31 Days of Comics Challenge: Day 23

First Comic You Ever Bought

I am never going to remember the first comic I bought with my own money.  Was it an issue of The Incredible Hulk?  Fantastic Four?  Archie Digest?  I don’t know.  So I am slightly changing the focus of this entry.  I will write about the first full-length comic that was given to me.  I say “full-length,” because I am not counting the Masters of the Universe mini-comics that came with each toy — undoubtedly my first exposure to the medium of comics.

My first full-length comics were memorable, because I had been begging my mother for comics throughout all of 1987.  For Christmas that year, she gave me two issues of the then-new Superman reboot by John Byrne.  Issues 5 and 6.  In these comics, Clark and Lois are in South America covering an archaeological dig for the Daily Planet newspaper.  The archaeologists uncover highly advanced ancient technology, including a giant robot mummy.  Superman spends the two issues fighting the mummy.

I had no idea the comic was part of a reboot, nor even what a reboot was.  But I do remember reading the letters page, which included praise for John Byrne’s updating of Superman’s world.  Fans seemed to like Byrne’s interpretation of Lois Lane as independent and ambitious, not at all lovesick.  In issue #5, she ridicules Clark’s 5 o’clock shadow, saying he has “the Don Johnson look.”  I had no idea who Don Johnson when I read this.  Now that I do, I have to wonder why Byrne thought this was an insult.

I have read lots of John Byrne comics since then, and I now recognize a familiar Byrne-ism in his Lois design.  He gave Lois the same hairstyle he gave Betty Ross , Scarlet Witch , Invisible Woman and Aurora.  Am I missing anyone from the list?  It’s obvious he loves this hairstyle.

One sequence in Issue #5 captured my imagination.  At the beginning of the issue, Superman is fighting a pack of robot dogs.  He looks like he is in danger of being overwhelmed.  Out of the corner of his eye, he sees a familiar pair of red and yellow boots fly in.  Wonder Woman lands to lend a helping fist.  The two most powerful beings on earth reduce the robot dogs to robot scraps.  They turn to one another, embrace, draw close for a kiss….  And Clark wakes up in bed, complete with 5 o’clock shadow.

The inclusion of a dream sequence in a comic was mind-blowing for me.  I remember incorporating dream sequences into the comics I was making after that.  Perhaps this was the first hint of the role dreams would play in my art….

Tomorrow: Laugh-Inducing Comic