Me and comic books go way back.
When I was about six years old, I went to stay with my crazy aunt and uncle for a few weeks while my folks were on holiday and basically had the time of my life.
Every day my uncle would arrive home with a bag of Tomato Sauce chips and two comic books tucked under his arm for me.
I still remember lying on the floor in the lounge of that mad, mushroom-shaped house, happily munching on the chips while my grubby red-stained fingers turned the pages hungrily.
Some of the comics he bought me were legit titles like Superman and Spiderman, but mostly they were a melting pot of a whole lot of weird shit that other countries probably weren’t buying so SA got them shipped in at super-low wholesale rates to stack news vendor shelves and warp fragile little minds like mine.
After that I didn’t really get back into them until my first year in high school when a buddy at the time who was completely obsessed filled me in on the entire X-Men saga that was going on at the time (Age Of Apocalypse, look it up, it was badass) and got me interested in the myriad of stories that comprise the Marvel universe.
His prize comic was the first Wolverine comic, published back in ‘89. Of course, Wolverine had featured in tons of X-Men comics before that, but ‘89 was the first time he was given his own title.
I always wanted to read that comic, but even taking it out of its cardboard-backed plastic sheath would have caused my buddy instant heart failure so I just admired the cover from a distance, feigning excitement when all I really felt was seething hatred for the spoilt little prick.
I eventually did get to read the entire Age Of Apocalypse series though when I was in hospital after an altercation with some asphalt that nearly left me dead, but that’s a story for another time
During varsity I became friends with Graumpot, one of the biggest comic book freaks I’ve ever had the pleasure of living with.
Through him I read a buttload of comics – the entire Preacher series, the entire Invisibles series, most of Sandman, most of the Lucifer series, Wolverine: Origins and Wolverine: Ends, a whole bunch of Batman and one of my favourite Marvel comics of all time, Marvel Zombies (you HAVE to read it, it’s brilliant).
See, with comics I discovered one of life’s undeniable truths, that if there’s one thing better than a great novel, it’s a great novel with pictures.
So on Saturday I went through to Reader’s Den (across the street from Cavendish) for Free Comic Book Day, an international event that takes place on the first weekend in May where all comic book stores the world over hand out free comic books to whoever wants them.
J-Rab was working so I figured I’d kill some time and head on down to take pictures of the freaks, grab a free comic book or two and head home.
Then I made the mistake of browsing through the literally hundreds of graphic novels they were selling and what did I find? Volume 1 of a Wolverine graphic novel that included that first Wolverine comic I’d so coveted back when I was a zit-faced little shit kicker and even better than that, it was going for fifty bucks!
Right after that I found Volume 3, also going for fifty bucks! Then I made the rookie error of asking one of the guys working behind the tables scattered with graphic novels if he’d seen Volume 2 anywhere.
Within 5 minutes he’d told all his buddies helping him to look for it and next thing I knew they started off-loading Wolverine graphic novels on me like dump trucks at a landfill.
Two hundred and eighty bucks and an hour later I found myself shuffling back to my car with no less than five Wolverine graphic novels wandering what the fuck just happened.
But seriously, five graphic novels for R280 is pretty goddamn cheap. Normally it would have cost me R870 (no shit, the comics had the normal prices crossed out in red on all their covers with the new prices written underneath) which means normally I wouldn’t have bought fucking one, which means I still wasted R280.
Still though, I started reading them right after I got home and they’re pretty cool, very old school, but still badass.
And just in case I haven’t scared all my female readers off this site for life, look what else I found guys, the FIRST EVER comic book that ever featured Wolverine and it wasn’t even an X-Men comic, it was a fucking HULK comic!
I think we’ve all learned an important lesson here kids. When the next Free Comic Book Day rolls around take my advice and get there early with fistfuls of cash at the ready, wahoo!