Friday, August 30, 2013

Head's Geek Credentials

Here's a little more about Head.  Basically this time, I'm going to go over what I call, my Geek Credentials.  What makes me a geek (in my opinion).
Originally this post consisted of two parts.  My comic origins and then my favorite superheroes.  But I noticed I started meandering and it got a little long, so I decided to split this in to two parts.  So this week I'll cover how I got in to comics and next week, I'll delight you wonderful readers with the best superheroes comics have to offer.
So, let's get started on my comic book origins, or what I call...

"How I got in to comics, by Head"

I've always liked superheroes.  Besides Star Wars, my earliest good memories are of superheroes.  While I didn't get in to comics proper until I was a teenager (when most boys are dropping comics for girls and cars), I've always liked superheroes.  I remember as young boy (1st and 2nd grade) watching the old Adam West Batman shows (in rerun of course).  Me and my cousin (Larry Park), would play Batman and Robin during recess (again, back in 1st and 2nd grade).  We had a half buried cement pipe as our Batmobile and a jungle gym as our Batcave with a Batpole.  Fun times.

I also have early memories of coloring in a Batman coloring book with my Aunt Val, laying on my grandmother's living room floor.  Batman seems to have been big for me as a kid.

Also growing up I enjoyed watching superhero cartoons.  Whether it be the Superfriends (again, with Batman), Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, The Fantastic Four or Plasticman, I enjoyed them all.  And let's not forget the other superhero live action shows: Captain America (I vaguely remember this), Shazam, Isis and The Incredible Hulk.  And while I didn't collect comics, I got the occasional Fantastic Four, or Incredible Hulk or Amazing Spider-Man at the odd yard sale here and there.

Looking back, I think there were two things that ended up getting me in to comics as a collector (instead of just a tv superhero fan).

First, in the early-mid-eighties, one of the shows I enjoyed watching was G.I. Joe (also The Transformers, but that's for later).  In 1985, I went back to Nebraska with my grandparents to visit some relatives (my grandfather's brother and his family).  While hanging out with my cousin (Brad, if I'm not mistaken), he had some G.I. Joe comics and G.I. Joe toys.  We read his few comics and played with his G.I. Joe toys almost the entire time.  When I left, that time left an impression with me.

The other thing that happened, to influence my love of comics, was in the mid-eighties (around the first part of 1985, if I'm not mistaken) a friend gave me a HUGE box of various comics.  They contained books like Amazing Spider-Man, Justice League of America, a lot of Superman and Action comics, Batman, and other assorted titles.  I read through these and enjoyed them.  In fact, I may have read through some of them multiple times.

Eventually all points lead to the beginning or some such nonsense.  'The Beginning' of me collecting comics.  One of the first comics I bought off the rack was G.I. Joe #58 (in 1987).  I was in Fresno with my mother and the asshat she was married to, eating (at a little dinner butted next to a Thrifty's on the corner of Ashlan and Blackstone (neither place is there any longer)).  After I got done, my parents were still eating.  So to kill time, I went in Thrifty's to look around.  I wandered in front of the comic rack they had there and decided to look at the selection.  Then one comic grabbed my balls and made me look at it.  The comic as I stated above.  G.I. Farkin' Joe!  This comic featured Cobra Commander's new Battle Armor.  The cover stated boldly... "COBRA COMMANDER -- REBORN!", with Cobra Commander standing in front of a body in a hospital bed.  I remember the Commander from the cartoons.  For a weeny, he was pretty cool.  So I decided pick it up.  Shortly thereafter, me and my mom was in K-Mart in Merced, California and I was looking at their comic selection.  At the time, they had some slightly older comics, 2 or 3 in a bag for a special low price.  One such bag was a G.I. Joe bag, containing issues 51, 53, and 55 (55 called Unmaskings, showing Cobra Commander, Destro and Snake-Eyes taking off their masks).  This I had to have.  So I added these to my meager collection.

As I said earlier, I also enjoyed watching Transformers.  Right after I found the above mentioned G.I. Joe comic (issue 58), I was in a Circle K (I believe).  There they had the comic Transformers: Headmasters.  They had just introduced Headmasters in to the cartoon, so I was intrigued.  So I picked up the series as they came out.  When the series ended, issue four referred the dear reader to the regular Transformer monthly.  So of course, I started following the Transformers.

A short time later, I found a comic shop in Merced (I think at the time it might have been called Bobby's Sportscards and Comics (or something like that).  It eventually turned in to Cop-A-Comics, my usual comic haunt for the next 20 years).  Also a block away was another comic shop (I forget the name, but it was ran by two Samoan brothers if I remember correctly).  I went in to both places looking for back issues of both G.I. Joe and Transformers.  From that moment I was addicted big time.  I was stopping in there whenever I could checking out new issues and back issues.

Another comic I need to mention, as it further pulled me in, was when I started collecting Spider-Man.  Specifically Amazing Spider-Man 314.  This was released in April of '89.  This comic grabbed me, as it featured Spider-Man and his wife Mary Jane getting evicted, with a Salvation Army Santa standing nearby.  I can't explain it, but something about this cover by the legendary Todd McFarlane, drew my attention... the next thing you know, I had all of the Spider-Man titles on my pull list.

Anywho.. that's how I got drawn in to comics.  Every week or two (hell when I lived in Merced, I was there almost daily) for the next 20 years, I would go to Cop-A-Comics in Merced, CA.  It was ran by the greatest couple.  Lonnie and Ann Cox.  They were a sweet couple.  Sadly, they've both passed on to the Great Comic Book Shop in the sky, and Cop-A-Comics has closed its doors *sniff sniff*.
I only stopped going when I moved to Fresno and couldn't afford to pick up comics anymore.  8(

Luckily I've found other avenues to access my comic fix.

Other comics I feel that need a mention here are:

As I said, G.I. Joe will always hold a special place in my heart.
The Fury of Firestorm
The Atom ('Sword of the Atom' and 'Power of the Atom')
Ostrander's first Suicide Squad book
Giffen and Demantis' Justice League run
A Death in the Family (the death of Jason Todd at the Joker's hands)
The Killing Joke (another Batman and Joker yarn)
 Hawk and Dove (with Dawn Granger... you'll read more about this next week).

Alright... I guess I'd better call it quits there.  But I could go on all day.

Continued next week in Head's Geek Credentials 2

Until then, remember...  After these messages, we'll be riiiighhht back!

- Head

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