My comic book childhood

If it wasn’t clear from my numerous posts on “Lost Girls“, let me say it straight to everybody: I grew up on comic books.

I think my relation ship with comic books started in much the same way it did for a lot of middle class Filipino kids — from reading those Filipino serials that they used to rent out to everybody back in my home province of Marinduque. Nights would be spent that way: gathered around a pile of komiks and just reading.

Wolverine #75

When I got older I started getting into the more expensive stuff. I got into the X-Men due in part to my obsession with the cartoon series — they did a really great adaptation of the Dark Phoenix storyline, by the way. Infinitely better than what that hack Brett Ratner did — and started saving up my allowance to buy myself copies. Creative sulking also played a part in this.

I think I managed to get some pretty decent issues back then. I got all four of the “Annual Shattershot Special Edition Covers” (X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, X-Force, and X-Factor),”Wolverine #75“, and three of the four issues of the “Gambit Limited Series“.

There were some other minor titles here and there, but those were the cream of my small comic book crop. I mostly would just borrow from much more well-off friends or trawl through the bargain bins at Filbar’s. I once swore that once I got a job of my own I would collect comic books like nobody’s business.

Of course, moving and high school put a damper on my plans. It wasn’t like I suddenly had this “Comic books are for kids!” epiphany or anything, it was mostly because MY DAD THREW AWAY MY COMIC BOOKS. Yes, yes he did. Or in today’s street parlance: “Oh no he di’int!”

It would be an understatement to say that I was crushed. My childhood spent reading komiks finally worked against me: my father thought that these comics were just as dispensable as the old ones and just threw them away when it became obvious that they wouldn’t fit in our much smaller home. And while I still kept abreast of comic book developments, I did not buy any more comic books. The wounds were just too raw and too deep.

Marvel 1602

It’s only recently that I started collecting comic books again, but I’ve started to veer towards graphic novels with expensive looking covers, because no one would make the mistake of just throwing them in the trash. I have half of Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” series, “V For Vendetta“, “Watchmen“, Marvel 1602, and “Lost Girls“.

And in a roundabout sort of way, I’ve also gotten back to my roots, collecting works by local comic book artists alongside these foreign acquisitions. I have all four books of Ace Vitangcol’s “Love is in the Bag“, signed copies of Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo’s excellent “Trese“, Francisco Coching’s “El Indio“, and Arnold Arre’s “Martial Law Babies” and “The Mythology Class“.

Does anybody have any graphic novel recommendations for me?

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