Four Colors

It was Elfquest #8 in 1985.

The longer answer is that it was the full color reprint of the Elfquest series, which was being published by Epic Comics, the creator owned division of Marvel.

In other words, I have been reading comic books for 24 years, since I was 9.

I could go into a lot of detail about my comic book life. There got to a point, in high school, where I was the only person I knew who read comics. I had friends who dabbled, friends who knew a little bit about the comic book basics, but I was the only one who knew what Wednesday meant.

Perhaps that's part of why I kept reading. Obviously, I enjoyed the art form, but perhaps there was more to it than that. I've always been a fiercely independent person. Maybe the fact that I was the only one I knew who read comics made it all the more special to me.

I tried to go cold turkey once, in college. That didn't last long -- a few months, at most. At one point, I had a pull file (that's where the store holds books for you every week) at a comic book store over an hour away from where I was going to college. I made the drive every other week or so, and they had no problems holding those books for me because I always bought them. They knew I needed my fix.

I bought a distortion pedal with the money I got from selling a long box of X-Men comics -- the two, great money sucking hobbies of my life crossing paths.

Even now, all these years later, I live within walking distance of a comic book store. And while I've cut back quite a bit on the number of comics I buy every month, I still make it up to the shop more often than not.

Being a comic book fan has changed a lot over the years. I was already a few years into it when the first Batman movie came out, so I got to see what mainstream popularity meant to an industry that has generally prided itself on being on the outside looking in. I lived through the speculator boom of the 90's, as well as the hundreds of awful comics that came with it. I was a Marvel Zombie, reading nothing but Spider-man and X-Men comics. They're what caused me to quit comics all together, but it was indie comics which brought me back, books like "Stray Bullets" and "Strangers In Paradise."

These days, I read a handful of books that run the gamut of what the medium can do, but I generally buy more collected editions than I do monthly comics. Aside from being cheaper, trade paperbacks and hard covers look nicer on bookshelves, a minor point that makes a big difference when you're sharing living space with a significant other.

The big news in the world comics over the last few years has been their rise to dominance as movies. A friend of mine recently asked me what I thought of this.

I think it's great.

Sadly, comic book fans tend to forget that Hollywood has been adapting stories from other mediums as long as it's been around, and that an adaptation is exactly that: an adaptation. Batman Begins is a movie. It might have roots in a comic book, but it is very much not a comic book, and it shouldn't be. My biggest problem with the Watchmen movie wasn't that it was different in certain ways from the comic book, but that it was to beholden to it. If I want to read the comic I'll read the comic. As long as you get the core concepts right, filmmakers should take as many liberties beyond that as they want.

Superman Returns is a great example of a bad movie version of a comic book. The first 45 minutes are nearly perfect. The tone is dead on and the characters are fantastic. But, after those first 45 minutes, it tosses all that aside for the sake of (a ridiculous) story. It lost sight of what the comic book was all about.

Anyway, if I were to list the best comic book movies of all time, they would include these:

Batman Begins
The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Spider-man 2
X-Men 2

I realize that there are six on that list and most people do lists of 3, 5, or 10, but I don't feeling like debating with myself as to who would make the cut or what to add.

And now for my latest musical pick, because they've announced a reunion tour that I'm so very psyched for, a little Sunny Day Real Estate: