My first encounter with comics came at the age of five. On Mondays, the local garbagemen would throw marvel comics over the hedge into the school playground for the kids to scramble after. They must have found a stash of them somewhere and decided to ration them out, a few each week. I already knew of Batman from the campy TV series, but these random issues (or at least, the handful that wound up in my possession) introduced me to the bright world of Marvel. Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Namor the Submariner… Because of the lack of preceding or subsequent issues. I never found out how any of the stories ended, and there were always little footnotes from Stan Lee referencing events from other issues and titles–but I got the impression of a vast, sprawling universe filled with all these colourful, exciting characters. Some had been bitten by spiders, others were literally gods. And you never knew which of them might appear in any given issue.

The thing I most love about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that it perfectly captured all these qualities. It eschewed the gritty darkness so beloved of DC in order to portray its heroes in the vivid tones that originally made them such icons; and it kept that intertextality. Events from one movie had bearing on another, giving the whole thing the same sense of cohesion that first impressed me in the comics. 

When I sat in the cinema and watched 2012’s AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, I had a huge grin on my face from start to finish, because it was the film I had been waiting for since I was five years old. 

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Author: Gareth L Powell


One thought on “Comics”

  1. I used to get American (Marvel) comics from the corner shop near where my nan lived in Slough, when I went and stayed with her in the holidays. My dad disapproved of comics but my mum used to let us get them as long as Dad didn’t catch on that they were there; she’d been advised, after I had trouble learning to read (which we later learned was because I was dyslexic) to let me read whatever I wanted to. So, being a complete tomboy, I used to read Dr. Strange, The Mighty Thor, and Iron Man at my nan’s, and at home I read The Eagle (I was a huge fan of Dan Dare, though I frightened myself to death with it at times) and Valiant (I loved The Steel Claw and Kelly’s Eye, and The House of Dolman) from the pile I kept under my bed! My dad did approve of the Tintin books, and I still have a stack of those. It was basically comics that got me reading (though my mum started me off with the Janet and John books) and once I got started properly there was no holding me back. And I loved visiting my nan as she was such a go-ahead and tolerant lady – she took me and my brother to see our first James Bond film, Thunderball! I still love all that stuff, and it naturally fed into my interest in science fiction and fantasy – which my dad did also approve of as he was also a fan. Happy days!

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