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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I got my love of super heroes initally from TV like Batman with Adam West and Spider-man and his Amazing Friends. So I always liked super heroes and had an interest in wanting to read comics. My family for one reason or the other thought some actual super hero comics may have been too violent for a young chap like myself. I do remember reading a lot of the comics in the paper that I liked. I do remember an Archie comic that had a superhero duck on the cover. That was probably the first one I read. There was also a Hulk comic that my mom bought us when we were really young but there was something about it she didn't like. I also bought the Archie line of Ninja Turtle comics and there was an issue of Wolverine that I got around that time. So we're talking very late 80s probably more like 1990. There were also the Harvey titles the one I remember liking a lot was an issue of Felix the cat. I thought it was great and had several short stories that were all funny. It all runs together for me so which one was the first, I'm not sure. But I do remember them all and they made me want to pursue comics.

For a simple answer I'll go with Felix the Cat. Now when I was 12 and discovered the X-men cartoon I was ravenous to start buying comics. The first one I got was Spider-man the Mutant Agenda #2 because Beast was on the cover with Spidey. From there I wanted more Spider-man comics.
 Mr. Silver Age said:

 

Jason –1. What was the first comic book you remember reading? I don't remember. Probably Archie.

No, see the first comic you remember reading is one you DO remember. I think a lot of us had comics pass before our eyes for awhile--Archies, Harveys, Dells, etc.--before one stuck with us and made us want to see another of that title. I think it often is a super-hero comic, because they were more intense and had an implication of continuity, at least.

Plus, the cover of the super-hero comics related to what was inside, so we remember the story from that cover prompt. With Archies and Harveys, the cover gives us no idea of what the stories were, and most of them were so short that they didn't stick with us beyond the bit they entertained us.

 

Doc: 9. What title's debut excited you the most? The entire Atlas-Seaboard line, no question about it.

Did you still feel that way after it appeared? I was kind of excited about it, especially the Ditko books. I thought it would be cool to see his work outside of an existing universe, after seeing his Creeper, which I really liked. But once it appeared, it didn’t seem to be so exciting, and then it disappeared quickly.

Actually, Beware the Creeper might’ve been the title that I was most saddened to see cancelled, if it hadn’t switched creators in the end. Kane did some excellent work, but Creeper was a Ditko style book, and losing him was what saddened me more.

Dave: Marvel came to the rescue, though, back then with the Howard Treasury edition,

That’s the version I have, after I saw what people wanted for HTD #1. In your face, speculators! Of course, by the time that came out, I didn’t care so much about the first issue, and having it in a different format—one that was so difficult to store anywhere, much less with the other issues, wasn’t a great solution. But it did stop me looking for the original. And yeah, I’ve since seen it cheap but not bothered to get it.

All good things come to those who wait (although I'm still waiting for SP: BOB HOPE).

Yeah, yeah, and those Superboy reprints. I never say never any more, but I’m not holding my breath for those, either.

I agree those are the ones I would like to see the most—along with the Scribbly collection. That should have an outside shot, although apparently the Sugar & Spike Archive didn’t do well enough to rush a second one into print. That’s too bad, but it again shows that if I think it’s a good idea, DC shouldn’t do it.

What I’d really like to see is a Best of Mort Drucker collection, but that’s wildly improbable, and also another thread.

Kirk: Mr. S.A. said: they don't make my comics-sense tingle the same way. Now who's being perverse? Eh?  LOL!

Eh, our comic/spider sense is always tingling around here for something. But we don’t usually get Supergirl asking us to rub the jewel in our magic totem pole, even if we’d like her to, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

Jason: For a simple answer I'll go with Felix the Cat.

I'm not sure that still counts if you don’t know what issue it was, but I suppose it’ll do. I remember reading and liking some Donald Ducks I read at my uncle's (he must've had them left over from when his own kids were young, which would've been about 10 years earlier), but I don’t remember the plots.

If I did, they wouldn’t be tough to track down nowadays, as I’m sure they were Barks comics. But the first one I can go to the GCD and point to and say, I read that is the Superman Annual. It’s interesting to be able to keep going back until you find the earliest comic, but doing it just by covers is tough if it wasn't a super-hero comic.

Now when I was 12 and discovered the X-men cartoon I was ravenous to start buying comics.

A number of people got to comics from TV shows or cartoons of some kind. I didn’t do that—I don’t think the Superman show was on either new or in reruns when I started reading, and there wasn’t much else out there. I never really watched those Marvel "partial animation" shows, although I knew they were on. They were just too horrible.

I wonder if anyone today sees a Marvel or DC super-hero show and is enticed to go find comics? I’ll bet very few. There was that recent story about a guy who claimed he was Spider-Man’s Biggest Fan, and he had this huge collection, but he’d never read a comic. More probably track down a video game.

-- MSA

I just remember always liking comics. I can't say if there was a first none that made me want to keep reading. The cartoons were what really pushed me to seek out the comics. I know I was always drawn to the style of comics. I like the art and the panels. Basically the whole form of the storytelling. When I was younger I had other people buying me comics so I didn't get to pick and choose too much what I got. I never got to follow any arcs. I didn't have many issues.

When I got back into it in 2002 right before the first Spider-man came out I bought Ultimate Spider-man 20 and Peter Parker Spider-man 42 after that I kept buying comics and haven't stopped. That's when I really started reading comics.

This was probably the first time I SAW Batman from 1969. It had Olan Soule and Casey Kasem doing the voices of the Caped Crusaders five years before Super Friends!*

*Actually they did the voices in the late 60s Saturday morning cartoon series then continued to do so until the early 80s.

Holy Job Security!

  Mr. S.A. said: they don't make my comics-sense tingle the same way.

Kirk said: (Now who's being perverse? Eh?  LOL!)

Mr.S.A.:  " Eh, our comic/spider sense is always tingling around here for something. But we don’t usually get Supergirl asking us to rub the jewel in our magic totem pole, even if we’d like her to, if you know what I mean and I think you do....

 

Which brings up another memory. When I was living in Salt Lake City in 1987-88, I worked for a TV station. I happened to hear a new story on one of our competitors about some porn that was on the end of a Spider-Man VHS tape.  AFTER the show was finished, and the signal went to black and then colorbars and tone, it went to static and then up came a scene of a half naked man and woman flirting and getting ready to do the dirty deed, if you get what I mean.  The mother who found this playing on her TV set when she failed to stop the tape after her kid's show had run out, was scandalized that Wal-Mart would sell a tape with that on it to her kids.

The TV station made a big to-do about it, and wrote a clever but trite line at the end of their piece that they would be on the look-out for any evil doers that might do this. And the played a clip from the Spider-Man show where the voice actor said, of course, "Wow, is my Spider-Sense ever tingling..."

 

It was very suggestive and much ado about nothing.

Clearly, either the tape had been recycled before having Spidey recorded onto it, OR, as the Spidey show was being mass duplicated in some production house duplication gang distribution system, the original ran out or was rewound before the record copies had been stopped...and whatever porn was also being duplicated in the electrical plant at the time, simply looped through the system and for the final 30 seconds or so before the record tape came to an end, was being feed through the system.  Maybe the technician noticed it, maybe he didn't.  But it clearly was not intentional... as it didn't show anything graphic...just extremely suggestive and clearly adult porn.

I asked for a copy of the news story and got it, and I mailed it to Marvel in NYC with a short note explaining about the bad press this was generating in one of the most family-oriented markets of the nation.  I had expected to see at least a letter adressing the news report appeear in CBG or perhaps sent to the two or three comic book retail shops that were there in the valley.  But Marvel totally ignored the story.

There was no follow-up.

Years later, there were news stories about people renting VHS tapes from Mom and Pop outlets or from the library or similar video rental stores, and intentionally tagging them with explicit scenes from their porn collection.  However, to my knowledge, it wasn't industry wide  nor professionally done.  And I don't think anyone got busted for it.  VHS died, and DVDs came in, and all the Mom and Pop stores got chased out by big chain video rental stores that lean toward DVDs.

Was "the Composite Superman" sort of like a Super-Skrull or Carl Rankin, the mimic?

The origin of Alpha Flight was based upon what the "suits" at Marvel wanted to publish, cause they felt they had a market in Canada that was going untapped. John Byrne has said that he hated doing the series, but did the best he could with it. I think he had planned out two years, but by the time he got done, he had run 28 issues or so.  Some of the tales just spilled over into two books.

His formula for each "year" of the series is pretty clear.

First, he intoduces the entire team in #1. The he does individual issues, highlighting each character. Some times this becomes two-part stories. But it all builds to the big revelation/death in issue #12. Then he deals with the immediate aftermath of the family members. Then he begins taking the characters in twos, on individual adventures. And he reunites the 'whole team' for the search for Sasquatch...and then the return of Omega flight four part arc which mimics the issue 12 shocker. 

And just as quickly, he tries to  get off the book with a cross-over to the Hulk.

It seems pretty clear to me that he had intended to end the second "year" with Heather retiring to take a bath, and with her soaking in the tub, a photo of "Mac" on the ledge next to her. That was the perfect break point, instead of having her leap up during a power failure and start the cross-over.

So, what thrilled me so?
Byrne handled each character so well. It was well thought out, dramaticly staged, rose and fell with the right rhythm, was a hot seller, and a nice companion title to X-men.

Very well drawn, imaginative, emotional, heroic, and reasonably priced.  I was on the edge of my seat as he hit both of the high notes. and I followed him on every twist and turn of the final arc.

The only fly in the ointment was the mandated cross-over into Secret Wars II #4 that he was ordered to do. They don't look like Alpha Flight to me, they don't act like it, and except for the necessity to have a deus de machine to resolve the cliffhanger with Tailisman, it's un-necessary.

Does that answer your question?

He was a villain who had all of the powers of the Legion of Superheroes of the time he was created. Something about statues of the Legion, right? And lightning came into play somewhere? I'm going on my memory of the Who's Who entry

Kirk G said:

Was "the Composite Superman" sort of like a Super-Skrull or Carl Rankin, the mimic?

You inspired me to go to google and search for DC's Who's Who...and found the entry for the books. Then I searched wikipedia for Composite Superman and got the low down. Very impressive.

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

He was a villain who had all of the powers of the Legion of Superheroes of the time he was created. Something about statues of the Legion, right? And lightning came into play somewhere? I'm going on my memory of the Who's Who entry

Kirk G said:

Was "the Composite Superman" sort of like a Super-Skrull or Carl Rankin, the mimic?

Sorry I'm coming in late to this thread. Besides facing a few writing deadlines I had to honor, there were a couple of questions I had to stop and think about first.

But without further ado...

1. What was the first comic book you remember reading? Action Comics #434, May 1974. So fair warning, the rest of my answers are from this time period and beyond.

2. What was the first series you tried to follow every month? The original Justice League of America, for the team concept was new to me. Sadly, it was about another year before my first Legion of Superheroes adventure.

3. Who was the first hero to really inspire you? Superman. The whole “strange visitor from another planet” motif was akin to how alienated I felt amongst my teenage ‘peers’ at the time.

4. Who was the first villain to give you the creeps or scare you? Darkseid, especially his return during the Legion of Superheroes’ “Great Darkness” Saga.

5. What was the first story to have a big emotional impact on you? (Uncanny) X-men #137 and the death of Jean Grey. For anyone to make such a sacrifice… But the fact that event has since been retconned is one of the many reasons I no longer read Marvel Comics.

6. What was the first action scene to really impress you, make you go "Wow!"? Would have to say a Batman fight sequence from around the same time of Action 434, but sadly, I don’t remember the exact issue.

7. Who was the first artist whose style you learned to recognize immediately? Curt Swan, especially when inked by Murphy Anderson.

8. What title's cancellation saddened you the most? Star Hunters from DC. Short lived, but good science-fiction.

9. What title's debut excited you the most? The return of All Star Comics, giving the Justice Society a regular series (again).

10. What was the line-up the first time you saw the Avengers? Had to look this up. From Avengers #184: Beast, Captain America, Falcon, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Ms. Marvel, Vision, and the Wasp.

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.) Jean Grey’s, followed by the original Supergirl and the Barry Allen Flash during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. “Deaths” didn’t become ‘popular’ until after the Crisis.

12. What was the first back issue you went hunting for? Intentionally? Howard the Duck by Steve Gerber and Gene Colan. Discovered the series very late (somewhere in the 20s). Loved the title and started backtracking. Otherwise, once I discovered the genre, would keep an eye out for comic books at ever used book store and garage sale I came across. Finding them at such locations was a regular event (usually at or below original cover price!) until the 1980s, when comic books stores started to get established on the Gulf Coast, while the back issue market and speculation began to heat up.

Don't worry, Lee... Jean Grey can always be dead again if you want... (All you have to do is pick up your copy of X-men #137 again and read it one more time.

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

One of the Barks Ducks books. Not sure which one.

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

Justice League, beginning with Brave and Bold 28

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

Spider-Man. So much of his life (except the scientific genius and spider-bite) was very like mine.

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

I don't remember a comics villain doing that, but when I was little the witch from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs scared the hell out of me.

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

A tie between Silvermane's reversion to a fertilized egg in ASM 74 and the death of Gwen Stacey in ASM 121. At least the second one stuck.

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

Ben Grimm's attempt to stop the Hulk in FF 25.

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

Carmine Infantino

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

The original Doom Patrol.

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

Probably the Doom Patrol in My Greatest Adventure 80. It was so different from anything else I had seen.

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

Thor, Iron Man, Giant-Man, and The Wasp in Avengers 3, fighting the Hulk and Sub-Mariner. I knew Subby from early issues of FF, which is probably why I picked it up. I started with Marvel with FF 5 but stopped comics after FF 10. I came back to comics at the end of 1963 and to one degree or another never left again.

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.)

Can't come up with any that upset me.

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

Fantastic Four #1 (never got it)

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