It was 1988 when I bought my first comic. Green Lantern Special #1, $1.50 for 52 pages of all kinds of fun. That was before my co-host was born. I immediately became fascinated with the colorful characters and interesting concepts that were held withing the pages of these books. I had the truly great benefit of really supportive parents. My mom made me a deal that changed my life in a lot of ways and made me the man I am today, for better or for worse. The deal was simple: As long as I was willing to read she would always buy me reading material. It served to make me the avid (to one degree or another) reader that I have been at certain points in my life, and the aspiring author that I am today.
I sort of drifted and flitted from character to character, title to title, for the next several years and it wasn't until 1990 that I came upon a cast of characters that I knew I had to follow. The Guardians of the Galaxy was my first love in the world of comics. For several years I even subscribed to the title. It was the first and only book I ever subscribed to. I became an impassioned (or as impassioned as a ten year old can be) fan of Jim Valentino and while everyone else was falling heads over heels for Jim Lee, Rob Liefield, and Todd McFarlane (though I was certainly a fan of creators like Jim Lee, Erik Larsen, Ron Lim, the Kuberts, and others) I was was becoming fascinated with Valentino's mix of old school sensibilities and fresh takes on layouts, pacing, and style. I would even wind up following Valentino to Image comics even though I became disenchanted with ShadowHawk pretty quickly (being a much bigger fan of team books) I would find new creators to follow. As an eleven year old I was into Image comics in a big way. I read pretty much every title that they released. Until about the era of Prophet and the influx of the true second wave of Image creators.
I took a year or so off of comics until about 1996 when I was volunteering at the local library and I wandered into the comic store down the street (The Antiquarium, great store, check them out if you ever find yourself in the Jefferson City, MO area) and my eyes fell upon Kingdom Come #2. Shortly thereafter I began rekindling my interest in comics, a little at a time until I started to make friends with other comic geeks in High School and then I began again in full force. I read Nightwing, Robin, Starman, Heroes for Hire, and a few others here and there.
By the time I was headed off to college (2000) I was hungry to try new things and I started checking out the beginnings of the CrossGen line among other things, it was then that I started shopping at The Fantasy Shop in Saint Charles, MO. By 2002 I had gotten hired on at the brand new O'Fallon, MO location and have (off and on) worked here since. Now I manage the Fairview Heights/O'Fallon, IL store and my pull list has ballooned to somewhere in the vicinity of 80 titles a month. So now you know.