This Issue Changed My Life

Pictured here is the first comic book I can remember buying. The Amazing Spider-Man issue 133, with a cover date of June, 1974. It was the second part of a two-part story about the Molten Man.*

I don’t remember exactly why I bought this particular comic book, but I know that a couple thousand more followed over the next 9 years, new and old and very old (including issue 132, so I could get the whole Molten Man story tied together).

First of all, thank you mom and dad for indulging me in this expensive and space-consuming habit. Dad, I’m so glad that you took me to those comic book conventions at the Pick-Congress Hotel. Those Comic-Cons were so much smaller than they are now.

Comic books gave me an unusual vocabulary, exposing me to words like microcephalic and cretin and obsequious and troglodyte a bit earlier than many of my classmates. Choose  your words carefully, you simpering fool! And I had many enemies and even friends (that means YOU, Billy K!) making fun of me for still buying comics throughout my high school years.

Comics taught me a little about economics, as I watched the cover prices climb from 25 cents to 60 cents in 9 years. But that was money well-spent, helping me to distinguish whether Spidey was being drawn by Steve Ditko, Johnny Romita, Gil Kane, Ross Andru, Sal Buscema, or John Byrne. Others might have also drawn Spider-Man in the 40-plus years since I stopped buying.

They taught me a bit about regret. I sold almost my entire collection in the mid-1980s, to help pay for grad school. And then one day, twenty years later, I saw a single issue of The Silver Surfer, one I had once owned, for sale in a store window for more than the entire amount of money I got for my collection. Economics can be a bitter experience.

Through comics, I came to idolize the late, great Stan Lee. You’ve seen him if you’ve seen any movie from the MCU. And I’ve also learned that credit is meant to be shared, stories are meant to be told, and communities are meant to be built through shared passion.

I owe so much of my personality and my art to my love for comic books.

Happy #50, Amazing Spider-Man issue 133.

Thanks for what you did to me.

See you tomorrow!

(*In case you missed it, Molten Man was a chemist whose body was covered by an experimental organic-liquid metal alloy back in ish #28, so he turned to a life of crime, natch. He made poor Peter Parker almost miss his high school graduation! Kindly catch up, compadre!)

#spider-man #marvel #MCU