Anyone who’s spent any time with me has probably picked up on my affinity for Marvel characters. Someone recently asked me how that started, which got me to thinking… (cue wavy screen and harp music)
Ever since I can remember, my Dad would get up early every Saturday morning and head over to Ruby Isle, in Brookfield, to go to the grocery store to buy eggs, bacon and donuts for our family. When I was around 4 or 5, I started making the weekly trip with him.
While he would be in the grocery store, I would head next door to Philip’s Pharmacy to look around.
It didn’t take more than one trip down the aisles to find the comic book stand. (So colorful…) I started looking through the rack and found Marvel’s Spidey Super Stories comic. Amazing Spider-man was the only Marvel Spider-man title at the time (except for Marvel Tales, which reprinted old Spider-man stories), and it was a little above my reading level.
But Spidey Super Stories was Marvel’s comic version of the Electric Company Spider-man, so it was geared toward new readers, like myself.
So every Saturday, while my Dad got donuts, I would head into the Pharmacy, and pick out some comics that my Dad would then come and buy for me.
I can remember vividly, when I was going to school in Madison, WI, riding my bike to the comic shop for that Wednesday’s new comics when it hit me. I had been picking up the newest comics every week for 17 years… without even thinking about it.
It was then that I realized this might just have become a habit. But it was a happy habit (though it got a bit more expensive than smoking), and I would pursue it for about 20 more years before finally giving up the comic collecting portion of it.
I still have an interest in Marvel’s characters, but now I’m satisfied to pursue it through the movies and picking up a collected works paperback now and again.
My Dad just figured it was getting me reading, so how bad could it be. I was always drawn to Marvel over DC because the characters were so much more relatable and interesting. And it took place in a real city – New York – as opposed to some made up place like Metropolis (yawn).
On a related note, I can still remember my first trip to New York checking out the skies for Spider-man and being so excited to see the water towers on top of all the buildings – just like it was drawn in the comics.
It was on that trip when I toured the Marvel Comics offices – guided by Spider-man, no less. It was a very cool tour, and I did it at the right age. I was just young enough for childlike excitement while old enough to appreciate that I was seeing a workplace.
I’ve read a lot of Marvel material and derived a great deal of enjoyment thanks to that company. Or, more accurately, thanks to my Dad allowing me to start reading the comics at such an early age.
(Coming soon: I’ll tell the same story again as I reveal when I started my appreciation for good donuts.)