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Five For Friday #38—The Scales Fall From Your Eyes
posted July 15, 2005

From Alan David Doane: Name Five Things That Crucially Changed How You Saw Comics

1. The Comics Journal, circa 1979
2. The Passiac Book Center's 100 Comics for $10.00 (or however much it was) deal in the 1970s
3. The Bud Plant Catalog, circa 1980
4. A circa-1978 visit to Heroes World in New Jersey
5. Fantaco in Albany, NY (first visit, 1981)

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Tom Spurgeon

1. The Passport, Saul Steinberg
2. Sick, Sick, Sick, Jules Feiffer
3. Uncanny X-Men #94 on sale for $13 at B&B Loan Exchange, Muncie, Indiana
4. Jack Kirby Art Controversy
5. Read Yourself RAW


Joe Gross

1. Seeing Arlo Gurthrie reading a copy of (I think) Journey in Mystery on the back cover of one of his albums at age 7.
2. My late aunt's devotion to Ditko and Colan Dr. Strange, the Silver Surfer, and the Brothers of the Spear back up in Tarzan. Jesus, she had exquisite taste.
3. First trip to comix/records/used bookstore (signified comics as part of underground/counter-culture continuum)
4. The Celebrated Cases of Dick Tracy at the age of 8 or 9.
5. Watchmen #1, eps. the use of a line from Dylan's "Desolation Row" as the title of the issue.


Steve Block

The death of Gwen Stacey. This was in an old British Spiderman annual I got for Christmas back in the late seventies. Up until then comics had been The Beano.

When The Eagle and Scream merged. I kinda realised comics didn't last forever.

The Complete Alec. The Complete Bacchus was still comics as I'd kinda expected. This was the first thing I saw that dared more.

Working in a comic shop. Wow, was that an eye opener.

Creating my first strip. It made me realise how hard and yet how easy it is.


Sean T. Collins

1) The beat-up copy of The Dark Knight Returns that the one kid who listened to the Sex Pistols and got blowjobs in the sixth grade stole from his older brother and gave to me because he knew I liked the Tim Burton Batman movie, which ended up being the first comic I can clearly remember reading
2) Sam Kieth's The Maxx and Frank Miller's Sin City, the two non-superhero books that introduced me to that entire realm of comics
3) Grant Morrison's New X-Men, which got me back into the comic shop on a weekly basis after several years of just reading Savage Dragon and whatever Frank Miller and Chris Ware put out
4) Jordan Crane's The Last Lonely Saturday, which introduced me to Highwater Books and thus to the modern-day alternative comic
5) Dirk Deppey's √ā¬°Journalista! weblog, which (even more than the Journal itself and its initally fun but ultimately appalling messageboard) introduced me to the comics industry as opposed to the comics medium


Chris Mautner

1. Borrowing a copy of The Comic Book Book out of the local library.
2. The Smithsonian Collection of Comic Strips
3. Watchmen #12.
4. Acme Novelty Library No. 2
5. The Neil Gaiman issue of the Comics Journal (the first issue of TCJ I ever read). I stopped doing my own comics at more or less the same time I started reading the Journal. Coincidence? I think not.


Rob Schamberger

1. That deal in the Sears Christmas catalog where you got like fifty comics. One year, mine came with this little booklet that explained all of the terminology about collecting, as well as a brief history of the industry. Out of about a ten page booklet, it had two pages dedicated to the 60's underground comix, a page on how Siegel and Shuster got screwed over Superman, and a page on how weird it is that Marvel and DC co-own the term 'superhero'. I was about ten when I got this, and brother did it open my eyes.
2. My very first comic, an issue of Incredible Hulk, because my stepbrother and I spent the whole night redrawing every panel from it. I learned to 'read' and 'write' comix in the same night.
3. At a local KC show in the fall of 1996, I was 16 at the time, Phil Hester, who was just working on lower-tier stuff back then, told me he saw merit in my art. He told me to keep finding him at shows, so that he could watch my art. Now, whether he was being nice or not, I'll never know, but I've kept up my end of the bargain.
4. Warren Ellis' mailing list, when he first started the thing up. It was just so cool, that you could get information straight from a creator like that. I've been on it since, what, 97 or 98, whenever he started it up.
5. The first time I went to a comic shop, during of all times a road trip up to Minnesota. I was maybe nine or ten. It was in either Minneapolis or St Paul. I didn't even know there was such a place, and then all of a sudden here I am confronted by all of these books that weren't made by Marvel or DC. Total sensory overload, and then my mom drops a bombshell on me: I can only get one book! I ended up buying an issue of What If...?, because all of these other books were just too daunting. But it stuck with me, until my mom finally found one in Kansas City, and I got into all of those 'other books'.


Tom Devlin


1. Cerebus (One of the Wolveroach covers. The first b/w comic I bought.)
2. Love and Rockets #8 (The first good b/w comic I bought.)
3. Yummy Fur #1

There were no scales to fall after that.


Brian Moore

1. Grendel #1 and Mage #12, Matt Wagner and Pander Bros. (late 80's)
2. The Comics Journal #124: completely mystifying at the time - who were these guys, Feiffer, Eisner, Cole?, R. Fiore reviews Chaykin
3. Big Numbers #1, Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz
4. American Flagg! #7 and Time 2: The Epiphany, Howard Chaykin
5. Acme Novelty Library #2, Chris Ware


Benjamin Bayliss

1. Working at the Laughing Ogre (a comic book shoppe in Columbus, Ohio) circa approx. 1996-2001. The mystery, nostalgia and magic wears thin when you realize that the industry really is a business. People are in it to make money.
2. John Byrne's attitude towards fans at MidOhio Con in the mid 90's. On the complete other end of the spectrum, meeting Jeff Smith. Comic Book creators should NOT be put so high up on a pedestal that we forget that they are just human beings just like us with flaws and dreams and everything. Both of these guys opened my eyes to that, although in opposite ways.
3. Seeing Wizard #1 (and the now defunct Hero Magazine) on sale at my local grovery store. Mainstream acceptance AT LAST!!
4. My very first comicshop owner (Mitch Stevens in Dover, Ohio) introducing me to Grendel and Mage and realizing that there really was more to my hobby than just Marvel and DC.
5. My five year-old son's eyes getting big when I take him into a comic book store. It reminds me that comic books are a wonderful and magical thing.


Warren Craghead

1. Love And Rockets
2. Philip Guston's poem-pictures
3. "Stories in Red and Black" by Elizabeth Hill Boone
4. Photoshop/Quark/Illustrator and a good printer
5. Factsheet Five



1. The first issue of Chris Claremont's X-Men I read. It was an issue of Classic X-Men, the reprint series that covered the series from Giant Size X-Men on. I'd been reading comics since before I could read, and I had my favorites, but this was the first one that really grabbed me and made me want to read every issue. It also, for better or worse, shaped the way I look at comics and what I expect out of them to a large degree that still persists today.
2. The Spider-Man Clone Saga, specifically an issue after it had been revealed that the Peter Parker that I had been following since around the age of 6 or so was a clone and the real Spider-Man was that dork who wore a sweater as part of his costume. Since I was going through puberty, I was already drifting away from comics, and I can't say I was outraged enough to slam the comic down and give up on the medium all together. It really bugged the hell out of me. It felt like a violation of trust. I'd like to add more signifigance to it beyond "they screwed with my Spider-Man comics," but it's still an emotional response that resonates really strongly for me.
3. When a friend of mine got me interested in web comics in my junior year of high school. My interest in these strips helped me to come to the realization that I enjoy the medium of comics. I didn't figure that out until years later, mind you, but stuff like Penny Arcade and Sinfest did actually help me realize I enjoyed comics as a medium and not a genre.
4. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's New X-Men. Last part of their first story arc (of the two complete ones they wound up doing). Like Shawn, this got me back in to reading comcis after an absence (although my absence was devoid of any print comics, save for the odd one at the grocery store). Since I was weaned on the aforementioned Claremont X-Men (and later his collaboration with Jim Lee's, and later than that, the writers annd artists who aped them when Claremont was sacked and Lee left to start Image), I'd literally never seen a comic written and drawn like this. Blew my mind. This made me a Morrison fan straight out the gate, and he's continued to be one of my favorite writers, even as I've started reading other kinds of comics besides superheroes.
5. Reading an issue of Sandman and realizing it wouldn't turn me in to an insufferable, superhero hating snob, just someone with diverse tastes. Or at least someone who'd read a Sandman comic in addition to the 37 or so X-Men issues that accompanied it in a box of comics a school mate lent me my freshman year of college. It was my first tenative step towards reading those non-superhero comics I've mentioned but won't really go in to any detail with in this letter, because I'm on my fifth response.