Reader Spotlight: Sarah P

Today’s spotlight is on Sarah, a good friend to GRCT!

Tell us about yourself!
I’m a 23-year-old Canadian and recent university graduate, currently combatting the evil forces of unemployment with that most incredible of superpowers: the ability to send out hundreds of résumés.

How did you get into comics? I actively loathed comics as a kid. Now, this had nothing to do with content or story or characters. Nope, it had everything to do with the fact that the only comics I’d seen were those Archie digests in the grocery store, which were all released on newsprint. Something about the smell of that particular mix of ink and paper made me honest-to-God sick, so I tended to steer clear of the funny pages.

(Then I delivered newspapers for two years, and while I never quite got over the nausea, I guess there were some fringe benefits to exposure therapy. But I’m getting ahead of myself.)

Fast-forward to high school. At this point in time, I’m in full-swing love with my man, Joss Whedon. If his name was on it, I’d consumed and memorized it, right down to ‘My Lullaby’ from The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride. (Which is an awesome song, bee tee dubs.) I was a dedicated lil fangirl, to say the least. So when I heard that the Boss was doing an arc for Marvel comics on this book called Astonishing X-Men, well, I was intrigued. Sure, it was probably gonna be printed on that smelly paper, but I could suffer through it in the name of Joss. Besides, it’s not like I didn’t already love superheroes. I grew up on all those fantastic 90s Marvel cartoons and I’d seen all the movies. Hell, to this day, I have a very clear memory of rushing into the living room when Entertainment Tonight had its first sneak peek of Spider-Man, and I remember being blown away by the effects, the costume, the everything. Not that I was strictly a Marvel girl, granted — the 1960s Batman had long been a love of mine and the DCAU was a thing of beauty — but I definitely favoured the House of Ideas even back then.

By the time I got around to buying AXM, the first arc, ‘Gifted’, was already out in trade (and, like most other Marvel titles, printed on the nice glossy magazine paper). Guided by my Comic Book Mentor, a fellow gal pal and long-time comic obsessee, I navigated the crowded shelves of Comic King in West Edmonton Mall while we were on a school trip, and picked up the first of what was to be many comics. Side-by-side, we read our bounty on the corner of Bourbon Street. If memory serves correctly, I finished the entire trade before she was even through a single issue; I’d learn to pay equal attention to the art later.

I didn’t buy my next comic for months, but when I finally went again, this time back in my hometown, it was also with my Comic Book Mentor. We had a third block spare, and every Thursday we made it our ritual to walk to the LCS and back after lunch to see what was in stock. While I’d initially come for Whedon, I stayed for Brian K. Vaughan and Peter David and countless, countless others. I even ended up working at the downtown branch of that LCS for a summer, and when I went off to university in the fall, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my school had a LCS right on campus. It was a tiny little thing, no more than twenty feet by ten, but it had five times the selection of anything I’d seen up to that point. It was geek heaven.

My bank account’s suffered ever since.

Do you just read comics, or do you express your love in other ways?
My collection of graphic tees has increased exponentially over the years thanks to my comic obsession, but for the most part, I do just keep it to reading. If I ever end up with another desk job, though, I’ll probably shell out for a cool looking bust to put on my desk. Liven the place up a little, yanno?

What are some comics you’re currently reading and enjoying?
Oh, jeez. I probably keep up with upwards of thirty current titles, but I’ll try to keep this short. Mark Waid’s Daredevil, without a doubt; I’ll foist this book on anyone. Ed Brubaker’s Winter Soldier is hands-down the best superhero comic he’s writing at the moment, though it’s definitely more on the espionage side of tights-and-flights. Peter David’s X-Factor remains a perennial favourite of mine, and the book’s been graced with some beautiful art as of late. Fraction’s The Defenders is a quirky little book that really hit its stride with the Strange-focused story a couple issues back. Oh, and the recently wrapped X-Club mini was the most fun I’ve had with a comic since Slott’s Spider-Man/Human Torch a few years back.

Who is your favorite character?
A four-way tie’s probably cheating, but in the immortal words of Loki, “I do what I want.” It’s a toss-up between Peter Parker, Jamie Madrox, Bucky Barnes, and Matt Murdock. I could write ballads for each and every one of them, but I’ve gone on long enough in other sections that I’ll end this one here.

Who are your favorite artist(s) & writer(s)?
I swear I tried narrowing this down, but in no particular order: John Romita Sr., Ross Andru, Frank Miller, John Cassaday, Adrian Alphona, Pia Guerra, Ryan Sook, Kathryn Immonen, Stuart Immonen, Daniel Acuña, Dustin Nugyen, Steve Epting, Alex Maleev, Skottie Young, Jim Cheung, Chris Samnee, John Byrne, Stan Lee, Gerry Conway, Brian K. Vaughan, Peter David, Ed Brubaker, David Mack, Joss Whedon, Mark Waid, Brian Michael Bendis (caveat: when he’s writing a solo book), Jonathan Hickman, Roger Stern, J.M. DeMatteis, J. Michael Straczynski, Dan Slott.

Do you have a favorite comic storyline?
Roulette. Kraven’s Last Hunt. The Dark Knight Returns. The Death of Jean DeWolff. X-aminations. Multiple Issues. Gifted. Y: The Last Man #60. The entire run of Secret Warriors. The first 18 issues of Runaways. The first 15 issues of Brubaker’s Captain America. The first 12 issues of Alpha Flight. Born Again. Sensational She-Hulk Marvel Graphic Novel #18.

How do you usually buy your comics?
With the continuing trend of decompression, I generally find it less frustrating on the whole to buy (and read) in trades, but there are titles I still buy in singles, Still, there’s nothing quite like going to a LCS on a Wednesday afternoon to see what books have cropped up on any given week, and I definitely miss that experience since I’ve moved. My old LCS had a life-size Hulk statue that loomed over the entire store; it was pretty awesome.

What are some things you love about comics?
Some things that frustrate you? Well, decompression, as I mentioned earlier. That said, I tend to favour the corners of the MU where the editors are really on top of their game — like Stephen Wacker, who is amazing. Above all else, the biggest thing I love about comics – Marvel, in particular – is the whole concept of a shared universe, and under a keen-eyed editor, you get all these great connections that you just wouldn’t otherwise. The recent Omega Effect crossover between Avenging Spider-Man, The Punisher, and Daredevil is a great example of how organically an event can come together.

What does your dream book look like?
Another Byrne-penned She-Hulk (only Jennifer Walters need apply) ongoing, please and thank you. Conversely, an X-Club ongoing. But if we’re talking a real dream book, here, in the sense that it’d probably never, ever happen, I’d totally love if there were a Daredevil/Spidey/Winter Soldier crossover drawn by Alex Maleev and co-written by Ed Brubaker and Mark Waid. Throw in a dash of Nick Fury and Black Widow, and I’d be the happiest of clams.

Any final thoughts?
While I enjoy books and characters from other companies, at the end of the day, I’ve really only got one thing to say: Make Mine Marvel. I’d kill to work as part of the team of people who gets to bring these incredible stories to the masses, but barring that, I’ll continue to show my support for them through other means… Including dragging as many people as I can to more showings of The Avengers. Excelsior!

About Chantaal

A Philosophy major who wants to be Rashida Jones when I grow up.
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