Armchair Book Expo America: Beyond the Books

Today ABEA calls for bloggers to discuss the bookish things beyond traditional novels that we enjoy.  For me that’s an easy discussion because after I became a reader on my own at a very young age I found myself introduced to comics.

My mind is a bit confused of where my comics love started though.  It is one of two stories.  I don’t know which came first or which was the cementing of “COMICS!!!”, but I’ll tell them both and then how they’ve influenced my life as a writer, blogger, etc.

On the shelf of one of the earliest production companies I worked for as an actor at 12 years old was a copy of Watchmen.  This was in 1988.  The collection was brand new.  Something about it called to me and started reading it and falling in love.  The producer decided if I loved it so much it should be mine if my parents were okay with it.  My parents were weird.  They didn’t seem to care how violent or sexual something was.  I mean I was reading Stranger in a Strange Land before this.  I don’t know if they didn’t know, didn’t care or just trusted my brain to be adult enough to handle it.  I still have that copy of Watchmen today.

There was a comics shop that was fairly large next to the Midway Movie Theater on Queens Blvd in Forest Hills.  As I said I can’t recall if I was already into comics from Watchmen or if Watchmen called to me cause I was into comics.  I do remember this shop really well though.  The location its in is now a restaraunt.  It’s been many things throughout the years.  For the longest time it was a shop though and I shopped there.  The first comic I remember seeing there that BLEW ME AWAY was Scott McCloud’s DESTROY!!.  I knew somehow it was meant to be a pastiche and it was what basically made me appreciate the form from all elements.

By coming into comics through two books that defied what comics were about it prepared me better for an appreciation of all comics.  I like all of it.  Straight forward superhero, autobiographical introspection, sci-fiction, horror, comedy, dark comedy.  What’s wonderful is the format of comics allows it to be as broad and diverse as prose.  There are no rules.  Create something and let it live.

That is books, that is writing, that is creation.  It is why I am still a reader today even with so much media coming at me from movies, television, internet and video games.