Over on the John Byrne Forum, they have a set of 12 questions for posters to answer. The questions offer a chance to think back to those hazy, crazy first days of comics reading, when everything was new and memorable.

For this group, thinking back that far may take some fog-cutting lamps and heavy machetes to cut through the underbrush. I found some of the questions pretty easy to answer immediately, and others I had to think about and say, "It must've been..."

No doubt, some of the answers might change tomorrow if I have a change of mood, or I think of another example (or someone posts one I forgot).

In any event, I thought it was a fun exercise. Here are the questions you can cut and paste:

1. What was the first comic book you remember reading?

2. What was the first series you tried to follow every month?

3. Who was the first hero to really inspire you?

4. Who was the first villain to give you the creeps or scare you?

5. What was the first story to have a big emotional impact on you?

6. What was the first action scene to really impress you, make you go "Wow!"?

7. Who was the first artist whose style you learned to recognize immediately?

8. What title's cancellation saddened you the most?

9. What title's debut excited you the most?

10. What was the line-up the first time you saw the Avengers? 

11. Who was the first character whose "death" upset you?  (Yes, I've put death in quotes; you aren't responsible if the person didn't actually end up dying.)

12. What was the first back issue you went hunting for? 

In some ways, the questions that were selected are interesting in themselves. Are there others that would be fun to answer? 

If you need some prompts, there's the GCD (www.comics.org) and Mike's Newsstand (http://www.dcindexes.com/timemachine/index.php?site=)

My answers are below. See what you come up with!

-- MSA

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1. What was the first comic book you remember reading? Superman Annual #4 (Winter 1961). I read many before that one, mostly Harveys, Ducks and Dell, but I have no idea which. This is the first comic I distinctly know I read.

2. What was the first series you tried to follow every month? The Legion in Adventure Comics

3. Who was the first hero to really inspire you? Superboy

4. Who was the first villain to give you the creeps or scare you? Doctor Doom

5. What was the first story to have a big emotional impact on you? “Super Sacrifice of the Legionnaires!” in Adventure #312 (Sep 63) and "Unmasked by Dr. Octopus" in ASM #12 (May 64).

6. What was the first action scene to really impress you, make you go "Wow!"? Probably Avengers #1

7. Who was the first artist whose style you learned to recognize immediately? Curt Swan. Kirby, Ditko and Infantino were pretty recognizable, too, but they were always where they were supposed to be. Others were drawing Swan's character (and I kind of always liked Al Plastino, too, as he was the first Superman artist I saw).

8. What title's cancellation saddened you the most? GL/GA

9. What title's debut excited you the most? This one took some thinking. For now, I’ll go with Conan or All-Star Comics’ revival. I saw a lot of comics long after their "debut" when they first showed up on my spinner rack, including FF #8 and GL #12. But those first two are probably the first ones I knew were coming and definitely wanted to see.

10. What was the line-up the first time you saw the Avengers? The original from #1: Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, Wasp, Hulk. I had #1 and I sold it for a nickel! Worst. Decision. Ever. (This is an interesting question; it indicates that the Avengers have the most volatile membership of any group. Listing the line-ups for the JLA, Legion, or X-Men wouldn't be as varying.)

11. Who was the first character whose death upset you? Alfred.

12. What was the first back issue you went hunting for? That’s a tough one. “Hunting” for back issues wasn’t something I did until after college, when comic-book stores began to show up. Before that, I either picked up whatever old comics I could find on the spinner or traded with friends to get ones I missed. I probably tried to fill in holes from FF, ASM and DD, as they had the most holes that could be filled.

 -- MSA

1. What was the first comic book you remember reading?

JLA # 45, in the spring of 1966

2. What was the first series you tried to follow every month?

Geez, I dunno. I remember feeling very happy that I was able to track down all three of the Zha-Vam issues of Action in 1967, since it was rare that I would buy two consecutive issues of any single title.

3. Who was the first hero to really inspire you?

Either Superman or the Flash.

4. Who was the first villain to give you the creeps or scare you?

Can't even remember his name (the Kryptonite Man, maybe?), but he was the creeper who was dressed like a mummy and started unwrapping his bandages on the cover of a 1967 issues of Action, which looked like it was going to cause Superman a good bit of trouble.

5. What was the first story to have a big emotional impact on you?

Either the Fatal Five two-parter or the Mordru two-parter in Adventure, circa 1967-68.

6. What was the first action scene to really impress you, make you go "Wow!"?

The earthquake scene in Captain Action # 3.

7. Who was the first artist whose style you learned to recognize immediately?

Wayne Boring

8. What title's cancellation saddened you the most?

Hard to say. Maybe when Jonah Hex turned into Hex.

9. What title's debut excited you the most?

Saga of the Swamp Thing

10. What was the line-up the first time you saw the Avengers? 

No idea

11. Who was the first character whose "death" upset you?  (Yes, I've put death in quotes; you aren't responsible if the person didn't actually end up dying.)

Jor-El and Lara, in some flashback scene. I believe they are still dead to this day.

12. What was the first back issue you went hunting for?

Don't know, but the first back issues I bought in a comics shop were GL/GA #s 87 and 89

1) Justice League of America #103 (D'72). I got it as a stocking stuffer though it was on sale in October!

2) Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes. I didn't even know that I was "collecting" it. I just got every issue I saw!

3) Batman. That guy never quits! And my Batman still showed his humanity.

4) The Composite Superman. He was never really defeated by Superman and Batman. He could have killed them easily and they knew it!

5) Superboy and the Legion #203. The Death of the Invisible Kid with hope at the end.

6) Ditto. The Legion gets clobbered by Validus!

7) Dick Dillin, Curt Swan and Mike Grell. Plus I figured out early on that Dick Giordano inking was a good thing!

8) Secret Origins and Wanted. I loved those books. See #12.

9) All Star Comics.

10) Captain America, Hawkeye, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch from Marvel Triple Action, months before I saw the regular Avengers book!

11) Invisible Kid. Man I took a lot from that issue!

12) I would scour yard sales for anything especially JLA and Legion but I loved those reprint books!

Either the Fatal Five two-parter or the Mordru two-parter in Adventure, circa 1967-68.

Those were both very good. Another good death option for me was Ferro Lad in Adventure, since it was obvious it was intended to stick. Even then, you doubted some guys were staying dead for long.

The earthquake scene in Captain Action # 3.

I can see that, although I'd never come up with it. Gil Kane could definitely do impressive looking stuff.

Jor-El and Lara, in some flashback scene. I believe they are still dead to this day.

Assuming we forget the one where they're found in a coma in outer space. I'm always surprised when I hear that screenplays for Superman movies leave Krypton intact. That's pretty basic. Of course, the TV show had a virtual Jor-El who was nearly alive.

Justice League of America #103 (D'72). I got it as a stocking stuffer though it was on sale in October!

I wonder how your par...er, I mean Santa came up with that? Obviously, they were shopping early, but why that comic out of all the possibilities? It's a pretty good choice, with lots of heroes (and even a few comics creators), so it was a good introduction!

Secret Origins and Wanted. I loved those books.

I was always a big fan of the 100-Pagers. At the time, they were some of the few DC books I was buying. It's kinda sad that the best comics were reprints, but that was the mid-1970s for me. I think that implication of all this history being out there that I didn't know added to the fun.

-- MSA

1. Some Donald Duck comic.

2. Marvel Team-up

3. Green Lantern

4. The Scarecrow he has always creeped me out

5. When it was revealed Chamleon Boy was RJ Brande's son.

6. No idea.

7. Carmine Infantino's and all I knew was I hated it back then.

8. The Vigilante series from the '80s. Just when I was getting back into it, bang, it was over.

9. A lot more recent but Bendis' original Powers

10. It was my brother's copy of issue 208, so Cap, Iron Man, Wonder Man, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Wasp, and Beast? If the cover is correct.

11. Karate Kid's. I always liked the unpowered guy in the Legion and it really ticked me off when they killed him off.

12. Adventure Comics 352 & 353 the Sun-Eater story that led to the death of Ferro Lad. I later traded them, and haven't reacquired them yet.

1. What was the first comic book you remember reading? I was likely around 3-4 years old, and I'm pretty sure it was one of Marvel's old monster comics.  I remember lots of references to microbes, but nothing else.

2. What was the first series you tried to follow every month? Believe it or not, Uncanny X-Men in the 1980's when I was in college.  It had never been possible for me to get to town regularly to pick up comics on a monthly basis when I was a lad, and when we moved I couldn't find anywhere easily accessible that carried comics.  It wasn't until college that I discovered a comics shop in town.

3. Who was the first hero to really inspire you? Oddly enough, Kid Flash.

4. Who was the first villain to give you the creeps or scare you? Hmm.  I don't think I've ever run into any that were truly bothersome.

5. What was the first story to have a big emotional impact on you? There was an Incredible Hulk comic I remember where he was fighting a robot.  The robot ceased fighting and the Hulk ripped him apart while he continued speaking.  I just remember thinking, "why is he killing that robot?"

6. What was the first action scene to really impress you, make you go "Wow!"? This doesn't happen often.  Perhaps Ditko's Blue Beetle.

7. Who was the first artist whose style you learned to recognize immediately? Kirby

8. What title's cancellation saddened you the most? Young Justice.  There was zero good reason to cancel it.  I think I was more annoyed than sad though.

9. What title's debut excited you the most? Hmm...I've picked up so few number one's over the years.  I'll have to get back to you on that one.

10. What was the line-up the first time you saw the Avengers? I think it was Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Wasp, Hawkeye, and Yellowjacket/Goliath/Giant Man, but don't quote me on that.  Starfox may have been there too.

11. Who was the first character whose "death" upset you?  (Yes, I've put death in quotes; you aren't responsible if the person didn't actually end up dying.) Invisible Kid.  I was completely blindsided.

12. What was the first back issue you went hunting for? Probably She-Hulk #1.  I haven't chased back issues much, especially with the abundance of trades.

1. What was the first comic book you remember reading?

Superman No. 164, 1963, the first Lexor story.

2. What was the first series you tried to follow every month?

I'd seen the Adventures of Superman reruns on TV, so I looked for anything with him in it.

3. Who was the first hero to really inspire you?

Superman

4. Who was the first villain to give you the creeps or scare you?

Composite Superman. I had bad dreams for weeks! I was smart enough not to tell my parents, though.

5. What was the first story to have a big emotional impact on you?

"The Sweetheart that Superman Forgot," Sally Selwyn, from Superman No. 165. Those first two issues I read apparently were pretty impressive to me.

6. What was the first action scene to really impress you, make you go "Wow!"?

Justice League of America No. 27. There's a one-page battle scene where the entire JLA must defeat Amazo in order to also defeat the main villain. Blew me away. That was before I'd discovered Jack Kirby.

7. Who was the first artist whose style you learned to recognize immediately?

Of course I didn't know the artists' names, but I knew all the good Superman stories were by Curt Swan, and I recognized Carmine Infantino's art on Adam Strange and later Elongated Man and Batman. Flash came later for me.

8. What title's cancellation saddened you the most?

X-Men after that glorious Roy Thomas/Neal Adams/Tom Palmer late Silver Age run. Or maybe the Thomas/Gene Colan/Palmer run on Doctor Strange.

9. What title's debut excited you the most?

Metamorpho the Element Man! He was the first hero whose adventures I read from the beginning! Also, he was a ton of fun.

10. What was the line-up the first time you saw the Avengers? 

Iron Man, Thor, Giant-Man, Wasp, and Captain America, around Avengers #7, featuring the Masters of Evil doing a little dance at the bottom of the cover..

11. Who was the first character whose "death" upset you?  (Yes, I've put death in quotes; you aren't responsible if the person didn't actually end up dying.)

Al Harper in Silver Surfer #5. I think I cried.

12. What was the first back issue you went hunting for?

I was in college in the mid-1970s when I found out you could find dealers in back issues. I quickly filled out my Tales to Astonish with Ant-Man/Giant-Man collection and Sgt. Fury because they were cheap at the time. So was Strange Tales with Human Torch, but who cared?

Thanks for this exercise!

Hoy

Randy: It wasn't until college that I discovered a comics shop in town.

When I went away to college, I was concerned about getting comics, as there were no comics shops yet. So I broke down and got subscriptions to my favorites, which amounted to ASM, Conan, FF and DD. It was fun to get home at breaks and find those little kraft-paper bundles waiting. Later, I found a couple good newsstands near campus, and I started picking them up from there.

Young Justice.  There was zero good reason to cancel it.  I think I was more annoyed than sad though.

I liked that series, too! I still have my issues (there aren't that many). I just came across it recently, and I don't know that I'll ever sit down and read it again, but I was sad it didn't last longer. The good, quirky ones never seem to.

I think it was Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Wasp, Hawkeye, and Yellowjacket/Goliath/Giant Man, but don't quote me on that.  Starfox may have been there too.

Leave off Starfox, and that's about my ideal roster. Those are the guys I think of as "The Avengers." They were probably together in the late 1960s and no other, if we use Yellowjacket. I liked that identity for Hank Pym the best, and I don't even know why. 

Hoy: Composite Superman. I had bad dreams for weeks! I was smart enough not to tell my parents, though

That's interesting! I read that issue and never thought about it again. He was really powerful, but he never seemed to use his advantages well enough. I definitely thought he was good enough for a few more return visits.

"The Sweetheart that Superman Forgot," Sally Selwyn, from Superman No. 165. Those first two issues I read apparently were pretty impressive to me.

I'm that way, too. Some of those first issues really stuck with me beyond all reason. Well, JLA #11 sticks with me for good reasons, because it was very cool. But I can't say that the stories in Superman Annual #4 are classics. Most of them are pretty dumb.

Metamorpho the Element Man! He was the first hero whose adventures I read from the beginning! Also, he was a ton of fun.

Never saw THAT coming! That's an interesting idea that you could get in on the ground floor. I have to admit I have all the issues, as well as all of those for all those comics DC introduced in 1968, hoping to see them develop from the beginning. But none of them lasted. I bought Avengers and DD #1, but Metamorpho may be my first DC #1. I never thought about that before.

-- MSA

1. What was the first comic book you remember reading? 

Oddly enough, it was my sister's copy of the very first Supergirl appearance, the one where she pleds with Jimmy Olsen to rub the jewel in the magic totem pole to make her vanish once again.

2. What was the first series you tried to follow every month?  That's easy. I started with FF #55 when I realized they were still coming out monthy and the series had not stopped, like the Nancy Drew mystery series.

3. Who was the first hero to really inspire you? I'm thinking it might have been Daredevils heroic last ditch attempt to stop Namor in the end of DD #7.

4. Who was the first villain to give you the creeps or scare you?  Scare me? No one. Seem truely evil, Dr. Doom.

5. What was the first story to have a big emotional impact on you? Probably Fantastic Four #39, "None so Blind"

6. What was the first action scene to really impress you, make you go "Wow!"? Spider-man #33 the final trimumph as Spidey lifts the impossible weight off himself.

7. Who was the first artist whose style you learned to recognize immediately?  Kirby inked by Chic Stone. FF #36

8. What title's cancellation saddened you the most?  Strangely enough, it was Spyman, by Steranko in Harvey Comic's Superhero line

9. What title's debut excited you the most?  Alpha Flight

10. What was the line-up the first time you saw the Avengers? Aprox. Avengers #40...Cap, Herc, Goliath, Wasp, Black Widow, Hawkeye... but they had gueststared in FF #25 just prior to"The Avengers Take Over", so it might have been Cap, Iron Man, Thor, Giant-Man, Wasp that I first saw...but didn't read.

11. Who was the first character whose "death" upset you?  (Yes, I've put death in quotes; you aren't responsible if the person didn't actually end up dying.)  Probably Dark Phoenix/Jean Gray in X-men #137.

12. What was the first back issue you went hunting for? Hunting for back issues wasn't possible when I was a kid. You took what you could find in the yard sales, used comic boxes in stores, and from friends. I really wanted FF #26, but would settle for #40 to get the second half of the story.

In some ways, the questions that were selected are interesting in themselves. Are there others that would be fun to answer? What comic book did you either defend against friends' criticism or refuse to share with them?

1. What was the first comic book you remember reading? I had a comic book or two when I was a little child. In particular, I remember having a Transformers comic or two, a Flash comic, and a Captain America comic. But the first one I actually remember reading is Justice League America #28, which featured a date between Guy Gardner and Ice. That's when I realized that comic books could be more than just super-heroes punching super-villains, and it's also what made me want to become a collector, but more importantly a reader, of comics.

2. What was the first series you tried to follow every month? Justice League America.

3. Who was the first hero to really inspire you? Spider-Man. I love how his everyday problems show that everyday problems aren't all that problematic in the long run. And I love how he just keeps on being heroic when things seem impossible, and he keeps cracking jokes all along the way.

4. Who was the first villain to give you the creeps or scare you? The Joker on the full-page image of his face in Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum. Holy poop, did that scare the bejeezus out of me.

5. What was the first story to have a big emotional impact on you? Sandman: The Kindly Ones. There is a scene in there that I've often cited as an issue that made me cry. It may be the only one ever to do that. Nuala, a fairy worker in Lucien's library (I could be wrong on these details...), has fallen in love with Morpheus. She asks him for his love, and he says he can't give that to her. He tells her that he can give her a dream of his love. She says, "I already have that." Makes me tear up every time. Come on, Sandman! She's not that bad looking!

6. What was the first action scene to really impress you, make you go "Wow!"? In an issue of Guy Gardner: Warrior, Steel was guest-starring. I remember watching those two buddying up to lay the smack down on Major Force hard. Loved it! It was one of the manliest fight-scenes I've ever seen.

7. Who was the first artist whose style you learned to recognize immediately? Norm Breyfogle. Love his style to this day.

8. What title's cancellation saddened you the most? Joe Casey's Wildcats 3.0. Truly saddened that we never got to see the end of that one. Runner-up: OMAC. Tragic that it had to end so soon. Easily the best new comic that came out of the New 52.

9. What title's debut excited you the most? The Heckler. Seriously. Loved every issue of it that came from Keith Giffen.

10. What was the line-up the first time you saw the Avengers? I'm a late-comer. It was the first issue that Brian Michael Bendis did. Spider-Man, Wolverine, Luke Cage...

11. Who was the first character whose "death" upset you?  (Yes, I've put death in quotes; you aren't responsible if the person didn't actually end up dying.) Mister Miracle in JLA. I think I was the only person who didn't realize he didn't actually die and it was no secret, as I wasn't reading Mister Miracle at the time, as it wasn't available where I lived. I was actually saddened while reading the JLA issue with his funeral. So sad.

12. What was the first back issue you went hunting for? Justice League Europe #1. I started reading it with issue #2, and had to order JLE #1 from Mile High Comics in Denver, where I was finally able to visit last summer. It all came full circle in a very crazy kind of way.

I knew if I thought about it that I'd come up with a better answer.  'Twould be Thor vs. Hercules, the first time they thought.  I remember having the Marvel Treasury Edition of that story line. Or possibly Walt Simonson on Manhunter, the sequence where a jeep attempts to run down the Manhunter, and he ducks underneath, slashes the gas tank and sets it on fire.

Randy Jackson said:


6. What was the first action scene to really impress you, make you go "Wow!"? This doesn't happen often.  Perhaps Ditko's Blue Beetle.

Oh Hoy, You put me to shame.  I should have thought of these two:

8. What title's cancellation saddened you the most?

X-Men after that glorious Roy Thomas/Neal Adams/Tom Palmer late Silver Age run. Or maybe the Thomas/Gene Colan/Palmer run on Doctor Strange.

 

11. Who was the first character whose "death" upset you?  (Yes, I've put death in quotes; you aren't responsible if the person didn't actually end up dying.)

Al Harper in Silver Surfer #5. I think I cried.

 

I had forgotten that one, Hoy. You're absolutely right. It was tragic and heroic, and very very moving.

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