With Kapow Comic Convention fast approaching, I’ve decided to unearth my dusty comic book collection and amuse my self for hours with what I read, when and why.
Here is the list of landmark comics in my life.
As with everything we do (I do) the roots lie with the parents. My father is a solid person with a broad classic education. Widely read, with opinions on arias, operas, Kafka, geopolitical issues. Yet he will happily sit for hours reading comics giggling like any six-year old.He doesnt read many, but his favourite has always been Alan Ford. It’s a small square book about half a centimetre thick. Written by Luciano Secchi Roberto Raviola in print since 1969, its satire of secret agent group called TNT. It’s quite dark but also farcical and littered with slap stick.
It was my comic book initiation.
Once my appetite was wetted I moved onto things more my style. More blood , less farce bubbling with darkness.
Dylan Dog is a paranormal investigator with Groucho as a sidekick. He drives a beetle, women fall at his feet, and he when not playing the clarinet solves mysteries.
Both of these were too funny and too shifty for a girl who in her spare time wore a cape and pretended to be a hero (i kid you not). I had been brought up to see girls as powerful, resourceful and independent. So one day Amethyst Princess of Gemworld came into my life. She wore cute outfits, had great friends and kicked ass. Plus the way she lived in two different dimensions Gemworld and American suburbia mirrored my overactive imagination. I
Though Amethyst was amazing, being a teenager was hard on me and my moody hormones, dark moods and black outlook were not well supported by purple skirts and gems.
So from there it was a hop skip and a jump to the next obvious choice. Hellblazer. I came across it at the long gone comic shop at the top of Hamleys, Regents Street. What captured me was the beautiful gothic cover art and the flawed, broken anti-hero hooked me completely. I loved how he knew better, yet did so many stupid careless things anyway. And each time he was close to the edge he came up on top after all.
Hellblazer kicked off a whole train of other comics, most notable of them all was Sandman. That book deserves a whole post to itself so I will leave it out of this time warped list.
Strong women seeking their own path were really a strong theme for me. If to that you add beautiful delicate drawings you have David Mack’s Kabuki. I think you can probably see a pattern forming. A rhythmic fluctuation between the strong yet girly female and the dark brooding male. Having trained in two martial arts and being forever drawn to the East and all its mysteries I loved Kabuki and despite the tragedy, I wanted to be Kabuki.
Falling in love with the works of Neil Gaiman was very natural and this amour drove its own path in my comic book tastes as well as novel-reading. I think his style more than any other influences me as a writer. There is a twisted and lyrical quality to his work i adore. Though it began with Sandman and Neverwere it’s led me to some great places. 1602 was one of them.
My love of the impossible and the strange, plus the persistent feeling that there is more to life than the eye can see in turn led me to Fables, which I have loved from the first print to every one I’ve ever read.