On Twitter, as he is wont to do, Alex Segura has started a discussion related to comics.
Who was your first #comicssupporter – the person that helped you go from casual to serious fan? For me, it was my dad – who bought me my first new/off the rack comic, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #348. I’d read a ton of Archies and some superhero comics before, but this hooked me. pic.twitter.com/fUfOm7syzR— Alex Segura (@alex_segura) May 27, 2019
If for some reason you can’t see the tweet, it’s an image of the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #348, and it says:
Who was your first #comicssupporter – the person that helped you go from casual to serious fan? For me, it was my dad – who bought me my first new/off the rack comic, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #348. I’d read a ton of Archies and some superhero comics before, but this hooked me.@alex_segura
In subsequent tweets he goes on to ask others to share their stories, which people have done, including your humble President and Publisher (although he did, of course, misspell the hashtag).
My story is a bit different from most, in that I didn’t really have a #comicssupporter. Not just one, anyway.
Many of the people replying with their stories talk about their dads, or siblings, or friends who helped guide them and get them to make the move “from casual reader to serious fan.” I didn’t have that experience.
Sure, my parents enabled my comic reading by, you know, buying them for me, but they did so mostly just to keep their kid entertained, not out of any enduring love for the medium that they wanted to pass on to another generation, and it wasn’t something we bonded over or anything.
For me, comic fandom was – as were most things, really – a solitary pursuit. My siblings didn’t have much interest in comics, and given that there weren’t that many kids my own age around in the first place there weren’t that many others around who were really “into” comics, and even the few that I knew who were didn’t quite share my enthusiasm, and weren’t really that inclined to talk about comics. (Or to talk to me at all, if I’m honest.)
As someone who lived in a rural area and wasn’t particularly outdoorsy (the only thing I really liked to do outside was swim, which I did plenty of – I grew up in a town called Twin Lakes, after all – but in a place where winter can run from September, that’s not a year-round activity) there weren’t really a lot of entertainment options. The nearest video arcade – once those became a thing – was thirty miles away, movies were expensive (and again, the nearest theater was far away), and we could only reliably pull in one TV station.
Comics, back then, were relatively cheap, particularly when purchased in the bundled packages of damaged comics, so necessity probably played a pretty big role in fostering my love of comics.
Of course, the fact that comics were filled with dynamic characters engaged in exciting, cosmos-spanning, senses-shattering adventures, presented in all their four-color glory by some absolute masters of their craft did most of the heavy lifting and ensured that, for young Jon, when it came to comics it was love at first sight, and I think I still would have chosen comics even if I’d had a surfeit of options.
So I didn’t really need a #comicssupporter, I suppose, but, as I said on Twitter, while I didn’t really have one, I actually had a lot more than one, in the form of fans who wrote in to the letter pages.
The letters from fans were something of a revelation to me. I never really fit in anywhere, or felt like I belonged, or as if there were anyone in the world who was like me.
But on the letter pages I saw these amazing, thoughtful responses from people from different places and different backgrounds who, in this regard, at least, were like me, people who cared about the things I cared about, and who shared my love of comics. There were people I agreed with, people I vehemently disagreed with, and people who I could scoff at as rookies and dilettantes – Do you even know how the No-Prize works? – and everyone in between, all united by the simple fact that we loved comics.
(Seeing all of the letters from college students and adult professionals also helped me work past the anxiety I felt at the nightmarish thought and ever-present fear that I might one day have to put aside childish things and – *SOB!* – stop reading comics.)
Thanks to those letter pages and the support they provided me, I felt like the world was as lot bigger than the small world I lived in at the time, and as if there might be a place for me in that bigger world.
I never had enough confidence in my own thoughts to put pen to paper and send in my own letters – I did write one, once, though I never sent it – so I was, in the parlance of our times, a lurker in the comments, but as a weird, isolated, lonely kid living in a place that wasn’t even significant enough to be in the middle of nowhere, those letters, those fellow fans, meant the world to me.
In any case, I just thought I would pop in for a bit and share these thoughts, as being a #comicssupporter is what OpenDoor Comics is all about.
Check out the hashtag on Twitter to read more stories of comics support, maybe find yourself feeling supported as a result, and then consider becoming an #OpenDoorComicsSupporter, because, as you may or may not know…
With your support, OpenDoor Comics can support readers and creators of comics. Do it for all of the weird, isolated, lonely kids who already love comics or on the verge of falling in love with them. Do it for comics! Do it because there’s nothing on TV or because you’re not the outdoorsy type!