Thursday, April 28, 2011

X-Men Memories

I read quite a few comic books growing up, and some of my favorites were the various X-Men titles. When I started reading them, they were well into the modern era (early 90's), so I missed out on what I later discovered to be the best stories from the series.

I was getting $5 a week allowance back in those days, and the comics were $1.00 each (for regular issues). The price jumped to $1.25 before too long, and then $1.50 & $1.95, all within a few years. Yet, even as the price rose, I continued to find ways to purchase the titles, and saved up enough for subscriptions to several of the titles. I was able to supplement my income with various jobs during the summer, and that allowed me to keep up with the many miniseries and spin-off titles which came out.

Most of the comic book-based video games of that era were crap, but there was one for the Sega Genesis which I really enjoyed. It was one of the few games I truly "mastered," and it got to the point where I could win it with ease. I still have it, so my kids will be able to play it someday, though they may find its 16-bit gameplay to be boring and antiquated.

As the years went by, and more money came my way, I started buying a lot of back-issues, and ended up snatching up most of them from the late 70's and 1980's, excluding a few exorbitantly-priced issues like Uncanny X-Men #248 (which was really high because it was the first issue Jim Lee illustrated). I never did fill some of those little holes, though I did spring for a copy of #266 (1st appearance of Gambit), though my father would have had a fit if he'd known how much I'd "wasted" on it. I generally went for XF or NM copies, as most of the shops I bought from sold nothing else.

The Uncanny X-Men #266
I really enjoyed those stories because of their fantastic nature. My favorite stories always had some element of science fiction or fantasy in them, and I appreciated that even when things were done in a serious manner, the tales were still fun and adventurous. That sadly began to fade toward the end of my reading period. I remember the big change across the broad spectrum of X-books back in 2001. Suddenly, the comics I had come to love shifted into a darker spectrum, and at times they became downright depressing. I know, a lot of people heralded the change as the greatest thing; a move that made the comics more "grown up," but I actually was grown up by then, and I didn't like what they were doing, so I stopped reading. After almost a decade of having a subscription to Uncanny X-Men, I let it lapse, and never renewed it. Thus, an era of my life came to an end.

I can't say I read too many comics these days. A few years ago, I picked up a few recent issues of Uncanny X-Men (because I saw the great Chris Claremont was once again writing the title), and I saw they'd started to shift back toward the type of adventures I recall from my youth, though I couldn't get back into it. Perhaps I'd grown up too much.

I still have all of the old X-Men issues I bought during my youth. I have big stacks of Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, X-Factor, New Mutants/X-Force, Excalibur, Cable, Wolverine, X-Man, and various other titles sitting on different shelves, safely stored in polybags, many with backboards to boot. Maybe one of these days I'll feel like reading them again, and I'll most certainly share them with my kids when they're old enough to respect them.

What? That's it? But I didn't even get around to talking about the X-Men movies they made! Oh, well, I guess we'll get around to that with another blog post someday.

No comments:

Post a Comment