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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Oh, good one! Yes. Agreed on all counts.

Alexandra Kitty said:

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.)Don't approve of killing characters, but killing of Ted Kord cheesed me off the most -- it was just unnecessary.

If you have an Amazon account you can use this link to sign up to be notified when it's available. I did and I also signed up for Dobie Gillis.

Dobie seems to definitely be coming, and I'll be interested to see what they include and how much it costs. That Batman alert may require you to update your email address several times at the rate they're going. I realize that lawyers have to eat too, but these guys are eating too well.

Don't approve of killing characters, but killing of Ted Kord cheesed me off the most -- it was just unnecessary.

To be fair, the question wasn't which death was the first you approved of. That's an interesting way to put it. These days, I don't think I approve of any deaths, because they're meaningless.They're often planning the character's return before the page is drawn.

I really expected to see Ted Kord return by the end of the series. Even then, showing his brains being blown out, even in silhouette was a bit more than we needed. Maybe their point was to show us there was no way he could come back, but, sorry, it's comics. The notion that I'll never see Ted Kord again didn't occur to me, and that means it was wasted, at least on me.

As I've said before, I was astonished at the response to the death of Captain America, considering he'd been dead before, his partner just came back from being Bucky-dead, and the person who killed him had been dead before. Comics needs to stop killing characters for big, dramatic moments, as they're not working.

-- MSA

As I recall, a lot of the reaction to the death of Captain America was similar to the death of Superman, as the general news media isn't usually aware of how "death" in comics usually works. The death of CA was reacted to even more strongly by the self-styled patriots who thought that Marvel must be anti-American to do it.

Mr. Silver Age said:

As I've said before, I was astonished at the response to the death of Captain America, considering he'd been dead before, his partner just came back from being Bucky-dead, and the person who killed him had been dead before. Comics needs to stop killing characters for big, dramatic moments, as they're not working.

-- MSA

When practically every major (and some minor) members of the Justice League, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four and Teen Titans have been dead at one time, with some even presumed "really-most-sincerely-dead", only to return later, the sales gimmick is hard to understand. It is more of an in-joke that the media still doesn't get as with Spider-Man and Robin now.

Mr Age said: That's more than a rumor. Shout Factory has announced the series will be out later this year. I will be sorely tempted to get it, as it was pretty funny. I've often been tempted to read the book, which I have in my library, but for some reason I've never done it.

I've been able to find a few early episodes on YouTube and I can confirm they are indeed still funny. This is probably because in the beginning the show was being written by Max Shulman, who wrote the books (and a lot of other books which I read as a kid and thought were pretty great). I do remember things sliding into pure foolishness in later years with Maynard taking over the show, and not to his credit. One assumes that Shulman had left by that point and was not there to protect his interests (though maybe his interests at that point might have been confined to his residuals).

You should read the book - which I am assuming is "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" (see below) - I remember it as being pretty funny. But I should point out that that is actually the sequel, the original being "I Was A Teenage Dwarf", which was good too. Both are a series of loosely connected short stories, which are somewhat different from the show but close enough to be recognizable. The chief difference being the absence of Maynard. And - spoiler alert - I seem to remember he marries Zelda in the end.

Andy

1. What was the first comic you remember reading? I don't know which it was--it depends on your definition of "reading"; I distinclty remember perusing "The Flash" #145 (June, '64) where he's trapped in a downpour the size of a phonebooth, which came out when I was 3 and pre-literate.  Both of my older brothers bought comics and kept them until Mom threw them out, but they were seemingly always around.

2. What was the first series you tried to follow every month? "The Avengers" from late '68 to '69, which I followed until...well, I'll get to that later.

3. Who was the first hero to really inspire you? The first hero I actively tried to emulate was Adam West's Batman. My friend Danny and I would jump into a chaise longue together, pretending it was the Batmobile.

4. Who was the first villain to give you the creeps or scare you? "Mr. 103" with his mask off in "Doom Patrol" #105 (August '66). He sported heavy mascara, and looked like a horror version of "Divine".

5. What was the first story that had a big emotional impact on you? "The Atom" #11 (Feb/March '64) featured a story where a mind-controlled Jean Loring walked Ray Palmer off the plank of a cruise ship at swordpoint; it struck me as the meridian of cruelty. Apparently cruise ships haven't improved much since. 

6. What was the first action scene to really impress you, make you go "Wow!!" Swan and Klein's full page panel of the "Dark Circle"'s army being siphoned off the earth by the "Miracle Machine" in "Adventure" #367 (April, '68), which impresses me yet.

7. Who was the first artist whose style you learned to recognize immediately? Probably Curt Swan, who is still my favorite.

8. What title's cancellation saddened you the most? The Legion of Super-Heroes losing "Adventure Comics" to (ugh!) Supergirl. That, and the demise of "The Atom and Hawkman", signalled the end of the Silver Age.

9. What title's debut excited you the most? I really don't remember any.

10. What was the line-up the first time you saw the "Avengers"? Cap leading Hawkeye, Goliath, the Black Panther, and the Wasp in a search back in time for any possibility that Bucky survived the explosion that [SPOILER] actually killed him in "The Avengers" #56 (Sept "68).

11. Who was the first character whose "death" upset you? An arrogant clod named "Yellowjacket" arrived in "The Avengers" #59 (Dec '68) claiming to have killed Hank Pym, who was only my favorite Avenger (as Goliath); later we discover that Yellowjacket [SPOILER] IS Hank Pym with amnesia. By the time Hawkeye [SPOILER] shed his bow and quiver to become the new Goliath, it was obvious that the old Goliath wasn't coming back, so I stopped reading "The Avengers".

12. What was the first back issue you hunted for? When I worked in an aerosol factory when I was 18, saving money to go UConn, I decided to collect all the back issues of "Adventure Comics" featuring the "Legion of Super-Heroes" that I had missed out on--first issue was "Adventure Comics #346 (July '66), which featured the first appearances of Ferro Lad, Nemesis Kid, Karate Kid, and Princess Projectra.

This was fun.

It's been a while since I've noticed this, but I haven't had the time to delve into it. Plus, I've been thinking hard but am still not sure I can answer all the questions with the specificity required. But here's a stab at them ...

 

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

See, I'm stuck already. I remember that my uncles had comics at my grandmother's house, but which one of those did I read first? And which one of those do I remember?

At the best of my recollection, I'd say an issue of Adventure Comics featuring Superboy. The story had something to do with Superboy acting like a totat brat, probably because he was exposed to red kryptonite. I remember different things occurring in the story, such as him creating a display over the high school showcasing the ditty "No More Classrooms, No More Books, No More Teacher's Dirty Looks" ... I remember the Army preparing to take him out, by practicing on an artillery range, shooting cannons at life-size stone statues of Superboy, and then just to rub their noses in how futile it was, Superboy came along and removed the statues and let the soldiers fire at him, to no effect.

I've never found that story, but I'm sure our crack research team would be able to tell me chapter and verse of what comic, issue and date that story was in.

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

That one I know; it's The Avengers, because the first new comic I ever bought was Avengers #158 (April 1977).

 

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

First? Probably Sgt. Rock.

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

Nobody, until Killgrave, the Purple Man was reimagined for Brian Michael Bendis's Alias. He was creepy.

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

Avengers #277 (March 1987), the conclusion to the "Under Siege" storyline -- the one where the Masters of Evil breach the Mansion, beat Hercules into a coma, mangle poor Jarvis and the rest of the team has to force them out.

After the battle is over, there's a quiet moment where Captain America is going over the wreckage. During the fight, he didn't blink when his original shield was deliberately crushed like a sheet of paper ... he warned Baron Zemo that he'll get him for hurting Jarvis ... but now, in the after math, he finds a photo of his mother -- the only photo he has of his mother -- torn in half, and he tears up.

That always makes me tear up, too. Just thinking about it makes me tear up.

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

First? First? Boy, that's hard ...

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

First? First? First? Boy, that's hard ... It could have been Irv Novick, or Gil Kane, or Sid Greene, or Carmine Infantino, or Joe Kubert, or Lee Elias ...

For the sake of completion, I'll say Russ Heath.

But it could have been Wayne Boring, or Mike Grell, or Vince Colletta, or ... 

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

That's easy: Gotham Central. I LOVED that book.

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

The New Teen Titans.

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

Let's see ... I already mentioned that the first new comic I bought was Avengers #158, so right on the cover is Captain America, Iron Man, the Scarlet Witch, the Vision and Wonder Man; the Black Panther and Thor also take part.

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.)

Hmmm ... probably Batwoman in Detective Comics #485 (August–September 1979), just because it was wrong, and an early example of Women in Refrigerators syndrome.

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

First? First? First? FIRST? Boy, that's hard ...

Before I started buying comics in earnest, I read some, as I mentioned before, that were lying around at my grandmother's. Later, I had a good buddy share some with me when we were in high school. For a while, my parents ran a thrift store and had a three-foot-high stack of Silver Age DCs and Charton comics -- which makes me, to this day, more of a DC man than a Marvel man. And I got lots of cheap (10 cents!) issues from the corner store.

When I started buying comics in earnest, I would walk three miles to a comic shop -- that's right, three miles, and it was uphill, both ways! -- that had comics lovingly bagged and boarded.  (I didn't have a car, and walking was still faster than riding the transit bus. Two things I learned on those walks: An unleased dog can't reach you if you climb onto the roof of a nearby car, and eventually, it'll get bored and go away.)

When I found a title I liked, I would buy back issues, two at a time (I didn't have an unlimited budget, and still don't), until I got them all, or at least went back as far as money and availability would allow. That was how I got All-Star Western/Weird Western Tales and Jonah Hex, Master of Kung Fu, Tomb of Dracula, Our Army at War featuring Sgt. Rock, Howard the Duck and others. I also took the opportunity to acquire some of those comics I had read but didn't own.

So, to answer the question, I figure it was Weird Western Tales #21 (Jan.-Feb. 1974).

I thought I'd give this a go.  Trying to stick purely to "comic-books" (no newspaper strips, TV shows, etc...)

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

BLACK FURY #42 (Jun'63).  My brother got BATTLEFIELD ACTION #47  (May'63).

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

MARVEL TALES reprints of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, starting with issue #41  (Feb'73)

This was gollowed by MARVEL'S GREATES COMICS, starting with issue #43  (Jul'73)

In both cases, I had quite a few earlier issues, but this was where I started buying them regularly.

In the case of the Spidey comic, I actually had the originals of both ASM #55 and #56, and seeing the reprint of #56, I figured, aftrer all these years, I'll finally be able to see how the story ends.  NOPE.  They SKIPPED both #57 & 58-- the next issue of MT reprinted #59!!!  (GRRRRRRRRRRRR)  By the weirdest luck, a couple years later, I found a coverless copy of #57 in the SAME store I'd originally found #55 & 56.  But #58 wound up being one of the books I bought at my first NYC convention.  I was just so fed up with not having the end of the story all those years.

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

Tough call.  But I suspect it was really NICK FURY, thanks to the reprtints in issue #18  (Mar'71).  Some of Jack Kirby's best writing!

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

Nothing in regular comics comics to mind. It's probably THIS guy, in a story illustrated by Tom Sutton!!!  EERIE #39  (Apr.72).

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

Nothing's coming to mind...

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

Easy one.  FANTASTIC FOUR #71  (Feb'68).

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

Herge  (THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN!)

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

JUNGLE ACTION  (with #24  /  Nov'76)

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

THE ETERNALS  (Jul'76)

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

As far as I could tell...  Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye  / FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3 (1965)

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.)

Nothing is coming to mind.

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

In high school, I was only getting a certain amount of comics new from the drugstore.  But I was also able to find "2nd hand" comics, for half-price, sometimes with half or no cover.  And I can recall buying a lot of stories out of sequence because of this habit.  Since I was often in the habit of reading my comics more than once, it didn't bother me too much. I just figured, if I missed one, give it a month or two, and I might be able to find the missing one.

That said, what comes to mind...  GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS #2  (Nov'74).  I'm pretty sure I got #129, then #130, THEN the GIANT.

I wish I could link to better cover images. Some of those at the GCD are just awful....!

I've never found that story, but I'm sure our crack research team would be able to tell me chapter and verse of what comic, issue and date that story was in.

Probably the reason you can't find it is that you're looking in the wrong comic. That description would have to be pretty far back in the SA to be in Adventure (or in a small window of the late 1970s).

It's actually "The Scoundrel of Steel!" in Superboy #134 (Dec 66). But except for the comic title, you got some of the scenes (and the reason) dead on.

It hasn't been reprinted, as far as I know, so that must be where you saw it.

I could tell you the plot and what happens, but then you wouldn't have the fun of reading to see what happens after you track it down. 

As an added incentive, the back-up story is "Krypto's First Romance!" a lovely tale of canine mating rituals.

It's a classic SA comic that's available at many price points on eBay even as we speak: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=Supe...

I like to think of the MSA Forum as a full-service kind of place.

-- MSA

So how come SA Superboy comics -- which I don't really collect -- are dirt cheap, but all the other SA titles I'm trying to track down are a lot more expensive? I would think the supply and demand wouldn't be dramatically different for Superboy than any other SA DC title, and yet, dealers tend to price these things a lot lower than comparable brands.

The obvious possibility is that if the ones you were tracking down were cheaper, you'd already have them. That's usually the case with me. There aren't many I'm looking for I haven't seen somewhere, they just aren't at a price I want to pay. So all I need are more expensive ones. I WISH I needed the low-hangiing fruit that is mid-60s Jim, Lois and Superboy.

I was an avid fan of Superboy, so I had a pretty complete collection from the early 1960s on anyway. I'm now pretty complete back into the mid-1950s, but finding new issues to buy at prices I want to pay doesn't happen much.

My next big chance will be at C2E2 in late April, but I'm not holding my breath I'll walk out with a new Superboy to read. Which is a shame, as I don't see any reprint collections on the horizon.

I would guess that Superboy, Jimbo and Lo are fairly cheap because they were more offshoots of the regular universe than a part of it, they probably had fairly high print runs, and the artwork is often nothing special. So fewer people collect those (or get rid of them when they're pruning their collection), so they're both more readily available and less in demand. Fools..

-- MSA

I laughed out loud at work when I read that last line.  Others wanted to know what was so funny....

Mr. Silver Age said:

So fewer people collect those (or get rid of them when they're pruning their collection), so they're both more readily available and less in demand. Fools...

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