Thursday, February 28, 2008

My Geekiness is Getting in the Way of my Nerdiness

I am a geek. I am not afraid to say that anymore. The only reason that I bring this up really, is because most people don’t understand where this love of all things nerd stems from. Well, my gentle readership, I will enlighten all of you in this very essay.

Last night, I purchased Justice League: The New Frontier, a DC animated film based on the award winning graphic novel by Darwyn Cooke, one of my favorite working comic writers/artists working today. The film takes place in the late fifties, which in comic chronology makes it The Silver Age of comics. The Silver Age was the time when heroes started to take the forms and incarnations that fans know and love today. This is when the final designs for Superman, Green Lantern, Batman, and The Flash all became evident. It was during the watching of this fantastic film, I came to realize something….comics are one of the few true Pop Culture loves that I have, and will always have.

Now, mind you, I have plenty of loves in Pop Culture; I love many diverse kinds of music, films, art, and books, but comics where my first and most intense loves as an adolescent. I can even tell you my first foray into comics, The X-Men, the very first issue of the now classic last story arc by Chris Claremont. I was given two large stacks of comics by my mother, who had picked them up at a garage sale. I was nine years old. I had been familiar with heroes such as Batman, the X-Men, and Spider-Man through the sorely missed Fox Kids cartoon series (Interesting Side Note, to this day many hardcore comic fans, myself included, maintain that these cartoons were the single truest incarnation of the comics ever on TV or in films, but Hollywood is starting to come round now). I had never before tried the comics that these were based on, but when I did…there was no going back. After that, I was a child possessed; I bought up and devoured any issue of any main hero, albeit Marvel or DC, I could find. Hell, I even had issues of Spider-Man: The Clone Saga! That’s how devoted I was to this medium. Interests in video games and other fads came and waned, but comics remained, up until this very day.

The real turning point in my love of comics though came in 1999, when I discovered that comics were not necessarily confined to the standard superpowered men in tights. This is when I discovered the likes of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Mike Allred’s Madman, Stray Bullets, the genius of Frank Miller and the two books that forever changed my life as a comic fan: The Watchmen by Alan Moore and The Sandman by Neil Gaiman. I was still living in Seymour with my mother and still buying up so many Marvels and DCs, I could have had fucking stock in them, when I was introduced to a friend of my mother’s who lived by us in the projects (yep, I used the live there). I didn’t know this, but he was a HUGE comic fan, had been since he was my age, but in was introduced to the heavier comic scene through Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, a book I took in and was blown away with later that summer. I was sat down, after a long conversation about heroes and the story arcs that were taking place at that time, and was given the trade paperbacks of The Watchmen and Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes. Think back to the first time you saw Casablanca or the first time you ever listened to your favorite band of all time…now multiply that by a thousand. The pages, the art, the story, and the dialogue seemed to jump into life as I read it. It was beautiful and sad and angry and everything I never knew that I would love.

Since then, there has been no going back. I have loved and will love comics until the end of my days. To be totally honest, I can’t tell you what it really is about them; I think it might be the fact that it our culture’s form of literary gods or perhaps maybe they show me a world with hope and larger than life protectors that will stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves…but I really think it just might be my one and only link to childhood and I can’t lose that.

In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night,

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