My Comic Book Life

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Went into a comic book store today and spent way too much money. Comic book stores have that effect on me. If I had a religion growing up it was comics and I liked nothing better than worshiping at my favorite shrine, the comic book store.

The first few years of buying comics were dominated by newsstands or the comic rack at the tiny grocery store down the street from my apartment. I know why I loved comics so much. They were my escape outlet. They were the entrance into a world where fear was conquered. Where average looking geeks and nerds were secretly powerful heros. Fearless and respected by all. Oh, how I wanted to be fearless and respected.

It really isn’t any wonder my favorite hero was Spider-Man. Peter Parker was everything I dreamed of being. A smart outcast picked on by the so called popular kids. Wanting the world to notice him. Wanting more than the world seemed willing to give him. His transformation into Spider-Man was every geek kid’s fairy tale.

It started with Spider-Man but it spread out into everything I could afford to buy. I eventually got a paper route so that I could afford my comic habit. When comic book stores starting springing up everywhere it was a natural progression to find me hanging out in them every chance I got. I knew where every comic book store in a 40 mile radius to my house was and I went to them all.

There hasn’t been one part of my life where my love of comics hasn’t been part of it. I began writing my own comics in the 4th grade and by the time I was 18, I was the proud owner of rejection letters from some of my favorite Marvel editors. I know it probably seems silly but I think I learned how to be a good person from comics. So many of my friends were doing bad things. I am not saying I didn’t stray into it but somewhere in the back of my head I was always embarrassed. I always knew what I was doing was wrong and that my favorite heros would look at me with sadness and pity.

It was that thought which kept me from straying over the line of no return. The part of me that needed to be liked and redeemed wouldn’t let me lose sight of what it meant to be good. What justice meant. By 8th grade I had shucked off all the little nasty things I had gotten myself involved in. I began the long walk back to respectability. I started trying to control my anger. I made sure I was always looking out for the underdog. I began to look for the villains in my life. It wouldn’t take me too long to begin removing them.

Comics taught me to read. They taught me how to write. In the end they taught me how to be good. How to rise above the adversity of my life and become the man I knew I was capable of. If comics pointed the direction than it was comic stores and all the people who worked there who helped me find my way. Who talked to me and shared my joy in the fantastic. Who encouraged me to write and never made me feel silly for reading stories about men and women in tights. Today, I did what I always do when I go into a comic store, I paid my tithe. My tiny way of remembering and saying thank you.

About csdaley

C.S. Daley was born in California but has spent most of his life in his imagination. His first short story written in third grade, the now classic "Close Encounters of the Turd Kind," was sold to his next door neighbor for a quarter. The neighbor promptly demanded a refund. An unhealthy obsession with the writings of Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, and Terry Pratchett have left his mind warped and broken. He spends most of his evening swilling down coffee while tapping at a keyboard under the watchful eyes of his kittens. They are there to make sure he doesn't snap. He likes to write fantasy for adults and teens.

3 Responses to “My Comic Book Life”

  1. >This made me do one of these little numbers –> 🙂

  2. >A delightful paen to comics.Though I didn't care for them much growing up.It is evident that while I had a miserable childhood I always loved books.It sounds as if your childhood was ideal.

  3. >Exactly! Comic books teach kids to read, particularly kids who may have a more picture-oriented brain than lettery brain (cold's making me loopy, excuse my make-up terms). I don't get why they're not employed more in schools. Jazpearl.

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