What Will You Remember?

I was reading Catching Fire, or whatever it’s called, the other night, and when I saw what time it was, I realized I had to go to sleep immediately. I looked at the page number to remember where I was, and I thought to myself, “I’m not going to remember this page number, just watch.”

And I was right. Twenty four hours later, I didn’t remember it at all. It got me thinking, about two things in particular: 1) Bookmarks are useful, and 2) If I stopped reading comics, like, right now: what would I remember? (Really.)

Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know what’s going to happen to comics over the next two years, but I do fear our best days may be behind us. Now, I don’t like saying that, but I have to admit it, I really do feel that way sometimes. Sure, there will always be great books…but will they be comic books, per se? There will be trades and graphic novels that are truly special, but it reminds me of what Spielberg said about the future of movie theaters, that, eventually, going to the movies will be like going to live theater today: a rarefied, special, and expensive experience. There will still be movies, of course, but most of the time, people will watch the 90-120 minute stories in the comfort of their sofa in their living rooms, or, even more likely, on a tablet while sitting…anywhere.

I am not saying this is good (namely because I don’t think it’s good), and I am certainly not writing a eulogy for the printed comic, but changes are happening, right now, that will make what we’ve been doing for the past 5-6 years less and less…”normal.”

Completely sidestepping the physical and economic aspects of our beloved comic book medium, let’s talk about the stories. Let’s talk about the many, many stories and multitudes of characters. If comics just…stopped, if everything went trades and individual stories were only available as in-app purchases on a mobile application…would you stick with it? Would you just pick up a few Top Cow and IDW books once in awhile and call it a day?

If this kind of future was right now, what would you remember about printed comics? What would you remember about the books and stories we discussed 4-5 years ago, during what I think we would agree was a new golden age of modern comics?

Would your memories by an amorphous blob of sometimes fun, sometimes heated conversations about creators? A series of chuckles about how we would complain about delays or argue the finer points of writing for the trade or individual issues? Roll our eyes about JMS driving both Spider-Man and Superman into the ground?

What would you remember? What do you want to remember?

Every time I clean out my long boxes I experience a mini-version of this, as I get rid of comics that, just 8-10 months ago, I swore I would never get rid of. As I flip through the covers, I am taken back to spending weekend afternoons in various cafes around New York City, reading comics by myself, completely unaware of sites like iFanboy, before I knew there were other people like me who actually were also reading these things.

If I had to stop reading comics right now, here’s what I hope I remember:

Bendis and Maleev on Daredevil. It is hard to express how big a moment it was when I first opened up, after many, many years, an issue of Daredevil by this amazing creative team. I had literally seen nothing like it—this was before I started paying attention to the names of the creators, so I had no expectations at all—but upon opening that book, I realized that I would never stop buying this comic book, as long as it looked like this. Of course, nothing lasts forever, and that passion for that book will forever be tempered by the disappointing attempts by Brubaker and Fraction that followed Bendis’s run…which will be offset, happily by Mark Waid’s current endeavors.

Daredevil will remind me, yet again, how cyclical everything is, and how important it is to stick with things, how important it is to understand that things that are great will cease to be great…but always have the potential to be great again—indeed, to be greater than before. The story of Daredevil is, in many ways, the life of a comic book fan, with stretches of wonder interrupted by occasional moments of frustration.

Thoughts of Superman will be far more complex, and much more…well, somber, I guess. If I were never to read Action Comics or Superman again, I would have to resist dropping into a poisonous cynicism. Here is a character that I literally grew up with–grew up in when I think about the many Superman sheets and pillowcases that I slept in as a child. Curt Swans’s drawings of Superman were the last images I saw at night and the first images I saw when I woke up — and I know there are many of you out there who can say the same thing.

So, to have watched the Superman books, in my opinion, completely and utterly fall apart over the past few years, along with the movie (I thought I loved it and then tried to watch it again and found it almost impossible to do so) and the terrible comics…if I stopped now, I would just have to remember that sometimes we fail, we fail to sustain the magnificence of prior generations, and that, if we don’t focus and commit, it is far too easy to drop the ball — that icons that meant so much to so many people, can fall apart and fade into a sad, wistful irrelevance. And that sucks.

I would also think about how I saw so many books last maybe a bit too long. So many books started out so great and then kept going perhaps a little big longer than they should have. I will think about how I was so incredibly involved with the Avengers titles, how each issue of Criminal was an event…only to slowly see my interest wane after really supporting those books for years. Too much of a good thing? Maybe. More like the innovation that was such a compelling aspect of these books slowly lost its way into creative complacency.  (For the record, I still buy Criminal in issue format.)

That being said, I think I would remember, fondly, that comics exposed me to artists that I would have otherwise never have discovered. My own sense of design and artistry would be irritatingly mundane and uninspired without Chiang, Martin, Rivera, Manapul, Pichelli, Lafuente, Opeña, Williams, Jock, Quitely Cooke, Moon, Capullo, and so many others who really made comics wonderful for so many years. These artists changed the way I think about…well, everything, really. These way these artist describe emotion, display time and motion, the way they take the work of artists before them and create something entirely their own…this is inspiring to me. They have the kind of creative drive and skill that I hope I can emulate when I at the top of my game.

And yes, I will remember some stories, some moments with startling clarity. I will always remember, long ago, in Ultimate X-Men, Wolverine splitting a six pack with a dangerous young mutant before having to kill him, as I will the asteroid at the end of Asterios Polyp and Parker going from bank to bank, building a new identity. These are just a few that come to mind immediately. However, given the way most on-going modern comics have to be, that is, stores that promise so much but can never actually deliver because, at the end of the day, nothing can really change and no one who dies can stay dead (with very few exceptions)…over time, the stories, like Manapul’s glorious backgrounds in The Flash, become a blur. No, it is the art and the characters, what they stand for, what their histories are, what their hopes are, what their reasons are for being a heroThese are elements are what I will always remember about comics.

Like I said: I don’t know what is going to happen in the world of comics. I hope that kids will always be able to find a spinner rack of comic books in the grocery store, with row after row of books that will tug at their imagination. As much as I love digital comics, nothing will replace that first moment of opening a comic book and instantly being transported to a different world while your mom is getting the groceries.

We live in a world where San Diego Comic-Con sold out in less than two hours. We live in a world where people around the world can get access to this Wednesday’s comics at the press of a button. And we live in a world where bookstores are going the way of record stores. Things are changing so fast and so fundamentally, that it truly boggles the mind. Five years ago might as well be fifteen. What’s next is anyone’s guess, which is why we must always appreciate what we have right now.

Today, we have the chance to go out to the store and buy a stack of comics.

What will you remember about them?

 


Mike Romo is an actor in Los Angeles. You can reach him through email, visit his facebook page, connect with him on google +, and collect his tweets on twitter.
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Comments

  1. Mickey Mickey (@GeeksOfChrist) says:

    This question reminds of a short Superman story, which imagined the corrupted legends of Superman that we’ll pass on to our descendants.
    Here it is, in its entirety: http://superman.nu/theages/400/lastson/?page=1

  2. Scott Snyder’s Batman
    Grant Morrison’s Animal Man

    Those are the comic runs which will stick with me.

  3. It terms of issues I will never forget, The Walking Dead #48 will always be with me. It changed what I thought I could expect from a comic.

    • After that point on when I talk about The Walking Dead to friends and family that like the show but haven’t read the book I tell them the comics have traumatized me. I want more but sometimes it get’s to be too much. I guess that’s part of the brilliance in the pacing each story has. Too much like #48 and I don’t know how many people would keep reading but just enough of the drama in 48 and you’ve created a masterpiece.

  4. This is a fascinating question to ask. I see it as part of the larger pop culture legacy question. Every generation has their music, tv, movies, books, athletes, technology and fads that become remembered and forgotten for seemingly great reasons. Its interesting as a society what the collective consciousness chooses…good or bad.

    For me, i think a collected edition is more memorable than a few single issues. Having a complete story in one book on the shelf, and reading that story in one or two sittings really becomes memorable for me.

  5. I’ll remember the Mighty Thor by Walt Simonson & Co.
    Grendel: the Eppy Thatcher storyline.
    Doom Patrol by Morrison and bunch of other stories from various creators.
    As regards to what will happen with comics in 2 years? To predict some drastic change is rather alarmist. Maybe, I’m not such a forward thinker, but I say things pretty much stay the same as it stands today.

  6. I’ll remember my father reading me Power Man and Iron Fist #51 with the knowledge that no one, not even my imagination, can capture the “SHKOW” sound effect of the iron fist quite like my dad.
    I’ll remember skipping a party in college once because I had just read Starman issues 0-4 twice and no amount of beer was going to top that.
    I’ll remember surprising my friend with new copies of Rom #’s 7&8 because he had spilled bong water on them.
    I’ll remember hating Giffen’s 5yl Legion only to have it be my absolute favorite comic 2 years later.
    I’ll remember using the Marvel Universe entries of the Greek Gods as a visual aid for a Greek mythology project in 7th grade and not figuring out why no one thought it was cool but me.
    I’ll remember Superman wrestling an angel. Still gives me goosebumps.

    • Your story about the Greek mythology project in the 7th grade reminds me of a similar experience I had. I was in an Italian class and the teacher had given us a sheet will examples of masculine words on the front and feminine ones on the back. She had a picture of Batman at the top of the the masculine side. She said, “now if you could just turn it over to the side with Catwoman on it…” I didn’t even have the chance to think before I said “that’s not Catwoman, that’s Batgirl.” (Awkward silence). A girl in class said, “there’s a BatGIRL?” and I said, “there’ve been a few Batgirls, this one is Barbara Gordon. (Awkward silence). I just outed myself as a nerd, didn’t I?”

      Sadly, this was college class, not a middle school class.

  7. I’ll remember being eight years old and carefully reading my dad’s old Sgt. Fury and The Howling Commandos issues, and that wonderful smell that went along with it.

    I’ll remember the first issue I ever bought at the 7/11 behind my house; and Uncanny issue with Omega Red. I read it over and over again.

    I’ll remember the Onslaught crossover. Significant only because it taught me the patience required to hunt down a complete event in the days of spinner racks.

    I’ll remember looking through trades my cousin was about to throw out, and saving a second printing of Dark Knight Returns. I was fourteen years old and chose it only because the cover was awesome. It changed my life.

    I’ll remember taking a break from comics in high school, and being sucked back in the summer after I graduated after spotting the second issue of Hush. Jim Lee on Batman? I couldn’t resist, and I never looked back.

    I’ll remember the two years I spent working at Midtown Comics in NYC after college, and the countless “required reading” trades and series I devoured as if I was being timed. I made some great friends, had some great times, and committed myself to comics more firmly than I have to anything else in my life before or since.

    I’ll remember Identity Crisis, being at the center of the rumor mill, and watching the madness unfold.

    I’ll remember being on series like Walking Dead from the beginning, and the bragging rights that go along with that, such as they are.

    I’ll remember finding iFanboy, and dropping the other sites I had been frequenting like they were hot, because I had finally found a respectable group of folks who can truly call themselves a community.

    I’ll remember Johns on Green Lantern, Morrison on Batman, Whedon on X-Men, Rucka on Detective, Aaron on Wolverine, Snyder on Batman, Waid on Daredevil, Morrison on Action, Azzarello on Wonder Woman, Lemire on Animal Man and Frankenstein, and Cornell on Demon Knights.

    I’ll remember the relaunch.

    I hope to remember many more wonderful moments in comics before my mind starts to detereorate and/or I become so cynical that I abandon that which has brought me nothing but joy and escape since I read those tattered old Sgt. Fury issues 20 years ago.

  8. No joke that my single most memorable thing about the resurgence of comics in my life (i got back into them around 2002) is finding comics podcasts, which led me to iFanboy and then to their Revision3 forum. At that time, it was still a reletively small community but it was very tight knit. That forum was single most trafficked website on my home and work computer. I was constantly checking it and keeping up with the conversation. Now, thanks to twitter, I’ve litterally been talking to some people for almost ten years. I also really miss some of the more active iFanbase users at the time who seem to have dropped out. People like Fred, iSteve and SixGun. I will never forget that time in my life as i never felt that close to a group of people i had never met before and I miss having that in the same capacity (iFanboy is still an amazing site, but it has grown exponentially in that time and you can only participate so much when an online community is as large as this). It was such a great time

  9. Mike, when you say “our best days may be behind us” are you referring to mainstream comics or comics as a whole? I’m a little confused by this.

  10. I’ll remember my dad bringing me home a small stack of comics every time I was sick staying home from school.

    He had no idea what he was grabbing me. Things like Wolverine, Gambit, Superman . . . some of those characters didn’t stick with me and I can’t tell you what even happened in the issues I read. But it’s great bit of nostalgia, and now when I bring home my weekly pile I can’t help but feel a hefty sense of warmth and comfort.

    Bendis’ – Daredevil, Snyder’s Det. Comics and Batman, Parker’s X-men: First Class, Morrisson’s All-Star Supes.
    I have a terrible memory, but these are some of the arcs that really stuck out when hit with this question.

    Great Article.

    • I often tell the same story. Dad brought me random books home from the 5&10 when I was home sick from school back in the 70’s. I still remember those mid-70’s JLA and FF stories better than books I read 12 months ago. Probably because I pored over every panel and took them with me every time we went on a car ride longer than 10 minutes.

  11. That issue of Wolverine sitting with the kid in the cave before he has to kill him might be my favorite of all the Ultimate comics. Believe that was a Bendis/Finch issue.

  12. I’ll remember being fifteen and getting my first job because my weekly stack was getting to big for my parents to pay for.
    I’ll remember passing around comics in Government class and arguing with the teacher whether or not Toby Mcgruire accurately captured Peter Parker’s character (he thought he came off to whimpy, i thought he was perfect).
    I’ll remember heroclix on saturday’s at Purple Cactus Comics, I’ll remember being the only sixteen year old with a spiderman beach towel at church camp, i’ll remember the first time i read watchmen and was actually having my teenage brain challenged by a comic book, and i’ll remember buying mature reader comics at 17 cause the guys at the shop were cool with me. I’ll remember comic cons with my dad, skipping school on friday cause we had to get to dallas by 11, being 12 and laying on my stomach on the floor trying to get that perfect spiderman pose in my drawing they way he was drawn in Marvel vs DC. My dad picking up a Wizard magazine every once in a while at HEB and me absolutely gobbling it up because i couldn’t afford to by my own comics yet, chasing back issues and con exclusives at the shop, running to three different shops to find sold out titles, falling in love with Gary Frank’s art work, and thinking Ed Mcguinnes was over rated. Remembering comics will be remembering my youth.

    • I hated Toby Mcgruire, not cause he was wimpy though I just thought he took the mask off way too much & his acting was bad.

  13. Here goes:
    I’ll remember the first 3 comics I received from my mom before a late summer roadtrip in 1983. (Night Force, Power Man and Iron Fist, and Arak Son of Thunder).
    I’ll remember my next 3 comics X-Men (Claremont/Lee) 1,2 and 3. Purchased in a set at a Wal-Mart when buying school supplies for my freshman year at high school.
    I’ll remember Wolverines claws and fist smashing through the front of Professor X’s yellow floating wheelchair during a training exercise in those same issues.
    I’ll remember the maniacal laughter of the Joker in the Killing Joke and Dark Night Returns.
    I’ll remember the power of the Shazam lighting scenes in Kingdom Come, and the small trickle of blood running from Superman’s nose.
    I’ll remember all the huge changes during the first age of Apocalypse.
    I’ll remember how the Devil’s Due GI Joe Issue 1 immediately brought back memories of endless hours with my GI Joe toys in a basement in Pittsburgh.
    I’ll remember the very clever use of powers to gather clues in Identity Crisis.
    I’ll remember when THAT happened in Walking Dead 48.
    I’ll remember Brave and the Bold 33, when it went from slightly confusing to “Oh! thats what they’re doing.”
    I’ll remember the water flowing under the diner door in Scott Snyder’s Detective Comics. As Jim Gordon talks to his psycho son.
    I’ll remember the first time I saw the linework and art in Korgi.
    I’ll remember trying not to cry while reading the end of I Kill Giants.
    and most recently I’ll remember the girl at Orlando Megacon dressed as Skeletor. But that’s my alone-time reminiscing.

  14. The ironic aspect of this is that digital media itself has the effect of shortening people’s attention spans and thus making it more difficult to remember things. (Don’t believe me? Watch “Digital Nation” by Douglas Rushkoff or read The Shallows by Nicholas Carr.) This tendency to forget holds true not just for digital media but also for the printed material we read after a day of dousing our brains in digital soup and the soundbyte-culture of social media.

    So I think the real question is, “How much LESS of EVERYTHING are we going to remember once/if comics move to digital-only?” I think it’s pretty clear that we’ll be remembering a lot less. This trend toward forgetfulness seems already very apparent, especially when we compare our experiences thus far.

    When I look at my printed comics, I can pretty much remember where I was when I bought and read most of them. That might seem like an exaggeration to some, but it isn’t. That issue of Nightwing from 1997? I remember getting it one day when my grandfather drove me to a certain comic shop. That issue of Avengers from last summer? I got it this winter for $1 at my LCS. That Essential X-Men trade? I ordered it on Amazon five years ago and read it over winter vacation at my parents’ house. That issue of Vampirella? I read it in study hall in seventh grade, and some kid thought it was a porno.

    With digital comics, on the other hand? I remember hardly anything about the experience of it. I read all of Y the Last Man but don’t remember how much of it (all of it?) I read in my apartment on my desktop, or how much (all?) of it I read on my netbook while at sitting Starbucks. I’m pretty sure I read all of Fables on a certain laptop, in my apartment. But I couldn’t tell you anything about my immediate experiences surrounding the reading of any of those 100 issues. That’s a LOT of digital reading, but I couldn’t tell you anything about it: not how long it took, not any snack that I might have had while reading, not anyone who might have texted me at the time. Nothing. On the other hand, I remember reading specific issues of Marvel Tales at my grandmother’s house in 1990, and I remember the specific guy in the neighborhood who sold them to me at the corner store.

    Over the last five years, checking in with iFanboy quite often, I definitely have noticed that people’s attention spans are shortening. (Mine is too; it’s a struggle to retain more memory, but a struggle worth making.) Some of the iFanboys admit that they forget what they read as soon as they read it — after they talk about it on the show. Personally, if I had that kind of experience with comics, I wouldn’t even read them anymore. That’s not an accusation to any of the iFanboys. They do a great job and get paid for it. If I got paid to read a bunch of comics every week, then I’d probably do it, even if I forgot most of my reading experiences and often forgot what happened in the previous issue.

    I think the point of reading comics — the point of reading ANYTHING, maybe even THE POINT of EVERYTHING, period — is to form experiences that matter, that mean something, and that you can remember. In this fast-food digital-on-demand culture it’s tempting to just go for it, get it over with, and treat your reading experiences like a McDonald’s value meal. It takes willpower to resist that kind of consumption. And sometimes it does make sense to read things that way (just like sometimes McDonald’s is the most convenient, sensible option). But really, if you can build up a bit of resistance and aren’t just a slave to whatever is quickest and easiest, then you really can perceive what your options are in life and then choose accordingly.

    If you’re not remembering much of anything about your comics, then why read them in the first place? I like digital media a lot and partake of it everyday, but studies have shown that the more time we spend looking at backlit screens, the less we’re able to focus and interact meaningfully with information in such a way that it sticks with us and, in a sense, becomes a part of us. So I don’t lose myself in digital technology. It’s a tool for me to use when the circumstances are right; it’s not a “must-be” that I’m beholden to and have to stare at for 8 hours a day. That said, I don’t regret reading all of Y digitally. It made sense to do that at the time based on what my options and budget was. But the prospect of only being able to experience comics in a digital manner that also feels quite “disposable” in a way? No thanks.

    As to the core question that article seems to ask, though: I’ll remember pretty much everything, as long as it was experienced in printed form. Maybe I just read fewer comics than most of y’all. Maybe it’s because a few years ago I made a conscious choice to only buy and read the comics that I thought would have a chance of “mattering” to me, so I never buy 10-30 comics a week but rather only 2-4. And they all stay with me (or ALMOST all of them). I like life this way. Maybe I’m just misunderstanding things, but it seems like the popular alternative is to read 20 or so comics a week, gush over half of them, give most of them 4- or 5-star reviews. And then promptly forget about them soon after. I don’t see the point of that.

    • what you’re talking about is symptomatic of all forms of media and pop culture in the 21st century. We live in a time where there is A LOT of everything and we society has no attention span in general. You have to work that much harder to stand out and be memorable.

  15. Mike, I think the 22 page floppy isn’t nearly as much on the road to extinction as you do. Why? Because the reality of how many paneled pages an artist can churn out a month is somewhere around that number, so both artists and fans will continue to cling to these vs. graphic novels and trades, etc. Whether books are digital or not, I don’t know, but I think the month-of-production sized books will always be around.

  16. I will forever remember the comics that first made me love comics.

    Avengers #22, by Busiek and Perez – After fighting their way through an army of unbeatable robots, against all odds, the Avengers finally find Ultron, mass murderer, just as their comrades escape his clutches. Thor busts down a wall and stand before the android, his clothes in tatters but his face firm.

    “Ultron. We would have words with thee.”

    Slingers #6, by Harris and ChrisCross – The first “softball” issue that I ever read, where our heroes take an issue to get to know each other again after the madness and loss of their first true adventure. Secrets are reveals, bonds are broken and I came to love characters that I already liked.

    Young Justice #26-29, by David and Nauck – Still the most fun I’ve ever had in comics. The not-Titans get caught up in a planetary civil war to be solved… by an alien baseball game! With no time to rest, however, the team is sent to New Genesis to deal with their sentient motorcycle’s mating cycle, team up with the Forever People and face down a staggeringly polite Darkseid. Pure comics magic.

    Green Lantern #100, by Marz and Banks – Kyle Rayner meets Hal Jordan. ‘Nuff said.

  17. My first comic book was Captain America & The Falcon #207 (Jack Kirby)…I still have it (although its not in great shape).

    I remember buying Superman comics (Curt Swan) and The Flash (Infantino) every time I went on summer vacation in Florida.

    I remember being able to buy comics in drugstores and convenience stores.

    In the summer my dad passed away, a friend and I opened a comic shop in our town (we were 15 and was assisted by my friend’s father). In the 3 years we had the store, Miller’s Dark Knight & Moore’s Watchmen came out. We paid ourselves in comics so I was able to collect some great stuff.

    After high school and before college, I stopped collecting (early nineties) and did not revisit comics until the New 52.

    I will remember the DC relaunch and trying every new #1. This time was also my first taste of the ‘Mignola-verse’.

    Waid’s Daredevil has been memorable, as well as my new passion of reading graphic novels outside the ‘big two’.

    I now buy comics from a former customer of my store I had in the mid-80’s.

  18. I remember the first comic i ever read, it was spider-man 380 something and enjoying the hell out of it until we got to the end with young me thinking what the hell happened next. It’s been more than 15 years and i still haven’t found out yet.

    I remember being a kid who loved superman and batman equally through the movies, cartoons, and well, that’s all i had.

    I remember buying my first comic books which were reprints of all ages marvel comics featuring spider-man at a school book fair.

    I remember visiting my brothers undergraduate library in college and picking up The ultimates vol.2 and Alan Moores swamp thing and being completely blown away.

    I remember saving my money to buy the hella expensive trades from a barnes and nobles such as marvels and the ultimates.

    I remember reading watchmen for the first time at a walmart selling it for $13 bucks.

    I remember checking out comic trades through the library.

    I remember going to a nearby comic shop and then started coming once a month.

    I remember discovering Astro City, then having my mind blown when i read Confession.

    I remember introducing my none-comics reading friend to Astro City: Confession, and him telling me it was the first comic he had ever really read and loved.

    I still remember how he was really sad to see the death of the confessor.

    I remember jogging and quoting Batman: Year One “Ignore it, forget it, put whatevers into it.” in High School.

    I remember my first Hellboy comic, Hellboy in Mexico, and falling completely in love with the mignolaverse.

    I remember buying the blackest night in issues (my first event and all) and was on the edge of my seat every month, i literally cheered at the end because Mera got her husband back. This was the first time i even got interested in Aquaman and his world.

    Finally, i remember reading all-star superman and thinking that it was one of the greatest things i have ever read. To this day i list it as one of my favorite comics.

  19. Seriously? I could never forget comics. I’ll always remember my love of all things Kirkman. The greatness of books like Chew, Hellboy, Astro City, Ex Machina, and tons, tons more. I’ll always remember this site and the great discussions and recommendations, as well as the fun podcasts. It is because of comics and this site that I met one of my best friends. Comics is my favorite medium right now, and I’ll be reading them as long as I can.

  20. Mike, you gotta get off the print doomsday rants. No offense but there are plenty of “good days” ahead of us. The reason why is the same aspect of comics that I remember most – to this day. It’s the sheer joy and bright future which our comic icons have for the work they’ve done, what they do and what tomorrow’s creators will do. Not an interview with Stan Lee goes by without someone asking about the future. He has always said that as long as we still have imagination and people want to be entertained, there will be comics, print included. Kirby, Romita, Thomas and dozens of others believe the same. Their enthusiasm then and now makes me feel awesome about my books today and everything I’ve read since childhood.

    By the way, IMO JMS didn’t ruin Spiderman. As I understand it, it was editorial. Of course, if it was his idea that Gwen slept with Norman, I agree with you whole-heartedly.

  21. I’m going to remember that this is the best time to be a fan of comics creatively. There are so many incredible books with gorgeous artwork and great ideas in terms of design. Things like Asterios Polyp, Tales of Sand, and even mainstream work like Batman #5 look nothing like any other time period in terms of comics. It’s only going to get better from here but I think this is the era of incredible design for all comics.

    Speaking of era, it seems to be clear that I’ll remember these last 2-3 years as the end of an era for Marvel. We joke about it but it really seems like Marvel is, not quietly either, going downhill and the 2000s seems like a distant memory. Sales are going down ever so slowly, creatively they are in a huge funk, and it seems like a good portion of fans are jumping ship. I hope in the future we start a new era and Marvel does go back up though. I mean yes, I love DC, but I don’t really care which company is better as long as both provide incredible comics for me to read. Clearly, only DC is providing that right now and I hope Marvel changes their ways soon enough.

  22. I’ll remember the cover to Uncanny X-Men 243, which I saw in our local pharmacy and just had to own. The first comic I ever got and now I have my favorite creators sign it at cons.

    I’ll remember the last issue of Y The Last Man, which I considered to be just perfect.

    I’ll remember realizing that Alan Moore was just as good as everyone said when I first read V for Vendetta.

    I’ll remember reading the first trade of American Vampire and thinking, “This Scott Snyder bears following.”

    I’ll remember watching the X-Men movie and thinking about how much I wished I could tell my 10-year-old self that it was going to happen and going to be good. He would have been so excited. That’s the movie that brought be back to the hobby after a 10 year hiatus. I remember deciding that I wanted to see what Colossus was up to and finding out that he was dead (at the time)

    I’ll remember the first time I read Watchmen and the first time I read Watchmen and kind of understood what was going on.

    I’ll remember the first sketch in my Charlie Chaplin sketchbook (Mike McKone) and how excited I was to get it started.

    I will always remember that the gift certificate to the LCS was the one Christmas present that my dad got for me every year (mom did the shopping) and I will always remember the issue that I finished reading just seconds before she called to tell me that he had died.

    Comics have played a huge part in my life, and clearly everyone else’s here.

  23. Things that are hard to forget: Alan Moore’s Dialogue and weird Poetry from Saga of The Swamp Thing. John Totleben’s haunting art, Rorshach’s journal entries, and dozens of Images from Jack Kirby and Frank Quitely. I replay them in my mind constantly. Got the Alan Moore dialogue pretty well memorized by now (not everything! Just my favorite bits)

  24. I will remember Boy Blue from Fables.
    I will remember the smell of my new comics on Wednesday.
    I will remember lining my comics up so I could see all of the covers together.
    I will remember the last page of Invincible #7 and thinking that it was one of the shocking things ever.
    I will remember the X-Men and how bad-ass they were.

  25. Interesting question and I have many years to reflect on.

    1. I will remember when I was very young and was sick, my Mom would bring home some comics for me, Ghost Sories, Witching Hour, etc. I was into the horror stuff as a young kid, me and my Dad would watch the “B” horror flicks that they ran on late Friday nights.

    2. I will remember also as a young kid, devouring “G.I. Combat” staring the Haunted Tank, loved the details of the tank drawings in the books, also loved to buld tank models as well.

    3. I will remember when I still was a Geek/Outcast/Whatever in High School (Not that this has changed), being ashamed of liking comics, but when I saw the very first Limited Series of “Wolverine”, telling myself that I no longered cared what anyone thought of me anymore, and how my life has changed ever since. Wolverine was my favorite and that limited series was a master piece of work, just wish I still had them now.

    4. I will remember always opening up a new book for the first time read and enjoying not only the smell of a new comic, but the joy of the story and artwork being presented to me. Nothing like having a little escape from this serious world.

  26. I’ll never forget reading Civil War (my first event) at Fredmeyer, and how shocked I was that Cap surrendered.

  27. Loving them.

    Absolutely loving them.

  28. I will always remember being taught to read with the archie TMNT comics by my mum and that being the start of my love affair with reading, especially in a serielised format.

    I will always remember having a terrible day at work and stumbeling across an issue of the bendis and maleev’s daredevil in my lunch break and falling back in love with comics after 2 or 3 year break.

    I will always remember the two page spread a few issues later with spider man iron fist, luke cage and daredevil bursting threw a wall to smack up some yakuza.

    I will always remember my old issues of spider man drawn by sal buscema, which are my definitive take on pete.

    I will always remember the first time I realised that the avengers were the baddest super team on the planet.

    I will always remember finding out there was a comic shop within an hour to my house and realising I was going to need to start getting more work to be able to afford my comics.

    I will always love comics in whatever form I have to read them in. They’re one of the best things that ever happened to me.

  29. I’ll remember Astonishing X-Men, because it’s the book that got me back into comics as an adult. And as a lapsed X-Men fan it blew my mind. I’ll remember Claremont’s Uncanny run, and I’ll remember it even better than it was. Those are my X-Men, and I’m happy to have that kind of excitement back in Wolverine and the X-Men. I’ll remember Alias. I’m going to remember a lot, as I think about it, but if I had to choose one thing, I think it would be Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman, a story powerful enough to save the universe. That’s such a great metaphor for what comics have been for me. And I think they will be for a long time, however I’m reading them.

  30. 1. I will remember my relationship with comics has been a bumpy one, dropping the hobby a couple of times mainly because I interpreted it as not being “cool,” but here I am again, somewhat older, somewhat wiser, and enjoying the hobby more now than I think I ever have.

    2. As a boy, I remember picking up issues of Firestorm, Batman & the Outsiders, and Teen Titans from spinner racks in a local store in the town where we vacationed in northern Wisconsin. We were spending the days in the sun, water skiing, and swimming, but at night I would crawl into my sleeping bag, flashlight in hand, and spend some time with my favorite heroes. I must have read those books a thousand times, to the point where those books had no covers.

    3. As a teenager, I remember a friend and I decided to check out our local comic shop one day on a whim, and my interest had been renewed again. I left the shop that day with issues of Punisher, Punisher War Journal, and Excalibur, my friend was into TMNT. This started me on my first monthy buying experience, actually keeping up with certain titles, and the excitement of waiting for the next one to arrive. This lasted for a couple of years, but was cut short by the pressures of highschool to “fit in.” I had to cut my nerdom down to an acceptible level, so my comics were stored away.

    4. I remember tragedy, when during a family move, somehow, my books were lost.

    5. I remember, after ten years of not really thinking about comics, I decided to look up comics on the net and coming across a site and deciding to try and replace some of the old comics I had lost. It was like coming home again.

    6. I will always remember sharing this hobby with my kids, the three of us huddled together reading the same book, and loving every panel. Hopefully they will become a new generation of comic buyers.

  31. This is an amazing article, and such great stories from the community. For the past few years I’ve actually been going back and picking up the issues that came before or after the comics I got randomly as a kid and absolutely LOVED, and had huge impacts on me. (The Giffen/Curt Swan Aquaman series, “A Lonely Place of Dying” & “Year 3” in Batman, Executioner’s Song, etc!) and it’s an amazing thing to begin or finish these stories that have been in my memory for 20 something years. I think/hope that floppy comics will always be around because they capture moments so perfectly, much like, but possibly even more, than great books that affect us. I had the silly thought that maybe I was the only one who remembers vividly things like getting Silver Surfer 50 at Walmart and my mom being cool with paying a bit more because the cover was metallic. Or of getting random chapters of that Aquaman story, or Spiderman, from the 7 11 across the street from my mom’s work. And going back to those comics is like a melding of now and then. And even current stories, just last week I sort of felt bad because I couldn’t wait to get done with brunch with a friend and get back to the first trade of Mark Waid’s Daredevil.
    Also, are digital comic sales doing as well as regular book sales and changing how the industry works?

  32. Clarifying moment, I mean how the Kindle has changed how people buy regular books, are digital comics having that same effect? My LCS (Darktower comics in Chicago) is usually pretty packed on Wednesdays.

  33. @BanjoDuck – I appreciate your question, and I’m glad to hear your LCS is doing well. Here in Peoria, Illinois my LCS is the only one in town, Acme Comics. It’s a decent shop with a nice, if quiet owner. In the past two years I’ve seen the comics move further back into the store, with graphic novels stacked vertically like books along one long wall.
    They did have bundles of older comics, a decent selection of reasonably-priced back issues. Most of that is still there, but covered with displays for toys they’re selling. They’re also putting a lot more emphasis on vinyl and used CDs. They always had that, but it’s taking over. I don’t know if I’d blame Peoria, though. The trouble with the shop is most of the employees are lazy and abrasive to anyone who doesn’t live up to their standards. These are fat, lazy guys we’re talking about. The store’s kind of dark, and they sit there behind this big glass counter and look at you. The place feels like a head shop (been there, I know). I think that’s what’s turning people off about it. If the store were brightly lit and inviting, parents wouldn’t be afraid to take their children in. I take my seven year old daughter, because she’s tough as nails and will bravely take her X-23 action figure to the cash register and smile. Even this rarely wins these guys over.

    Anyway – Sorry for the rant. This is something I’ve really thought about. The big name publishers are trying to make weekly comics more accessible, however misguided some of their attempts. But they’re hindered by comic book stores like mine. I think the LCS’s around the country need to figure out that customer service is what is going to save weekly comics. If anything can.

  34. There is some stuff that not matter how much I wish I could forget I just cant; the constant arguments online about Marvel vs. DC, and events, and whats killing the industry, and retcons, and about fill-ins and and all that pointless stuff where you take a step back and think ‘what the hell I am doing with my life?’.

    But mostly I think I’ll remember the good moments.
    I’ll remember the scene from Batman&Robin#2 where Alfred tells Dick that ‘the show must go on’
    I’ll remember tearing up while reading Daytripper every month
    I’ll remember reading Asterious Polyp on a long bus trip back to my home town and appreciating old friends all the much more for it.
    I’ll remember be completely knocked back and amazed by Brandon Graham’s The Speaker in DHP
    And Im hoping I’ll remember that look the Goat guy had in Saga#1 when hes holding his wife and child to protect them

    As much as the average comic fans life is taken up by arguing who would win in a fight and fretting over continuity details, these are the moments that make it worth while. Those moments where something raw and real can briefly be made real with words and pictures.