Monday, April 12, 2010

Distant Memories from My Youth

Note from the Dok: This post is much more sentimental and far less snarky than most of my posts. I hope you still enjoy it.

A few years back I found myself in this dusty, dingy, dirty comic book shop in Miami in the middle of the summer. It was just a few months after I'd gotten back into comic books, and I was checking out this shop while on a work trip. I was dripping with sweat and flipping through Iron Man back issues absent mindedly. All of a sudden my hand froze. My face tightened. I though, "wait, what was that?" I flipped back an issue or two. "What is it? Why do I feel like this comic is important?" There was something about that comic. That comic was Iron Man v1 #222 (1987).

Sure, it's an awesome cover, but it was more than that. I could feel there was something there, but I wasn't sure what. Then it happened. It was like going into the Monolith at the end of 2001, all these memories came flooding back to me. Long lost memories from my youth washed over me. That's when I realized why this issue was important to me! I owned this issue when I was a kid!

When I was young, I didn't have a lot of money. I grew up in a one bedroom house (figure that out) without a lot of frills. Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't starving or anything. There was always food in the cupboards, heat in the winter, and even A/C in the summer. I believe the socioeconomic term is "lower middle class". Even when I got older (I was five years old when this issue came out) I couldn't afford to get a comic every month. Some months my Mom would buy me two or three, some months I wouldn't get any. Dems da brakes. As a result, I reread every comic book I had. Didn't matter if it was chapter three of a six part storyline. Sure, I cared that I didn't have the rest of the story, but I couldn't let it bother me. I just held onto what I had and was happy with it. I think I learned a lot from that experience... Anyway, my point is that this was one of the few comics I had, and I must have read it a thousand times. Somewhere deep in my memory it was waiting there, and seeing it again after nearly two decades opened the floodgates.

One thing that I've always remembered from this issue was this awesome sequence where Iron Man dives underwater to get into his secret lab built underneath his house.

When I was five that was the most awesome thing EVER! I used to stare at these panels and get lost forever in the awesomeness of it all. Secret lab under your house, accessible via elaborate, yet simplistic, tunnel system. I think I dug the whole Batcavedness of it.

About a year ago I got my old comic collection back from my parents. I was afraid they had been lost because I hadn't seen any of them for at least twelve years. When I got them I plowed through the small pile to find my old friend. I was surprised to learn that I only owned three Iron Man comics when I was a kid. This one, #246 (1989) and #318 (1995). I do remember always liking Iron Man though, and I think it was because of this issue, because I don't get the same feeling when I see the other comics.

Rereading it now I have to say that this is a really fun issue! It's all about how Tony is trying to get to his housewarming party but can't because numerous ridiculous accidents keep happening as a result of this freak (but naturally occurring) rainstorm. (Expect some ridonculous Iron Man Versus segments coming out of this one, folks!) This is a GREAT stand alone issue!

Now that I think about it, I think this issue may have had a big affect on my subconscience. I only own one variant cover for a comic book, and that's for Iron Man v4 #7 (2006), which coincidently was the first comic I read when I got back into them. Anyway, here is the cover.

I always thought this cover looked really awesome. Now it's thematic similarities to #222 makes me wonder...

That's all the nostalgia I have. Thanks for listening. Now if you'll excuse me, I must continue my quest to read every issue of Iron Man...

... and I think I've been waiting to read this next issue since I was five years old.

No comments: