I have always loved comic books. I love the art, the characters and the stories. Surprisingly though, I have never really read them. As a child I was an avid reader and always wanted to get my hands on Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk and X-Men comics. However, my mother would never buy them for me. It wasn’t that she thought they’d pollute my mind, though I am sure that was part if it. She just thought they were a waste of money. It was for similar reasons that I never had Micro-Machines either. Obviously, I am an adult now and I can read whatever I want. So why haven’t I started reading the comics I so longed for as a child? That’s simple, I don’t want to spoil the movies.
I remember running directly to the newsstand of the local grocery store and absorbing as much Spider-Man as I could while my mother shopped. I constantly conjured up excuses of why I needed an issue. Usually that would be for artistic purposes. Ever so often I could convince my mother to get a comic for me to practice drawing. I spent a lot of time drawing in my younger years, and what is more fun than drawing super heroes? Um, nothing!
Because I didn’t have comics in the house on a regular basis, I got my super hero fix from television, movies, and if you can believe it, a record player. We had a few different Spider-Man records and as cheesy as it sounds, they are awesome! I don’t know how many times I rented the live action Spider-Man TV series from the late ’70s and then ran around the house like a spaz. I was also raised on The Incredible Hulk series starring Bill Bixby, and it’s in my Netflix watch instant queue as we speak. I watched the cartoons too, when I could get my hands on them. But if my parents thought comics were a waste of money you can be bet we didn’t have cable either.
As I said, I knew most all the major character’s backstories, so when special effects finally got good enough to bring these characters to the big screen I was first in line. It was after the second X-Men and Spider-Man were released that I started to notice something; fanboys are impossible to please. No matter how good a comic book movie is they will find a reason to hate it. Usually their reason is that it doesn’t follow the original plot line to perfection.
I think that X2 is easily the best of the X-Men movies, First Class included, and Spider-Man 2 is my favorite comic book movie. A big part of this is that I’m a fan of cinema before comics. I understand that certain things don’t transfer well to film, and good adaptations are meant to capture the essence of the material, not directly copy it. More importantly though, not having comic books readily accessible kept me from becoming married to specific plot lines, characters or costumes. If anything, being raised on live action series and Hanna-Barbera cartoons set my expectations pretty low. Although the Fantastic Four movies sucked no matter what way you cut it and I am still waiting for The Hulk to get the Hollywood treatment he deserves.
Having such a broad spectrum of interests generally inhibits me from being a fanatic. However I have reached fanboy status in a few instances. I am thankful that it was never for comics though. That has allowed me to thoroughly enjoy the film adaptations. That being said, I am about as much of an adult as I will ever be so I can do whatever I want! With the addition of an iPad (Apple fanboy!?!) to our family I think it is time to start catching up on some lost time. Besides, I better prepare myself for that awkward talk with my son. The one where he asks why no one just shoots Batman in the face.