Your love letter to comics…by JC Cunningham
Your love letter to comics.
I know what you are thinking, “shouldn’t the title be MY love letter to comics?” Admittedly this is kind of my love letter to comics, but the idea is that hopefully reading mine encourages you to think about yours. Comics are fun. There I said it. A lot of people need an amazing – shake you to your core – story. Some people need depth and thought-provoking stories. Some people need a laugh. Some people simply want to escape their day to day reality, the exhaustion, the stress and just go to another world for a few minutes. That’s what is so great about comics, they let you do all of that and more!!!
We can be a super judgmental society (especially us fanboys/girls) and by even telling you my first comics, you may immediately judge my taste/experience/knowledge based off that. Do me a favor and try to just take everything at face value without that during this little article. Ok here we go….
So X-Men (vol 2 #9) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures (vol 2 #31 if you count the mini as vol 1) were the titles that “got me into comics”. I believe we are a bit predisposed to like what we start with, so I tend to most often enjoy a team driven book more than a solo character driven book. As most people, I honestly have no idea how many times I read these issues, and yes, I do still have both of them!!! They aren’t pretty, and I’m totally ok with that. I have however bought a much nicer copy of X-Men #9 since then.
Now I think most people who read X-Men in the 90’s would agree it was kind of a soap opera in comic book form. The Turtles also had a lot of family drama. Needless to say the 90’s were over the top in a lot of ways, but what almost anyone who read comics during that era will tell you… is that they were FUN! Comics are meant to be enjoyed. There are different kinds of enjoyment, like I stated before. Watchmen isn’t my definition of a fun read, but I definitely enjoy what that story meant for storytelling that came after it. I love reading a deep story that challenges the idea of how we view the world. I love a story that is over the top ridiculous and makes me laugh.
I read anywhere from 15 to 40 single issue comics a week. I also read some graphic novels, and a tiny bit of manga on occasion also. Marvel, DC, Image, Aspen, Boom, IDW, it doesn’t matter the publisher, I just love consuming stories told my amazing story tellers doing what they love. What I don’t read are books I don’t enjoy long term. I’ll read just about anything for a couple issues to try it out. It’s important to emphasize that most of the stuff I don’t continue reading is a combination of time and it just wasn’t my thing. That doesn’t mean I think those books are bad, and that’s really important to point out. People have different tastes and preferences; we are looking for different things for different reasons. I believe people should read what they enjoy reading (in whatever way that is).
There are so many different kinds of comics, I truly believe there is something for everyone. They also bring so many people together. It could be a friendship with an employee at your local comic shop that you are able to talk comics with every week and geek out with. It could be meeting and forming friendships with creators and industry pros through the wonderful world of conventions. It could be finding a group you cosplay with because you all adore the same characters and being a version of them. Comics can be many things, but at the end of the day they should always make you feel something.
When I think about reading that X-Men issue, I VERY distinctly remember where I read it the first time. I can almost smell the air; I can almost feel the couch under me. It was also bought for me by my grandmother and every single time I see that cover, I’m reminder of her and how she bought this one comic for me that is such a huge part of who I am today. Comics make me smile., laugh, think and sometimes cry, but at the end of the day comics make me happy.
I love comics. The best part… I get to share that everyday with people who come into the Graham Crackers and nothing beats introducing people to new/old stories that might just bring them a little happiness.
What’s your love letter to comics?