Monday, May 28, 2007

The dream of working for Wizard - The Guide to Comics

So... This is blogging...

What an introduction.

In the weeks to come (and in my effort to be a freelance writer for Wizard the Guide to Comics), I'm going to critique comic books. I guess it will be any comic book out of the blue - anything that I can get my hands on. Let's just say that I'm inspired by Wizard's weekly review of the best comic books in that week. My range will be limited to what I can get. I'm willing to read anything and since I'm not working for any comic book company, I'm willing to get everything out of my chest.

First off, I'll have to "introduce" myself so that readers may know why I'm doing this critique and why I want to do this.

I've been a comic book reader since the day I could start turning the page of a book. Oh, I wouldn't be considered a reader yet. More of a picture viewer because I couldn't read yet. Somehow, the joy of knowing how to read became the greatest achievement of my life as I was given the ability to understand what the words in the balloon meant.

Back then, most comic books were reprinted for the Philippine market so they were virtually of no high value. I probably ended up damaging the comic books that were not collected and not bound into hardcover (my parents used to do this so as to prevent further damage). And my elder brother probably ended up getting angry at me for damaging his collection. This was the late 80s and early 90s when I hadn't discovered computers (or the Internet) yet. Most of the information that I got about the Marvel or DC universe came from comic book guides where there were synopses of several issues. I could already piece things out together from there.

More readings came from original comic books that were borrowed from classmates and a friend who kept getting comic books as gifts. Of course, I was more careful since these comic books were originals and not the reprinted ones. A weird thing too because the reprinted books were no longer available.

Later on, fake X-men Series 1 cards came out. The beauty of Jim Lee's art got to me and I continued to piece together the history of Marvel Universe (or more specifically the X-men Universe) from there. I almost completed the set yet realized later that they were really crappy fakes.

By this time ( I think I was in high school), original comic books were already sold at several stores which were located in bigger cities (Metro Manila, Cebu City, Cagayan de Oro City). If given the chance when I went to these cities, I would always visit the comic book shops. But, due to the meager allowance that I had, I was stuck to buying cards. To add, my father used to say that buying comic books was a waste of money so he hated the idea of buying them. Cards were so much better because they could be hidden in the pockets. A funny thing happened while I was in Manila though. My thrifty father and I went to this comic book shop and he told me to pick a comic book. I was stunned and couldn't speak and I couldn't select ONE. So he told me to pick two!!! And I did. I picked Spectacular Spider-man 275 (if I'm not mistaken with the issue number) and Web of Spider-man 100. Things went up from there...

A vacation in Cebu went horribly wrong financially as I spent more than half of my allowance on comic books in the first day alone. I already had a list of what to buy and being alone in the comic book shop was like being in heaven. During this time, Image Comics had just come out. Though I was late for the big first issues, I took the next best things and bought the ones I considered that had the best stories.

In my last years in high school, I went to buying and selling comic books in my school. My big brother who was in Manila provided the capital (which I returned to him promptly) and I did the selling part. I mostly sold them to classmates. We stopped the business when he transferred back to our place but I did rack up enough to open my own savings account. I did get the opportunity to write about comic books as I made it my research paper for my English subject. Wizard (shameless plug) was a great help as it became my main reference.

The existence of the Internet opened up more chances of reading about the Marvel, DC, and Image Universe. I kept feeding myself with information from the Net. This was college. I had transferred to a different city to study. Unfortunately, the city didn't have any comic book shops but I was satisfied with what I had. Comic books had become too expensive as the value of the dollar shot up.

When I finally got to work, I bought collected editions of comic books. I was now reading Astro City, Kingdom Come, and any other collected edition that was worth its price and had an astonishing review. I was able to buy from online stores and had it shipped to friends in the United States. They in turn would have somebody carry the comic books for a sure handling.

And I've continued to read ever since. So far, I've been following up with Wolverine: Origins, X-Factor, Justice League, Justice Society, Flash, and many more. I love cartoons and am enchanted with comic books with lots of humour mixed with it.

I should "officially" start by next week once I've acclimated back to my office environment.

Anybody who reads blogs can help criticize my work. And of course, it'd be a huge help if my blog would somehow end up at Wizard's office. For me, working at Wizard surrounded by comic books is one big heaven for me.

Keep posted.

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