Splash Panel Adventures

I read comics…

I read comics. I am a geek. I like sci-fi and I like superheroes. Tell me something has big robots in and I’m sold, tell me it’s got big robots beating ten shades of the preverbal out of something fantastical and not only am I sold, I’ll also buy things related to it. I’m basically a comic book stores wet dream. Well maybe it goes ‘physically impossible, super breasted, hourglass figured, Amazonian women in latex’ and *then* me, but I digress.

I first become an avid cook book reader about the age of 15/16 when, whilst randomly browsing the Marvel comic’s website, I discovered their digital comic’s pages. A whole plethora of comics that I didn’t need to buy, but instead could read through at my leisure. Sat in my boxers and an old t-shirt on a Saturday morning, I’d casually browse the capes and cowls on display, there they would patiently sit, awaiting my approval, I felt like a super villain, or Max Trakker from the 80’s cartoon, M.A.S.K, telling the computer to select who was need for the next mission (He was always needed for the mission, how ruddy convenient!). I happened to stumble upon issue #1 of ‘Ultimate Spiderman’.

Marvel at that time had recently decided to reinvent it’s core superheroes for a modern audience who weren’t ‘au fait’ with the long, convoluted and often intimidated backstories of these characters. Why would you pick up a copy of Amazing Spiderman issue #346 and have absolutely no clue what some of the characters are and what’s going on?

Instead, the ‘Ultimate’ series (which would come to include all of Marvel’s core characters, including but not limited to the X-Men, The Fantastic Four and the Avengers, under the pseudonym ‘The Ultimates’ fact fans!) would reboot the characters from the ground up, placing them in a modern, more ‘believable’ world. Peter Parker was still Peter Parker, but he wasn’t a photographer for the fictional New York paper ‘The Bugle’ anymore, he was their web developer. Simple changes you might consider, but it was effective and more importantly, it was a hit!

So, as I was saying, I stumbled upon Ultimate Spiderman, and I loved it! I was 15, he was 15, he had problems at high school, so di…well no, I didn’t. I wasn’t unpopular like Peter during my tenure at comprehensive school, but I certainly wasn’t the star. Like most people, I just got through school the best I could. Either way, it spoke to me, I loved it! I read it avidly on the website, until that fateful day when Marvel realised that more people were reading their comics digitally, than actually going out and buying them! You can guess what happened next…

Yep! They made you pay for it!

I’m relatively old school when it comes to being of the tech generation, I remember not having a phone as a teenager, I also remember getting one! A Phillips Savvy none the less, yes, I can hear your jealously all the way from here! I still buy CD’s, I even collect 7” vinyl singles dammit!

So, I either had two choices when they started charging for me to read Ultimate Spiderman, either pay to read the thing on my computer screen, or go out and buy a physical copy of it.

I chose the latter.

And so my adventure in to reading comics really kicked in to gear. By this time I was 18, I was at university in Leeds, my mate in the flat above me was a massive comic fan as well, we read each other’s comics, we bonded like Adamantium bonded to Wolverine’s skeleton.

Words: Fuzz Caminski.

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