Redartz: Well, summer is on it's last few weeks, autumn is getting warmed up (or should I say cooled down). The kids are back in school, and time continues to march ever forward. I always get a bit nostalgic as fall approaches (some might say maudlin). So it seems a good time to reflect back on the start of school during our Bronze Age.
|You might see some familiar books.|
In the course of some recent discussions here at BitBA, several have commented that the return to school, or more specifically, the start of college, curtailed their comic book reading. In my instance, that wasn't the case; it actually increased the collecting fervor. I was fortunate enough to be attending Art School, in hopes initially of becoming a comic book artist. Soon enough I realized my figure drawing skills were hopelessly inadequate, but I found other creative avenues, and completed my BFA. More importantly for our discussion, I was suddenly surrounded by like-minded people:
creative types, comic fans, music aficionados, D&D players, the whole bit. It was much like heaven.
From the first year, all of the comic fans gravitated together. Every week we'd pile in somebody's car and head for the local comic shop, and cough up scarce funds for some four color inspiration. And that local comic shop was an excellent meeting place, near a record store, near a McDonald's , near a cheap used clothing store, and also an occasional visiting place for Roger Stern.
|Discussing comics, art, or something else? Remember, this was art school.|
Later on, we'd crash at someone's apartment and discuss art, politics, music, and frequently comics. I wasn't the only one hoping for a career in comics, one of our group actually made it professionally. Several others are active in commercial art, and one is big in rpg's and cosplay these days. It was amazing and rewarding, having so many friends around with which to talk comics, seriously talk comics (in those days long before sites such as this one). Even birthdays were part of the fanfest- several of us chipped in one time to buy a member of the group the Spider-man drug series (ASM 96-98), as he hadn't read it.
Another time, several of us did pencil drawings of our favorite superheroes, and passed xeroxes around for everyone else to ink (we had hopes of starting up a fanzine or comic- never got off the ground, but a lot of fun was had). Learned I'm a better inker than penciller...
Then there was the time a group of us hit the road together to the Chicago Comic Convention. If there's anything better than four college buddies hitting the Big City for comics, food and fun, I'd like to hear about it (a highlight: a late night at the Palmer House with fellow comic fans watching an animation festival, including a bunch of classic Betty Boop shorts).
|Betty Boop and Popeye onscreen...|
|Panelists at Chicago Comic Con 1981|
Although, come to think of it, hitting the Big City with several blogging buddies was pretty top notch fun too.
Anyway, the long and short of all this: by having so much reinforcement around, my comics years were extended by a long shot. Had I attended a technical college, or majored in Astronomy, those comics I loved for so long might have been left behind long before they were. And even more, those shared times resulted in lasting friendships that remain yet today. Looking back, I realize how incredibly fortunate I was...
Okay, enough about me. Let's hear your story. When you started college (or high school, or the military, or whatever road you followed to your future), did your comics go along? If so, in what way? If not, was it hard to let them go? What brought you back? Time for 'telling tales out of school'.