In my life I have read a swack of comics. Probably too many, but I am addicted and not ashamed of it in the least. There have been so many influential comics in my life and I'd like to make a little list, starting from the earliest up until now.
-Tintin/Asterix. These titles were available at the Prince George public library. I was probably about eight years old, and Tintin, the Captain, Asterix and Obelix were just so amazing. What is so interesting about these books is that they are somewhat of a fantastic realism, they are set in our world, but almost anything can happen, spy business, pirates, potions, orgies, whatever. My mind was blown away by the clean linework, the art establishing so concretely where the characters were based, the writing infinitely more clever then anything I can imagine. Just awesome.
-Archie. In Canada we read more of these digests then anyone else in the world. A constant soap opera, but every once in awhile would delve into the fantastic (they even had Superhero digests at one point, with Jughead and Archie stopping crime). These digests were constantly amusing, the art consistently amazing and just plain fun. Plus, one comic would last forever.
-Stan Lee Marvel. Once again my library had some strange hardcover Marvel books with the origins of certain heroes, plus choice tales by the greats, Kirby, Ditko, Romita, etc. Wow, is all I can say. The strongest monster is actually sad? Spider-Man has no money? My life as a kid can't be that bad. Amazing in every way possible. Kept me in an amazing world of imagination.
-Wolverine. Claremont and Miller. My sister collected these comics and kept them in her dresser where I would sneak in and steal them. A million ninjas, Wolverine chopping off bear arms, a lady in a tight slinky costume. Wow, sensory overload for my pre-pubescent head. Easily the first series I read from back to front. Miller was hitting home runs, and Claremont was so impressive with his writing. WOW!
-Darkhawk and Punisher War Journal. Not sure about the creative teams on this. Know Romita Jr. was art chores on the War Journal. My friend in grade seven had these comics and lent them to me. Dark and gritty, and for a young man, awesome! I remember the cut cover on War Journal to this day.
-Spider-Man by Todd McFarlane. X-Men by Claremont and Lee. My brother bought Spider-Man, I got X-Men. Jump ahead to my early teens. The nineties man...collector editions left, right and center. I got every single one of the X-Men covers and read them all, even though they were the same comic again and again. Stole my brothers Spider-Man and read that. I remember one of the Spider-Man comics had a small city (I think Vanderhoof) that I lived an hour away from as a bustling metropolis, but it didn't matter, it just meant Spidey, Wolverine and Wendigo (a flesh-eating one) were an hour away. Over in the X-Men, Wolvie got his skeleton ripped out.
-Image. Whew! I jumped into Spawn...my brother got Savage Dragon...and the rest we just kinda tried to do our best to get. Spawn number one has such an amazing cover. The neon green, the red, the black. Not really into the character now, but then it was so impressive. Same thing with Dragon. Red, yellow and charging at you...that image just went BOOM! into my head. Still read Dragon to this day. Lee's W.I.L.Dcats. They were so shiny. Remember Youngblood's cover too and the horrible paper it was printed on. These books actually had some character (Youngblood? Maybe not), but what came later...not so much. It didn't really stop me from buying them though. McFarlane tapped some major talent for his run though...Moore, Miller, Sim...opened my eyes a little. I will always be grateful for that.
-Death of Superman. Supes dying. My dad got like 30 copies of this for my bro and I. He hit all the comic shops in Vancouver and brought them back to us so that we could keep them. I ripped them open one by one when no one was looking and read the stories. Jurgens art was iconic. He hit so many great poses with this arc, they really stick out for me.
-Starman. This is where it all changed for me. Harris' amazing cover for 0 (or was it 1?) made me haul it off the shelf, and Robinson's writing kept me there for the next 80 issues. I felt involved emotionally in these characters. I loved Grundy, Mikaal, Jack, David, and the rest. I went and traveled through southeast Asia and had my mom pick up the issues for me when I was gone. The first three story arcs are so amazing...just amazing.
-Sin City, That Yellow Bastard. My mother found this in my pile of comics and went batshit. Violence, sex, whatever...I managed to convince her that the story was what kept it legit, but the art was just bombastic. Miller just smashed this out of the park, seriously.
-Transmetropolitan. Warren Ellis and Darrick Robertson smashed my brain through my eye sockets with this series. Groundbreaking for me in so many ways, this is political sci-fi done in such an amazing way. The art is surreal, moving and thoughful, and the writing is Gonzo to the point of no return. Not sure if this introduced me to Hunter S. Thompson or just made me like him more, but am grateful for it either way. And Warren...damn your ideas were firing on all cylinders.
-Preacher. Let's not forget Preacher. Jesse Custer's face on fire above a church as done by Glenn Fabry. Garth Ennis damn you, Steve Dillon, same; you guys blew my fucking teen mind away. Violent, romantic, everything I wanted at the time...and it ended perfectly. Wow. The first graphic novel, I still remember where I bought it (Courtney, B.C.), and still remember my brains reaction. Everything an ex-catholic wants to see.
And that's the major ones for me. There are about a million more. Every Indie comic, every major superhero work, every graphic fiction I ever read has had some effect on my life and I am grateful for them all.