I remember there once was a time in my life when I was heavily interested in (& invested in) reading comic books, specifically Japanese comic books. I would patiently wait month-to-month for each volume to be painstakingly translated, published, shipped to America, & put on the shelves of my local book store’s meager Manga section (if you could even call a tiny bookshelf a “section”). Nowadays, kids read photocopy scans via the Internet with nearly instantaneously. This past weekend, I was cleaning out a large storage closet in my house, & I stumbled upon my old collection of comic books…more accurately called Manga. I haven’t touched these books in years, which prompted me to browse through them once again. This got me thinking back on my time as a devoted comic book reader.
When I was a young child in Elementary school, I actually read a few Marvel comic books. While all of my siblings & cousins were reading MAD magazine & Archie (along with Betty, Veronica & Jughead), I was reading about Spider-Man, Silver Surfer & the like. No, I wasn’t exactly a comic book nerd like how they’re being portrayed on the TV show The Big Bang Theory, or at Comic Con. I was a casual reader at best, picking up whatever cover interested me. I completely stopped reading comic books once I became a full-fledged teenager, swapping Spider-Man for Hot Rod & muscle car magazines, as well as various trading cards. I don’t know why I chose this time in my life to try to act like a tomboy. Now, looking back on those times, I was heavily influenced by a girl who I thought was my best friend at the time, only to later find out she was either trying to sabotage my life or get inside my pants.
It wasn’t until after high school when I truly discovered & fell head-over-heels in love with Japanese Pop culture. I immersed myself into every aspect I could get my grubby little hands on, spending most of my weekends in the Japantown area of the big box city. Since my dad was originally from Japan, I felt a special closeness to that culture. That’s when I really got into watching Japanese TV shows, movies, watching anime, & reading comic books (a.k.a. manga). At that time, a majority of my friends were Asian & had the same interests in Japanese Pop culture as I did, so we were able to share our favorites & talk all about comic books.
Just like in my teenage years, I also went through a tomboy phase while reading manga. I liked to read comic books geared mostly towards the male audience, with titles such as: One Piece, Full Metal Alchemist, Gundam Seed, Megatokyo, Rurouni Kenshin, etc. I liked reading about intergalactic mechanized robot wars & epic sword fights. Along the way, I also dabbled in other genres like: comedy (Ranma ½, Love Hina, Azumanga Daioh), historical (Fushigi-Yugi), fantasy-magic (Card Captor Sakura, Alice 19th, Wedding Peach, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles, & XXX Holic), & a few others here & there. Most of the manga I read had a similar theme of romance. You know the formula: girl & boy are fated to love each other & be together in the end, but not without a roller coaster ride of major ups & downs like: alternate dimensions, space &/or time portals, epic wars, magical curses, demon hunting, multi-dimensional memory loss, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.
So, I’ve been sorting through my old collection of comic books & have begun reading them all over again. Most of my comic books are lacking a complete series, & I am thinking about getting back into reading manga again so I can finish the complete series of all the manga titles I’ve collected over the years. I stopped reading manga for many years simply because I have no space in my house to store all of these books, & I am also trying to tighten my budget. So that means, less shopping, more saving…especially if I want to be able to afford going to my cousin’s destination wedding. I guess we will see what happens. Until then, cheers.
Today’s song of the day:
“I Just Do” by The Feeling