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Friday Free For All: My Comic Book Situation

I am a comic book aficionado from way back. Like we're talking golden age, early 90s comics. The X-Men cartoons on Saturday mornings and in the weekday afternoons were my gateway drug.

I've been a Spider-fan since I was little bitty. The Spider-Man cartoons on Saturday mornings brought me life. Hell, I even went as Spidey for Halloween one year when I was like 6. Wonder Woman, too, but I'd loved her since diapers. There are pictures of me age 3 or so rollerskating around the house with my tin-foil tiara and bracelets, jump rope on my hip, and rocking my Underoos like I had something to prove. My mom puts it out in places of prominence when we have guests. Oy. All that to say, I was pretty much born a comic lover, but I wasn't a straight up, stick-it-in-my-veins, she-gots-to-have-it addict until my tween years.

The X-Men cartoons had everything I wanted. Professor X, Beast, Storm, Scott Summers (who I still do not like to this day), Jean Grey (OG but also overrated as hell), Wolverine, Storm, and the man who would become the comic book love of my life: Gambit.

If you asked me straight up who my favorite comic character of all time would be, without question or hesitation I'd say Remy 'Ragin Cajun' LeBeau. I can't even tell you why, exactly. He's smooth, but not too smooth, smart, so funny... this is starting to sound like a paean to my ideal man, and maybe he is (probably shouldn't tell the hubby though). He's the reason I transitioned pretty much from Saturday morning cartoons to weekday afternoons holed up in a comic book shop in the neighborhood combing back issues.

I spent a lot of my late tween/early teen years, sitting on the floor of a comic book store, organizing their boxes and saving my babysitting money to pick up back issues of X-Men. Thank goodness they let me stick around and dust and sweep, not for cash, just because I was there anyway and they liked talking to me. I was the weird kid and I'd found a home away from home in ink and paper.

It wasn't just X-Men, though (even though I learned to draw because I would recreate the comic covers on the covers I'd made for my textbooks). It was The Sandman, Cry for Dawn, Crying Freeman, Shaman's Tears (I'm sensing a theme), Heretic (the complete run), and the original 4

book run of The Crow by J. O. Barr. I'm very proud that I'd bought those right when they came out.

The Crow changed my whole life. Sincerely. From the way I told stories to the types of stories I wanted to tell. Between The Crow and Tami Hoag, who I discovered at roughly the same time, my whole idea of narrative shifted into something magical. Something I wanted to chase and possess with both hands.

I'd like to think I'm still running after it to this day.

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