31 Days of Comics Challenge Day 17: A Comic That Reminds You Of Someone

ux183Many years ago I got dumped and dumped hard. It wasn’t fun and I didn’t take it well. She had been out of town for a while. And come back in love with someone else. I did what any young man might do and read a bunch of comic books. I read the classic Marvel crossover, Secret Wars where a bunch of heroes and villains are whisked away to a far away planet to do battle.  It was a good escape.

During Secret Wars, X-Man Colossus falls in love with an alien woman after being injured. In Uncanny X-Men #183 Colossus dumps his girlfriend, Kitty Pryde without much of an explanation. Wolverine takes him out to a bar, gets him drunk and as luck will have it helps him get into a fight with the Juggernaut. At the end of the issue, Wolverine tells Nightcrawler how the way Colossus handled things with Kitty Pryde was absolutely wrong and Wolverine had taken him out to get him in a bar fight to teach him a lesson.

There was a part of my teenaged brain that wished Wolverine knew me and my girlfriend.

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– Jack Cameron


31 Days of Comics Day 5: A Great Love Story

795418It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for both Chris Claremont and the X-Men. But what Chris Claremont and Barry Windsor-Smith created in Uncanny X-Men #186 is legendary. In previous issues, Forge, a mutant who’s power is he can literally invent anything gave the government a gun that strips mutants of their powers. It was supposed to be used on fugitive and X-Man, Rogue. Fellow X-Man Storm got in the way. Storm awakes to find herself being cared for by Forge himself on the top floors of his building. Over the course of days they fall in love. And then she learns he’s the man responsible for taking her powers away and she leaves him. Storm is broken from the betrayal and loss of her powers. Forge is broken because he’s fallen in love with a woman who has every reason to hate him forever.

As good as the story is, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible art by Barry Windsor-Smith. He creates little moments in this one issue that make it a simply amazing love story.

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– Jack Cameron

31 Days of Comics Challenge Day 4 First Comic Series You Seriously Pursued

uxm239In Middle School I bought GI Joe comics from time to time to augment my action figure adventures. Then I let my friend Ted borrow them and he lost them. To make up for it, Ted gave me Uncanny X-Men 225-227. Otherwise known as The Fall of the Mutants. I had no idea who or what the X-Men were at the time. These stories by Chris Claremont and Marc Silvestri were like nothing I’d ever read. In the space of three issues, these heroes fought Native American gods, dinosaurs, cowboys, robots, and ultimately ended up sacrificing their lives saving the world. It was the most amazing story my twelve-year-old mind had ever read.

Within three months, Ted was asking me about the X-Men because I knew more than him. The first issue I bought on my own was Uncanny X-Men 239 which began another crossover called Inferno. I collected Uncanny X-Men pretty much ever since.

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– Jack Cameron

Why Comics Indeed

My friend Lance Weller listed his seven favorite single issue comics and a favorite piece of art and challenged others to do the same. Like Lance, I’m a Marvel guy. So most of my picks are Marvel.

1) GI Joe #21. I started collecting comics when I was twelve and ran out of ideas for my GI Joe action figures. It was fun but it wasn’t until I got this classic back issue that I realized how cool comics could be. This is arguably the most famous issue of GI Joe. Larry Hama’s entire script is silent. Great ninja stuff.
2) Uncanny X-Men #225. My first superhero comic book. My friend, Ted had borrowed some of my GI Joe comics and lost them. As an apology he gave me some X-Men comics. Little did I know that this was like someone losing your pot and giving you crack. I would be collecting X-Men and Marvel comics for the next 25 years. This issue was the beginning of a strange crossover called Fall of the Mutants where no titles actually crossed over. They just had three really bad things happen at the same time in three different comics. Over in X-Factor, Angel came back as Archangel. In New Mutants Doug Ramsey got killed, but in Uncanny X-Men, Colossus came back to the X-Men team just in time to face Freedom Force and what looked to be the end of the world. This is the issue that started that.
3) Uncanny X-Men #251. I could easily list my seven favorite issues of X-Men but I’ll try not to do that. This issue was shocking. Wolverine was literally crucified on a big X. The remains of his team had disappeared seemingly never to return. And the cyborg Reavers had taken over the abandoned Australian town that the X-Men called home. While crucified on the X, Wolverine has hallucinations of his past teammates and past loves.
4) Astro City #1/2. Kurt Busiek’s Astro City is a stunning achievement but my favorite bit of it is just an eight page story. It’s the story I show anyone who just thinks comics are for kids. Every night this man dreams of the same woman and he can’t get her out of his mind yet he knows she doesn’t exist. Eventually he finds out that some super-villain screwed with the timeline and when the heroes put it right, certain things were accidentally erased, such as this guy’s wife. She now never exists and was never meant to exist. One of the heroes arrives to help him but not in the way he wants. Great stuff.
5) Marvels #1. Before Kurt Busiek did Astro City, he and Alex Ross did Marvels. We didn’t always have great Marvel movies, but Alex Ross’ art was the next best thing. It felt real. Also, it was the first painted comic I ever bought.
6) Sleeper #1. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have been making crime comics for over a decade, but it all started with Sleeper. I’m a big fan of stories where the hero is screwed over and there have been fewer more screwed over characters than Holden. Holden is an undercover agent in a criminal organization. Only one guy on the good guy’s side knows he’s undercover and not a traitor…and that guy was just shot and is in a coma. So all of his enemies think he’s their friend and all of his friends think he’s an enemy. Great stuff.
7) Thanos Quest #1 & #2. Okay, I know it’s not a single issue but it might as well be. When I bought Thanos Quest I had no idea who the character was. Basically he’s a guy actually in love with the entity of Death. This is a story of how he literally outfights or outwits the Elders of the Universe to gain God-like power in an attempt to impress Death. With fantastic art by Ron Lim and some truly cosmic battles, this is one of my favorite stories ever.
8) Brent Anderson in God Loves, Man Kills. As for art this piece comes from the X-Men graphic novel, God Loves, Man Kills. This was a powerful epic and the first one where Magneto both seemed incredibly powerful and incredibly sympathetic. Brent Anderson’s image has long been my favorite image of Magneto. He’s entirely righteous in what he’s doing and at the same time obviously terrifying.