Monday, October 6, 2008

Interview With the Fanboy

Hi everyone. Sorry about the whole not posting thing yesterday--it was a busy weekend for everyone here at Exfanding. Not to fear, though, as Nathaniel's putting together a doozy of a post for the very near future. (And, not to put any undue pressure on him, but the very fate of this blog may rest with the quality of said post...)

Seriously, though, we're back today with a little something different. We've been kicking around the idea of doing a series of interviews--Actor's Studio style--with other fans of some of the things we love, and we figured today would be a good day to post up the first of said interviews.

So, first up we have an interview with fellow comics fanboy Gary Hochreiter. Longtime Exfanding readers (well, OK, like month-and-a-half-ago-readers) might remember Gary's post on toy collecting. Today, we asked Gary a few questions about comics, collecting, and fandom. Enjoy!

Hey, Gary. Let's start off with an easy one. What was the first comic that you ever read?

As a five or six year old kid, I read several old Silver Age DC comics that belonged to my uncles. Some Action Comics, Detective Comics and Aquaman. I "borrowed" my favorite one, Detective Comics #218 (featuring Catman and Bat-Woman who becomes Cat-Woman), and I still have it.

Someone gave me the Fireside Fantastic Four reprint collection which, regretfully, I lost in a move. This was part of a series of "trades" (trade paperbacks) featuring reprints of early Marvel stories by character. The FF one had the origin, the 1st modern Namor appearance, the 1st Doctor Doom story and the Galactus/Silver Surfer epic.

The first comic I bought myself was G.I. Joe #21(the silent issue) in a Toys-R-Us three-pack. The first actual superhero comic book I read was an early issue (number 8 or 9) of Classic X-Men at summer camp. I bought #16 and sent away for a subscription, which didn't start until #18--so I missed an issue.

At what point did you become a collector? Why?

I just kept trying new titles and liking the characters and stories. From Classic X-Men to Uncanny X-Men to Spider-Man to Iron Man to Avengers. And then I started getting some of the trades.

Before I knew it, I had quite a collection.

After college, I started to collect certain issues of Marvel's Silver Age books. This was primarily Captain America/Tales Of Suspense and characters' 1st appearances such as Banshee (X-Men #28) and some artist-specific work, particularly Gene Colan and Jim Steranko.

But that became too much money, and I decided to focus on the enjoyment of the story and art and not getting caught up in just possessing a comic as an object.

What books do you buy each month (top 5 books)?

Ongoing Series: 1) Green Lantern 2) JSA 3) Action Comics/Superman 4)Captain America 5) Avengers: The Initiative/Nova

What does your weekly "ritual" consist of? (i.e., how do you know what's out, where do you shop, when do you read the books that you buy?)

At the end of every month, I go through Previews and compile a list of stuff that I'm interested in reading. Every Monday (Tuesdays on holidays) I go to the Diamond Comics Web site and make a note of what is shipping that week.

The day before books are delivered to stores, I make a list to take with me into my local comics shop so I can check them off. This also helps me tally up roughly how much money each week will cost. There are those books that are my staples and some "maybe" books each week.

I go to the LCS and get my staples, then flip through those books that I am only thinking of buying in order to get a feel for the title. I then make a purchasing decision based on that. Later, when I get home I read through all of the new books quickly. Then, I go back and read them at a much slower pace.

How is your collection organized? Do you bag and board (that's geek-talk for placing comics in a protective case with a cardboard backing!)?

I bag and board, noting the issue title and number, the writer(s), penciler(s) and cover artist. Occasionally, I will additionally note if it is a character's 1st appearance and if the issue is a continuation from, or continued in, another title.

I have my collection separated into Marvel, DC, and Vertigo/Other, then alphabetized and listed in chronological order by title, then numerically from lowest to highest. There are some exceptions.

For example, The Last Defenders is filed under "Defenders" instead of "L" and the Green Lantern event The Sinestro Corps War is filed together in order of its parts, instead of being filed separately under Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps.

What is your PRIZED comic book/comic book related possession?

I prize all of my books equally. But I did have a special place for the Tales Of Suspense #98 and #99 I had. It was Cap's first meeting with T'challa, the Black Panther.

What is your "white whale"? That is, what is the ONE item you have chased and chased, but for whatever reason, can never seem to catch and purchase?

For the longest time, I wanted a copy of Iron Man/Sub-Mariner #1, which was one of the first one-shots and the launch of the two characters into their own titles.

What makes a quality comics shop?

Location, organization, and friendly and helpful staff/owners.

And, finally, why do you love comics?

The simple answer is the way the art and storytelling combine to make the characters come to life.

Well, folks, that's about all she wrote for today. Thanks to Gary for taking the time to sit down and allow us to annoy him with our questions. We'll have more of these interviews running from time to time, so check back often!

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