So I know I'm almost a month late in posting this (a recurring theme for me) but here it is.
My oldest brother (usually referred to as my brother the cop) recently celebrated his birthday. His wife was throwing a huge party for him. I unfortunately was unable to attend. But seeing as how my brother has been such an important part of my life, I wanted to get him something special.
The pressure was definitely on. I went to the store and looked around and nothing seemed right. I went online and looked around, again, nothing seemed right. I then looked up from my desk at work and got the answer. On a shelf in my office sits "Years Best Comic Stories—1981". I instantaneously knew what the gift would be.
Now, this will take a little explaining (and i'm sure i still won't do it justice) but this is why this book is so special. My brother was a lot older than I was, so growing up I had a built in idol. I always wanted to be just like him. I wanted to like the same sports teams he did, I wanted to act like him, but most of all I wanted to love comics the way he did. Comic books seemed to be this great release for him, a way for him to escape the stress of the real world and live through the adventures of Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent and Steve Rogers. I always admired that. The best part was, whenever he went to the comic store, he always brought something back for me.
Until I showed that I could take care of real comic books, he would buy me small collected edition digest sized books. The very first of which was "Years Best Comic Stories—1981". I'm not overstating the facts when I say that this small book changed my life. It unlocked in me a passion for the arts and the medium of comic books as a whole. Its a passion that still burns in me to this very day. I've had an art job for the past 13 years, and I have no qualms in attributing that to him. He was always so passionate about his weekly stash of comics. Which in turn meant that I was as well. I loved Wednesdays (still do) because it meant new books.
Getting back to "Years Best Comic Stories—1981". The very first story is a reprint of Detective Comics #500. The title of the story is "To Kill A Legend". Now my brother might be the biggest Batman fan I know. He loves Batman and everything he embodies (so much so that he's a crimefighter himself as one of New York's Finest). I decided that I would recreate the splash page of that story for him as a gift. Not only would it be special for him, but it would be very meaningful to me. As i wrote his birthday card, I found myself getting very emotional. Both at the thought of not being there, and of the thought about how much my brother means to me. He's always been there for me. He's been a brother, a father figure, a coach, a confidant, but most of all my best friend.
I'm sure he has no idea what a profound effect this small piece of art had on me. I've kept this comic in my office for the past 10 years. It serves as a good luck charm, and a reminder of how my love affair with comics and art began.
Happy Birthday brother, I love you.
Labels: Art, family