The first comic book I ever read was an issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures. I was likely in Kindergarden or first grade. While at my parents’ friends house for dinner, I’m guessing my folks mentioned that I was into the Ninja Turtles toys and cartoon. So their friend showed off a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book. Soon after that, I was in my first comic book store, Flashpoint Comics. (The store closed when moving from elementary school to middle school. One of the last issues I bought was an issue of Ghost Rider. I cried. Cried due to the store closing, not due to Ghost Rider. I think).
One of the first Marvel Comics I read was X-Men. I started reading it before the cartoon, but can’t tell you exactly why. I know there were toys first. I had a Cyclops action figure before I ever had a comic book featuring him. The comic was probably drawn by Jim Lee, or one of the Kuberts. Rogue probably called someone “Sugah.”
The first Superman comic I ever read was Superman #75 which featured his “death.” (Spoiler: he got better).
I bought a lot of “Indie” books as I got into middle school. These were published by Image and heavy on the boobage. During this period, I bought a lot of comics that I thought were going to be worth something one day. (Spoiler, they weren’t, and won’t likely be worth anything. If anyone ever pays money again for the bulk of the comics I got rid of, they are a nostalgic fool). They mostly looked like this:
I stopped buying comics in the middle of high school, the idea being, that that would make me cooler to girls. See also: buying stereo system, guitar lessons, and joining art club for other failed high school attempts at impressing the ladies. My first comic after this self imposed sabbatical was an issue of New X-Men by Grant Morrison and Igor Kordey. It was unlike any comic book I had read before. The art was ugly (by my understanding of what comics were supposed to be), and everything was confusing and different from the way comics used to be. I talked about this comic with my senior year art teacher, and the fact that an adult was into it helped legitimize comics for me.
My first non super hero, non toy-based comic was read in college. I don’t recall exactly which was my first, but my friend Chris Ritter introduced me to a lot. He’s responsible for making me aware of Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Brian Wood, Jim Mahfood, and generally, the idea that there were people making these books, and not just awesome characters punching each other.
I bought a lot of comics after college, mostly out of habit, not really enjoying them. The first comic I read that helped break me out of that, that got me excited again was The Nightly News by Jonathan Hickman.
Then I fell back into reading stuff that depressed me. Or maybe it wasn’t the comics that depressed me, but the act? The act of going to the comic store after work, looking for escape. The excitement caused by a cover, followed by the ultimate disappointment at either a padded or just plain old disappointing story.
The first digital comic I read was…well, I don’t really recall. But I got some gift cards at Christmas this past December. I had recently bought a Kindle Fire, had started reading some comics digitally, and the first comic I read in that format that really excited me, that really lit my comic book fire in general was Casanova: Gula by Matt Fraction and Fabio Moon. I had read Casanova: Luxuria (also written by Fraction, with art by Moon’s twin brother Gabriel Ba), the first book in this series, but Gula was so…heartbreaking.
You never see the aftermath of an action or horror story. You don’t get to see characters deal with things or try to fix things. Gula is that on a COSMIC scale. This is another comic that I’ve promised to talk about more, and will do so later this week. But anyway, these are a bunch of my “first comics.”
P.S. My LAST Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comic featured a back up story with “The Mighty Mutanimals.” They were all similarly mutated or alien creatures that had teamed up with the Turtles at one time or another and had formed their own supergroup. They dealt a lot with environmental issues. They were all brutally murdered in this issue. It was…weird.