Every once in a while, Longbox of Awesome brings in special guest bloggers. It costs thousands in cotton candy and hookers, but we do it because we love you. So, here is the first installment by Brandon Craig, a longtime lover of all things stored in longboxes. You know, comics, rifles, porcelain dolls – all that good stuff. Enjoy!
Hello everybody, how’s it going? Not so good? What’s wrong? You’ve got a touch of diarrhea? Do you mean you have mild diarrhea or that you’re like some morbid King Midas and whenever you touch anything it turns into diarrhea? That’s disgusting! No I don’t need proof! Good lord! Why would you dive into a pool? Good cannonball though, way to splash those octogenarians.
Well now that we’ve made polite small talk, allow me introduce myself. My name is Brandon Craig and I am a man of many jackets. I’ve been a student, a teacher, a pipe-layer, bartender, waiter, lover, fighter, chess prodigy, werewolf, scuba instructor, accountant, omnivore, Speaker for the Dead and jacket salesman. Yes, I’ve led a remarkably diverse life but I though it all I have read, loved and discussed to death comic books.
I want this guest blog to focus less on current comic news and take a more personal trip exploring the influence comics have had on my life. Over numerous posts, you the reader, or listener if you bought the audioblog, will hear true stories from my past, present and future about the one true rock in my life. At the end of this magical blog you may find yourself a changed man. You may dance the streets in your pyjamas, giving coins to alley urchins and buying your abused employee a fat Christmas turkey! So hold on to your monitors folks, here comes part one!
Did we lose anyone? Alright, now that we’re all here I would like to direct your attention to a child named Brandon Craig at his grandparent’s house in Manning, Alberta. He’s in the basement (that’s the level that’s below the earth) and it’s Christmastime. Wow; I didn’t really plan this to be a Christmas Carol homage but there it is.
Young Brandon is wearing pyjamas and enormous Fisher Price glasses because he likes toys. This is actually true, I got my parents to get me these Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot glasses solely because they were the Fisher Price brand. My parents allowed me to have them because they trusted my 7 year old judgement when it comes to looking like a twerp.
As far as I can remember, my Grandma’s house is where this whole comic addiction kicked off. Like most addictions, the first hit was free. My Uncle Dave owned a gas station in town and he used to scam magazine distributers into getting free books to give to my grandma. Here’s how it works. When magazine/comics/books are unsold from gas stations the standard practice is to rip the covers off of them and send them back to the distributors for a refund. The rest of the books are then thrown in the river and never spoken of again. My uncle used to take the comics and give them to my grandma for grandchildren to read when we visited her.
So my grandparents had two cardboard boxes filled with coverless comics. As a result of this, instead of learning how to play hockey with mini-sticks like the rest of my cousins, I read comic books. Considering they were grabbed at random by my uncle we had an amazing selection. I got to discover the X-Men by reading the finale of The Brood Saga, a double-sized issue wrapping up a story where every member of the team was infested by a Brood fetus and was slowly transforming into Brood members. The only ones to be spared this fate were Wolverine (healing factor) and Storm (merging with an orphaned space whale factor). But before the rest were fully turned, they all stormed the Brood mothership to try kill the queen of the Brood. It was amazing stuff; Cyclops turned before everyone else and Broodclops, who is not to be confused with normal brooding Cyclops, started blasting the Christ out of everyone with his visor-less Brood eyes. Think about how cool that is! I read that comic and so many others over and over, ignoring physical activity and family members alike, putting off going upstairs for dinner until I had finished and finally reading one last comic before going to sleep. As a result, my memories of my grandparents house is intertwined with memories of the X-Men, The Teen Titans, Superman, Batman, Spider-Man 2099, Spider-Man 1987 and one horror anthology book featuring Blade.
It all started there and it continues over 20 years later. Keep checking in and you can learn about the lost years in between.