What Was Your First Comic Book?

I'm curious to hear from readers on this one - what was the first comic book you remember picking up? 

It doesn't have to be the first one you actually purchased, just, what was the first one to light a fire in your memory? Whether it came out fifty years ago or last week, doesn't matter. Maybe you never read a comic until last week but you were inspired by the Bill Nye/ Creationist / internet-zoo-animals-mating to purchase and read:


Whatever! Feel free to let me know at whatever length and with whatever meanderings you require.

If you're anything like me, trying to answer this question will lead you on a merry adventure through time and space and associative memories (and probably comics.org.) The year I began purchasing comics was definitely 1981, but my brother must have started bringing them home in the late '70s. I definitely remember seeing this one around the house:

I especially remember that cover price, as they were up to $.50 when I started bring my $2 allowance to the drugstore.
Marvel used to cover-date issues a few months ahead, so though that says April 1979, it was probably published in January or February of that year. As I have no memory of the story that goes with that cover, though, I don't consider Ghost Rider 35 my first comic book.

Nor this, although he definitely had this one, too. I can't say with absolute certainty that this is the first time the X-Men came onto my radar, but it most likely was.
I recall this one somewhat more vividly, both the cover and the story:

But I don't consider this my first comic, either. It tingles my Spider-Sense, though, so I decided to use August 1981 as my starting point.

This proved to be the right approach. It was definitely the summer of 1981 that I began taking monthly trips to the drugstore. But the plot thickens somewhat, as this was also the year when we moved from the States to Germany, and the delay in new comics was about 5 or 6 months. So everything I read 1981 to 1986 was 5 or 6 months behind what kids were reading stateside. (Excepting those summers where we'd come back to the States, when I'd stockpile.)

I apologize for overburdening you with McBackstory when trying to answer the simplest question. 

Long story short, I came up with about 20 comics from this time period, any 1 of which I could legitimately name as the primordial root from which grew the 9 or 10 long boxes currently in my closet. I whittled that 20 down to the following. 

PRELUDE: These first 2 were definite "kiddie comics," something I knew my brother and his pals looked down on, so naturally I pretended not to enjoy them.

Secretly, though, I loved these. These Richie Rich comics actually had some wild stuff going on - he was always time traveling and what not. Someday, some enterprising grad student will win a lot of old Richie Riches and write a dissertation on capitalism and America and make his or her reputation.
Probably not a dissertation-in-the-making for Spidey Super Stories, though. Prove me wrong, nerds of tomorrow!

What was it that made me pick this one up? I'm not sure. To tell you the truth, I think my memory is playing a trick on me, as I may have picked up this one first:

and then because I liked it, went back to the drugstore and got #171, which was still on the racks. Or did I pick up #174 and go back and get 171 and 172? (I was missing 173 for years and years; I ended up paying top dollar for that at a convention in the late 80s.) It's a dang ol' mystery. On par with the pyramids, the Piri Reis map, or the continued careers of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. All I know is by the time this came out:

I was telling anyone who would listen that Daredevil was my favorite hero.

I have no such confusion when it comes to this next one, though.

Art by Michael Golden
Now that's a cover! As with many of the records I'd later bring home, my parents immediately took this away from me but gave it back after reading/ listening to make sure I wasn't being recruited into some Thrill Kill Cult. (They were cool like that)

This storyline culminated in a war with Satan himself, by the by.
Sharing a cover date with Defenders #96 and Daredevil #171:

To be honest, I'm not sure how  I ended up getting into Green Lantern. No one else I knew was, but I liked his costume, I think. It might simply have been the Super-Friends cartoon. 
That would explain how I came to collect this next one, as well.

I had a subscription to both The Flash and Green Lantern for years. These were the only DCs I ever picked up prior to Justice League International and Batman, years later. 

Although I definitely read this one over and over again in 1981. If memory serves, I did not choose this one myself. My grandmother bought it and this next one for me.

Looking at these two especially, I'm chuckling over how many times I have packed them up and moved them with me over the years. I sold the bulk of my collection in the early 90s (though have re-acquired most of it,) but I still have my original copies of Buck Rogers #12 and JLA #194. Which means these have moved from Germany to Rhode Island to Ohio to Georgia to Chicago, multiple times. I haven't cracked that Buck Rogers open since Germany, I wager, so that's kind of funny. (And, I suspect, not an unfamiliar scenario for many of you, as well.)

I definitely associate this one with summertime in Pawtucket, RI, 1981, though not for any particular reason - just a powerful associative memory from looking at the cover.

As well as this one:

We took a trip to Georgia that summer, and I remember reading this one in the safety of my grandmother's trailer. 

Awesome cover.
(I was convinced - thanks to my older brother and my cousin - that if I stepped outside I'd be bitten by snakes or eaten by a crocodile. Plus the trailer had air conditioning.)

Finally, there's this issue of Micronauts:

But I'm not sure if that actually was the first issue of Micronauts I ever picked up. I definitely had this one in my collection by 1982, as I remember reading it that summer in Germany and realizing it was the oldest comic I had. 

How I ended up with it, though, I don't really know. A yard sale, maybe? Did someone see I liked Micronauts and got this for me as a present? I wracked my brains to answer this for you, but, as with those Daredevils, I'm afraid the answer has been consumed in the temporal sandstorm between hither and thither.

Captain McPike has an illusion, and you have reality.
May you find your own way as pleasant.

Your turn!

EDIT: The author of the Defenders comic aforementioned - among many other things, including (now) ongoing titles for DC and my all-time favorite run on Captain America (then) not to mention JLI, Brookyln Dreams, and a dozen other things I've loved over the years was kind enough to respond to my tweet at him.

A) It will never, ever get old to get a reply from J.M. DeMatteis. B) That link is shortened in the above, but here is the post, and it's great fun. Click and enjoy! and C) He referred to this very blog as a "fun read." Day made!


  1. The Savage She-Hulk #6


    I was seven years old and obsessed with the Incredible Hulk TV show and got it in my head to find a Hulk comic book. Savage She-Hulk #6 was the closest thing they had.

    I never remembered to keep up with a series as a kid, but I somehow picked up the next issue of She-Hulk as well. That one ended with a cliffhanger as the Swamp Demons trapped She-Hulk in a liquid-filled chamber to convert her into one of their kind, and the last panel left you wondering how she got out of it. Years later, I realized how she got out of it: she had fucking Hulk powers and probably punched the shit out of everything and everybody. I guess I really should be wondering how they managed to trap her in the first place.

  2. Golden Comics Digest #31: Turok, Son of Stone, dated August '73, probably on stands in June. It was a hot, sunny day, as I remember. I was 7 years old, and my parents were visiting friends in Cleveland. I walked to a nearby convenience store and found it on the racks there. I still remember the place, seen from my seven-year-old point of view. That's how momentous finding that comic was. Definitely the first comic that totally blew me away and emblazoned itself on my memory. It towers above all other comics I read as a kid. I kept that original issue until I was an adult, but it got lost somewhere along the way. Besides that, it was in tatters from all my re-reading of it. I did manage to land a copy a few years ago.

    Golden Comics Digest: The Lone Ranger's Western Treasury was another Golden Digest book that I obsessed upon like it was the Tetragrammaton. Dated January '76, probably appeared late '75, when I was 9.

    Howard the Duck #7, dated December '76, probably on stands in September or October; I remember it being chilly out, but not Winter yet. This is the first Marvel/DC comic besides Conan the Barbarian that got me hooked. It was my first look at Howard, and I was fascinated - he LOOKED like Donald, but this definitely was a darker, more bizarre book than Disney's.

    There was a Neal Adams-era (I believe) Batman that I recall which seemed very different from what I thought superhero comics were. If I recall correctly, it was a giant-size issue, and had a story where Robin was ambushed and beaten almost to death. Batman took him to an emergency room, and was worried about identities being revealed, but the doc assured him that he didn't recognize Robin without the mask. It really floored me, as it was the first fairly brutal beating I'd seen in a comic. I want to say this could have been as early as 1972, when I was 5, but it may well have been later. I wore that comic out.

    I don't know when I began reading Marvel's Conan the Barbarian, but it was possibly as early as 1975. Conan was by far my favorite comic for a while in the late '70s. The only rival would have been Marvel Two-in-One, but I'm not sure when I first began reading that. I know I was reading MTIO in '78, because I was a huge fan of the Thing by then, so I likely had started reading it as early as '76.

    1. Very cool, Jeff, thank you - I appreciate the detail, here.

      I didn't include it as I got it slightly after the comics listed here, but one of my own first was a Turok, as well, though from much much later in the run. (1982-ish, so near its very end, I guess.)

  3. Issue #51 of the Gold Key "Star Trek," if I'm not mistaken -- a relative bought it and gave it to me, and the rest was history.

    1. Very cool - this one? http://www.comics.org/issue/32038/cover/4/

    2. You got it -- and in case you were wondering, yes, that was one of the many, many comics I lost in that moving incident I referred to on my own blog a few days ago.

      I don't think I ever had any of the numerous issues you posted photos of here. But I remember seeing a LOT of them on stands. Most of those, I bet I haven't seen those covers since I saw 'em on those fables stands; talk about a blast from the past...!

  4. You will be shocked (well maybe) but I didn't really start reading comics till the new 52. I mean... I have read graphic novels like The Watchmen, but I didn't get into comic series until recent. The past few years. I have always loved comic characters ..... I have love Wonder Women since a young girl. But I never knew what order to read them in. Then when the new 52 came out and my library had all the issues I was sucked in. My mom bought me some Wonder Woman books growing up .. but they were more stories rather then comics. Fun post and got me thinking!!!

    1. Glad to see you comment here - I was actually wondering what your (specifically) first comic might have been, given some of the comics chatter I've read on your blog.

      I picked up a lot of the New 52 myself. I didn't really stick with it (I'm too much of an old-school DC person, I think, although I absolutely loved OMAC - naturally, that was the first of the new 52 titles to get the ax! Just my luck.) But the rebooted Wonder Woman was pretty cool.

      I like Wonder Woman myself. You ever see the animated movie they made with Keri Russell as WW and Nathan Fillion as Steve Trevor? I loved it. (How could I not - it was based on my favorite run of the title, George Perez's, from the late 80s.)

      I may cover that here, actually. Hmmm... food for thought.

  5. Considering how comcs have ruled my life sicne the age of 5 (maybe even earlier), and given my love of history and excellent memory concerning important dates and details, you'd think I'd remember my first comic book. Alas, I don't. I can tell you the first episode of Star Trek I ever saw ("The Corbomite Maneuver") at the age of 5 at my cousin's house and his father being a fan of the show and explaining it to me. But my first comic? Damned if I know.

    It was undoubtedly bought by one of my grandfathers, most likely in 1972. I vividly remember the comics racks at the local mom and pop stores filled with comics with the 20-cent cover price. I also remember seeing ads in the DCs at the time for the first issue of "Plop", and being vaguely creeped out by the cover image of a guy with ludicrously long arms and short legs. Now that I think of it, that image still creeps me out! Maybe I should seek it out on eBay and finally get over my fear.

    It was almost certainly a super-hero comic because I've never been into funny animal titles or the like. It would have been a mainstream title like Amazing Spider-Man or Superman or maybe Justice League of America. I'm just guessing here but it's an educated guess. It could have been almost any of the titles you mentioned, albiet earlier than the specific issues you listed.

    A personal quirk: Because I have such nostalgia for the time I first discovered comics I go after almost anything with a 20-cent cover price. It's bittersweet to me that they're becoming more rare and valuable these days. When I think of expensive comics I'm usually focusing on the early Silver Age Marvels but these days a lot of the Bronze Age issues are commanding high prices. Time, thou art a heartless bitch.

    I wish I knew for sure.

    1. Very cool - thanks, man! Exactly the sort of first-comics-inspired reverie I was curious about, here.