Monday, November 27, 2017

My biggest influences were comic books.

I believe the notion is to share the most influential books from my youth and I can do that, but my answer might not be what you expected.

First. let me explain that I come from a family of readers. I inherited a vast collection of comic books from my brothers as I grew up and I read them al, voraciously. If it involved people in four color costumes with spangles and contraptions, the odds were I'd read it. If those stories involved some variation on the monster theme, I was there even faster.

Listen, my father figure growing up were my two older brothrs and damned near every person who got into a costume to fight the bad guys. Spider-man, Superman, Batman, Daredevil, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, the hulk. T^hey were all there teaching me lessons on right and wrong, and when the writers used a word I was unfamiliar with, I was right there learning a new word with the use of the family dictionary.

there was a time when the principal of the local school came by the house, I believe to get his suit altered by my mother (She was a tailor and made extra money for raising the kids with a lot of   for restaurants, etc.). She lamented that the only thing she could get her kids to read was comic books and the man laughed and said. "At least they are reading." Never met the man myself but I'd have loved to shake his hand.

Comic books. Monster comic books. The Man-Thing. The Swamp Thing. Morbius the living vampire, Werewolf By Night, Tomb of Dracula, the Monster of Frankenstein The House of Secrets, Journey into Mystery, The Ghost Rider,  Tales of the Zombie, The Demon, Any variation on that theme and I was ecstatic. Daimon Hellstorm, the Son of Satan and his sister, Satana. Lilith Dracula's Daughter. Tigra the Were-Woman.  All of them helped shape me. The Spectre dealt out harsh punishments to the bad guys. They often had a screwed up moral code, but they paid the price for it when they were wrong. They were among the voices that taught me right from wrong and how to behave myself in society.

There were more of them, but I suspect you get the idea.

One of the most amazing moments in my early years? Batman takes on the Swamp Thing and loses.

Seriously. Think about that.

Batman, who has saved Gotham City countless times, who has managed to thwart the Joker and Two Face and h, so many more, fought the swap Thing and got his butt handed to him. That was utterly mind blowing to me.

But as unsettling as it seems to most, there were morality plays at work here. Even the darkest of the heroes had enemies who were even darker.

Pick three, you say?




The Swamp Thing. Pull any of those titles from the early to late seventies, and I was there. reading and studying the artwork of legends like Jack Kirby, Gene Colan, Bernie Wrightson and Pablo Marcos. Doug Ploog was there. And there were so many more. And the writers!  Denny O'Neil, Marv Wolfman (Yes, that's his real name),  Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, the list is too damned long to even seriously contemplate.

They were my first three, top of the line influences.

I never once said I was normal.


  1. Awesome choices. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Yup, I read comics voraciously as a kid too...Magnus Robot Fighter was one of my favorites as was Brothers of the Spear (the back of the book feature with Tarzan)...

  3. I do so love my modern fables and that's exactly what comics were when I was growing up.