My love of superheroes started at a very young age with two dolls..my sister’s Wonder Woman doll which she no longer played with, had no legs, and a rats nest of hair, and a 12 inch Spider Man doll by Mego. Spider Man I was especially obsessed with, and my mom had to hide the web/rope glide it came with because I was playing with it too much (yes, my mom was strange like that)
I also loved the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman television show that was playing often in syndication in the 80s, along with the Bill Bixby Incredible Hulk show, which I loved but was also terrified of. I was fine when David Banner was the Hulk, I just had to be out of the room for the transformation.
1960s Spider Man, Spider Woman, Spider Man and his Amazing Friends, The Hulk and Super Friends were some of my favorite cartoons growing up, along with the pilot of the Sunbow/Marvel version of X-Men (the series never got made and only aired a few times on syndicated tv).
When we would go down to North Carolina, my very gifted at drawing cousin Charles would make cut out paper dolls of the Super Friends for us to play with, compete with capes.
In 7th grade at Waldenbooks in Yorktown Mall in Lombard, Illinois for some reason I bought a copy of West Coast Avengers when writer/penciler John Byrne was at the helm of the book, and I became hooked. Just like when I first got into Electronic music, I started just buying any comic book that even seemed interesting, not knowing its content. Then I discovered the Chris Claremont/Marc Sylvestri run on Uncanny X-Men and the David Michelinie/Todd McFarlane run on the Amazing Spider Man, and I became an addict. The X books (Excalibur, X-Factor, Classic X-Men,New Mutants/X-Force, Wolverine) became my go to books, but would also dabble in the Avengers and Captain America from time to time. Then I discovered the Miller/Mazucelli run on Daredevil, specifically the Born Again story arc.
Somehow I discovered there was a comic book store in my town of Glen Ellyn Illinois called More Fun and I became a regular. I convinced my dad, and later my sister Sandra to somehow drive me to the comic book store weekly. I got so good that I knew which week which book came out. I feel bad for my dad waiting out in the car while I would take a long time in the very small store reading and trying to decide what to buy.
Then the 90s “golden age” of comics at Marvel happened with Jim Lee/Todd McFarlane/Rob Liefeld ( loved Lee and McFarlane, never loved Liefeld, but bought it anyways). I also fell in love with the art of Arthur Adams.
On a family trip to North Carolina I made my Aunt find a comic book store in Winston Salem just so I could buy Todd McFarlane’s solo debut as a artist and writer on Spider Man. Looking back I feel like a spoiled brat!
I also started collecting backwards with X-Men, and exploring the Byrne/Claremont years, of course with the epic Dark Phoenix saga.
One of my best friend’s Chris Mitten and I would spend hours drawing comic book characters, both Marvels and our own. He was WAY better than me, but I tried to keep up. Our classmate Mike Park also tried to draw, but was not as good as Chris and me and we often would make fun of him behind his back (ha!)
For some reason DC comics did not appeal to me. I bought a few issues of Death, The High Price of Living (which my mom freaked out at me having, thinking it was some sort of occult book) and my mom bought me The Death of Superman (remember that publicity stunt?) as a gift. I also bought Frank Miller’s Sin City comic book.
My love of comic books along with my love of album cover art is what led me to become a graphic design major. My room in high school and college was a mix of cars and X-Men and Spider Man, with some Kellogs cereal glow in the dark stars on the ceiling… which I all brought to college with me.
When I got to the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana I just got to0 busy to collect comic books, even though I would go to the comic book store there on Green Street from time to time to see what was going on in the comic book world and pick up a random issue. My roommate and I did watch the Fox Kids X-Men animated series which was based on Claremont/Lee’s X-Men run.
One hobby took over another one and I sold all my comic books to More Fun comics to buy my first synthesizer, except a few ones I was emotionally attached to. In retrospect I got cheated because I sold some very valuable issues like the introduction of Gambit and Cable to X-Men/New Mutants.
In 2000 the first X-Men movie came out and I was very excited. I also picked up the Joe Quesada/Kevin Smith ( of Clerks fame) revival of Daredevil which was really good. While I was not a huge fan of the first X-Men movie, X2 was great, only to be let down again by the X3, The Last Stand. First Class was a great movie, but I didn’t bother with any of the Wolverine or other X-Movies or Deadpool (yes, it’s a crime, I know)
I also liked the controversial Ang Lee Hulk movie and did not particularly like the Ed Norton Hulk movie.
Of course all the Fantastic Four movies were bad, but the Sin City movie was pretty good.
Daredevil/Elektra was awful.
I enjoyed the Sam Rami/Toby McGuire Spider Man movies, at least the first two. The other franchises are not bad, and Into the Multiverse was really good.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe was hit and miss for me, enjoying the Captain American franchise, but only liking Iron Man 1. I only liked Thor Ragnarok, and the first and third installment of Avengers (Endgame).
I kept up with some of the X-Men animated series of the 2000s and the “motion comic” of the Astonishing X-Men run which was actually really good, but the motion comic was pretty gimmicky and dumb and actually reminded me of the 60s Marvel Comic cartoons where they just literally cut up old Marvel Comics, made them move on the screen and used a lot of close ups and limited animation.
The only DC movies I’ve seen is Wonder Woman (good) and Super Man Returns (Brandon Routh). The 90s Batman movies which went from great to horrible, and the Dark Knight trilogy. Justice League and Ben Affleck Batman I never bothered with because it looked awful.
My niece loves the Arrow/Flash verse, and the few episodes Ive seen with her were good, but never got hooked.
I did enjoy the Punisher, Jessica Jones and Daredevil Netflix series, but Iron Fist (who cares about him) and the Defenders was awful. Also never bothered with Agents of Shield. Also didn’t bother with Captain Marvel.
I do look forward to the next phase of the MCU, Black Widow, what will happen with Spider Man (will Matt Murdock be his lawyer?), and if another X-Men franchise will happen. I’ve never been a Thor fan, so Natalie Portman as Thor doesn’t do a lot for me. Wonder Woman 1984 looks great. We shall see.
Make Mine Marvel!