Comics are a great hobby, and while we’re always looking forward to what’s coming out new, it’s a great hobby in that it also allows us to look back. And a lot of us comic fans do just that, look back at great runs in a title’s history, great moments for a character, issues that were important to us. That’s what I’ll be doing here in Lewis’ Longbox. I have quite an extensive collection of comics, and I’m going to be digging through my boxes to bring you issues that I loved, issues that I hated, or issues that I own and haven’t gotten around to yet. Seeing how this is the first installment of a new series, I figured I’d start with memorable firsts in my comic collection:
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Date of Publication: March 1993
Cover Price: $3.95
Creative Team: David Michelinie, Mark Bagley, Randy Emberlin
This comic sticks out in my mind, and always will, as the first comic I ever got. I can remember getting it from an antique store where my parents were looking at low priced furniture. You can say what you want about premium foil covers and secondary markets, but one thing’s for sure, if not for this premium foil cover, I would have never gotten into comics. I can remember just sitting for hours, pouring through the pages, trying to figure out exactly what was going on, who Venom was, and Silver Sable and all the other guest stars, trying to figure out their role in this story. And let me tell you, for a new reader’s introduction to Spider-Man and all the rest you could find in this issue, it was a little confusing, but mostly intriguing. Looking back at the issue now, the story seems very complex, almost needlessly so, with far too many guest stars to hold the interest of anyone not already invested in Spider-Man for his 30 year run. Although, I guess that’s not really the case, because, as I said, my 10-year-old self absolutely loved it. And I still have fond memories for it, as it turns out. Looking through my collection, I came across my old, worn copy(which I thought I kept better care of) and a new, never read copy.
Publisher: DC Comics
Date of Publication: January 1988
Cover Price: $1.25
Creative Team: Jamie Delano, John Ridgway
Ok, we’re gonna jump forward in time a little bit here. I know the publication date is a little earlier than the last one, but this, my friends, is where my comic collection went from a harmless hobby to a full-blown addiction. The year the movie came out, 2005, I decided I needed to know more about the character before I could go to a theater to see a movie about him, so a few months before it came out, I had my comic guy start pulling the title for me. This was a little bit before issue #200, for reference. Well, I became so enamored with the character of the Bad Luck Magician that I decided that 200+ issues wasn’t so bad to hunt down at comic conventions. This was the single most expensive book from the run that I’ve gotten so far(aside from Constantine’s first appearance, of course) and I only paid 8 dollars for it. From what I remember of this, Delano does a good job of setting up John Constantine as a fairly relatable, if troubled character. I can remember reading through this issue and being so enthralled with what was my first horror book at the time, and knowing that I made the right decision to track down all of the remaining issues. To this day, Hellblazer is pretty much the only constant on my list, something that I will never drop, and it’s partly the quality of creators they find for the book, both writers and artists, and partly the fact that it’s one of the only books being published today that has a memory for it’s entire run. I’ve read issues numbered in the 200’s where things that happened in the 10’s come into play, and I love that. You could read a worse comic series.
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Date of Publication: September 2004
Cover Price: $3.50
Creative Team: Brian Michael Bendis, David Finch
And lastly, we have one more first for me. This issues marks the first issue of the Avengers that I would buy. I was still fairly new to collecting, so I hadn’t gotten more than a few titles at my local comic shop, but the Disassembled banner ran into Spider-Man, which, since getting my copy of #375, I had a great interest in. So I wanted to see why this “Disassembled” thing was being printed on all my covers. Picking up the Avengers was a good move and I only wish I had done it sooner. With Chaos being the last arc in The Avengers for about 6 years(give or take), buying this book started me down a path that sees me buying 3 ongoing Avengers titles and 1 Avengers miniseries, and also had me following New Avengers through 50+ issues, even going so far as to own 4 or 5 copies of issue 1, all with different covers. The Avengers truly is a powerhouse franchise for Marvel, and reading this arc, it’s easy to see why, although it’s a little difficult to see why it was only a mid-selling book before. It’s a great story, and Bendis uses it as a springboard to lead to House of M and all the other event books that came after it. All of that led me to a little bit of event fatigue, but seeing where it comes from, I suppose it’s all a natural progression, and looking back on it, it seems fairly obvious what the cause was as you read along, but not knowing, the entire arc seems like just crazy random happenstance. Track this story down in trade, if it’s collected.
And that’s all from the Longbox this week, so thanks for reading. If you liked what you read, you can read more like it at my blog, which can be found here. Until next week!