Near Mint Memories: Why?

Why ask why?

If you read my column on Kamandi two weeks ago, you would have seen mention that my next Near Mint Memories would cover the 1980’s DC Comics tie-in to the Super Powers toyline by Kenner toys. Due to some odd circumstances, I’m not able to produce that column for you this time. Oh, the column is about 90% done and nearly ready to go. You may ask: What’s the problem? Well, I have owned the first two Super Powers series since their publication in 1984 and 1985 respectively. I haven’t read either in nearly twenty years, so I spent some time catching up on them.

What I never read was the third (and final) Super Powers miniseries from 1986. I decided to lay out my hard-earned money for the four-issue run. This set me back nearly five dollars from Mile High Comics! I felt this financial outlay would help increase my journalistic integrity. I ordered the issues in plenty of time, and my shipment arrived last Tuesday. No problem! Plenty of time to finish up the column. Well, as you can imagine, there was a problem, or you wouldn’t be reading this long-winded opening.

What I received was not the four issues from the 1986 Super Powers series. Instead, I was sent the first four parts of the 1985 Super Powers series. I made a couple of phone calls, and it seemed finally had the situation resolved. My corrected-order was put through, but there was a delay in shipping. The books did ship out yesterday, but alas, it meant my deadline was past.

The travails do not end there, though. Prior to getting the books shipped from Mile High I went to several local comic shops, in search of the comics. No dice. I did find one shop that had the gall to charge $5 each (but they only had issues 2-4). It takes some guts to charge $5 for comics that are as un-in-demand as can be. I’m sure those books will be there a year from now, and a lot longer.

Why I’m Back…

Now that I only have a couple of days to put something together for you, I thought I’d talk about how I returned to the fold of comic collecting after a “break” of nearly a decade.

It was a time not that long ago, one that I shall call my Golden Age of Comics, the years of 2001 and 2002.

What, what, what?

It was my golden age, not really because of the new books that were coming out, but the classic series that I had my first exposure to. I’d read some good comic books in my life up until that point, but this was the time, that I read most of my favorites in their entirety.

Working with fellow Nexus writer Mike Maillaro at KB Toys for several years, we had a lot of discussions about comic books, and how we were former readers. Mike had only recently hit the level of disgust that I reached in the early ’90s, but still, we were both former comic-readers discussing the glory days of the hobby. Slowly but surely, our discussions led to more frequent trips to local comic shops, moreso to buy toys, but it got us there. Eventually, Mike started reading Ultimate X-Men, Ultimate Spider-Man, and Green Arrow.

I decided the time was now to get back to reading. I didn’t start with any new series, though. Instead I grabbed all of the issues of The Warlord that I hadn’t owned to that point, as well as the complete run of ROM: Spaceknight. I don’t think I can put into words the amount of fun that I had reading the complete runs of those two books. Other than some Star Wars comics, and a few other books here and there, I hadn’t read much in the way of comics for nearly a decade. That includes my beloved Flash, which I soon caught up on as well.

Flash led to Starman, which led to Preacher, which brought me to John Ostrander’s Spectre, which paved the way for Transmetropolitan, Hitman, Peter David’s entire run on The Incredible Hulk, catching up on Savage Dragon, not to mention Astro City, all of Ron Marz’s Green Lantern, Jon Sable: Freelance, Kingdom Come, The Power of Shazam, and Mike Grell’s epic time on Green Arrow.

That’s a lot of amazing comics in a short period of time!

Some of these I had experienced in-part prior to this, but none in all of their glory. I don’t think I have ever been more excited to go to the comic shop and pick up new books, but more importantly to dig through the back issue boxes for more great series. The Internet was an enormous help, not only in finding more books to buy, but in finding the opinions of the only true experts, the fans.

There has been some discontent over comic, and movie reviewers working on the web. Well, I take offense to those assertions. It’s often said, “What makes us (meaning myself and everyone like me) qualified to write about comics (or movies)?”

I say three things: love, passion, and the willingness to share our views.

When it comes to movies, I much prefer to read a real fans point-of-view, rather than a stuffy media reviewer in some newspaper. After all, I have a lot more in common with that guy on the Internet, than I do with most published reviewers. The same goes for comic books. Most people online share my passion! You can’t take everyone’s word as gospel, but it’s one more opinion to help weigh my options. We’re usually not talking major purchases here, it’s just where best to spend your entertainment dollar.

To those filmmakers and comic creators (or corporations) that find Internet reviewers a problem, I can say but one thing: put out a better product! The negative buzz from the ‘net isn’t the primary reason your product is failing! The fact is that your core audience thinks it sucks!

Closing thoughts:

While it’s hard for me to recapture that comic-reading-thrill of a few years ago, when I discovered or rediscovered so many wonderful series, that feeling comes back several times a month. That’s when I know a book is truly special. It’s odd that it’s not a time when I was kid that I think back to, but instead that second comic childhood that I was lucky to have a few years past.

When it comes to comics don’t continue to read series that you aren’t enjoying because of hype or the empty need to continue a lengthy run. There are myriad other books out there struggling to survive in a down-market. Put your comic money to good use, and by all means, give some thought to the opinions of reviewers that you respect. You may be steered towards a gem that you will cherish as an all-time favorite!

Next Week – Mr. Babos returns!

In Two Weeks – That long-promised Super Powers column.