Contributed by Steve Beaulieu
I started collecting comics at a super young age. I remember the first comic book I ever owned was a Spider-man comic book from the early 90s. The cover had him fighting against the green goblin. I had to be about five years old.
We were going “garage-saling” as we called it, and we happened upon a box of comics. My brother and I begged my parents to purchase some and they bought the whole box. I used to sit for hours trying to replicate the images I saw on the pages, often times tracing them exactly.
Years later, long after I’d given up collecting, I found out my wife and I were having our first child. I decided I wanted to have something to share with him. I’m not into sports or anything else anyone would consider very manly. I needed something. Comics became that thing.
Oliver—my son, named after the great Oliver Queen—has a multi-thousand book collection awaiting his grubby hands once he is old enough to know how to care for them.
I recently emailed my brother to see if he still had that little box of comics. Turned out, he hoarded it all these years. He sent it to me, costing me a couple dozen bucks in shipping. Part of me was horribly disappointed to find that most of them were no name or beat up oldies like Richie Rich or Savage Dragon–but there they were—Spectacular Spider-Man numbers 197 (The Vulture) and 200 (Green Goblin).
It was like I dug up treasure on a long forgotten beach. Let’s set a record straight—I don’t like Spider-Man. I’m an Inhumans kind of guy. I collect the mess out of Inhumans—but somewhere in my heart, Spider-Man will always remain because of these comics I had at such an early age. Much to my chagrin, Spidey is Oliver’s favorite, despite my best efforts.
The moral of this story is never discount the impact something as small as a worthless box of comic books can have on a young child. Although they were beat up and without monetary value, they led me to a love for comic books, which led me to coloring comic books, which led me to writing comic books, which led me to writing novels, which led me to unlocking a passion inside of me that is only paralleled or surpassed by my love of God and my family.
I hope every one of you readers can remember the first time you cracked open a comic and felt that joy and magic. That smell of new or old yellowing, brittle paper.
Check out some of those early 90s Spidey books. My favorite run was 1-16 of Amazing Spider-Man by Todd McFarlane. It ended with Juggernaut getting his eye gauged out, which Marvel couldn’t deal with. Because of Todd’s rebellion, it opened a door wide-open to Image Comics which gave birth to my all-time favorite comic book Invincible.
Go buy a comic and have an awesome day.