Hi, I’m a DC

So, it all began a long time ago for me. I didn’t know anyone or have any friends that were into comics. I think it’s one of those key factors required for most people to jump in to the medium. After all, comics haven’t historically been as mainstream a form of media as TV, video games, or the internet usually are to a kid today. Back in the golden age they were, but that was because they were cheap and *existed* unlike the items I just listed.

So when I was a kid, it took a long time to really be introduced to the idea of comics. That’s not to say comics and superheroes weren’t around. As a kid in the 80′s I grew up with He-man birthday cakes and G.I. Joe action figures and even a few superheroes over time. All kids know who Superman is. He’s about as iconic as it gets. I probably at some point even had superman pajamas no doubt. But at this time, toys were toys, and had no extra meaning to me. Yet.

After several more years of life I got interested in baseball cards as most boys do at some point or another. I collected all kinds and kept them in plastic pages in a series of binders. I didn’t really even watch baseball, but something about collecting these small cards with these heroic figures on them appealed to me.

Flash forward even more and came the rise of Fox Saturday morning cartoons such as X-Men and Spiderman. This was a great time in my life. I LOVED these shows. I spent Saturday mornings watching them, and the rest of the week playing them out with my friends. “I’m Wolverine!” “No, I’m Wolverine!!!” and around the yard we would run doing our best to hold 6 twigs between our fingers (3 on each hand of course).

I was firmly a Marvel. We would have debates as to who was the most powerful mutant, and what powers would you have if you were a mutant. Being a little asshole, I had the combined healing powers and claws of Wolverine, the telekinetic and other awesomeness powers of Jean Grey/Phoenix, the teleportation powers of Nightcrawler, the shape-shifting powers of Morph and the telepathic powers of Charles Xavier. This in retrospect, probably wasn’t fair while playing with my peers, but kids are dumb and it never got us anywhere anyway, as everyone else would adopt similar power-sets swapping out Storm or Cyclops etc. Other days would be Spiderman Days. And though I loved the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler, while playing I’d often adopt the personas of his bad-ass enemies, like Venom.

That’s what we’d do outdoors. We’d spend our time indoors playing X-Men, Spiderman: Maximum Carnage and many more on our Sega Genesis or SNES. These games were great and were very much a path into one of my other life-long hobbies, gaming. That’s a story for another day.

Soon I found and started collecting Spiderman trading cards. They were awesome. Unlike the baseball cards each of these pieces of art were shiny and fun to look at. The backs were filled with info all about my then favorite superhero and his many allies and enemies. Through this I learned about Spiderman’s origins and how he came to have so many rivals. I hope I still have them somewhere in my parent’s attic. I’m pretty sure I do unless my mom got on one of her “time to throw out lots of old stuff kicks”. In fact, if I recall, they are being kept in my very first trapper keeper. Anyway, this was finally the door to get me into actual comic books.

My mom was working in a store in a town near mine, and I would take the local bus to see her in the afternoons. Nearby was a comic-book store. I think it actually was more of one of those stores that has all sorts of “trading stuff” like baseball cards and other stuff, but my sole concern was with Spiderman cards. Though at some point I started observing a nearby rack of comic books and one day ventured over. Soon I was buying issues of Amazing Spiderman, Venom and Wolverine.

When I went away to a YMCA camp one summer, I received in a care package a poly bagged Spiderman series that I read over and over during my stay. Later I bought for my older sister The Death of Superman in this sort of cardboard box it was being packaged in at the time. I’m fairly sure I read the whole thing before she ever did (if she ever did). I even got some old comics of my dad’s. Lacking my favorite superheroes he had some ones that were more about characters you’d see in the Sunday funnies strips, but they were fun nonetheless. Life was good.

And then, one day, the music died. I don’t know when or why it happened. I still loved these heroes, but I no longer bought their collectible cards, or action figures or comic books. I simply can’t explain it. Sure on occasion I’d pick up some cool figure I saw in a store on sale or such. I guess I probably got interested in being more social with middle school friends, hanging out with girls, music. Yea, puberty probably killed my interest now that I think of it.

Killed is a bad word though. I’ve still always played comic characters video games throughout that time. And other shows and movies sprang up that I’d watch. Best of which was Batman the Animated series, Superman the Animated series, Justice League & JL:U. This is probably also where my solid pact with Marvel started to unravel. I also began to discover here my true favorite superhero of all time, the Green Lantern. I knew of him before but as I came of age, I began to appreciate him more and more.

I think I discovered Star Wars somewhere in the middle and my Wolverine claws retracted in lieu of a lightsaber and my telekinetic powers faded in lieu of the all powerful force. Who needs web slinging when you can take an X-Wing? So yea, Star Wars also dampened my love of comics. Diluted it.

Eh, enough milling in the past. Flash forward to the past few years. My good friend Mike decided to help me back into the world of comics. Finally another friend who enjoyed the medium, doing as I said before; helping you right back into the old familiar waters of graphic storytelling. Mike is a DC. Through and through. He likes Marvel as well I think, but I am sure one of these days he is going to legally change his name to Bruce Wayne and spend his nights stalking around on the roof of my apartment building with a grappling hook and Batarang taking out evil-doer pigeons. I digress.

Suddenly I was being gifted books such as Infinite Crisis and Green Lantern hoodies (which you will often see me in). What a good friend, right? And now here I am, having recently acquired the full run of Green Lantern comics including and since Rebirth in 2005, and with the dawning of the Blackest Night, I find myself at Midtown Comics every Wednesday pulling away.

However, instead of my old friends the X-Men or the guy who shares my name, Peter Parker, I have fallen head over heels in love with the DC Universe. I also can’t explain this. The two universes are in fact very different. Maybe its the fact that Marvel almost lies too much in the real world, where in DC the entire universe and then some is your playground. Maybe I burned myself out on Marvel, or the story-lines hold no interest to me anymore. Not sure I ever can say. But I am now, truly, a DC.

I have a LOT of catching up to do. Luckily Mike is very encyclopedic about much of the DC Universe. But I am making an effort to jump right back in and surpass my old hobby. I will probably chronicle some of it on here as I try to get through back issues of 52 and Final Crisis, and current series like Blackest Night. It feels like a part of my childhood has been born again, and its exciting seeing all the characters I once loved springing back into life. Once again, life is good.

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