I got almost everything I owned from the 10 cent bins and loved looking through them. I didn’t take care of anything – it all went in a big wooden box that I shoved under my bed.
I liked Spider-Man 2099. I remember seeing Preacher in the shops and thinking the covers looked gross.
I had a couple older western comics (Marvel, I think, I seem to remember a white clad ghostly rider on a horse), and a comic with a kind of lighthouse logo where the guy could see these weird bugs on everyone that represented their fears and demons that fed on them.
I had some Wolverine comics where the back up feature had a different cover on the back, but upsidedown – and you had to turn them over to read the other bit.
There was a crossover with Ghostrider where they went to Hell, I think – and my mutant comics were mainly of the Cable oriented variety.
The first thing I really collected was the Milestone line of comics, especially Hardware. I had almost the complete run.
The Milestone characters were at the start of their existence, modern heroes with interesting plotlines, and (probably because they were mostly black, though it didn’t really occur to me at the time) easily found for cheap. I still hold this imprint in extremely high regard today.
I remember very little about much of my collection, but you can be sure that like any 90s kid it was full of number one issues that never went anywhere.
I will never know what happened to these early floppies – it’s quite possible my mom got rid of them, cliché though that is.
I spent some time promoting an artist (Rin Ascher, still my best friend) in high school but didn’t actually read comics too much. The highlight of our business was making 3000 dollars in 2 days at Otakon – but that was mostly selling buttons we put together.
As I made my way through college, periodically I’d read some .cbr files or hit up Barnes and Noble, where I’d sit and read a few trades back to back. This is how I read Sandman, Preacher and the first volumes of Fables, for example. I mostly read Vertigo stuff, no superheroes (didn’t know where to jump back in, though they were my childhood favorites.)
I don’t feel bad about my freeloading days because they brought me to my current fandom – and on my budget it was either free or nothing.
The turning point in my life started with two things: A torrent of Alan Moore‘s run on Swamp Thing and finding the first three Books of Magic collections on a random stop into a comic shop in my hometown while visiting.
The torrent was low quality and ended right after his issues. But I loved it, was absolutely enthralled. I found an ebay lot of the trades, which were the first comicbooks I’d bought in a long long time.
Soon after I stopped into Modern Myths in Northampton, MA while visiting my family. The Books of Magic trades were under 5 dollars each and had magic and the Vertigo logo. Also loved them – still one of my favorite series.
This started my collection – I was soon getting every ‘classic’ vertigo book I could think of in an attempt to have a small but relevant shelf of comics. I was only interested in trades since I could get complete story arcs and store them easily on a bookshelf, which was a lot more aesthetically pleasing than longboxes.
But then I started getting more curious about the DCU connections – in Swamp Thing’s various crossovers and with Batman even showing up in Sandman.
I decided I’d get some essential Batman and Superman trades, just a few Year One era titles and the three volume Death Of Superman arc that I never got to see the end of as a kid (I bet if Milestone trades were released at this point I would have jumped on that, but they still haven’t fully collected these series.)
I had to do some research to figure out what was essential. Batmantrades.com was highly visited at this point. I became more active on comics forums, like CBR and The Batsquad. I started saving some ebay searches (I still maintain an average of just 6 bucks a book, though I often get stuff for much less now – I’ve become an expert at bargain hunting.)
I started getting obsessed with placing things in order and finding the books I needed to understand important events. At first I told myself I would only collect Batman. Then only Batman and Superman. Then just the Modern Age.
I took a History of Sequential Art class in my final year at Savannah College of Art and Design and started to develop a deeper understanding of the world of comics and found many new favorite creators.
About a year later I found a supplier that handed me every Showcase Presents book for very very cheap. After that point, the whole DC Universe was my baby.
In April 2010, tradereadingorder.com was purchased and the first version of the site launched.
It had been about two years since I first started keeping my DCU organizational list in an excel document, maybe 4 years since I started getting into comics again seriously.
I’ve decided to follow a few other core titles or continuities (like Ultimate Marvel and the Buffyverse) and do my best to create good documentation on universes I may not seriously collect (like mainstream Marvel.)
I wanted to create a site that answered all the questions I had while I was getting back into comics and would continue to fill my own needs. I use the database to manage my own collection, figure out what I should read next, and sort my own bookshelves – and if it’s useful for me, hopefully it’s useful for you.
It’s now about 8 months since the site has launched and I’m constantly surprised by how driven I am to make it the best it can be. It’s easy to motivate myself to work on this.
While the books that pulled me back are legendary, I’m not sure what caused me to get back into my childhood passion so strongly.
It’s possible that it was always waiting for me and I just had a few off years while I was trying to become a “serious” adult.
I may have given up – but I like to think that I’m just serious about my passion. And have admitted that comics are just as legitimate an art form to be interested in as any other.
I’m lucky to have a fiancé that’s amazingly supportive, an education that gave me some skills surprisingly useful in a fan effort (and a really nice scanner that I told myself I was buying for photography uses), and a pretty darn fast typing speed for actually getting all the thoughts I have out there.
This a fairly light summary, but hopefully it tells you a bit about me.
What about you folks?
I think that the titles that pulled me back are fairly common books for new readers – Batman, Sandman, and maybe even Swamp Thing. Fables, too!
How did you get obsessed? Or if you’re relatively new to comics, what is pulling you in?
Or back in?