comic at the local 7-11 and ran home and asked his dad for some money to buy it. His dad made him do a ton of chores and finally gave him some money to buy it and he went back and it was gone. That issue was special to me, I was on vacation with my parents to the United States (I was from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) and I was with my dad and grandpa golfing at the local golf course. We stopped by the 7-11 to get some drinks on the way home and I found Star Wars #76 and begged my dad to buy it. He bought it for me so I could have something to read on the long drive home to Edmonton when we left the next week. After I had told Joel this story he looked at me funny and then it hit me. Joel lived in the same small town of Smithfield, the same small town that had a golf course and a 7-11! I was the one that bought that comic that Joel wanted! Who would have thought that twenty years later we would be best friends and that we would both remember that comic. I did let him borrow that trade so he could read the whole story. Small world.
Then in the Sixth grade my life was forever altered. Sixth grade was one of my favorite years in school. I had a teacher that I really liked and she was supportive of my comic reading as well. She allowed me to read comics during reading time. At this time I became friends with Neil White and he introduced me to a whole slew of comics, the first being Transformers and G.I.Joe. So I begged my parents to buy me some comics and they were supportive of me reading so I got some G.I.Joe and Transformers comics.
My friend Neil also reintroduced me to some familiar faces (like Spider-Man) but then he introduced me to a whole new set of characters, the Uncanny X-Men. And I have never stopped since. Eventually I branched out and have read all sorts of comics, straight super hero stuff, science fiction, fantasy, crime, horror, you name it, I probably have it.
This is an addiction that I am happy to pass down to my kids. It gives kids a new strange world to visit and more importantly it gets them reading. I am thankful that my parents introduced me to comics, I wouldn't be into reading without them. Comics are part of my everyday life and I wouldn't have it any other way.