Seven comic book covers I’m supposed to tout

The commercial and artistic success of the X-Men, specifically the issues done by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin, sucked me further into the Marvel Universe

fantasy_quarterlyI’ve been nominated by Eddie Mitchell, the Renaissance Geek, to post seven individual comic book covers that are significant to me to promote reading.

The rules say, “They are offered without comment in no particular order,” but I’m not particularly compliant. I’m also supposed to nominate someone else to take up the challenge if they’re a-mind to. So I nominate YOU because you KNOW you want to.

Fantasy Quarterly #1 – this is the first appearance of Elfquest. It was on crappy newsprint. Wendy and Richard Pini were VERY disappointed in it and decided they could do better themselves. They started WaRP Graphics which began a successful run of DIY.

The Pinis came up from the Mid-Hudson to FantaCo, the comic book store where I worked in Albany, and did regular store signings, quite possibly every one of the original 20 issues. I have to think that the Pinis’ success in part motivated Tom Skulan in FantaCo’s publishing adventures.

x-men137-phoenix-colossus

X-Men 137 – the commercial and artistic success of the X-Men, specifically the issues done by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin, sucked me further into the Marvel Universe. So much so that when FantaCo decided to publish a magazine about comic books, the X-Men were the obvious premiere topic.

Moreover, I was the editor of the X-Men Chronicles, soliciting the articles and the artwork. That included carrying a still wet cover by the late Dave Cockrum home on a train.

I compiled an index of X-Men appearances under the pseudonym Arro Verti, difficult in 1981 and it’d be overwhelming now. And I had to get the late Raoul Vezina to help create a Smilin’ Ed story related to the X-Men at the 11rh hour.

Amazing Spider-Man 121

Amazing Spider-Man #121 – my first Spider-Man comic book. I didn’t know that civilians died in these things. Reading back issues in Marvel Tales, plus the then-current issues. Spidey became my favorite Marvel character.

I bought every appearance he was in until in early 1990s, when Todd McFarlane was writing the title; mon Dieu, I HATED those stories and gave up after three or four issues.

Moreover, I edited the FantaCo Chronicles highlighting the webslinger, and I still believe it was the best issue I ever put together.

Hero_for_Hire_Vol_1_1

Luke Cage, Hero for Fire #1 – it was the first comic book I ever bought since I was a kid. Dragged to the local convenience store by some Piscean I still know, I was surprised to discover a black superhero. And since it was a #1, I didn’t need to learn the backstory.

Oh, I’m supposed to do seven of these? Maybe some other time. (I told you I wasn’t very good at following rules.)

R is for Ramblin’ with Roger

Steve Gerber, comic book writer extraordinaire, posted about writing in April 2005, essentially saying, “Writers write.”

Since I just hit my 13th anniversary of writing this here Ramblin’ with Roger blog thing, I’d thought I’d describe why I do it.

I’ve mentioned before that my friend Fred Hembeck had started a blog, that friend Rocco had tipped me off to same, and that I read everything Fred wrote, which meant going back about two years.

And Fred was prolific. He wrote every day, usually pieces a lot longer than I write currently. Then I would comment on his blog, and he would mention me therein. I gave him a couple ideas; for instance, I found a page of record album covers based on other album covers, which still exists.

So I thought, maybe I could do this myself. But what would I write ABOUT? I only had two topics that I KNEW I would have to cover. One was the Daughter, who was a little over a year old. I said to myself when she was born that I would write about her in a baby book that people give to parents of newborns, where you track when the child first crawls and walks and gets the first tooth.

There is incontrovertible evidence that I was TERRIBLE at this exercise. Instead, I would write about her every month, on the 26th. And I have, every month, although it’s often been as much about ME having a daughter after I’m five decades old.

The other topic was my appearances on the game show JEOPARDY. It was taped in September 1998 and was broadcast in November, and I was afraid the details were starting to fade.

I started writing in my Blogger blog on May 2, 2005, and I have written every day, at least once a day. In the early days, it was tough because Blogger didn't let me schedule posts. I remember writing at a library in Lake Placid during a break in a work conference.

I was inspired by what the late Steve Gerber, comic book writer of Howard the Duck, Man-Thing, the Defenders, and other Marvel comics I loved, posted about writing in April 2005, essentially saying, “Writers write.”

Oh, the duck. At FantaCo, I was editing something called X-Men Chronicles. I had extra pages to fill, and so Smilin’ Ed artiste Raoul Vezina and I pieced together a story about the rodent buying a case of a popular comic book. I appeared as a duck because… well, I don’t know.

Around that time, Raoul drew the duck for my friend Lynne. In 2010, when I was getting my own URL, Lynne’s husband Dan, who recognized me from the caricature when he met me on the street back in 1985, scanned the drawing, and I have used it ever since, on the Ramblin’ with Roger blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

For ABC Wednesday