So when DID I first start reading comics, they're all asking..
So here's the thing: I read slow. I've always been a little self conscious about it, being you know, really into books and shit. I also had a hard time getting through books for school in the time we were given. High school, sophomore year: I'm at Barnes and Noble with my dad, on one of our late-night trips. The only things my dad and I have ever really been able to talk about are books and politics, and since at this point I was still interested in being pals with him, every time he asked me if I wanted to go to Barnes and Noble at 9pm I'd say "yes." One night I was looking through copies of Othello because I had to read it for school, and I found the graphic novel version by Oscar Zarate. I figured my teacher wouldn't mind, since it said it was unabridged. I was already translating my world history notes into cartoons in the margins, so I guess I knew that interpreting words and pictures together was easier for me than words alone. Anyway, I kept that comic book Othello around for years and re-read it many times..
Flash forward to freshman year of college, when I saw Chasing Amy and was like "(double take) ...people write comics about love and stuff?!" After watching it several times, I decided to write my own comic. It was loosely based on my angsty teenage adventures at home and school. I came up with a bunch of characters but I only ever wrote two pages. I drew it freehand with a pen and a tube of white-out. I think a lot of it was about my parents.
Sophomore year, when I left school and lived at home for a while and worked at Borders, a really cool-looking girl (rare in my hometown) once asked me if we sold Strangers in Paradise. So the name was familiar to me when my Summer of '00 roommate suggested I read them. I did, and I got so involved in the story that the Emma/plane crash issues gave me stomachaches. I LOVED it. A funny, realistic love-and-friendship story with great characters and a generous dose of violence. It's still the only comic I buy every time it comes out. SIP, I am your bitch.
But SIP did also turn me on to the general world of comics, graphic novels, etc. I started going to Quimby's and CC, and read some things like Eightball, which I didn't like, and My Monkey's Name is Jennifer, which I adored. I also started reading old issues of Artbabe, and a friend had gotten me into the Chris Ware comics in the Reader.
That's totally long enough for one blog.
Coming up next: The Comics Issue That Wasn't!!