I really feel like a Charlie's Angel every week when I read the latest mission posted on Cool and Collected. I check in and see what dangerous and exciting places I will be visiting next. Brian posts the new topic every week, and this week was a very vague and mysterious topic: Comics. We all know what they are. Even non-dorky folk know what they are. After all, they have been a cultural institution since, like, forever. So what exactly does one say about comics? Especially when one is also posting her 300th diary entry?
Well, I have a lot to say. Before I do though, let me divulge some information about myself. I am not what you would call a hardcore comic collector. Granted, I have been reading them since I was knee high to Kowl's eye, but I do not have a wealth of comic knowledge. I'm a very simple girl with simple tastes. I have mostly stuck with comics that closely resemble a soap opera/serialized storytelling format. So out of all the comics in the universe, my heart had to go and be smitten with the X-Men. But it wasn't always all about the X-Men.
In fact as a kid, the first comics I ever came across were my mom's comics. Yes, I said mom. My dad has never really been a fan of comics or super hero type stuff. His heroes were in old western movies and eventually the Godfather. My mom on the other hand was a total closet dork. She'd never admit it, well maybe with a bit of wine, but she has mostly been a total closet dork my whole life. She had a nice Barbie collection growing up. And she loved reading comics. Sadly a great deal of her items were lost throughout time and space, but like I mentioned earlier, I did get to read some of her comics. Luckily my mom had held onto a few of her favorites, which I got the joy of photographing for this entry. They have certainly seen better days, but these old comics were a joy to look at again:
Oh that damn Richie Rich. He always got on my nerves.
The comics that belonged to my mom were from like 1966 to 1968, so they contained a lot of humor.
The art was really cool and though a lot of these comics are now tattered, I do remember wondering what my mom must have thought about all these comics. I also love that these comics were connected to the pop culture landscape at large (like most comics do) as evidenced with Scooter and his similarities to a lot of the British musicians that were taking over the world at the time.
I enjoyed reading her old issue of Sugar and Spike, because it often reminded me of my relationship with my brother. We were always getting into some form of trouble. This issue has actually held up pretty well compared to her other items.
It was issues like this that really had me curious about my mom's childhood. I only knew of my mom has an adult, I had no idea that she would have even remotely been interested in reading something like Stanley and His Monster. These comics really allowed me to see just what my mom was like as a kid. I also like how Stanley looks similar to Dennis the Menace. That damn Dennis.
I also took this picture from the back of Stanley, because I know some of you are big Hot Wheels fans, and I thought this old ad looked really cool.
So my mom had humorous comics and she also had comics involving super heroes which was so cool. I still am amazed that my mom read comics involving super heroes. Upon doing the math, she was about 11 to 13 during the years that these comics were out.
This issue of Rawhide Kid has totally seen better days. I hate that some of these comics are in this kind of condition. They had been in the attic for so long, and that is just like a death sentence for cool stuff.
Oh that crazy Jughead. My mom totally introduced me to Archie comics and I am so glad she did. When I was little I really thought this is what being a teen would be about. I may have also had a slight crush on Jughead. Don't even ask me why.
My mom was also a fan of some DC super heroes. She doesn't really recall being all about DC superheroes, so I am guessing these were purchased "just because" but I do find it interesting that she had them.
It wasn't just Plastic Man! There was also some Aquaman. I really love this cover. I think it looks so cool. I actually really like Aquaman. I think it has to do with his color scheme. I also may have had my old Mermista action doll pretend to be his lady love.
My mom also had a Silver Age Wonder Woman issue. Now this was one of the coolest comic issues she had. Out of all the super hero comics in her possession, my mom does remember reading Wonder Woman. I found this issue at a later age though. There were some comics of hers that I read as a kid, but this one was saved from the attic when I was older, and I have to tell you, it was so cool to know that my mom thought Wonder Woman was just as cool as I did.
Here's the opening page from that issue. Sadly the entire issue is not in the best of shape. I believe either roaches or silverfish nibbled on the pages, but all in all, it can still be read. Those damn roaches and silverfish. Have I stressed the importance of never putting things in the attic yet?
This was my ultimate favorite comic from my mom's youth. I held onto this one when I was little. Groovy was released by Marvel and it was a humor comic. And I thought it was hilarious. There was a feature in the issue titled Misery Loves Company and it was written by Suzanne Heller. That section was always the best. Here are some snippets:
I loved these. They were so cheesy, but I thought they were just so much fun. There was also one panel at the end of the issue that was meant for the reader to fill in a caption to the picture. My mom had left it blank, so I decided to fill in the blanks myself.
I wrote, "I think we have a dog on are tail." Misery is having horrible hand writing and grammar skills. I wasn't the brightest crayon in the box, ok?
What was really so special about thumbing through these comics was that I actually had the chance to read over the same things my mom read when she was a kid. I'd read these panels and think, "Goodness, what did she think of these jokes or stories when she was younger." It was a nice way of bonding and learning about her experiences. I'm really glad I got that opportunity. We are very close and she insists that when we get older we will live together like the mother and daughter from Grey Gardens. I'm not so sure what I think about that, but she lets me know that she is looking forward to it. My brother reminds us that he will document it all. Thanks baby brother.
So comics have always been interesting to me and from a young age I had this feeling that there was such a sense of rebellion associated with them, among other things. I just felt really cool reading comics. I was actually a very dorky gal, but comics really made me feel cool.
Some of my first comics involved Betty and Veronica. I loved their friendship and slight rivalry for Archie's affections, even though Archie wasn't really all that. I would not have been fighting over him, best believe that to be true.
There were also some fun Archie adventure type comics too.
So from Betty and Veronica I also dabbled with some Tales from the Crypt comics. These were reprints, but there was a Tales from the Crypt show on cable and my brother and I loved a good scare, so we picked these comics up at the local grocery store. They were really creepy, but so much fun to read! That cover is also pretty jarring. I don't know that something like this would be sold in the grocery store today.
Another jarring cover from the Tales from the Crypt comic series. There were numerous stories inside, and we would just read them over and over.
Here is a back shot of all four issues. We never managed to get the other two, but we always wondered what kinds of stories were inside.
So these were some of the comics that I started reading in the late 80s and early 90s. I also had some Betty Boop reprints that I really enjoyed too. These comics were really fun, but there would be another type of comic that would really capture my attention.
Now the 80's was a decade all about super heroes. Superman would have some movie sequels to celebrate. Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends were chilling on Saturday morning cartoon screens. The 60's Batman show was on reruns. There was no escaping the power of the super hero. Particularly the male super hero.
I was perfectly fine to escape it though. I may have thought that Superman was cute and all, but at first I was just not really interested in super heroes. I'm not saying that a girl can't relate to Spider-Man or Superman, but I just wasn't going gaga over it all. I liked Wonder Woman, but her television series was long gone. However, it would be my cousin J. that would really introduce me to the world of super heroes and the comics associated with them. My cousin J. refused to take my ambivalent way of thinking seriously. He was all about comics, especially those from DC and Marvel. He was obsessed, and since we were somewhat close in age, I ended up learning a thing or two from him. And one thing I ended up learning was that there were plenty of interesting female super heroes right under my nose, they just weren't as well known.
I became aware of all kinds of interesting characters. There was the She-Hulk; a green woman that seemed ready to knock the lights out of anyone at anytime. There was Supergirl. (I totally loved that movie by the by.) And then there was a cast of female characters that stood out for me unlike any other, and they were a part of the X-Men. I can't even begin to explain what it was like to see so many cool and interesting female super heroes. I wanted to know more. It was nice to see so many different women in the comic pages with their own unique backgrounds and powers. I found myself hooked immediately, and even though I looked nothing like these women, I wanted to share just a shred of similarity with them. I've never really been the most confident lass in the room, so these women just seemed full of strength and confidence.
The story that J. had introduced me to had been Marvel's Inferno event. He had older X-Men comics, but Inferno had been the current storyline at the time and as such he was beyond thrilled to talk about it. I was certainly confused by the whole thing as I was still trying to understand who was who. But I knew this much: Madelyne Pryor was awesome and so tragic. And a bit sexual.
I never owned any of those comics, but a few years after the Inferno story had ended there was a "What If..." issue from Marvel that featured some new images of that poor doomed Madelyne Pryor. This was one of my favorite comics as a kid.
Anyways, I digress. The X-Men bug bit me good, and after looking over my cousin's collection, I knew that I needed to start my own. So that is what I did, I picked up X-Men comics here and there. All the comic stores were in the city, so I had to play the game of cat and mouse with the local gas station and grocery store. Some times I would get an issue and other times I would not. But one thing was for certain, I loved reading about characters like Rogue:
This issue also had one of my favorite images of the deadly Lady Deathstrike. I was completely blown away by the way she looked. Anyways, I was starting to love the X-Men, but I had no idea what was coming up next.
A Mutant Mile-Stone! I was far to clueless to know just what the big deal was about the 1st issue of X-Men, but I managed to get one and there was definitely a sense of X-Men frenzy in the air. The 90's was totally the decade of the X-Men for sure. The comic series was on fire. There was a long running toy line as well as an animated series and a made-for-tv movie. (Remember Generation X? I loved that Finola Hughes from General Hospital fame played Emma Frost! So much fun.) Anyways the end of the decade would see the start of filming for a live action X-Men film that would totally change the way we all saw super hero movies. The comic would still hold a special place in my heart though.
Back to the early 90's, I was loving the X-Men comic, but I was getting worried. I wasn't sure if reading comics was really meant for me. I was having a hard time remembering all the characters and though I had my favorites like Storm, Rogue, and Psylocke, I just wasn't sure I would be able to keep reading. All that changed with the wedding of Jean Grey and Scott Summers:
My very first wedding issue! Oh this was a big deal for me and is still one of my favorite comic issues of all time. The build-up for this issue was so exciting, I couldn't wait! I had so many questions: Just what was all involved in a wedding comic issue? How would the X-Men celebrate a wedding? I was used to Dynasty-styled weddings where bad guys pop up ready to kill everyone in attendance. I mean there was just so much to look forward to! I also loved the wrap-around cover.
And it absolutely did not disappoint. From the sweetness of Storm and Jean's friendship, to the whispered conversations from the guests, this issue cemented my love for the X-Men. What could have been just a brief interest fully became a piece of my life.
There was so much movement with Jean walking down the aisle. Oh it was just stunning. The smile on Charles Xavier's face made it all the more special. These people were more than just super heroes. They were a family, and it was just so touching and my little dorkette heart was eating it all up.
I loved this page for all the fun banter. Alex and Lorna's brief conversation was so much fun. I was never too thrilled about Polaris, but that changed in just one brief panel.
Another fun part of this issue was the tossing of the bouquet and garter. Rogue cheats with her ability to fly and it was so funny. It made me want to be at that wedding so badly, it just seemed like so much fun.
Of course, Gambit cheats for the garter, and I just about died! Rogue and Gambit were my favorite super comic couple. I had to figure out a way to become a mutant. At least that is what I told myself when I was younger.
The most sentimental portion of the story though was the part where Jean uses her powers to have a dance with Professor Xavier, who can't walk. I cry every time I read this, because it is so touching. He is like a second father to her, and he doesn't want her to be outing herself with her powers, but she doesn't care.
And in these moments, everything that is special and wonderful about the X-Men is explained. There was no stopping things now. I was not planning on giving up my X-Men reading anytime soon.
These are the trading cards that also came inside the issue. I stupidly removed them from the issue when I first got it, but I wish I had left them in. The images are really cool. I do love the history between Jean and Scott.
There was also information on the back side of the cards too. Scott and Jean were a lovely pair. But let's look at some more of my favorite wedding issues!
I was not super thrilled with the Civil War event, but the best thing during that story line was the wedding of Storm and T'Challa. It was everything. Storm's dress had actually been designed by a costume designer from the now defunct soap Guiding Light. I was never fully aware of the past between Ororo and T'Challa, but I started reading the series for sure, because one of my favorite characters in the X-Men universe was going to marry the love of her life.
The exchange between Kitty and Ororo was nice, however the one thing I really missed from this wedding was Jean Grey. They were best friends and I really wish that Jean had not been, ya know, dead. However, it was very touching to read the dialogue between Kitty and Storm. Super heroes tend to be mostly involved with fighting super villains, but I do like the moments where they can get together and just talk.
Ororo's arrival to her wedding is one of the coolest. She doesn't walk down the aisle. She flies from the sky and lands on the ground like a true goddess. Like the wedding of Jean and Scott, I totally wanted to be there. I also loved the exchange between Nightcrawler and Wolverine, two men who had both shared a thing for her at one point or another.
Their vows were more than just some words. The soon to be married couple had to also go through a trial with the Panther God!
There is this moment where the Panther God looks at Ororo before judging if she is fit to be T'Challa's bride. The whole time Ororo just stands there, confident and full of such strength. The moment is such a defining one that reminds everyone just how amazing Ororo is as a character. The Panther God totally approves and then Ororo and T'Challa are soon married. It is a nice issue, and though it has a different feel from other wedding issues (Iron Man and Captain America were fighting each other at the time) it was a very special and intimate union between Ororo, T'Challa, and their family and friends.
Progress is always a little slow to occur, especially in terms of social movements. The X-Men were certainly used to that, so it made perfect sense that one of their own would be involved in the first Marvel wedding between two men.
I had pretty much stopped reading Astonishing X-Men after Joss Whedon's spectacular run with the series, but I came back for the wedding of Northstar (Jean Paul) and Kyle. I had always liked Northstar and I thought it was cool that he was an openly gay super hero. This issue was very interesting. There was some action as well as some touching moments and even some social commentary.
This was one of my favorite pages of the story. The sibling relationship between Aurora and Jean Paul reminded me of my relationship with my brother, and I thought it was very sweet. She supports him, but also wants to make sure he is doing ok with the ceremony under the circumstances. (His partner Kyle was almost killed earlier in the issue.)
This was very nice, Jean Paul is ready to be married! Oh, and how fabulous was it that Hank was officiating the ceremony? I love Hank.
This was also a very sweet page. The happy couple fly up into the air for their first kiss. The flowers are all in the air. Members of the X-Men and Alpha Flight are there. It was nice to also see members of Alpha Flight. They are a really cool team and do not get the recognition that they deserve by far.
There's dancing! Rogue arm wrestling with Guardian! Wolverine flirting with Storm! This page had everything, and I wish it would have been stretched out a little longer. These are the kinds of moments I love in a wedding issue.
Other things I love in comic issues involve romance. After all, those weddings don't happen without a little romance right?
I loved this cover for many reasons. First off, no matter how nice the love between Scott and Jean was, a part of me always wanted Jean to be with Logan. Hell, I wanted to be with Logan. While my girl friends were falling for boys in our classes or drooling over hot male movie stars, I was daydreaming about the men of the X-Men. I had a thing for Logan, but it came with time. Originally I was all about the ragin' Cajun. Gambit had my heart on one of his cards. I thought he was the dreamiest thing I'd ever seen. I also often wondered what it would be like to have Colossus wrap those big muscular arms around me. Oh goodness, no wonder it took me forever to go on a first date.
Anyways, back to my comic journey, by the end of the 90's I had been missing out on getting my regular dose of X-Men comics. It was hard getting comics. There were no comic stores near me. Getting a subscription had also never been a part of the plan, because there were so many titles to check out. There was also always a hit or miss situation regarding finding the comics at the local gas station and grocery store. Luckily times they-were-a-changin. Comic stores began opening closer to my home, just in time for a big change with the X-Men.
Grant Morrison's run with the X-Men was something else. Some fans liked his run while others did not. There were some crazy stories to come out of this new look for the X-Men. Professor X had some crazy twin sister trying to destroy the world. Second mutations became a regular event. We were all introduced to new younger mutants, some who are still with us. Cyclops got involved in a psychic extra-marital affair with Emma Frost. Jean died. I mean there were some fun things about the work that Grant Morrison did. I loved the return-to-form of Emma Frost. She became a larger than life character. There was also a lot of crazy soapy melodrama that I just ate up. I was not thrilled that Jean Grey died, because ever since her death, no one has really been able to bring her back in a proper way. Jean from the past or from an alternate world does not work for me.
This section of the X-Men's history was also an important one for me. I had finally started shopping at comic stores and eventually found the perfect comic store. Bedrock City comics are simply the best, and it is there that I still get my X-Men fix. What I also love about purchasing my comics there is that I finally have people to talk to about comics. For the longest time there wasn't really anybody to talk to. My cousin had sort of stopped reading and before long it was just me. Now as an adult, it is so nice to talk to other grown folks about these comics that I so love to read.
I'm almost done rambling about comics, but I wanted to write about one more story. There are actually many comic issues that I love and enjoy. I could go on much longer about those issues, but this story arc from Uncanny X-Men was so damn good, that I even bought the trade paperback for it. This story had all the good stuff. It brought Psylocke back to the main X-books. The story also largely contained all the great female characters from the X-Universe- Emma Frost, Spiral, Lady Deathstrike, Madelyne Pryor, Domino, Storm, Psylocke and her former body, and this particularly awesome moment showcasing just why Dazzler is so much fun and deserves an action figure:
I geeked out big time when I read the Sisterhood issues. I could not wait to find out what would happen next. It was a great story filled with some memorable images.
So there you have it. My relationship with comics. I do read some other titles too, it is not all about the X-Men. I do rather enjoy the Mega Man series, and I am giving the new Masters of the Universe series a shot. I really hope they bring in She-Ra and her friends. But it is the X-Men though that have my comic interests. I love these characters and their stories. They feel like they are a part of my family. I can't imagine not reading about them and I look forward to where things go even further! Enjoy these images and I hope this wasn't too long. For more talk on comics, head over to these other spots where fellow League members dish the comic talk:
Big J is a fan of The Desert Peach
Bubba Shelby addresses the fantastic Plastic Man!
The Goddwill Geek has a cool Top Ten of comics that he loves!
LeAnn gets crafty with her comics! (I love this idea)
Kal discusses his wide ranging love for comics!
Shawn also discusses some X-Men awesomeness!
Paxton brings up some interesting Movie/Comic factoids!
Brian shares a splendid Book Report!
Take care everyone, and don't go too far! Adora's Search For Honor will be brand new this weekend!