As I’m getting packed up and ready to head south to go to SDCC I thought I’d take the time to introduce myself and what I hope to accomplish with this ongoing column. I first got into comics when I was in high school in the early ‘90s. I had a few buddies who were more of the collector type at the time, and that didn’t interest me so much. Comics and comic talk were all around me, but it was still a year before I started picking them up for myself. When I started off, I was mostly picking up some Marvel and DC stuff just to see what clicked with me, this being the early ‘90s also meant that I eventually picked up some Image and Valiant comics as well. Not a lot of that did anything for me either, except for the books coming out of the then named Homage studio from Image.
When I look back, I’m pretty sure that “WildC.A.T.s Special #1” was my first official Wildstorm comic, something worked for me in that book. The art and coloring were nothing like what I was seeing in “The Infinity Crusade” or the “Death of Superman” stories that I was also reading. Sure, the writing wasn’t as good, but there was a certain appeal that stuck with me. I’m sure initial appeal was that these characters were as new to comics as I was. The secondary appeal of the Wildstorm comics over other Image books was that I didn’t actively dislike any of the characters. I could never get into “Spawn,” “Youngblood” or “Pitt” despite how much I tried as a kid (looking back I think I would’ve enjoyed “Savage Dragon” had I given it a shot.) I voraciously consumed the Wildstorm books for several years before getting into more independent comics, quitting comics, getting back into comics, getting a job at a comic shop, leaving said job and quitting comics again, getting back into comics again, moving across the country, quitting comics once more, then getting married to a woman who had a small interest in comics and has slowly dragged me back into the habit.
The Wildstorm universe has always had a big place in my heart and mind when I think about comic books and I really wanted to revisit that, as well as find out what happened during all those vacations away from comics that I took. So, armed with my well-traveled long box, a bunch of trades, Comixology, a dozen trips to various comic shops around the Los Angeles area and the Valley (and I’ll admit, a few unsavory websites) I’ve just about gathered all the titles that took place in the Wildstorm U. My first goal was the read them in the order of release. While reading I thought it would be interesting to arrange them in order of continuity. I got really excited about this idea because the writers at Wildstorm (mostly Brandon Choi) seemed to make sure that these books were all very closely related to each other. For the first several years of Wildstorm there was a very solid backbone running through the books that I didn’t notice as a kid that I’m seeing and appreciating now!
I started talking about how excited I was to “put Widlstorm in order” and Tim at Comic Nerds Unite suggested that I write about it. Now I love doing things purely for fun (like reading comics), but more so I love doing things for fun and then doing something with the information that I’ve taken in (like putting said stories in continuity order then telling people about it). Writing about revisiting my youth and re-reading the comics that made me love comics was too good of an offer to pass up. I knew I needed to be prepared so I went ahead and re-read them. I read them all. I’ve put them in order of events (for the most part) and now I’m reading them again and commenting on them, seeing how well they hold up, teasing out all the in-universe connections and reflecting on an 18 year shared universe that took a lot of odd turns before folding.
I’ll tackle the history of the Wildstorm universe several issues at a time, usually by story arc or mini-series, not so often by oversized one-shot or cross-overs. It may be harder to keep up at some times than at other, but I hope you’ll find it interesting, none the less.