I still remember reading comics when I was around 12, but I’m pretty certain that I started to read them even way earlier. It’s been a weird situation in Germany; back in the days, a publisher called Condor published most of the Marvel comics (before Condor, Williams took care of that, but that was even before my time). The advantage of Condor was that they distributed the comics to almost every smaller store, including the local corner store in my hometown. Therefore, it felt like a world breaking apart when Condor stopped distributing Marvel comics as I couldn’t get my hands on them anymore.
Around two years later, I stumbled into a press shop and was totally caught by surprise when I spotted a Spider-Man comic there. I found out that Panini took over the role of the distributor in Germany and they did a very good job indeed. This happened when I was something like 16 years old. From then on, I never had to suffer from a lack of comics again and it’s still one of my favorite hobbies!
Here’s a brief overview of the series I’m collecting (and reading):
Spider-Man has been the first comic superhero I got introduced to and I’ve stayed a fan until today. The worst period for me has definitely been the infamous Howard Mackie run – I’ve never been so close to dropping a series as I was back then. Thanks to the following J. Michael Straczynski run, I’ve stayed on the series and I’m glad I did.
Unfortunately, X-Men has always been the series that I was closest to dropping. This is mainly because of the way they’re being published in Germany. One German issue is a collection of (usually) 4 American issues. Therefore, most of the stories have nothing to do with each other. Even worse is the fact that sometimes you’re really interested in one storyline, but not at all in the other 2 or 3. You are then left with a bitter feeling about the comic you just read although there’s lots of potential for one of the featured stories. I continue to consider switching over to the American originals for that reason.
There can’t be a single other comic out there that is taking as huge leaps as Wolverine in terms of quality. Some storylines are extremely entertaining and others bore the hell out of you. In very few cases, storylines also start out very bad, but continue to pick up momentum and turn into a real reading pleasure. So I guess the good thing about Wolverine is that you never know what you’ll get.
I haven’t been a huge fans of the Avengers, but ever since Spider-Man joined their ranks, they got me on the hook. Unfortunately, you often fall in love with the other characters; something you don’t particularly want as it means you might end up with another series and it’s not like they come cheap.
I’m also collecting the Ultimate Series (that now came to an end) from Marvel, I got all of the Sandman Graphic Novels by Neil Gaiman and I collected everything CrossGen comics ever published in Germany. If there’s a cool Trade Paperback coming out, there’s also a good chance I’ll get my hands on it.