If recent history is any indication, we all love comics. How else would the biggest Hollywood blockbusters be based on the four-color 'funny pages' so many of us grew up on? Marvel's The Avengers is the third highest grossing movie of all time, and the Iron Man and Christopher Nolan Batman trilogies are among the biggest franchises in recent years. Comics have even taken over our TV screens with the recent success of both Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., not to mention the countless cartoons. No matter where you look, or what your personal interests are, it's hard to deny that today, now, this time in history, it is good to be a geek.
|As recent as seven years ago, no one would have expected it to be as big as it's become.|
I'm curious about how that started. Not on the grand scale of San Diego Comic-Con becoming a powerful international showcase of all things pop culture, but on a more personal note. People always say you never forget your first, but if you ask most comic readers they can't recall the first issue they purchased or read.
I for one, remember with clear distinction the first comic I bought with my own money. I still own that very issue, and not a repurchased copy, but the original issue that cost me less than a third of today's popular comics.
My brother had been letting me read his comics for a couple months at the time, well as much reading as any five-year-old does with a comic full of eye catching art. From the beginning I had a strong fascination with Iron Man, based mostly on the fact that he had such a crippling medical condition but still sacrificed himself to save the world. And the cars, he had amazing cars (I named by Big Wheel tricycle Iron Man) that every kid loved.
|How cool is that now you can buy an Iron Man themed Big Wheel?|
When my brother realized that I was rereading comics multiple times because he wasn't buying new ones, he took me to the local comic shop so I could start my very own collection. There was no warning of the importance of what I chose to begin the foundation of my 'library', possibly because it shouldn't have been that big of a deal, or perhaps there was no way of telling how influential this moment would be on the rest of my life, but in any case I knew I had to choose wisely.
It came as no surprise to my brother that I was immediately drawn to the small section of Iron Man comics, but what he found odd was that I wasn't interested in the latest issue. I held a seven year old issue that came out a couple of years before I was even born. In my hands was Iron Man #133, a nothing issue that today could be found in your local shop's 50 cent bin, if they even have it. But then, in 1987 it was like seeing a naked female for the first time. I was filled with questions, and wanted to see more.
|The cover that started it all for me.|
The cover depicted not only The Invincible Iron Man defeated on the ground, but also The Incredible Hulk laid on the floor, in a similar defeated fashion. Jim Rhodes (prior to becoming War Machine) was clearly concerned over the well being of his friend, and Ant-Man, according to the cover he was all-new and astonishing, stood shocked at whatever it was that transpired. And what was it that happened? I had to know. The cover told me that Iron Man beat the Hulk, but asked “At what cost?”, but more intriguing to me is why would the two be fighting. To my five year old mind it didn't make sense. Although I wasn't too familiar with Hulk, I knew he was supposed to be a hero, and the idea of two heroes fighting was too much to take (this was well before Civil War or AvX) and I needed those answers.
Honestly, at this point nearly 30 years later, I barely remember what transpired within the issue, but I do know this issue was the start to my life long hobby, turned collection (borderline obsession), and career. Iron Man #133 was the first of my 30,000 (and counting) comic collection.