The Time I Destroyed My Brother’s Comic Collection and Started a Comic Con…

I was in grade 6 when I started breaking into my older brothers comics. He had moved out and left behind a stack of boxes filled with bagged, boarded and sealed copies of X-Men, New Mutants, Teen Titans and others. We lived in a 2 bedroom, ground floor house and I had assumed my brother’s old room. In that room (without doors), behind a makeshift curtain, was a closet which, with its contents, started a path for me. I knew I wasn’t supposed to open the bags and that handling the comics somehow made them less valuable, but late night boredom overcame my better judgement and I started flipping through the pages.

Until that point, my relationship with these types of characters had come from cartoons. It was a complete mind scramble to start reading the 1987 runs of X-Men or the Judas Contract story arc of the Teen Titans. My brother had amassed such a great collection of consecutive issues and I spent countless hours breaching those acid free poly-bags and tearing into those storylines that seemed often beyond my age.

It was during those late nights, among those boxes, I made my way through every single comic in that closet (even the Heavy Metal magazines which seemed absolutely forbidden!). The unfortunate thing for my brother was that I was a careless tween and I didn’t handle any of the books with care. They were not rebagged or resealed. Most of the comics my brother had collected were destroyed by my reckless zest after reading, rereading and not returning them to their protective covers. I am not sure if I blocked it out or not, but I cannot remember the exact moment when he returned to pick up his boxes and found his comics scattered and folded, tattered and torn, splashed with Jolt cola and dusted with Cheetoed fingers. It could be a traumatic moment that we both blocked out.  You collectors out there are no doubt wincing about the Jolt and Cheetos…

Though a tragic story from the view of  brother’s comic collection, my ravaging through those stacks played a significant role in the person I am today – a point which I hope comforts my brother….

That collection would be worth many, many dollars today, but it is impossible to place a dollar value on the influence those stories had on the man that I have become. The art, the dialogue, those stories – they taught me. They taught me to push on, to be strong and to fight against all odds. I read epic battles of sacrifice where heroes did not always win but they kept fighting. Somewhere in those pages, from that collection, in that closet, in that doorless two bedroom house with no basement, I learned to believe that anything is possible. I learned to believe that anything can happen as long as you fight for it.

Years later, when I had the idea to create Northern FanCon, you better believe that there was a lot of people that did not think it would happen.  So many things needed to come together to make it work. It was an insane amount of blood, sweat and tears from the people behind it. It was the community, businesses and sponsors who supported us.  All these things and more contributed to this amazing thing that has been created. Like everything, it started with a spark that was lit long ago at 10:31pm on a school night on pages from the 1987 issues of Marvel and DC titles  of my brother’s soon to be Poor condition comic collection read by flashlight. That spark lit those comics up like a roman candle and there is still a fire that burns inside me today that will never be extinguished. I feel that fire burn inside every single day when I choose to believe that anything is possible. It is a fire that has served me well in my pursuits and it excites to think that there are so many others out there that grew up reading comics lighting those same fires.  Sorry about the comics, Ryk but thanks for the spark.

-Norm

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