Our New Columnist Welcomes You To The Action-Packed World of Comic Books!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Local comic book fan Ryan Franks will be writing about comics and comics culture for QuadCities.com as our new columnist. We hope you enjoy his treks into the comics world!
My earliest memory of comic books comes from when I was about three. My parents and I were at some kind of family gathering and a very boring one at that. I had with me Transformers Comic Magazine #4, a digest sized comic collecting Transformers #7 and 8 from the original 1984 run of Marvel comics. Given that I was three I wasn’t able to actually read the book as printed. What I would do is look at the drawings and make up what characters were saying why actions where happening.
This started my love of comic books. I got several other Transformer comics over the years before the toy line faded in my eyes and I moved onto the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I’ve never actually owned a Turtles comic. The series was just so ubiquitous at the time that I watched the cartoon, owned the toys and went to see all three original films in the theatre, but never owned a single comic. I suspect that’s a current trend that I will be coming back to.
Following the Turtles craze I jumped ship to Batman, partly because of the 1989 Tim Burton movie, but mostly because of Batman The Animated Series in 1991. I may be biased, but there couldn’t be a better time to get into Batman then when B:TAS , as the comic community shortens it, was brand new and changing animation and comics. Except much like the Turtles, I owned very few Batman comics. I distinctly remember reading the Batman Returns movie adaptation comic and I know I own Batman #437. The cover, drawn by George Perez, with Robin swinging in the Bat Cave on a rope; left an impression in my mind, though I can’t remember if I’ve ever read it.
Next up is the X-Men and much like my other examples this was because of X-Men The Animated Series debuting in 1992. What make X-Men special though is that this was the series that got me to start looking for the comics, both the comic book adaptations of the cartoon, X-Men Adventures (the early issues of which were drawn by Andrew Wildman who also drew the late issues of Transformers and an artist I’m still a fan of) and the ongoing X-Men series Marvel was publishing at the time. To that end the start of my comic collecting habit really begins with Uncanny X-Men #301; a striking John Romita Jr cover of several other X-Men trying to hold back Colossus from jumping out of the cover and giving the reader what for. This is what made me a fan of Marvel Comics. Maybe if I had been more adamant of reading what few DC comics I had would have changed things, but things are the way they are.
So, there’s my origin story as a comic fan, so to speak. As for other comics and comics trends, stay tuned as I write about more in comics and comics culture for QuadCities.com!