I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my Grandma, for introducing me to comics. My mom didn’t subscribe to the newspaper, Wichita Falls’ Times Record News, but my Grandma did. I visited my Grandma’s house almost every weekend and she would save the funny pages for me to read when I came over. We’d show up and there they were, a whole stack of newspaper comic strips waiting just for me. From Peanuts and Calvin & Hobbes to Zits and Baby Blues. I would read the whole page while Grandma cooked arroz con pollo or pumpkin muffins (a Fall treat). As far as I can remember this was my first exposure to comics of any kind.
I still read the newspaper funnies as often as I can. Today I have a Sunday subscription to the San Antonio Express News but I haven’t gotten it in over two months (I’ve complained and am no longer paying). It’s amazing, the Times Record News could deliver to my Grandma’s house out in the country everyday but the Express News can’t seem to get to my apartment in the city once a week. This is why print is dying.
My paternal grandmother, Nana, introduced me to comic books. She would buy old back issues from a thrift store in Wichita Falls called Value Village. I loved that store. They had everything, workout equipment, clothes, toys and comics. I didn’t visit Nana as much as Grandma but when I did she always made sure to give me something to read.
It all started with the Chronicles of Narnia. On one visit, Nana gave me a book, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by the immortal C.S. Lewis. I noticed a #2 on the spine of the book. After I finished reading it (and absolutely loving it) I asked my Nana what the #2 meant. She told me that it meant that this book was the second in a series of 7 books that take place in Narnia. I can’t explain to you the sheer joy of learning that I could go back to Narnia for more adventures. I quickly devoured the rest of The Chronicles of Narnia. This introduced me to the world of serial book reading. The Boxcar Children, Hank the Cowdog, Goosebumps and Animorphs.
This was my childhood. I loved anything in a series because it meant I could stay in that imaginary world for as long as the series lasted. (I would later realize that reading was an escape mechanism I used to cope with my parent’s divorce, but that’s another story).
As a kid who loved any serial reading, comics were a natural fit. The problem was, Value Village didn’t care about continuity. I would read random comic books in the random order of whatever grab-bag my Nana happened to pick up. I noticed the numbers on the cover and it would drive me crazy because I couldn’t read a whole comic series in order. The first comic book I remember reading is Ducktales from the 90’s. I watched the show so I was drawn to the comics. I loved them even if I only got snippets from a larger story.
I’ve loved comics since as long as I can remember. I worked at a comic book store all through college. Most of the papers I wrote in college had to do with comics. I have multiple bookshelves dedicated entirely to comics. I had a comic artist friend draw my wife and I in comic form for our wedding.
I’ve written several comic scripts and have now started a website about comics with my name on it. And it’s all because of my grandmothers.
So this is a Thank You letter to my Nana and my Grandma, the Times Record News and Value Village for introducing me to a world that would be a huge part of my life.
Thanks. I’ll see you in the funny papers.