* if you're a big enough comics nerd of certain age and you think about it for a while, you'll probably figure out a single purchase or series of purchases that changed the course of your life. For me it was discovering early indy comics at Comic Carnival in Indianapolis that were published and were purchasable in roughly the same manner as the mainstream comic books that I liked. It's the combination that was crucial: I knew other types of comics existed, but being able to go to a devoted shop and buying them was a big deal in terms of my becoming an active comics reader in a way that random Saul Steinberg books and Peanuts collections had no chance of being. Cerebus during this time period was everything I liked about the adult world I wanted to be a part of: politics and humor and violence and melodrama. I loved those days when a new issue appeared on the stands.