I discovered comic books through barbershop trips with my father. The barber had old issues of George Perez’s Wonder Woman, which I’d read while my dad had his turn in the chair. I remember being discouraged once I realized it was a serialized story, “War of the Gods,” and the barber only had intermittent issues.
In 1993 I was allowed to leave my mom in the grocery store and stay in the magazine section; reading has always been a preferred past-time, so being left alone was an easy sell, and she knew I wasn’t going to leave the area. The magazines were not very interesting, but occasionally I did stop to flip through a Time, Newsweek, maybe RollingStone, depending on the cover. This time when I opened comic books I connected with every aspect of the superhero genre: the ordinary persona was a cover for the true fascinating life away from restrictions.
Most comics in the spinner rack were c-list, Ex-Mutants or SleepWalker; others were b-list or cult heroes like the growing Dark Horse line, Ghost or X. I sampled each one, but their struggles felt too distant from my own. When I tried the X-Men I found the heroes that instinctually understood me.