It’s officially July, which marks exactly a YEAR of the Comic Book Sanctum, so I’m celebrating the only way I know how – by posting a new blog post up every single day in July!
I’m so excited for this project, and I hope it’s going to prove useful to all of you – if you have any suggestions for what you want to see this month, or in the future, please do let me know!
For now though, before I get into it, I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who’s ever clicked on this site, let alone subscribed. It means so much to me, truly, thank you!
And now, let’s talk about what you all clicked on this for: my Marvel Comics story.
Everyone has a story when it comes to comics – when they started reading, what interested them in the first place, what was their first real comic love. So, I thought I’d share mine today – I haven’t always been the most knowledgeable comic nerd, I’ve made mistakes, read things without context, and generally made a lot of mistakes over the years!
A Marvelous Childhood
I’ve always been a fan of superheroes, and specifically, Marvel superheroes. I remember watching the first X-Men film when I was about 7 and absolutely loving it, and being, frankly, rather obsessed with them.
Throughout my childhood, I always dreamed of going to Xavier’s School, of waking up one day to find out that I was a mutant and being whisked away to be with Charles, Bobby, Logan and Rogue.
Yet, I didn’t start reading the comics – at the time, I barely knew that there were comics.
Even as I fell in love with the Fantastic Four (Chris Evans edition), I still didn’t try to read the comics. It wasn’t until I had been watching the Avengers Infinity Saga for about 6 years before I finally picked up a comic.
To be honest, I only did it because I found Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman on kindle at a discounted price. I was already a fan of Gaiman’s writing, and thought to myself ‘hey, what the hell, let’s see what all the fuss is about.’
My God, did I fall in love in that moment.
Going To 1602
Marvel 1602 swept me away into the world of Marvel Comics, it gave me so many of my favourite characters (Doctor Strange, Hulk, Spider-Man, the X-Men, Scarlet Witch, the Fantastic Four) in this brand new, strange world, facing a reality where everything was the same, yet changed.
Characters were hidden (some in plain sight, some very well hidden, at least to me!), some blatantly obvious, and it completely took me over as I read it. As soon as I finished, I ran upstairs to tell my family how much I loved it, just how clever it all was.
In a lot of ways, I was incredibly lucky to read 1602 first, because if I had read, say, Secret Wars first, it would have been a very, very different story. Marvel 1602 takes place in the year 1602, it doesn’t rely on any previous comic knowledge further than knowing who each character is, and doesn’t tie into any event. It’s a self contained, standalone story, and it’s such a good jumping off point because of it – it’s why I recommend it to everyone when they ask for places to start with Marvel Comics.
Mistakes Were Still Made
But, that didn’t stop me tripping up in a few places, while searching out more comics. I bought Doctor Strange: The Oath (not a bad choice, as it’s a modern retelling of Stephen Strange’s magical origins) in single issues, not a bind up (again, not a bad thing, but it did cost me more money, and proved to be very annoying for me, having to open each issue individually, which I find takes me out the story.)
I bought Deadpool volume 6: I Rule, You Suck, and tried to read it and got very confused, as it was volume 6, and therefore in the middle of a series.
I jumped into events, with no backstory and continued to be confused.
It took at least a year to learn how comics worked, about reading orders and events and multiple universes and retcons and everything else. I made many, many, many mistakes.
But, in it’s way, that made things more fun – I wasn’t just reading about my favourite characters in between films, I was learning basically a whole new system of storytelling. I was so used to books, which are far more straight-forward, but this was endlessly fascinating.
The Magic Of Comics
There were so many avenues to go down. If I didn’t like a character, I generally wouldn’t be forced to read about them in every single thing I read. If I loved a character, there was generally loads more comics about them to read (apart from Ironheart, Loki and A-Force, Marvel really need to get going on making more stuff about them!). I could read the origins of my favourite movie characters, could read about Doctor Strange, Iron Man and Charles Xavier having a chat with Black Panther, could read and then make theories on how this could affect the MCU going forward.
In short, I loved it, and in the four-ish years of loving Marvel Comics, my collection has grown so much, and so has my knowledge. I’ve gained so much more insight into my favourites, discovered new loves and have joined a great community of people who love comics as much as I do.
This love has helped create this website. It’s also seen me create a TikTok account (@CBookSanctum), incorporate comics into my Booktube Channel (The Book Sanctum) and my instagram (@CBookSanctum), and has just expanded my reading even further.
Comics, for me, had proven to be of the greatest comfort. Whenever I need a pick me up, I go and read something from my favourite authors, featuring some of my favourite characters. And, the thing is, there’s so many comics out there, I will never run out – there is always something new to pick up, something old to discover.
I absolutely love it, and I absolutely adore it. For me, comics are now a huge part of my life. What started as a little peak into the year 1602 has grown into something so much bigger.
I may not be able to physically go to the Xavier School, or grow mutant powers, or build an Iron Man suit (you know, unless a miracle happens and I become Gwenpool). But, I can follow those who do, and their never ending adventures in the world of Marvel Comics.
What’s your Marvel Comics story? How did you get into them? And, what was your biggest blunder when you first started out? Let me know down below, as well as any topics you want me to cover in July!
And, once again, thank you so much for clicking on this site, it means more than I can say.