I was a massive Marvel comics fan (never DC) when it was definitely not cool to be so. Even now, my friends would not know I once collected them. Long before special effects brought comics to life, my mind did the business for me.
I embraced comics, I think because I was a dreamer — still am. As a little kid, I'd save my pocket money and choose with relish from the few shops that stocked the original US imprints. One supermarket even packaged three Marvel comics for 15p, which tormented due to the fact they were wrapped so you could see the front and back but never the middle issue. What would it be?
My biggest joy was always the Avengers — I took great pleasure in choosing my own team — Spider-man, and later the X-Men. However, despite being overjoyed at purchasing (when I could) the aforementioned comics, my favourite issue, and appropriate now due to the Netflix series, was an Iron Fist one.
This particular comic had every element I dreamed of: fantasy; mysterious realms; cool characters; a taste of the Orient; snow. Even better than the mythical aspects of the Thor comics particularly a storyline about Ragnarok, the death of the Norse gods, the Iron Fist story involved K'un-Lun, an alternate take on Shangri-La (a major player in my later writings). I still treasure it even after almost forty years of ownership. Here it is:
Not many folks will have one of these.
PS. To any youngsters reading, that strange device in the top right corner is a bicycle. We used to ride them in the past.
I believe comics to be one of the most underrated mediums for creative expression. This doesn't apply quite as much as it used to, but there is still a snobbery attached to them when compared to books. Thank goodness for writers such as Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore who have readdressed this imbalance.
I still own hundreds of comics all packed away in storage boxes. It is one of my few regrets at leaving employment to write full time that I can now no longer afford them — sacrifices and all that.
I believe we should encourage kids to read anything (within reason) they can get their hands on. Stimulating the mind through reading, pushing the boundaries of the imagination, will bear more fruits to a child's development than ever being force-fed a computer game or TV. That's my opinion, anyway.
I hope you enjoyed this and as always thank you for reading.