This post owes its existence to a night hanging out with other creative minds, and amongst beers and wine, and confiding in each other where our love affair with the graphic medium started.
I heard lots of interesting stories that night, but I decided to just tell mine.
Love Affair #1
Warren Publisher does Will Eisner The Spirit.
I was a really young kid, in kindergarten, in The Bronx, in New York, and I had to walk past a few newstands and some bodegas, and some of them had comics on the windows, or in racks.
Of course I would check out the Spiderman or the Superman comic against the glass, but one day I saw this.
It was love at first sight.
The lettering of the logo did remind me of Superman’s but the indentations made it look like they had been roughed up. And the hero really looked roughed up!!! Superman was never worked over like that. And speaking of which, anyone notices how this character actually looks a bit like Clark Kent?
The perspective, the puddles, the wrinkles, the flying papers and trash… i remember noticing all of these details from the cover and being amazed and coveting this comic for ever…. but a 5 year old barely has two wooden nickels to rub together, so it would pass almost 10 years before i got to read it… and when I read it, I found it even better than what my imagination had made up.
The late Master Will Eisner has pages and pages of admirers on the web, analyzing all aspects of his amazing art, and his unsurpassed storytelling technique, so you don’t need me to add to the lot.
Suffice to say that as a first love, Warren’s publication of The Spirit by Will Eisner was amazing.
Love Affair #2
Marvel’s Amazing Spiderman # 33
So, a few years passed since that cover, and I was spending my summers in a country in Western Europe, with my family, and the first summers were pretty lonely for a foreigner boy.
So I started catching up on my reading, filling my share of old Shazam’s, the Phantom, and local heroes and funny books.
Then, along came this little gem
For those of you who don’t know about it, this is one of the last comics that Steve Ditko drew on this character.
The most amazing part is the desolated narrative, and how Lee and Ditko manage to retale a story of epic and mythical proportions with a graphic pacing that is completely up to par with the aspirations of the tale.
This story has it all: Teen hero worried about sick aunt, fighting against all odds, the hero trapped under something that make Sisyphus look like a wuss…
The sequence was groundbreaking for its time. The pacing, the angles, the dialog…
After that, nothing was ever the same for me. All comics compared to that one in drama and levels of intensity.
Love Affair #3
Werewolf By Night.
Right by the time i was a pre-adolescent, I was busy catching up on my Conan, Thor, Batman, Hulk, etc. You may have noticed that i was more of a Marvel aficionado as opposed to a DC lover.
I have lots of good memories from those years of discovery and wonderment. But something stood out among so much good reading.
I was able to read this in a foreign edition, that compiled two issues in one. And it was glorious black and white. When i returned stateside, i looked for it and found it, but i still liked the foreign black and white edition better.
The writing was a pr ohter oduct of the mind of the master Doug Moench, who at the time seemed to carry all by his lonesome the weight of many Marvel comics.
Somehow, Don Perlin and Doug Moench created some scary magic in this short saga.
You can tell that Doug wanted to write a haunted house story, maybe inspired by Richard Matheson’s Hell House, maybe inspired by many other sources that were coming out at the time on the genre.
The part that is most enjoyable is how Doug constructed a tale that transmits the uncertainty of dealing with the unknown… Don’t get me wrong, he manages to wrap everything in a nice happy ending , by the conclusion of the saga, as it is supposed to be done in a comic code compliant book, but in the middle of the story you get possessions, hallucinations, tauntings, poltergeist, apparitions, etc etc, and the writing is the just the right amount of Gothic and modern, that it makes it amazing.
So there you have it.
Care to tell me what made you fall in love with the graphic books?