I was trying to think back to when I first got interested in writing and it seems it all comes down to Marvel comic books. My best friend Pat lived around the corner from me in New Orleans East and as early as I can remember, probably around eight or nine years old, we began collecting comics back in the 1970’s.
The first thing we did was set up our collecting rules. We each chose our favorites like we were each picking for a football game. I chose Captain America first and Pat chose Daredevil. I chose Hulk and he chose Avengers and so on. Little did I know that Pat picked all of the good ones and I got the not so good ones. His prize collection? X-men. My prize comic from this entire endeavor? Hulk 181 with the first appearance of Wolverine.
So, the next obvious thing to do was to start drawing our own comics, which meant writing them, too. I must say, we both became quite good artists. I was so into it that art was my major when I went to college, eventually going into graphic design. Writing was only a hobby at this point - short stories and the attempted novel. But the comic book writing had been the fantastic part. I’d assemble of group of superheroes, male and female and give them villains to fight as well as their own personal shit they had to work through. We were sure we’d work at Marvel Comics in New York.
Comics were a major part of our lives. I remember constantly riding our bikes to the K&B to purchase our new issues. We would put our valuable comics in plastic bags with cardboard backers and then we discovered an older kid on my block that also collected. He was about five or six years older than us with long hair and a beautiful girlfriend and he became sort of a hero to us.
Over time, it was less about the stories and more about completing the collections and purchasing the valuable ones. Once Pat and I lost touch, I sold most of my comics, keeping the best ones, about 100 in all. I sometimes pull them out and relive those glory days, when caring about comics meant you had no cares in the world.