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What Was Your Gateway Comic?

I saw a similar thread over at The Comics Journal's board o fun and I thought it would make for an interesting conversation topic.

 What was the comic(s) (print or web) that REALLY got you hooked on the medium? I don't mean something you thumbed through as a kid, but made you go "Gaw damm! They got me for life! I may even start doing this stuff myself"

 It was X-Men #205 for me. Barry Windsor Smith did the art and the story was a self-contained tale of soon-to-be-over-played-mutant Wolverine fighting off a team of cyborg baddies in a construction yard.


 Then the addiction was cemented not too long afterwards by a classmate loaning me an Ambush Bug comic that had a story I can barely remember about a Dr. Doom-looking argyle sock. I think it's name was actually Argh-Ayle or something like that. (I recall hearing Scott Kurtz is a big Ambush Bug fan. Maybe he can give more details if he's reading this.) The clasmate then showed me the local comic shop and any hope for a normal life was over.

Anyway, what about the rest of you?

Probably the Sonic the

Renee Katz's picture

Probably the Sonic the Hedgehog comic. I loved that thing, way back before Sonic's eyes were green and there was such things as chaos.

The Nineteenth-Century Industrialist / RSS / Blog

Comics forever

Danny Way's picture

I always liked comics. Like some of you I was first introduced to the world through Tintin, Calvin and Hobbes, and Pogo. I really became fanatical about reading them when I discovered Spider-man and all the different Manga out there. What really made me want to start a web comic though was Ctrl+Alt+Del, Questionable Content, and most of all Hawk and Ananth's Applegeeks. I actually emailed Ananth about how to start a web comic and hopefully find a partner who could draw. He replied with a few pointers but mostly said to go for it.


Tintin, what else?

I was "reading" Tintin comics in French before I could read anything in any language. Republican Chinese history, politics, comic-drawing - it all comes from Tintin.

Isaac Glovinsky

Actrually, I began by writing

sxilverdragonclaws's picture

I always thought that I'd go into writing before I sarted drawing. I wrote down the stories before I began drawing them, and I didn't really get into reading webcomics until about 3 years ago. One day, I was like "hey, I can do this too! let's give it a try." So I took the stories that I wrote down and began illustrating them, and that's how it all began!

I read a lot of comics and manga beofre I started, though. Calvin and Hobbes (now that someone mentioned it) was one of my personal favorites, but my inspiration really stems from the "Bleach" series, as well as "Full Metal Alchemist" (the manga versions, not the anime series). Their artwork was so impressive in B&W, and it blew me away!
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My first webcomic

CameronCN's picture

I've pretty much read comics at one time or another since even before I could read. But I didn't know webcomics existed until last year. What brought me in, oddly enough, was Irregular Webcomic, because it is made with Legos. I used to be into Legos and my little brother is really into Legos, and he ran into a mention of IWC on a Lego site. I was reading over his shoulder and was all "hey, a comic strip with Legos!" And the rest is history.

Sandman for me, it was

Dark Red's picture

Sandman for me, it was amazing stuff.

Its sad but...

Erg's picture

When I was a kid I loved the X-men cartoons. So I started reading the comic. Right at the start of the age of Apocalypse "epic". I look back on it with a kind of dread fascination, but that is what got me involved in comics. And the art holds up pretty good, even if the writing was somewhat less than brilliant.

Comic and Webcomic

My first comic book: Amazing Spider-Man, just before the Clone Saga. Mark Bagley is still one of my favorite Spider-Man artists. For a while I had almost given up hope on Spider-Man...then JMS started writing him. Perfection was born.

My first major webcomic: I can't actually remember which one I read first. Sluggy, MegaTokyo, and Tsunami Channel are up there. Once I started on them, I literally blazed through archives of a couple dozen more. Some I've stucked with over the years, some I've dropped, and some I became the writer for (Strange Candy). Heh.


warmfuzzyinc's picture
My gateway comic: Sergio Aragones' stuff, MAD Magazine, Superman, Archie, Richie Rich

My gradeschool comics: X-Men, Fantastic 4, Heavy Metal, Akira, Nausicaa, Spiderman

My highschool comics: Sandman, Swamp Thing...well, mostly Vertigo stuff...Watchmen, Spawn, Wild Cats & Wetworks (unfortunately--haha!), Sin City, Battle Angel Alita

My college comics: Los Bros Hernandez, Strangers in Paradise, whatever indie stuff from D&Q and Fantagraphics I guess

Now: Rediscovering MAD Magazine, flipping through my old torn Sergio Aragones books, indie and obscure stuff that nobody probably knows about, Akira, Vertigo stuff...I also like those weird little comic strips that you find in alternative weeklies.

My first-ever comic was a

Joey Manley's picture

My first-ever comic was a Richie Rich adventure comic which my mom picked up for me on an Interstate roadtrip. It came in a plastic baggie with the cover torn off, which I now know means that the distributor was ripping off the publisher by returning the cover and saying the comic was unsold. I don't remember much about it, except one scene where Richie Rich was up on a cliff and fire was all around him. I was maybe six and couldn't actually read yet.

My first "mainstream" comic was the issue of Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes where Invisible Kid died in the 70's. This also happened to be the first issue drawn by Mike Grell.

The comic that make me think I could/should make comics was Elfquest # 4, just because that was the first time I was exposed to the idea of self-publishing -- it was my first exposure to anything indie, come to think of it. The idea of self-publishing made it all come together for me -- more than any other aspect of making comics, that was what excited me most at the time. I published a bunch of print zines for a while after that, before dropping out of comics completely for about twenty years.

lack of paranormal romance comics

AmericanGothic's picture

I read comics a lot as a kid, then gave it up for a long time. My man has been reading COTC and Rogues for years now and got me hooked on them...then when I started looking for paranormal romance genre comics...there were here I am, trying to fill a void.

American Gothic Daily

my gateway comic...

bobweiner's picture

My first-ever gateway comic I can't specifically remember.

What I do remember is my parents buying me those 3-pack Gold Key comics (my favorites were Beep! Beep! The
RoadRunner - because I was a HUGE Roadrunner/Coyote nut back then). That led to other Gold Key books.
Though I was introduced to super-hero comics when I was in 3rd grade, I found 'em too confusing (I had an issue of Superboy). I steered away from super-heros after that. My gateway Marvel comic was GI Joe #49 - which featured the rise of Serpentor. I still remember the TV commercial advertising that comic.
We used to have a comic shop right next to our public library. I'd tell my folks to drop me off at the library, then would sneak off to the comic shop. :) I finally got into super-hero comics with Silver Surfer #1 and The Punisher #1 back in 1987.
As far as gateway webcomic - I don't really remember. Back when I started I wasn't aware of any other webcomics. I worked in a vacuum for a few years before discovering other comics like PvP and Penny Arcade.

Krishna M. Sadasivam Cartoonist, "The PC Weenies"

not strictly a comic but,

Unityflow's picture

I inherited a load of 'Heavy Metal' magazines. Dog-eared and creased, as a young teenager things didn't get much better...



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Blade of the Immortal

tongari's picture

Art and story beyond compare. Sometimes I feel I'm reading a piece of art. One fight between Manji and Makie is preceded by a page of utter silence - a leaf falling, carp in the pool, wind in the trees - before the violence begins. It really illustrated for me how to tell a story without so many words, relying more on timing and tact and grace.


I was also struck by how many shades of grey the story has - you have your run of totally psycho serial killers, but even what the protagonists are doing isn't totally morally correct, and you end up rooting for some of the villains along the way.

Sluggy Freelance, hands

Sluggy Freelance, hands down. I grew up with Asterix and Obelix, Calvin and Hobbes, as well as Tintin. But I never got into a lot of American comic books...I mean, where on earth do you pick up when any one character has stories written by a zillion different people in different continums without any real begining. Not to mention the number of crossovers that you won't get unless you know both ends of it. Ah well, that's a common complaint. Nevertheless, I was never truly aware of the potential of comics and that I could do them until I started to read Sluggy Freelance. Several years later, I came a cross a Keenspace site and said, "Wait, what? A hosting service for webcomics? FOR FREE?" And I was sold.


Metrophor, a webcomic of dystopian fantasy-



Metrophor, a webcomic of dystopian fantasy-


jdalton's picture

One of the first comics I ever bought was Excalibur #42. That run by Alan Davis, from like #42 to #50, hooked me permanently, even more than the new X-men series by Jim Lee that started about the same time. As for webcomics, I was dead set against them for a long time. I had bought into the propaganda that "the internet is killing real comics!" ...until I read Scott McCloud's Reinventing Comics, followed the links on his website, and pretty quickly changed my mind. Now I'm ON his links page. :-)

Jonathon Dalton
A Mad Tea-Party

Jonathon Dalton
A Mad Tea-Party

I was reading the comics

Gordon McAlpin's picture

I was reading the comics page and Sunday comics as long as I can remember. I really loved Peanuts, and would read the collections of it at school, whenever we had a "library day" in some class or another.

I'd also read a few random comic books here and there, but I started reading comic books regularly with Crisis on Infinite Earths #1, which I picked up because the DC Heroes role playing game referenced it so much. (I got into superheroes by way of the Superfriends and Super Powers series, and I'd played D&D at the time, so I got the game. That's probably kind of backwards, isn't it?)

Anyway, after George Perez's art hooked me, I followed the Blue Beetle into his own series, the Legends mini-series, which lead into Justice League and Wonder Woman, it just ballooned from there.

I remember drawing comics of my own before I actually read comic books. I missed Star Wars in the theater (being 3 at the time) and from the time I first became aware of it 'til it was rereleased before Empire, I would draw my own little imaginings of what the story would be like, or my own science fiction story ripped off from what I imagined Star Wars to be (which was nothing like the real thing, except for the laser swords).

Multiplex is a twice weekly humor comic about the staff of the Multiplex 10 Cinemas and the movies that play there.

It's Calvin and Hobbes for

almamater's picture

It's Calvin and Hobbes for me, too. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has read the strips so many times that they're all memorized.




Halley's picture

For Webcomics it was Penny Arcade handsdown, a friends showed it to me many years ago and I've been hooked ever since, soon broadening my horizons to other sites. For Print comics though it was Calvin and Hobbes, which it still one of my favorites, but I never read it any more became I know every strip. As for comic book comics though it was Amazing Spider Man 33 (I remember the issue number with out looking it up... i feel so nerdy) written by J. Michael Straczynski (who is still writing the title I believe) It was where Spider has to fight Morlun (a guy who's like a vampire for super heroes) and goes head to head with him for the first time even after Ezekiel warned him that-... not wait, I'm stopping now, I feel geeky enough as it is.

Halley's comic


Halley'c Comic

Gee, I can’t remember ever

Gee, I can’t remember ever not reading comics. I guess my first taste would have been newspaper comic strips – I remember Peanuts and B.C. being firm favourites, and borrowing the paperback collections of those from the school library. I was drawing my own imitation newspaper-style strips in primary school.

As for comic books, I know I read Tintin, Asterix and The Phantom very early on, but it wasn’t until I discovered the Disney duck stories of Carl Barks and Don Rosa that I started drawing my own sequential pages (again, blatant ripoffs), so I guess they must have been the biggest influence in making me realise I could do my own.

Webcomics are a different story again, and I know for a fact that it was Sluggy Freelance that was my gateway comic, back in my first year on University. I remember raving to anyone and everyone about it – not just the comic itself, but the very concept of webcomics. As for doing my own, well, in that case it took me six years to get around to.

I quit my job to draw comics. Basic Wage Kids is the result:

I quit my job to draw comics. Basic Wage Kids is the result:

Calvin & Hobbes, dude.

Calvin & Hobbes, dude.

Twist:Ending. Ten kinds of sexual danger.

Web of Spiderman #64 was the

Web of Spiderman #64 was the first comic I picked up that got me hooked as a kid.

But the comic I purchased right before this that got me back into the comic shop to begin with was a manga comic by Masaomi Kanzaki called "Xenon".

I picked up the last issue of the series not knowing what it was, but digging the cover art. Of course I didn't understand anything that was going on in it, but I was hooked on the comic medium.

Went back to the shop the next day and picked up that Web of Spiderman.

House of October
Come check out my comics
(40 page preview of "Broken Chain is" up!)

House of October

Come check out my comics
(40 page preview of "Broken Chain is" up!)

My gateway to print comics

Wiz Rollins's picture

My gateway to print comics happened when I was eleven years old and I walked into a local bodega and peeped HULK #341.

HULK 341

As for webcomics, that happened much later. I was sort of already making them before I found one that really hooked me... that one was Nightmare World ( Definitely faaaaaar removed from anything I'm currently doing. But I remember reading a couple of stories there for the first time and just... smiling.



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The one that got me hooked,

whitebreadmike's picture

The one that got me hooked, I'm almost ashamed to say, was Spawn #1. I had never really read comics, but liked Superheroes, and picked up a copy of Comic Scene Magazine because it had an article about Batman Returns in it. In that issue was an article about Spawn.

I ended up reading the article about Spawn and thinking the story sounded great. A few weeks later I was at a gas station and there it was on the news rack. Spawn #1. So I bought it, and I've been hooked on comics of any kind ever since.


White Bread Comics - 100% Genuine Hilarity, served up fresh at least 3 times a week

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For me it was Marvel's Tomb

Jamie Robertson's picture

For me it was Marvel's Tomb of Dracula and Werewolf by Night. Those were the comics I bought as a kid and partly gave me the inspiration for COTC. Who wold of thought. Wink

Clan of the Cats

Hard to say exactly …

I've read comics as long as I've kno'n how to read ... I do not recall at all what prompted me to moov beyond the popular stuff (which, BTW, here in Finland equals "Donald Duck", not "superheroes") ... that was more of a slow transistion thru stuff like Franquin, anthologies and local humor magazines (I wonder if any of the Pahkasika material has ever been translated?) But what, for the first time, really impressed me was Marc-Antoine Mathieu's J. C. Aqfaq series. Or, that's at least what's left one of the strongest imprints.

 Webcomic-wise, probably El Goonish Shive.

Tominne. I love Tominne. His

rtock's picture

Tominne. I love Tominne. His composition and his writing where totally breathtaking.Â



Uphill, both ways

scarfman's picture

My first print comics? Who remembers? That was when a monthly book was still ten cents, kids. I used to get Justice League when I as a kid because I figured it was all superheroes in one book. I didn't realize there were two major comics companies. But I do remember the Avengers back-up story when Cap had just been revived, and was left alone in the mansion and fought off a whole gang of mobsters (or is that mob of gangsters?) single-handed, and that was, what, 1964?

Paul Gadzikowski,

Arthur, King of Time and Space New cartoons daily

My first print comics were

Iain Hamp's picture

My first print comics were old Marvel Star Wars, G.I. Joe, and Transformers comics from the 80's. My first leap into superheroes was X-Factor #42, and I was collecting about 50-60 titles in the early 90's, making most of my spending money as a teenager by playing the insane speculator market that was happening back then. Made $600 in trade at my local comic shop by selling them a Star Trek "Q" action figure with the series number 000007 on its foot (which I had picked up at Walmart earlier that day for $3.94). Ahhh, those were the days. Nowadays people read comics for silly reasons like "entertainment".

Anyway, webcomic-wise my first comic was Goats. I read it back in August or September of 1999, back when you could search for "webcomic" in a search engine and find very, very few. I would have probably discovered webcomics sooner, but I didn't have a job with ample free time and high speed internet until them.

For webcomics, it was Real

Molapro Andrew's picture

For webcomics, it was Real Life. I didn't even think about the possibility other webcomics existing until months after that. I remember coming across Diesel Sweeties too, but not liking it. XD

I only found reallife because I had this great original idea in grade 8 (3 years ago) to make comics on the internet! It turns out it was already done. >_<

I had been reading a ton of

apfurtado's picture

I had been reading a ton of Marvel and DC comics like any good comic geek in the 70’s but the spandex just didn’t move me. Somewhere around 1975 or 76, I happened upon a magazine called Comix International #1 featuring a lot of Richard Corben’s work. It was one particular story called “The Hero Within” that spoke to me and made me realize there were others out there that shared my warped imagination. Soon after followed Heavy Metal Magazine and I’ve been chasing the dragon ever since. Of course Kirby and Perez had a hand in everything but, I think it was the underground folks and the Euro-masters that rocked my world.


AP Furtado


Shishio's picture

I can't remember how I got into comics, but it was either through a cartoon, or much more likely, a syndicated comic strip.

One-liners - Beware the killer dildos.
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Frank Millers "Dark Knight

Scott Story's picture

Frank Millers "Dark Knight Returns."Â

In terms of webcomic, the first one I started following was Dilbert.  For non-syndicated webcomics, I read Sinfest for a good while.Â


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Erik Melander's picture


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My gateway to webcomics is

My gateway to webcomics is the book, Megatokyo volume 2. Now, I owned Megatokyo volume 4. :)


As for comics itself, I believed it was a manga. Don't remember though.Â

when the nearest comic store is a 2 hr drive...

My access to print comics has always been sporadic at best seeing how I live in the middle of freaking nowhere. I had to make do with stuff like the Tintin collection at my mom's library. I got hooked on webcomics during 1st year uni when I had high speed internet for the first time in my life and stayed up all night reading the Sluggy Freelance archives.

When I first started reading

Surlyben's picture

When I first started reading webcomics, I stayed up all night reading the Sluggy Freelance archives too. Good times...

Ben Bittner

Ben Bittner

Why I Hate Saturn by Kyle

Surlyben's picture

Why I Hate Saturn by Kyle Baker is what did it for me. I had long since given up on the superhero comics, but that book made me realize that there was other stuff out there...

(Then again, maybe it was Sergio Aragones' Groo that made me see the light. All those fabulous drawings...)

Ben Bittner
Cooking With Anne
: Cooking in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Ben Bittner

Sadly, I can't answer in

Katie Sekelsky's picture

Sadly, I can't answer in terms of print comics, as I got into webcomics about 4 years ago, and am just now starting into print stuff...

But as for webcomics, I think the first I read regularly was Nothing Nice to Say. Around the same time I found Real Life. And between the two, the lead me into everything else.


Also becasue of a Kubert

Tim  Demeter's picture

Wolverine #79 was the end of me, but what really got me into comics was the 90's X-Men cartoon.Â

Tim Demeter
Reckless Life

Tim Demeter
does a bunch of neato stuff.
Bustout Odds

I suppose the comic that

Sean C's picture

I suppose the comic that really did it for me was the whole Phalanx Saga Marvel did back in the ninties. The story blew, but the Kubert bros art was fantastic. Their attention to detail really fired me up.

Don't hesitate to procrastinate. See my stuff at

Don't hesitate to procrastinate. My brand new comic:

Does Dragon magazine count?

RemusShepherd's picture

Wow, you're counting print comics? Â Hmmn. Â So long ago. Â I think...I think it would have to be Elfquest.

I don't remember how it got into our house, but my sister and I were collecting the Elfquest trade paperbacks before we were 13 years old. Â Grendel, Xmen, Omaha and the rest appeared soon after, but I think Elfquest was first. Â *Unless* you count 'What's New' in the back of Dragon Magazine, which made me a Foglio fan boy at a verrrry young age. Â :)

It's a lot easier to remember my first webcomic.  :)  The author of Freefall asked my writing group, the Devilbunnies, if he could borrow the devilbunny concept for a quick gag in his strip.  After we gave him permission, he sent our group a swag bag full of sample artwork, which was very cool of him.



I'd have to say my entry

Kris X's picture

I'd have to say my entry book into the comic world would have to be the work of Craig Thompson. I feel in love with his graphic novel Blankets and since then I have been searching for a book with equal results in feeling. Besides Thompson, Daniel Clowes has also breeched a new interest in my reading and work. However, overall I give it to Thompson.Â


An obvious answer perhaps

An obvious answer perhaps but a true one, nevertheless. Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns", followed some time later by Alan Moore's "Watchmen".

I'd given up reading comics long before I discovered those but, between them, they convinced me comics could be intelligent and thought-provoking as well as action-packed and, well ... fun! Literate, witty and mainstream. What more could you want?

Wholly responsible for convincing me not only that comics are worth reading but also that they just might be worth writing!

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

I read through my brother's

grantcthomas's picture

I read through my brother's collection which was pretty standard Batman Superman Spiderman stuff. We immitated some of these books on type-writer paper.

But it was a copy of Maus that I picked up at the 6th Grade school bookfare that made me realize the diversity things that could be said through comics.

Watchmen was a good one for me to read, too, because after that I became a bit of a snob about those superhero books.

Craig Thompson's Blankets was an amazing tour de force as well as Epileptic by David B. Anyone ever heard of that last one besides me?



Walt Simonson was my master.

Fabricari's picture

Walt Simonson was my master. X-Factor #12 is what got me. It's shameful to admit that McFarlane's Spiderman #1 was the turning point comic, though, that made say, "I'm gonna draw comics for ever and ever and always." Cerebus, Mothers and Daughters opened my eyes to indy comics.

<fanboy>I gotta say, Bill, BWS's X-men comics were probably some of the best moment in mainstream comic history</fanboy>

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison



Hard to be sure which one hooked me all the way, but I think it was CAPTAIN CARROT AND HIS AMAZING ZOO CREW #2, because that was one of the first comics I read that actually acknowledged its creators (Archie and Richie Rich didn't do that very often). It didn't hurt that the lead character was a comic-book writer-artist and one of the gags was "Somebody WRITES that stuff?"