Monday, 24 December 2012


My first comic that I can remember getting at the age of about 5 was TV Comic which featured stories about various cartoons like Popeye. One of the stories was Battle of the Planets which seemed to fit in with my growing interest in some new phenomenon called Star Wars. I also picked up the odd Marvel and DC comic, but TV Comic was the first that I got on a regular basis.
Battle of the Planets from TV Comic
I had the chance to read some of my cousin's Battle Picture Weekly comics when I was on holiday, and bought a few of them as well. Then I saw an ad on TV for the relaunch of Eagle comic. This is where I met Dan Dare, my first comic 'hero' if you like.
Eagle Comic #1
This was soon followed by my first issues of 2000AD. My first was Prog 333 - easy to remember that number!
2000AD Prog 333
I collected 2000AD for a number of years, and bought into all of the characters, particularly Judge Dredd but also Johnny Alpha and Sam Slade. 2000AD has always been a great comic and I still pick several issues up every now and then, as well as collecting the odd trade paperback (like the Slaine stories).
Given my love of all things Star Wars, it was inevitable that I would end up getting the UK Return of the Jedi comic. This reprinted the Marvel Star Wars comics split up into weekly episodes. But what really caught my attention was the back-up story, Power Pack. Imagine my delight when I found a Power Pack comic on the shelf in a bookstore one day. I had no idea that they had their own monthly comic. I was hooked and placed an order on my first US comic.
My first Power Pack comic
It wasn't long before Power Pack crossed over with the X-Men, and I bought my first X-Men comic. I was starting to see the Marvel universe open up to me. What really did the trick was the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition. These were my Bible during my teenage years.
Marvel Universe #2, my first OHOTMUDE. I found #1 in a secondhand store a year or so later
My favourite comic as a teen was X-Factor, which reunited the original X-Men and was written by Louise Simonson, who also wrote Power Pack. I think Louise is very under-rated as a writer. She showed depths of character in her books that other writers rarely managed. She is certainly responsible for drawing me into reading American comics.
I collected other titles too - The Fantastic Four, the Avengers, Avengers West Coast, X-Men, New Mutants, and even dabbled in DC a little with Justice League International.
As tends to happen, by the time I hit 16 I was a bit over comics. It had a lot to do with too many crossovers and the decrease in variety on the newsstand - things started to go more to specialist comics stores - and so I left comics behind to a certain extent - although I still wrote and drew my own stuff. But I had moved on to toy soldiering as my geeky hobby.  I briefly revisited comics when I started University as their was a Comics shop in town, buying the first limited series of WildCATs and all the main series that Jim Lee drew.  But this was the era of limited edition platinum covers, and to be frank, a lot of the comics were just crap. 
When I graduated uni and moved to Auckland I did a big buy up of X Men titles trying to catch up on what I had missed. A lot of it made sense, but it still aggravated me that I couldn't get up to speed with what was happening because the storylines crossed over into way too many comics that I didn't want to buy. When I moved to Rotorua there was a comic shop here, and I bought Fantastic Four and Justice League pretty regularly, but the shop closed down and I pretty much gave up trying to collect monthly. Now I buy Trade Paperbacks off the internet and it actually makes reading and following the stories easier.

A couple of years back I discovered Heroclix. I had no interest in the games and the ugly disks that the figures were based on, but was keen to get the figures, repaint them and maybe play a game with them. I had heard about Supersystem so thought this might work. I can't say that Supersystem works for what I want, which is a simple solo game of superheroes. So I am working on altering a set written by Pete Jones of  called Simple Super Hero Tabletop Rules. It has a basic mechanic of rolling two dice and using the high dice for some things and the low dice for others. As it stands the rules cater for the physical side of gaming - movement, accuracy  evading etc - but not so much for things like outwitting opponents, or rigging up some technology that will fix a situation (I'm thinking Reed Richards here). So this is where I'll be coming up with add-ons.
The original X-Men confront Magneto

Juggernaut, Magneto, Blob and Klaw repainted and rebased

And some of the good guys and gals in similar condition
I've got a pile of Marvel figures to repaint and rebase, and have just started buying up DC characters as well. I source all of my figures through as I can just buy figures that I want without the hazard of buying a box that contains doubles.
There is also the Judge Dredd Miniatures Game put out by Mongoose Publishing. The rules are free to download and look quite good. I will buy some of their figures as well, but at the moment have some Indy Heroclix to use - Dredd, Anderson and the Dark Judges. This is very much a secondary project though.


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