Once in a blue moon, I run a feature here on the site spotlighting letters penned by comics industry professionals back when they were fans. Generally, I do this when I happen upon such a piece in an old comics letter column in a back issue I’m reading. However, lots of people have been logging such letters in the digital age, and it’s much easier to find these messages from people of creative of influence in the medium.
So, the other day I was Googling my own name (as just about all of us are wont to do from time to time), and I happened upon something from my past of which I had no memory. Thanks to the Grand Comics Database, I discovered that I had a letter printed in a Superman comic published in late 1988 (though I’m not suggesting I’m of any influence in the industry).
It was printed in Adventures of Superman #449 (but it referred to the content of #445) and addressed writer Jerry Ordway directly. I have no memory of writing that letter, even after reading it now. I do recall embarking on a letter-writing campaign to become a frequent contributor to lettercols in various comics around that time, trying to emulate T.M. Maple and other names I saw repeatedly on those letter pages. Here’s the letter (with my old address redacted):
As I prepared to read the rediscovered letter, I braced myself to wince, flinch and otherwise recoil from the writing of my 17-year-old self. To my surprise, I found it wasn’t a half-bad peace. Though not strictly a review, I recognized the seeds of a writing style I still employ today. The notion of reviewing comics hadn’t an entered my teenage mind back then, but I can see how I came into it later on.
Ultimately, my takeaway from this stroll down memory lane (even though I still don’t remember it) is that decades later, as a professional writer, father and middle-aged man, I see that I still love comics as much as I did back then. It’s a part of who I am, and I’m lucky that in the 21st century, that love of comics isn’t is stigmatized as it was 30 years ago.