When I was little, I knew of Batman and Superman. I’d seen the Richard Donner Superman films, as well as the non-Richard Donner ones. I didn’t fully understand them, but I watched them when they were on TV (side note: I loved Richard Pryor in “Superman III”, and was always upset that my father wouldn’t let me listen to his Richard Pryor records; 30 years later… No, I still don’t get why; I mean, I wouldn’t have even understood half of the jokes). I’d also seen numerous episodes of the 60s Batman TV show. I can’t say when I first read a comic book, but I can say that one of the first I remember seeing was an issue of Batman my brother owned that featured Batman and Superman’s faces disintegrating and floating off into space. It freaked me out, and made me not want to read comics. Later on, I would realize it was just a play on M.C. Escher’s “Bond of Union”, and didn’t represent Batman and Superman having their skin peeled off and dying horrible deaths in the vacuum of space.
I think it was Superman. It might have been Robin. It was a freaky, memorable cover, but I can't be sure, because it's been a while, and while there are 8 million uploads of that cover with the rainbow Batman and Bat-Baby, no one has uploaded a cover inspired by one of the greatest illustrators of all time.
Picture this, but Batman and Superman (or maybe Robin); 8-year-old me thought they were being torn apart in a terrifying death.
A few years later, we’d move, and be closer to a couple of stores that sold comics. By this time, I was old enough to have a little money, a little autonomy, and more than a little interest in the *ahem* artwork. I read mostly the X-Men series of books, because even then, if you tried to read everything, you’d go crazy. Or broke. Likely both. I did read some Batman and Superman, particularly the issues around their respective “deaths” and oh-so-90s “rebirths”. In middle school, Image Comics started, and I was in love with their blend of all-out action, darker story-lines, vivid images, and scantily-clad, well, everyone. In college, I drifted away from comics, but have returned to them in the years since, somewhat thanks to Nolan’s mostly-fantastic Dark Knight trilogy as well as the mostly-less-than-fantastic Spider-Man and X-Men movies, not to mention Michael Chabon’s actually-fantastic novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay.
Today, we are in a… well, not a golden age of comics, but perhaps a golden age of comics popularity. Scads of TV shows, multiple movies per year, packed comic cons all across the country, and legions of fanboys and girls across the internet. I have tried to focus on comics that value storytelling over flashy art, but also just catching up on storylines that I missed out the first time around, like Civil War (Marvel) and Darkest Night/Brightest Day (DC). There are some very good comics out there (and not so good ones), and I hope to discuss some of them, as well as other related media, in this section.
If anyone knows what cover I'm talking about, please drop me a line.