Every story has a beginning an “origins story”, whether it’s seeing your parents murdered in an alleyway or being bitten by a radioactive insect – of course we all know which origins stories I’m referencing there.
This, however, is an as yet untold origins story and one that was inspired by the guys at 20th Century Geeks, when they told the story of how they got introduced to comics. Please do take a look at their article in the link. 20th Century Geek
After reading theirs, I decided that I wanted to share my story about how I became so wrapped with and passionate about all things geek. It began, like many kids of my generation, with a number of influences, particularly television. In the 80s we had Saturday morning and school holiday shows with great original cartoons such as M.A.S.K and Transformers, which also had action figures, sticker albums, etc, to keep us hooked. We also had black and white re-runs of classics like Flash Gordon, andThe Invaders. Secondly, we had comics and here in the U.K., there were fantastic examples such as The Beano, Dandy, Whoopee, and Whizzer & Chips. These brought us our first glimpse of a weekly comic with regular characters like the infamous Dennis the Menace and they planted the seeds for what would become a full blown geek obsession.
Then, as I got older but before I started high school, I started to collect and paint the Warhammer 40K lead figures from Games Workshop. At this point, though, I was only interested in collecting and painting them. It would be quite a while before I would go down the route of actually playing with them.
At age 12 I was sent to a boarding school, where I started to read the Fighting Fantasy ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ books, with my favourites being Caverns of the Snow Witch and Freeway Fighter. I started playing Warhammer games like Blood Bowl (futuristic and violent American Football) and Dark Future (a Mad Max-style car race). Playing the obligatory geek in Dungeons and Dragons, it was also at this point that a friend of mine passed me a copy of a graphic novel with a bright yellow smiley face written by some guy called Alan Moore. I read this book called ‘The Watchmen’ from cover to cover, twice. It was the first time that I had come across this style of book – with colourful superheroes, anti-heroes and super-villains. i had previously just been reading old world war comic books called Commando, but this was so different. I was hooked and wanted more, so I began reading two Marvel comics: The Punisher, who I really loved as he was a vigilante anti-hero, and Ghost Rider. This was the third rider by the name of Dan Ketch – again a supernatural spirit of vengeance called to action when innocent blood is spilled.
They had such a massive impact on me that they led me in to a lifelong love of comic books. It wasn’t just the characters or the stories, but the vibrant colours and the exquisite art work, which, when all put together was like a animated movie on a page, reminiscent of the old 80’s cartoons where you had to tune in next week to see how the hero dealt with the cliffhanger of a situation.
I have never lost this love of comic books, and in 1989, after watching my first ever superhero movie starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson, I became hooked on one of DC comics’ biggest heroes: Batman. This has carried on to this day as my collection of hundreds of books will attest.
When I look back at my story, I’m so glad that things worked out the way they did. It’s really no surprise to me that I’ve ended up founding SDGS and with that, I’m lucky enough to be able to read and review some great up-and-coming indie comics, such as Brethren Born, Standing Tall and America’s Kingdom. I’m hoping that, in doing so, I can help younger generations to find that comic or superhero TV show that will fan their individual flames of geekdom,and start their own origins story…