Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sorcerers, Spacemen & Swamp Beasts; "Oh, My!"
- or -
Dorkwin; The Origin of the Geeksies.

To paraphrase a famous blogger - who once wisely stated words to similar effect...
"Why you no post, Ptor?"

Well, I've been meaning to, but the lack of available time (or, at least enough "consecutive, pre-midnight non-bleary-eyed time", as I tend to call it) kept me from being able to be lucid enough, long enough to get this in the can.

There were a few opportunities to present some odds and ends, but I opted not to because this is a my 125th post, and I didn't want to "waste" it on something trivial.

And so... I waited until I had the time to do (right) something that was (hopefully) worthy of the "big number" (especially since I MISSED my 100th post).

Thus, I say...
Welcome back, dear friends and readers, to this, my
SPECIAL 125th POST!!!
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As a change of pace around here, I thought I'd toss up a slightly "interactive" activity, of sorts on ye olde blog. Something to help get everyone a little closer and inspire some activity in the comments section.

Now, even on this blog's slowest days, I easily get well over 100 "unique" hits per day (much more than that on occasion), so I expect to get at least a few replies to this, OK?

We're going to walk back down the primrose path of our halcyon "golden" years... when we first discovered comics... and offer up some memories thereof.

In this way, we can share our origins in this hobby / interest / obsession we call "comics"...if you don't mind sharing memories of your "formative years".

I will, of course, proffer my personal anecdotes as well.
It's only fair.


When did you, my friends and readers:

1)
- Start reading (or discover) comics?
  • a) Do you recall any of the circumstances around that "fateful day / event / time of life"?
  • b) Why and/or how you got the issue(s) in question?
  • c) What your first comics WAS? (If you can recall the specific issue(s).)
2) - When did you first read DOCTOR STRANGE (or- alternatively, if you are here because of your love of one of the OTHER "6-Dimensions" characters, then... THEM)?
  • a) Was the title &/or character on it's own or as a team-up / cross-over / continued story from another title?
  • b) Did you like the title &/or character at first or did it grow on you later?

That's all for this go-round.
I think that should be enough to spark some discussion, don't you?

--------------

Now, for proper etiquette (netiquette?) I'll share my formative story with you all...
I'll go into some crazy in-depth detail for the benefit of the blog... (but don't feel you have to make your answers as long as mine. Just whatever you feel like sharing).

*************
To answer the
# 1) a), b), c)
portion of my questions;


I first started reading comics in the late 1970's - at around 10 years of age. As near as I can recall, I started tentatively in 1977. Maybe there were a few scattered issues as far back as 1975, but by 1978 I was in full-swing.
I'm sure my first few comics were random, individual issues. Nothing specific. These arbitrary issues were most likely brought home for me by my father, who worked in the Postal system.
Maybe they were subscription issues that lost their mailing sleeve, or perhaps they were brought in by a co-worker. I can't say. With the exception of X-Men # 71 (which must have been a co-worker offering, since it's from 1971) , Marvel Super Action # 1 and Marvel Triple Action # 16 (which I absolutely love(d) and had definitely fueled my interest in the Avengers), I don't recall many of those random issues. At least, not consciously.



My parents knew of my love of all manners of reading material, and while my mom would almost exclusively give me books to read, my dad used to have comics when he was a kid (supposedly very early issues of War-era Captain America and other War Comics - all of which were tossed out by his mother when he joined the Army), so some comics probably seemed as innocent reading fodder.

My own foray into buying comics came via the odd's-n-ends from the multi-packs that were sold in 5-and-dime stores at the time.

They were a great value, 3 (to 5 - depending on the type of multi-pack) fairly recent comics (anywhere from 4 months to a year old) in a sealed baggie, for a bit less than cover price of the originals added up.

There were a few instances, I recall, sneaking out to the Roosevelt Field Mall - which was verboten as a solo trek - and buying the multi-packs at the Woolworth's 5-and-dime.

Some of the first issues I obtained were:

Defenders # 63 (part 2 of the 3-issue "Defenders for a Day" story)
A glorious clusterfuck of an issue! It intrigued me, to be sure, but by itself, it was unfathomable since I had no idea who many of these masses of costumed lunatics were!
Problem was, with no comic stores anywhere around, and this issue already a few months old, I would have to wait - easily a decade or so - until I would be able to read the entire arc.
(To think this was my first Defenders issue and NO DOCTOR STRANGE to be found in it! I was so close... but wouldn't meet the Doctor named Strange for a little while yet.)

.
Iron Man # 115
This was my first introduction to Iron Man (with the possible exception of the Marvel 1960's "animated" cartoons - and the "cool exec with the heart of steel"), and while I seem to remember wondering what would happen next issue, it didn't really "click" with me, and I promptly forgot about it. Madame Masque and the Ani-Men seemed interesting though.


Marvel Two-in-One # 44 (Thing & Hercules)
Good lord, I loved this issue. I just re-read it a few moments ago (ah, nostalgia) and it's a fun romp! Basically, Ben Grimm retelling a "tall tale" of sorts to a bunch of delinquent kids at "Camp Run-A-Muck". It got it's hooks in me as a lad (especially that cover), and provided a few good grins for the adult me, as well.
(Sadly, I missed the Man-Thing appearance of the issue before.)


.
Marvel Team-Up # 58 (Spider-Man & Ghost Rider.)
The cover is memorable enough. The story? Don't remember anything about it. But I'm pretty sure it got me interested in Ghost Rider! Just not enough to spend the money on G.R. back-issues, when I eventually did wade into the collector's mindset.


These...among many others were my first recollected memories of my earliest comics.
Every so often I'll be rummaging through the longboxes (or searching online for something) and come across an issue that I had as a kid and the cover would burst forth straight through my cerebellum, demolishing it's way through 30 years of temporal distance, grabbing hold of my brain-box to bring me right back to the late 1970's.
I'm sure there are other great issues that I should be including in this brief run-down, but sadly, I can't place them off-hand.

While there WERE some DC's in there, (issues of WEIRD WAR TALES and HAUNTED TANK,) the only DC comic that I remember was
SUPERMAN FAMILY # 193.
While I honestly have no idea where that issue came from, I'll share my half-remembered thoughts on the issue here.
If you wish to skip that, just jump to the next set of "---" dash-bars

-------------

The lead-in Superboy story could not have left me more disinterested if it tried, with some half-assed villain with the traditional DC-trope of "oversized-props-used-as-weapons" shtick, but the Supergirl story, with appearances by "The Human Cannonball" (and his goofy-looking afro-like cannonball helmet) was a bit more to my tastes.
A mad villain, strange anti-gravity craziness in a foreign locale (London), a bit of a "mystery" (something simple but trivia that has stuck with me to this very day; ie; the villain claims that the answer is found in Big Ben, but no one can gain access to the famous clock tower. Until Supergirl (iirc) recalls that the moniker of "Big Ben" is the name of the BELL not the clock or the tower - heh. It's strange, the stupid stuff that one remembers, hmm?)... all good stuff.
There was also a last panel appearance by the DOOM PATROL and I found myself very eager to learn more about that group. They seemed so much the opposite of the simple, straightforward Super-family. Sadly, with no comic stores anywhere nearby, and no idea how to get more of these weird comic-things, I never got another issue of Superman Family. As soon as I read the issue to literal pieces, I gave up on that title and my love of the Doom Patrol would have to wait for about a decade until the Grant Morrison incarnation would earn my monthly funds.

The only other part of the issue that I found interesting was a middle-segment of a story arc dealing with those heroes of the bottled city of Kandor; Nightwing and Flamebird.
While still fairly whitebread, their tale had an edge, with the two characters locked in mortal combat with each other over some act of imagined betrayal.
The only way to stop the fight was for the one who still regained his senses to feign death, hoping that the shock would free the mind of the maddened teammate.

I recall my interest being piqued by their segment.
Sadly, I've never seen or read another Nightwing and Flamebird story since then.


-------------

Usually, after my trek to the land of bulk bagged comics, I'd walk over to a row of shoppes and warehouses (on the nearby "Voice Road") and while waiting for my sister to get off work, I'd sit on the loading bay of the Paper & Plastics store where she worked at that time, and read the day's haul. This would definitely be by 1978... still about a year before I'd find my local stationery store would start carrying new issues. Closer to home and with a selection I could actively peruse.

All of those multi-bagged comics got me pretty hooked, but the one that really pulled me in was
Uncanny X-Men # 116.

That one got me to actually start hunting down and collecting the back-issues.

And even more importantly, it's the comic that started me CREATING my own comics and characters.
I recall being drawn to Cyclops and Nightcrawler the most, and in my first created comic-team (which I called "X-FACTOR" , obviously many loooooong years before Marvel did so) I had analogues to those two X-men, plus a few of my own totally original characters.

What's truly odd, is that issue was brought home to me by my mother (and younger brother), who while out shopping, received this comic from a new store (probably Heroes World) that was giving away free issues as a promotional gimmick.

Strange, thinking back at it now, since my folks (especially my mother) soon would hate my growing love of the medium, to the point where I would have to sneak my comics hauls into the house under ridiculous effort and wily means.
However, it was really THEY who first introduced me to them.
Irony at it's finest.

The only saving grace, as far as my parents were concerned, was that I had little or no resources to acquire many more of these vile things, apart from the small selection of pre-bagged multi-packs.
That was manageable enough.
And even I wouldn't buy a multi-pack if the contents were nothing that interested me.
Of course, the trick was to somehow try to see what the middle comic was, that was sandwiched between the outer, visible two.
Usually, these were lame comics, but luckily for me, I loved the lame ones even more!
But, even under the best of conditions, it was damned near impossible to discern what that comic was, and so, if at least one of the visible comics wasn't of interest, I'd usually walk home empty handed.

Occasionally, I'd stumble upon a hidden cache of comics and treasury editions in some forgotten back-section of a 5-and-dime or corner mini-convenience stand.
That's how I found Marvel Triple Action # 33, and
Marvel Special Edition: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
movie adaptation!



Still, my mania over this medium would grow, fueled, in part, by a small group of friends who had also been bitten by the comic-bug.
Every month or so, one of their mother's would take us in a car-load to one of the growing number of comic specialty shoppes that were cropping up in the neighboring towns. Shoppes, the likes of which named as; "The Bat-Cave", "Mike's Comic Hut" and "Creation" were my stepping stones to a much larger world of accessibility.

Another resource opened up when we found that the local permanent flea-market had several vendors who specialized entirely in comics!
Ye Gods! This was a twice-a-week venue within walking distance!
So, we'd frequently hop the 10 foot tall chain-link fence (because to pay the dollar or two entrance fee would mean less money for comics!) and serpentine, dashing our way through the cars and vendors spaces to avoid the security patrols and make our way to the glorious longboxes within.
(On some occasions, some or all of us would be nabbed - either going in or out of the market, and be forced to cough up the entrance fee, but most times, we'd make it unmolested.)

Sadly, I never really had a lot of extra cash to buy expensive back issues- although, they weren't too high priced, looking back now. A mint copy of Spider-Man # 1 was less than $300 at the time. Giant Size X-Men # 1 was about $60.
But still, that was seen as a lot of money for a single comic book.
My friends all had allowances or some other resource for money to spend on their comics, while I only had what I could scrounge up - or earn from a pennysaver paper delivery route.

So, my friends were buying near-mint copies of their faves;
(John D's fix was Spider-Man, Mike G's flame was stoked by Ghost Rider, Rosario V's attentions were always toward what was the most popular and/or strongest; so Uncanny X-Men & Thor were his choices), while I ended up dredging the 25cent bins.

This turned out to be a good thing, as I was a fan of the off-beat, the strange, the mystical and monstrous (and... most crucially, the INEXPENSIVE), so I would soon fall for the original run of the Macabre MAN-THING!

Those early Mike Ploog illustrated issues still bring me mentally right back to the dank and dusty quarter bins of old.
Truthfully, while I would have loved to have been able to buy shiny bagged comics from the wall behind the register, the discount bins were home to many overlooked and underestimated titles.

Man-Thing was just the one that I would grow to love the most.
My only true regret at the time was that there were only back-issues of Man-Thing to collect. He was no longer being published.

Although, that was soon to change.

*********************

Now, to address the

# 2) a), b)
section of the show;

As I stated in the first part of this post; I discovered comics in the mid to late 1970's, started really COLLECTING them by 1978 and 1979.
By 1980, I would soon be a regular buyer and reader of MAN-THING & ROM (among others).

After re-reading my 25cent bin collection of original Man-Thing issues a multitude of times, I walked into the local stationery store (where I had discovered a few months earlier had started to carry new comics), I was looking through the spinner rack, with it's ubiquitous "Hey, Kids! COMICS!" header, and saw something that would set my eyes alight!

MAN-THING volume 2 # 2!

I was soon able to score the first issue from my friend John D., whom I seem to recall thinking that it was a bit heavy handed in the writing. Truthfully, he was right, but it's such a sappy tale that it always gets me to choke up a little.


Among the many new titles that were hitting the stands was something that would grip my shit pretty hard; ROM; SPACEKNIGHT!

My first issue of ROM (as I related in my previous post on the ROM "doll" - [HERE]) was issue # 3,
but I quickly scored issue # 1.

(# 2 was nearly impossible to find and took me more than several months to locate.)

Here's where DOCTOR STRANGE comes into the scheme of things;

As you know, ROM # 5 had that Doctor Strange cameo appearance (which I touched upon in an old post [HERE]).
That MIGHT have been my first real introduction to DOC.
I thought that was very cool, and was interested in finding out more about this mysterious, mystical character.



Then, one month later, in issue # 4 of MAN-THING, Doc had a cross-over from his mag, so that I had to buy the issue before (# 40) and issue after (#41) to follow the story.


The intensity of the issues and the epic battle between these mystical forces was all I could hope for in a comic.

Needless to say...that's all it took.
I was hooked on Strange!

So, I began to buy then-recent back-issues as well as the new ones as they came out, which was perfect timing on my part, because the cover artist for the next few issues was
Michael Golden,
who completely altered how I would perceive comic art!



Soon enough, I was hunting down back-issues, and built up a good collection.


My friend John D. presented me with Doctor Strange # 169, explaining to me that it was actually a # 1 for Doctor Strange (which at the time I had a hard time understanding - not that I cared much, because never before or since had I seen such a perfectly awesome comic book cover!) and things just kept escalating from there.



Shortly thereafter I got the 1980 calendar ("used" - since by then, it was closer to 1981) - which I used as a "map" of sorts to help find appearances - as I related in the post in which I featured the 1980 calendar in toto [HERE].

With the aid of that, and the editorial boxes, I was slowly able to piece together much of DOC's appearances, and I never looked back.

---------

I had, on one occasion in the mid-1980s (1983, 1984, perhaps), given up on comics "cold turkey", and sold off nearly all of my collection.
However, as with all things done "cold turkey", the cravings would come back and eventually, I would succumb to them - even more determined to amass a complete and all-encompassing collection
, to the point where NOW I have almost certainly nearly every single appearance of Dr. Strange ever put to print.

(Not to mention my growing love and fascination with the medium as a whole, and the many titles, by numerous publishers, large and small, that would spark my interest... and eventually, however, fall by the wayside, either by their own demise, or my ever focused view on the worlds of Doctor Strange and the so-called "6-Dimensions" characters.)

By the mid 1980's I started getting into the swag and collectibles.
However, It wasn't until the late 80's - mid 90's that I started REALLY losing my mind.

But, that is a subject for a future post.

---------

So, that's my origin tale.
What's yours?

---------
Most comic cover images from Grand Comic Book Database.
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12 comments:

plok said...

Coming...!

Just gotta get some shuteye, first...

~P~ said...

Yeah, yeah... you said the same thing about the big ROM post too...

Nah... I kid.

TRUST me, if there's ANYONE who understands about lack of sleep - it's me.

Take your time.

(I won't mention the fact that I've been sorely lacking in both my commenting on YOUR site, as well as following up on our discussed future post ideas either. My Parkerian guilt might kill me, otherwise.)

Lightning Strike said...

In 1977 or 78 I was on a trip with my brother and sisters and step dad, and we stopped at a gas station and they had some comics on a turntable. I saw a Spidey issue (don't remember which one) and started thumbing through it.

My step dad saw me looking at it and asked me if I wanted it. Of course I said yes and read it on the car drive.

That was the beginning of my comic book collecting days. :-)

Later on, my dad would give me two large stacks of my brother's comics which included an almost complete run of Cockrum and Byrne's Uncanny X-Men run, Miller's DD run and several other cool bronze age comics. I was hooked.

The first Strange comic I read was DSMotMA #3 featuring Silver Dagger and that awesome cover by Brunner. I believe I got it in a trade from a friend years after it came out. So I got into Strange a little later than most.

I really dug Brunner's art and thought Strange was a pretty cool character. I ended up reading that whole series, but stopped reading after Paul Smith's run.

Howard Hallis said...

OK, here goes...

When did I

1) - Start reading (or discover) comics?
a) Do you recall any of the circumstances around that "fateful day/ event/ time of life"?
I remember going over to my cousins Michael and Kevin's house around 1977 or so. They had an oversized hardcover book that had early Batman reprints in it and a few Neil Adams Batman comics lying around. When I asked them who that was, they replied "You don't know who Batman is??" and laughed at me. Needless to say, I spent the rest of the day looking through every page of the Batman book and comics. I was hooked. This was much cooler than dinosaurs. I think my cousins also taught me what the middle finger meant on that visit as well. I learned a lot on that day.

b) Why / how you got the issue(s) in question?

Well, after that trip, I wanted Batman comics. My mom took me down to the newsstand and we looked for Batman. They had it but she decided Spidey SuperStories would be a little more to my liking, since the Batman cover looked too violent to her. I was insulted, but made her promise we would come back next time for the Batman if she got me the Spidey.

c) What your first comics WAS? (If you can recall the specific issue(s).)
Spidey SuperStories #23



2) - When did you first read DOCTOR STRANGE?

a) Was it on his own or as a team-up /cross-over / continued story from another title?

PROBABLY Marvel Treasury #14 with the Spider-Man Team Up reprints. I know I also had the Penguin Pocketbooks of Dr. Strange, Spider-Man and The Hulk. That might have been it... and I definitely watched most of the TV pilot when it aired in 1978, but had to go to bed before the final scene. In a way that was better actually, since I missed the blue pajamas and star tunic!

b) Did you like the title &/or character at first or did it grow on you later?

Honestly, as a kid the Dr. Strange stories kind of went over my head. I read them, but remember liking the Hulk and Spider-Man stuff more at the time. It wasn't until my college years that I really started to love the character.

John Sisson said...

I discovered comics when I was 7 or 8. They were around in the environment because friends had them.

My first comic story I owned was the Signet paperback of Batman stories and the paperback of Spider-man stories. These were good value for the dollar and I re-read them alot.

My first actual comic I am not sure about. We had a summer place at Hermosa Beach CA and the store across the street (The Green Store) had comics we got to buy for the drive home.

So the one that sticks is Strange Sports number ? (GCD seems to be down), with the Baseball team against the Devil , the man who drove through time,and some other.

My first Doctor Strange was more like when I was 14 or 15. It was in "The Origins of Marvel Comics".

I got to comics through the "graphic novel" or book collections side of comics.I had read some Marvel comics and I had a friend who had a bunch of Spider-man and Fantastic Four so I had read his. I had also begun to look for Batman comics on my own. Publisher's Central Bureau sold discounted hardbacks and through them I bought "Buck Rogers" and "Batman from the 40s to the 70s".

It still was not love at first sight but as I started buying comics regularly around that time I picked up various Dr. Stranges and saw him in crossovers. I was still mostly a Batman guy.

I really got back to Dr. Strange around age 22. I started reading it regularly and hunting down back issues in the bins. I liked then and still like now that pretty much all of Dr. Strange's history connected together. You would find references to older events and big events had implications down the road. I tend to view all the Dr. Strange issues as one huge diary/biography/news report. It all happened and any problems are just inherent in reporting magical events.


Sort of like how "P" told in his journey (via the calendar) every issue gave you another piece of the puzzle and so they are all worth seeking out.

Around 1990 I had most of the back issues but wanted more! I discovered original art for the comic pages themselves. I slowly started accumulating and eventually had a notebook of copies of all my pages in chronological order. I have pages covering from 1965-2007, capturing some of the scattered events, villians, and personal challenges Stephen has had to face.

I actually "read" that book regularly and remind myself of the glorious and strange history of Dr. Strange.

googum said...

I know I read comics before then, but Star Wars hooked me good. The ads for other books introduced me to most of the Marvel universe.

I don't right recall, but I would bet my introduction to Dr. Strange was as a guest-star. That's how I usually think of him: character X has magic problem, so who you gonna call? (Oh, I know there's more to Strange than that, but I remember a lot of guest spots!)

Sean Aaron said...

I wasn't going to partake of this comment; it's too much like a group therapy meeting! But our host is such a good writer and this blog so well done that I'm always pleased to see an update even if it's nothing to do with Doc Strange -- truly an inspiration to bloggers everwhere.

Now that I'm done kissing booty, the questions are incredibly hard to give good answers to. Like the OP and others I'm a child of the 70s (born in the magical year of 1970 itself) and up until my teenage years I was living in Chicago and my only source of comics was these bagged deals, the odd spinner at the drug store or newsstands. As a consequence many of my comics were isolated one-offs of anything that caught my fancy; rarely more than two in sequence.

I can remember vividly two books in particular: A Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man that takes place during the Clone Saga or whatever where Peter is doing a big flashback to fighting Morbius The Living Vampire, finding a dead clone and some other stuff. The last panel is him walking into a room and seeing a big Peter Ustinov-looking character who says "Hello, My name is Dr. Faustus!" To this day I have no clue what happens next!

The other is a Doctor Strange book ending with a man coming to his front door saying "I'm looking for Stephen Sanders!" It would be over a decade before I saw what happened next there. In fact the only books I can recall getting in sequence were the first few Godzilla King of the Monsters books. Spider-Man and Dr. Strange were my favourites by far and I had the pocket book collections of their first tales. Dr. Strange in particular I read over and over again. This nice little paperback started with the origin and finished with him getting the red and gold Cloak of Levitation.

My early eclecticism has served me well as I "get" a lot of what Alan Moore's done in books like Supreme and Tom Strong. I've read Ka-Zar, Kamandi, Batman, Superman, Firestorm, Nova, Challengers of the Unknown, Doom Patrol, Howard the Duck, Man Thing, Dr. Strange, Ghost Rider -- hell even the Micronauts and probably ROM. I've read many Archie comics, Fawcett books like Wendy and Casper and Captain Marvel in waiting rooms for dentists and doctors and in barber shops.

It wasn't until shortly before moving to California that I saw my first comics shop on Clark Street, which was more of a head shop. It was all overwhelming and I think my mom was buying some Furry Freak Brothers books and rolling papers, otherwise I wouldn't have been there.

When I was in junior high I made some friends who were into comics and went with them to a comic shop (I think it was Mike's, but I really don't remember the name or even where it was other than being in San Jose). There I saw Dr. Strange and he was on issue 60 or something like that. And there were back issues! At last I could finish the stories I had started so long ago!

When I started high school I went to Del Mar which was next to Dan Vado's shop (the founder of Slave Labor Graphics) called something-Fantasies (sorry Dan!). Here I started my first store-based subscriptions and I bought comics from him right through university when I threw in the towel on the "floppies" completely in favour of graphic novels.

During my high school years I amassed a complete run of Dr. Strange from his Strange Tales appearances right through series 1&2 and the second Strange Tales. I also branched out into collecting all of the Defenders and even Man-Thing (another connection to our host). Then I got steered towards Alan Moore via a discussion with Dan Vado I'll never forget. He used to try to turn folk onto new books that he enjoyed and I remember Swap Thing 36 or 38 had just come out...part of the vampire story Moore was doing. Dan suggested I check it out, but it was DC and I had a low opinion of the company. "Swap Thing? That's crap, now Man-Thing is the real deal!" Dan was amused and said I should take the book for free. He thought it was so well-written I'd come back for more and he was right. I never thought more of Man-Thing than Swamp Thing again (my god, did I just type that?).

After University I sold or just binned all my individual books, but hung onto my graphic novels. The expense of buying periodicals was just too much and I had nowhere to put them. To this day I only buy graphic novels, but I'm extremely selective and mostly focus on Alan Moore and Chris Ware with the odd Dan Clowes or French book.

A few years ago I noted that Marvel was finally getting a brain and exploiting their back issues with the Masterworks and Essentials books, but they were coming out very infrequently and focusing on the popular stuff I had little to no interest in. I couldn't bring myself to buy Dr. Strange in black and white when even the little pocket book was in colour.

Then I saw that Dr. Strange Masterworks volume 1 had been released and decided to buy it. It was like having that old pocket book again, but full-size and on better paper. Brilliant! Then volume 2 and volume 3 were released (but I've been waiting patiently for volume 4 and filling in with A Separate Reality and the Vampire Saga). Dr. Strange is the only Masterworks book I buy, but I have started collecting some Essentials volumes due to the excellent Iron Man film. I've been reading Iron Man for the first time and also bought the first five volumes of Spider-Man -- someday I may find out what happened with Dr. Faustus -- as well as Luke Cage, Power Man and Howard the Duck.

Dr. Strange is still my favourite and thanks to your site and NeilAlien I can keep abreast of what's happening in the world of tights and capes -- and of course when the next Dr. Strange novels are coming!

~P~ said...

Gents (although... where are the LADIES? I know they're out there),

Thanks for playing along with this exercise.
It's always fun to get together with like-minded people (although, it's not a requirement that everyone like the same thing, either) and just shoot the shit, regaling each other with tales of how we got here.

While different, everyone's experiences seem to be at least - in some major ways - similar.

The magical year of 1977 (or thereabouts) seems to be fairly common (or if not that year - depending on the year of birth - but at least that 7 - 9 year old benchmark).

I'm always interested in the journey that brings many divergent people to the same place - albeit at different times or locales.

It reminds me of epic tales of heroes gathering, sometimes unbeknownst to each other, on some quest or other - until they meet (even if across the span of time - via notations, journals or runes... sort of like "A.S." Arne Saknussemm, from the "Journey to the Center of the Earth") at their destination.

I'll leave these comments OPEN and hope that more sojourners will find this post and leave their stories and histories as well, telling us all how THEY got to this "place".

PTOR

Holly said...

Here is a Lady! lol

well, I have to say I'm not as experienced in the world of comics (I'm only 22, ha, but I have to say I've read all of the old comics with Dr. Strange in them, and quite a few others, thanks to the re-prints of all of them)

But I did begin reading comics when I was like, 7-9! I read things like Pink Panther, Under Dog, other silly cartoon comics, (later drawing my own comic strip all throughout school) but they were still in book form and I still walked down to 7-11 and bought them with change, haha.

I first ran into Dr. Strange when I got to college. A lot of my friends were into marvel comics (and still are) and a friend of mine loves x-men and spider man. One day we were in a comic shop and I picked up "The Oath" and my friend was like, oh yeah, that's Dr. strange, you'd like him! I had been trying to find a marvel character that I really connected with (I majored in Medieval Studies in college, so I love pseudo occult things, magic, all of that) and after reading that I was hooked! Reading the older comics was even better, and Ditko's artwork really pulled me in and made me love the character even more.

so after that I went to used books stores, e-bay, all kinds of places, and managed to get a small collection of all the Dr. Strange comics I could find (my oldest one I think is from...some times in the 70s, I know, it's silly, but the cover is awesome so I framed it...hahaha)

Also, Clea is a great female character. I make costumes as a job/hobby/whathave you (there's some on my site if want to see what crazy things I make, www.fyriel.com) and I'm going to make a Clea costume (I can't decide between the 80s costume or the 60s on with the magical pointy shoulders....any feedback? lol)

SO now when I go to a comic store my friend looks for x-men/spiderman, and I look for Dr. Strange, and then we get together every now and then to bitch about how Marvel has no sense of continuity and how they hate all the good characters, and how Bendis is......special.

Whew! That was a fun post...either way, it's great that we have such a wonderful set of blogs to keep up with the Dr. Strange gossip, so thank you PTOR! (and Nielalien or course)

;D

~Holly

Sean Aaron said...

I prefer the later costume, but you cannot reall argue with Ditko's original design -- why not both?

I will say that even though I find reading about the current stuff interesting I find the obsession with continuity of both Marvel and DC really annoying; even worse the constant money-grabbing tie-ins to "fix" things.

I'd prefer these comics to do one of two things:

1. Treat the imagined world as real a la Busiek's brilliant Astro City and simply move on and let characters grow old, die, pass on the torch. This would create a universe of depth and variety as existed in the 70s and 80s. You felt that Spider-Man and Doctor Strange had a real history, but the desire to keep Spider-Man in his 20s forever just doesn't work without retconning and rebooting the character which would be fine except that he's always interacting with characters that don't age like Dr. Strange. So you end up rebooting the entire bloody thing all the time! Why, why why?

2. Stop the endless serials and simply publish stories: the endless graphic novel approach. Basically model the books on the British attitude to television. You sell a series of a few episodes you've created and if you write some more, great you can get another series, but you don't renew just to renew and therefore automatically introduce poorly thought-out content simply because something has to be on the shelf every month. I'd rather see a Dr. Strange story like the Oath every other year than a poorly executed monthly or bimonthly series. It also allows for less ties to continuity: the story can exist in its own little bubble. This is especially true for characters like Superman and Batman who should be dead or in wheelchairs by now!

plok said...

I don't remember when I started reading comics -- I may have been four or five. They were everywhere. It may have been an old Pogo comic of my mother's up in our little plywood summer cabin...it may have been some kid's crappy old JLA comic I remember reading in the days before my co-collector moved in down the street. Alternatively, it may all have been sparked by the old 1967 Fantastic Four cartoon, which I loved, and I think got run on TV here maybe in 1970? '71? No idea. Hmm, we had gotten colour TV by then...it might've been more like 1972. I don't recall the first comic I ever "bought" -- it was probably Superman or Batman, maybe the Flash -- a very old Phantom Stranger comic I recall giving me nightmares, and I do believe I saw some Mad comics at school, Tintin, Asterix, etc. -- but the first Marvel comic was probably an old Gerry Conway/Rich Buckler FF, the second of a two parter where they fight the Miracle Man. In this comic, Reed and Sue are estranged, and have a son, and Reed did something to him to make him a vegetable...uh, what? Johnny is in his red-and-yellows, and Medusa's there. No one's familiar but Ben, really. This was bought from an old gas barge up the coast of B.C., and read -- I should say "pored over obsessively" -- on a boat. 1973 sounds about right. My father didn't want to buy it because Ben was a monster -- I flipped the comic open to demonstrate he was a good guy, and Dad relented.

Either that, or it was Marvel Team-Up #21 (I think) -- The Human Torch vs. Iceman.

It really is all a bit of a blur. I remember some friends of the family having old Jack Kirby Hulk comics, but don't know when that was.

Dr. Strange I'm sure I first encountered in The Defenders -- either the Alpha the Ultimate Mutant story, or the penultimate chapter of the Avengers/Defenders War, picked up long after its printing date in yet another gas barge at the end of an inlet I could never find on a chart again -- they had a lot of oldies there, what a treasure trove. I liked Doc right away, and started reading Defenders obsessively.

Everything else came later.

I'm telling you, it all starts with cartoons!

Anonymous said...

my first comic i read and understood, (please dont laugh was captain carrot and the amazing zoo crew.)

my brother used to get rom and spider-man and swamp thing and brave and the bold. the first rom comic i read was the one with the torpedo on the cover.

I read mostly marvel, dc left me in the cold years ago. i read some independents.

but my most favorite comics are the old archie super hero line namely the black hood. totally my favorite character ever.

my daughter reads archie, and my boys love spider-man, iron man and hulk. hey the marvel adventure line. cant blame them i like that line too.

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