Recently, I purchased one of those comic book cover art reproductions to hang up in our eclectic TV room. It is pictured here, The Mighty Thor #160.
As a child and into adolescence and… let’s be honest here… up until my early twenties I was a major, massive, massively major comic book fan and collector. Yes, I was that geek kid decades before The Big Bang Theory made geeks semi-cool and mostly acceptable. Yes, I was the kid with the Marvel Comics three-ring binder at school. Yes, I was the kid who spent his allowance on those bags of three comic books you could buy for a buck at the grocery store. And, yes, I became the twenty-something with over a thousand comics, each individually housed in their own plastic sleeves, stored in long rectangular boxes made just for comic books, and usually stored under my bed.
In other words, to say that Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, the X-Men and Conan the Barbarian were a big part of my growing up is a massively major understatement. Yes, I was a Marvel guy.
Yet all that comic book geekamania didn’t make me a Sheldon Cooper, that is, a brilliant but eccentric scientist. Instead, the comic books inspired my drawing. I loved the stories and the larger-than-life characters, of course. But what I truly tried to emulate was the art. I used to spend hours and hours drawing my favorite characters, trying as best as I could for that over-the-top graphic nature of their presentation. I got to the point where I began making my own comic books starring the super-heroes I had invented (Mass Man was my favorite).
I wish I could show you examples of these but, alas, in a cleaning spree my Mom removed the stacks and stacks of typewriter paper from under my bed and tossed the lot. I can’t really blame her. I was probably off at college at the time. And it was a TON of paper.
However, I owe a great debt to comic book art. It was my muse as a child. I would get lost in the way they so dramatically and dynamically displayed my favorite heroes. Some of my first real-life heroes were the guys who drew the comic books; they were the true stars of those colorful rags, if you ask me. I would seek out my favorite artists and study them. I wanted to draw comic books for a living one day.
That didn’t happen for me. But I have lived to see so many of my childhood heroes up on the big screen or gracing TV series on Netflix. In a lot of ways, I’ve been able to live those sweet times of my childhood over and over again. I’ll never forget how much those comics and that wonderfully brilliant graphic art meant to me.
About seventeen years ago I sold the bulk of my collection (I don’t think my brother has forgiven me for this yet). I had been lugging those boxes from place to place, storing them in basement after basement, for fifteen years. But I did save a few of them, some because they are collector items, most for nostalgia. Below are a some examples of comic book cover art and all are issues that remain in my possession. I get warm, fuzzy feelings when I see this artwork and it brings me back to when 25 cents or so could buy me all my imagination could hope to contain… and a whole lot more.