Saturday, January 27, 2007

DC Comics Presents

Back when I turned 14 in December, 1978 my mother and stepfather took me to see Superman: The Movie. My life was changed forever. I was already a fan of science fiction because of Star Trek, and later Star Wars, but I never dreamed that a comic book character could be brought to life in just this way.

I saw the movie four times that year. You have to remember there was little chance of seeing it again for a very long time after its release ended. There was no VHS, no DVD, and where I lived, no cable or satellite dish either. So you either got your fill then or you waited for it to come on television, three or more years later. Even before I saw the movie, it had sparked my imagination. I started buying the Superman comics, both Action and his self-named title. I loved the covers but I didn't appreciate Curt Swan the way I should have. When a new title featuring Superman came out, I couldn't believe I was going to get the chance to get in on the ground floor. When DC Comics Presents #1 came out, I bought a Marathon Bar (remember those?) and a fresh copy from Jack's IGA in downtown Mesick and took the comic home to savor.

In those days, I would sit in a recliner in my grandmother's living room, put on some Realistic headphones from Radio Shack, and shut out the world. I would usually play Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" (on cassette, no less) while I read my newest acquisition. Things sure have changed. Now I sit in a recliner in my own living room and listen to my .mp3 player with my Bose QuietComfort 2 Acoustic Noise-Cancelling Headphones, which I got for my birthday last year.

I pored over the book that day, wondering who this José Luis Garcia-Lopez guy was, and why he wasn't drawing Superman in his regular books. I wondered what Q-Energy was, and why it weakened Superman. My father said, "Back in my day, the only thing that could hurt him was Kryptonite." Dad said, "Back in my day" a lot. He still does. For me, DC Comics Presents #1 posed more questions for me than it answered, but it was still a pretty book to look at. And it still is.

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