The Day Comics Became So Much More than Just Comic Books for Me!

This is a thread of special memories for comic fans.

This is where you will find us sharing that first, most initimate moment, when a comic book story or issue transcended meer pulp entertainment and made us sit up and take notice.

Most everyone can remember when they first lost the viginity.  So we're not looking for the first comic book you ever had... or read...or trade for.

We're looking for that story about when you went, "WOW! This is really something!"

If you can, post an image of the cover so we can all share in your memory, but try to tell us the circumstances...where you were, what was going on, how you were feeling at the time.

And of course, no criticism of other's people's tastes or choices here. We want to know what wow-ed you.

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I confess I have several of these moments in my life.  But I want to share one that recently resurfaced for me.

It was July of 1969 and my family was having a summer cook-out/reunion at a cabin next to Houghton Lake in northern Michigan. (This was an area where the auto-workers would escape to for long weekends, and fishing or boating in one of the several large kettle morain lakes that had formed after the glaciers melted in retreat.)

I had been aware of the X-men for many years now, having followed their cross-overs into the Fantastic Four, or the Avengers, and having a run of Jack Kirby layout issues in their teens from someone else's collection.

But recently, after it became obvious that the powers that be had no idea where to take the mutant young people since they graduated, the artwork was suffering...the stories were disjointed, and the art seemed to change almost a regularly as the issue numbers did.  And their costumes changing had reduced the concept of a school even further.

Just recently, they had introduced a long-lost or hidden brother of Scott's who was graduating and soon to enter the greater world outside, but the art was terrible.
Then suddenly, an extremely realistic, adult artist had come on board, with wild panel designs and unusual camera angles.  I dismissed it as just another desperate attempt to find another direction for the mutants and ignored it.

But then, the Sentinels returned, and I recalled reading a three part adventure with them from back in the day. These giant robots had not been much of a threat to the X-men, as I recalled, cause they were defeated in three issues and all blown up.

But here was a different interpretation of them...lean, fast, dangerous and sneaky.  They were showing up unexpectedly and getting the drop on most of the supporting characters in the series.

Finally, as I was bored with my family reunion, I asked for permission to ride a bike down the street that connected the highway to the lake, to the convenience store that was at the highway.  They had a spinner rack for comics there, and I was always on the hunt for the new issues or new releases. It was my fix.  My private pleasure.

And when I got there, I turned the rack and beheld the two latest issues of the Avengers and the X-men.  Both were in dire straits engaged in a desperate battle, but the cover of the X-men rivited me.  It was a torn an battered Cyclops holding off two approaching Sentinels in the rubble and was called, "The LAST X-man". 

OMG, what was going on?  It appeared that they were actually LOOSING!   From a quick flip through the book, the emotion was one of despiration...of frantic flight...of last minute gambles... and of desperation gambits being tried.

They even showed panels of all known mutants already in captivity, including the apprehension of Wanda, Pietro and Toad...and the x-men were being winnowed down to just a last desperate few.

How could I NOT buy this issue?

I rode my borrowed bike down the street to the cousin's cabin as fast as I could, and begged my mother for a quarter. I needed a cash infussion to buy both the Avengers and X-men issue. She made me promise not to read them then, as I should be interacting with my cousins and family, instead of having my nose stuck in a paper book.

I would have promised anything, and rode frantically back to the store where I bought them. I stopped outside the store, and read the final two pages over twice, as I realized that the deadly robots were stopped, not by brute force, but by logic.

This was MY KIND of story.

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