#WeReadComics – Introducing Chad and he has issues…..

Hello, my name is Chad and I have issues…

These issues have been with me for as long as I can remember and I hear admitting a problem is the first step to recovery.

Luckily all my issues are bagged and boarded and stored alphabetically in boxes… That’s right! I admit it! I’ve read and collected comic books for more than 20 years.

The Untold Origin:
Every hero, anti hero, or villain have an origin story. However; mine is a bit different as it does not involve a radioactive insect bite, a horrible life changing tragedy, or a desire to be a champion of or destroy mankind. World domination, on the other hand, is a completely different story. For me, comics and comic related paraphernalia has been a constant part of my life.

Growing up I was surround by comic book related paraphernalia . The toys I played with were the original Star Wars line, G.I Joe from the 80’s cartoon series, Transformers, He-Man, all which I still own. We also had a huge bag of DC and Marvel Mego toys which my parents sold in a yard sale years ago. These toy lines that have seen a resurgence in recent years through the comic book medium, along with the Saturday morning cartoons, yes there used to be cartoons on Saturday morning; serve as the foundation for my love of the comics industry.

I like to blame my parents for getting me hooked on comics. On the occasions when my mother “suggests” I may be spending too much money to support this addicti…er…hobby I like to remind her that she introduced me to comics and started the vicious cycle. Before 1993, my older brother was the only one in the family who collected comics. I tagged along with him when he went to the comic store and occasionally bought a comic that caught my interest. The first comic I remember purchasing was the trade paperback of Batman: A Death in the Family, where The Joker murders Robin (Jason Todd). I can also remember going to the library and checking out the books which collected the early stories of Superman and Batman and getting lost in the pages and early history of the character.

After 1993 I started buying and rechadading comics on a regular basis during the Knightfall storyline where Batman ‘s back was broken and was replaced by a grittier character in the cowl. I remember reading a story in the local newspaper about how Batman was going to be replaced and get a new uniform. That afternoon I rode my bike down to the supermarket and found the first issue of the storyline, Batman #492 on the newsstand. I will admit part of the reason I bought it was I thought it would be worth lots of money some day. I mean it was the 90’s, Superman “died,” Image was in it’s early days, and most characters worry belts with huge pouches. From that point it, was “GAME ON” and I was hooked. I would buy issues as they came out while at the same time searching out the issues that preceded and built up to Knightfall so I could learn the back story. Starting to read Batman was merely dipping my toe into to a larger universe an reading experience. I started reading DC titles from the extended Batman family of books (Robin, Nightwing, and Catwoman),The Flash, Green Arrow, JLA, and more as my foray into the world comics began.

In total I currently  have close to 8,000 comics in my collection ( currently undertaking the Sisyphean task of entering them into a database). The amount of money I spend on comics monthly has ebbs and flows. For example, while in college I had to go bare bones and only get the titles that I really liked to read. These days I mostly order from an online company that offers a nice discount on the books, but I still try and make a point to go and support the local brick-and-mortar stores with my business. When I first came to Albany years ago to interview for my job one of the first things I did was look up and visit EarthWorld Comics. When I travel home to visit family or out of town on business I try stop in the local comic shops just to experience . When I started out I confess I had the “collector mentality,” these days I am more into the reading, discovering new books and simply enjoying the medium for what it simply is.

My current preferences are titles in the DC Universe and Vertigo but I have started to dabble in the Marvel and Image Universes. While I have my usual pull list of books I if there is a character, story line, concept, or cover that piques my interest. One book I bought solely on the name and concept was Axe Cop, which was published by Dark Horse Comics. The concept and storyline is the brain child of Malachai Nicolle (age 5 when the series began) and illustrated by his older brother Ethan Nicolle. Currently I have been scaling back on my purchases since I have such a backlog. This may in fact be a blessing in disguise since I have about a 3-4 month backlog waiting in long boxes needing to be read. Now that I have to read comics, I have a huge stack of back issues, in the digital format on my iPad, which is a different experience and a topic I will be writing about in an upcoming post.

Shameless self plug time:
I currently write the comics blog for the Albany, NY Times Union website and do and on again off again podcast with three friends I met through another comic related podcast community. The podcast is called Comic Book Laundry, with thepremiseofthe show being that we all are so far behind on our stacks of comics that we can freely talk about books without worrying about spoilers.

I tend to write about topics that cover the comic book hobby as a whole. My goal is to focus on the positive aspects of the medium, even though there may be times when a post may seem to be critical of the industry. I also hope to debunk the stereotypes that are associated with those who read comics … and just in case you are wondering I don’t live at home, I have kissed a girl, and I could hold my own if I had to defend myself.
I may review a series or storyline that I have enjoyed, do a profile piece about a particular character, a writer/artist in the industry, or comic history related piece. Feedback and suggestions will always be welcomed and encouraged so I can provide material that is both informative and fun to read.

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