Growing up I read whatever comics I could get my hands on. I can remember in the 90’s when I was elementary school how big the Marvel and DC trading cards were, because for a long time THAT was our comics education. I was always a fan of Superman and Batman thanks for the movies, cartoons and comics.
If I had to pick a moment where I firmly planted my flag in the DC camp, it would have to be the summer of 1997. I’d been hearing about this new Green Lantern named Kyle Rayner. Thanks to the DC Comics area of America Online (yep, back in these days) I saw the latest issue (issue 90) was going to have an untold part of Kyle’s origin. I figured I’d give this a try as a jumping on point. I gathered what spare money I had and went to my local comic shop to pick it up that Wednesday. When I picked it up, the person behind the counter said they had a fifty cent bin. I’ve never heard of a fifty cent bin before, so I wanted to see what they had.
Inside was the Armageddon 2001 annual of Justice League. I remembered the cover from house ads i’d seen in some of my comics from a few years back. It was fifty cents, what the hell, right? I took my comics home with me and went straight to my room. Since it was a very hot summer, I decided to sit on the floor since it was cooler and read. The Green Lantern issue was interesting. I felt like I had a better handle on who Kyle was as a person. The Justice League Annual, however had a much bigger impact.
When Waverider touches Martian Manhunter to see his future, he’s become an all-knowing guru, doling out advice to those who seek him. This guy comes to him after a long and perilous journey and asks him what the meaning of life is. J’onn’s response? “Life is like an oreo cookie” As the man walks away in frustration and anger and starts muttering to himself like an old cartoon. I don’t know why, but that cracked me up. It set the tone for the rest of the issue, which I loved!
Whenever I got spare money or loose change, I’d go to the comic store to see what else was in the fifty cent bin. It was a lot of JLI/JLE annuals and the Quarterly’s. Reading those opened me up to characters that I knew about but hadn’t quite clicked yet. I broke out my DC trading cards to get more background on the characters, which in turn lead me to other characters. I knew about the characters and the world, but now I was clicking with them.
So yea, that experience made me a die hard DC fan. It started with Superman and Batman, with various comics and trading cards, but that day made me plant my flag with DC. And yes, I still have that Green Lantern and Justice League issue in my collection. The Justice League issue is signed by Giffen, DeMatteis and Maguire.