By The Green Blogger
My earliest recollection of reading comic books was as a kid.
They were not mine but came from a close friend or from some neighbor. I’d borrow them from time to time. Locally produced, we call them "komiks" here in the Philippines and they usually depicted funny skits or fantasy stories featuring folkloric creatures. I enjoyed my time reading them. I loved the stories and the pictures; I loved the humor and equally important, I loved the art.
Although American superhero comic books saw publication here in the Philippines, I wasn’t familiar with them until later. Nevertheless the Philippines had some interesting comic books superhero characters, some of which are deemed to be iconic.
My first comic books were probably Quasar #2 and Excalibur #74. They were not the authentic ones though, and looked nothing like the ones published in the United States. They were released by a local publishing company here and translated into Filipino; and they were also sold cheaper. At first they were published in black & white format, but eventually become colored. Even without the color, I was overwhelmed by the drawings. I got myself some art materials and began to practice my craft. Though I did not end up as an artist, drawing super hero characters was a great part of my childhood. Just holding those comics now brings back memories of my childhood: the excitement of reading, and of sharing my obsession with my friends.
Owning these two comic books ignited my hunger for more. I started collecting other issues -- X-Men, Spiderman 2099, and Superman. I was just a student then and was at the mercy of my father who’d sometimes buy them for me when I saw them on the news stands.
Eventually, I wanted to own a genuine comic book from either Marvel or DC -- not just a black & white reprint. American comics were only sold in bookstores, usually located in malls which were relatively far where we lived. But we did go occasionally. On one visit my older sister insisted that I follow her. She led me to a comic book shop. I was amazed. I hadn’t imagined that there would be so many comic books, and I didn’t have the money to buy everything that I wanted. But I did make a decision about what I wanted my very first American comic book to be.
Uncanny X-Men #308 by Scott Lobdell and John Romita Jr.
The issue was a thanksgiving story where Scott Summers proposes to Jean Grey. It was a good issue with almost all of the X-Men members present and having a good time. No fighting, no enemies. A fun day which led to a football match and ended in a happy dinner with Professor X, who got a broken nose. Wolverine was not present though; he had just lost his adamantium due to Magneto.
I am not sure how many times I have read that comic book, but being my very first original comic book, I was really happy about it. I was very careful in turning the pages, given how much it cost. I still have that comic book. I can’t say that it’s still in good condition, but the pages are still intact. It’s still in its own plastic cover.
Afterwards, I began to pursue other titles, always looking for the Marvel or DC logo. I got myself some issues of Superman, Batman, Robin, Justice League International, Catwoman, New Gods, Wolverine, Spider-man etc. It was really a random collection. I wasn’t following any particular arcs, I just wanted to get myself updated with what was happening.
Then came my first graphic novel: Dan Jurgen’s “Death of Superman". I saw the comic book book at display on a nearby store and knew that it would be more expensive than any comic I’d ever bought. As soon as I received some money as a gift from my mother, I hurried myself to that store. Coincidence or not, the exact amount of money that my mother gave me was the exact price of the book. I didn’t care that I’d spend all the money to get that book. I’d gladly exchange anything I had for it. I loved it.
Luckily, my mother didn’t scold me. “Death of Superman" has been with me for some years now. And though its newspaper print pages have turned to yellow, I can say that it is still quite in good condition.
The hero I love the most, however, is Green Lantern. How did I got into Green Lantern? The reason is simple. I like the color green. I like wearing green shirts and green caps. I use my green bag more often than my other bags. If it is green, more likely I will like it. When I learned about Green Lantern and his Power Ring, I knew he’d be my favorite character.
Probably three or four years ago I got myself my first Green Lantern book. It was Green Lantern: The Greatest Stories Ever Told. That was my start of Green Lantern comic book addiction. My focus is now on graphic novels because I like getting full stories.
More than just being Green, I love what the color Green stands in the comic book. Green means Willpower. It means that you keep on going on. No retreat no surrender. Very heroic. I like that kind of ideal. This ideal really stuck with me when reading Green Lantern: Rebirth by Geoff Johns. In one part of the story, Ganthet, (one of the Guardians), sends Kyle Rayner (the current Green Lantern) to protect the body of Hal Jordan. In Ganthet's words,"Hope is meaningless against fear, Green Lantern of Sector 2814. Willpower is our only weapon." I’d never thought that a color could mean something so great. Or that reading a comic book could help me feel empowered to do anything I wanted, as long as I had the willpower to do it. I do not need a real green power ring; all I need is the enjoyment of reading these comic books to be inspired.
The Green Blogger runs his own Green Lantern fan site. You can see it here.