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A Lifetime of Superhero Comics — Introduction
In which the project is introduced
I have spent virtually my entire life reading superhero comic books.
Now that’s obviously not true. I don’t spend every waking hour reading superhero comics. Even at the peak of my interest in comic books, I was never quite that obsessive. But from a very young age — as far back as I can remember — I would spend my pocket money on comic books and read them over and over, thrilling to the stories of these superheroes and their adventures.
My love of superhero comics has waxed and waned (and vice versa) over the years. But this medium and this genre (which until the last decade or so had been pretty much the same thing) has always been a part of my life. And this series is going to both celebrate and explore that.
So I’m going to take one superhero comic book from each year, starting in 1979 and write about it. I’ll write about what the comic meant to me, where it fits in with the history of superhero comics and anything else that might seem relevant as I stroll my way through those four and a bit decades.
(1979 is more or less an arbitrary starting point. I was seven going on eight in 1979. And if there were earlier superhero comic books that I enjoyed, they don’t stick in my memory. At least, not in the same way the comics from 1979 onwards do. So we’ll start from there.)
For the purposes of this project, I’ll define the year of the comic book as the year of the cover date of the original publication of the issue. Yes, I know that cover dates are usually a few months different from the actual date the book appeared on the shelf. But that’s okay. This is all somewhat arbitrary. Besides, for many of these comics I didn’t read them the instant they were published. Particularly when I was a youngster. And if you think I’m going to try to remember when I first read a comic book, you’re crazy. It’s much easier to just have the simplest possible rule for the year of the book. And that simplest possible rule is the year that’s on the cover. So that’s what we’ll do.
No doubt, you’ll also spot some trends as we go along. You’ll probably notice that I’m more of a DC fan than a Marvel one. We’ll unlock why that might be the case. (Hint: it’s probably due to the way in which comics were repackaged and reprinted in Australia when I was a kid.)
You’ll notice certain creators and characters that I return to over and over again. Again, we’ll explore why that might be the case.
And, ideally, you’ll notice an evolution in the ideas and themes that interest me as I grew from boy to teenager to adult. An evolution perhaps paralleled by the comics industry itself.
We shall see.
Hopefully this won’t be completely self-indulgent. If it is, apologies in advance. If it isn’t, then I hope you enjoy it.
We begin on the world of Krypton…