Still in the 1970s, I would be blown away by the amazing science fiction opera that we all know and love as Star Wars. Now, my son today doesn't know of a day when you could not watch a trailer on YouTube, his favorite movie on Netflix or in our DVD/BluRay collection. After I left the RKO Fordham, I ran home and started on my own comic book adaptation while the images were still fresh in my mind. Later that year I found the Marvel Special Edition Star Wars #1 in Woolworths! I took that giant oversized book and reread it too many times! Without a home video, a comic book adaptation is a true geek's only way to relive the joy from that original movie screening. I collected many of them like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Blade Runner (I'm seeing a Harrison Ford trend here). After the treasury editions, I started collecting the ongoing series by Marvel that would introduce me to Carmine Infantino and Walt Simonson's artwork for the first time. This month Marvel picked up the Star Wars license and started selling their own stories. and wouldn't you know it's making a lot of news.
As a student in JHS 22 in the South Bronx, I would be introduced to the concept of collecting comics. Acid free polypropylene comic book bags. Long boxes. Well, I didn't always have enough money for these after I collected coins from returning bottles and cans, so I would use cardboard boxes I'd find outside liquor stores and milk crates outside bodegas. The one book all my friends talked about was Uncanny X-Men. My first book was by Dave Cockrum, but all my friends told me about the legendary work by John Byrne and Terry Austin. Now, Chris Claremont had a 17 year run on Uncanny X-Men and worked with many amazing artists. However, Uncanny X-Men #137 was the comic book collector's holy grail. No one's collection wasn't official without it. How important was this book? Decades later Bryan Singer would reference the Dark Phoenix Saga which concluded in this issue to create Fox's X-Men cinematic universe. Now that's some serious source material.
The fourth book on this list is my own DMC #1. I don't mean to come off vain at all, but I must give you some background. I'm a Puerto Rican Native New Yorker (Nuyorican). In the 1970s and 1980s I spent most of my childhood in the South Bronx. From 1984-1986 my family moved to Puerto Rico, then Reading, PA then Syracuse, NY. I longed for my life in New York City. As crazy as it was with crime (I was mugged many times on my way to school) I still appreciated how the city introduced me to comics and hip-hop. My brother was a b-boy and I grew up seeing wild style graffiti on the subways of Nueva York. Hip-hop stayed with me through the 1980s and my friends in Reading and Syracuse can attest to how much I loved listening to Run DMC. At a school talent show I was even called a Beastie Boy when I was on stage with my crew rapping on the microphone and painting live graffiti. When I met Darryl DMC McDaniels in 2013 we talked about comic books for 3-4 hours. That first meeting felt like the days I'd stay up late with my late older cousin Santiago DeJesus talking about our favorite superheroes and their adventures. DMC and I at that point decided to start Darryl Makes Comics with a reimagined universe that looked like 1980s New York City. This fourth book brings me full circle from the child that collected to the man that publishes.
Which four comics changed your life?