Project Wonderful

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why am I Here?

Why am I here? The answer is Uncanny X-Men #170 and I'll get to that later on.

My dream is to someday either work in the comics business or at least self publish my own comic book. I tried this once but failed I just could not get the art good enough and I could never allow myself to publish something I did not like.

I first started reading comics as a young child or the funnies as they used to be called in the newspapers. I liked Beetle Bailey and Peanuts, Andy Capp and quite a few others. I remember a collection of old Looney Tunes character comic books my grandparents had these were probably from the 1960's or early 1970's...I wish I had them today. These characters laid the groundwork for what I enjoy today.

At age 12 around June of 1983 there was a mistake made by the United States Postal Service...the one mistake that changed everything I ever knew about comics, the mistake that made me fall in love with characters that are heroes and villains in my imagination. The mistake was that someone in New Orleans, Louisiana on Painters Street had a subscription to the Uncanny X-Men from Marvel Comics and it was delivered to my grandparents house by accident. For some reason they gave it to me, maybe because I was there or maybe because of fate but issue #170 of The Uncanny X-Men was in my hands and this began my journey into comic books. For those of you who don't know this issue is when Storm fought Callisto of the Morlocks and defeated her making Storm the leader of the Morlocks. I eventually lost the issue and it took me quite a few years to come across another copy of this comic I probably have 3 or 4 copies now including a CGC Graded 9.6 copy (Although I cracked the case and have to get that fixed) it is one of my most prized possessions.

So I really got into comics at age 13 and Made Mine Marvel for the most part. I remember comics were .75 cents - .80 cents with tax so I started snagging my lunch money for comics...I was a kid and Spider-Man was more important that school lunch for sure. We had no Comic Book store in the town of Violet, Louisiana where I lived at that time (which was eventually destroyed by Hurricane Katrina years later) so I had to buy my comics off of spinner racks at the K&B Drug Store or Time Saver gas station, Winn-Dixie or even the old Hi-Lan Food Store. I loved Marvel Comics and that has love has remained until today.

Eventually I found out about a place called The BookWorm of New Orleans East and it was the most awesome place in the world to me but it was about 30 miles from where I lived so I was almost never able to go there. I started stopping in there a few years ago as an adult ocassionally just because of my memories of going there as a kid and the management was always so great. I don't know his last name but Terry was an awesome guy who lit up when he talked about comics and I miss that. Hurricane Katrina took his store from us all and I hope that he will re-open someday.

So at somepoint between the time I moved from Violet, Louisiana to Slidell, Louisiana I found an add in a comic book for a place called New England Comics in Brockton, MA and they promised guaranteed comics in NM condition and a free bag and board this was my answer to not haveing a Comic Shop near my comics came to my door. It wasn't as awesome as the comic shops always seemed to me but it was a great way to know what I wanted would be there for me. I used New England Comics for several years until I actually quit reading comics...I started college and had no money and of course I was upset with all the gimmick costly covers coming out in the early 1990's late 1980's so I went to college in 1992 and stopped collecting comics about 98% not because I didn't still love the characters and the stries just had other things that needed to be done. I guess it was 1999 or 2000 when I decided I wanted to get back into reading X-Men comics again and so I made a trip out to the Old Book Worm and then contacted New England Comics and soon I was back in the flow of finding back issues and getting the new stuff. I moved to Metairie, Louisiana and visited BSI Comics on Severn Avenue and there was a pretty awesome store they had lots of new comics and lots of old comics but I remained loyal to New England Comics due to the convenience and accuracy of ordering my comics by mail. After a few years with New England Comics and me having to move back to Slidell, Louisiana due to losing my job and pretty much starting over I found a new comic shop in Slidell back in late 2004 called Magic Comics & Hobbies it was really small but the owner David Strecker is awesome and he'd do whatever he could to get you what you needed. I split my order for a while with Magic Comics and New England Comics and eventually went 100% with Magic Comics & Hobbies.

In 2007 as gas prices rose to alltime highs I had to resort to buying my comics through Discount Comic Book Service an internet based store that provides huge discounts on comics and all that is related. I still stop in the local stores fairly often.

I was very lucky in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck I had been living with my Mother for a while while trying to get my life back together here home was destroyed by the tidal surge that reached at least 8 feet where we lived but by a bizzare twist of fate or maybe God is a comic book collector but my comics stored about two miles away in a storage unit were unharmed there was serious flooding and tidal surge probably less than 1 mile away.

So anyway I'm a comic book fan, I love the art, I love the heroes, I love the villians and I love the stories...I even love that weird smell of an old comic shop. I hope to become friends with some new people here and share stories of how much comics are a part of your lives.

-Kevin P. Johnson

Copyright 2008 Kevin P. Johnson

No comments: