I get asked by people all the time “How did you get into comics? Why is Batman your favorite hero?” stuff like that. At the root of it all it the same answer “It’s what my dad liked.” My dad was born in 1950, and thus grew up in the Silver Age of comics. He read Superboy, Superman, Captain America, and Archie. He also got heavily into sci-fi and proudly ran his college sci-fi club. He attended a few cons and was overall dedicated to it. And then I was born. Now was his chance to rub some of his nerdness off onto me. (As far as his SA comic collection goes, my grandmother threw them away.)
I don’t remember a time in my life before comic books. When Batman came out I was 3, and Batman was everywhere. I would come home from preschool and watch the Adam West show. If we went out and I saw anything that resembled the Batsymbol, it was imperative to my life to obtain it. When Batman Returns came out in 1991, my dad took me to see it. My mom was less than thrilled. “She won’t sit still.” She insisted. My dad knew better and sure enough I sat through it with a possibly glazed over look. Batmania had hit me hard. I gobbled up comics, toys, and whatever I could find on T.V. In my first grade Halloween party I insisted my parents buy me a Batman costume. I broke the belt and cried the whole day because of it. When I got home dad stapled the belt back together which ultimately saved the day.
We started going to a local comic shop, Alternate Worlds in Cockeysville Maryland, when I was 6. Before then we had been to other shops but now we had a place to go every week. Dad still read his Superboy and Captain America comics (and anything else that caught his eye), while I focused on the Batfamily, Archie, and eventually manga. My dad never understood the manga thing (and still doesn’t) but it made me happy so why not. In 1999 he even took me to my first Otakon! However that was a little much for my dad (something I can’t really understand) and I’ve been gleefully attending anime cons without him since. But we still went to small comic shows and sci-fi shows since that was still in the scope of things he liked. His last convention was Baltimore 2008. He got himself an Amazing Fantasy #15 and Amazing Spider-Man #1, and left a happy camper. That was also around the time we got into collecting key books, specifically Silver Age DC books. My dad still gets a kick out of buying a book he had as a kid. My grandmother kicks herself for throwing away his books when she finds out how much their worth now.
I still attend conventions, and I still read comics. My dad doesn’t read comics or attend cons anymore. He still loves the medium and enjoys it from the comfort of his own home, but the torch has been passed. If it weren’t for my dad I would have never been as involved with the wonderful world of comics like I am. Thanks dad, for fostering such a deep and passionate love for a truly wonderful medium in me.
And a Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing dads out there!