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The first issue I read of Alpha Flight was the first comic book I read after taking a three year hiatus from light comic book collecting. I had less than twenty comics at the time, simply a casual reader that knew bare-boned facts about Batman from the animated TV series rather than the comics and did not faithfully walk into a comic store every Wednesday in need of my weekly comic book fix. Before this one issue of Alpha Flight I was more interested in other things. This one comic took my life in a completely new direction and became my favorite series – if not for the nostalgia then for the array of colorful characters and story that I feel are lacking in most comics today.
I do not even remember where I got the issue from, but I remember reading Alpha Flight #15 with non-existent expectations. By the end, I had already grown attached to the few characters portrayed in that one particular issue. Looking back, whenever I read over that issue of Alpha Flight I look at it a little more objectively; it was a great issue, but still had its share of flaws. But the entire series embodied qualities I enjoyed: teamwork, friendship and the horrendous pain of losing this as more and more members of Alpha Flight were killed off in the coming years. All these qualities made this series amazing to me and encouraged me to try and find more.
I was about to embark on a quest to find more issues of Alpha Flight when I heard about a comic book convention nearby. I had never been to a convention, never considered myself a serious collector, but I needed to find more Alpha Flight to whet my appetite – even if it meant buying all 130 issues. After that day I bought 80 comic books – few Alpha Flight. I discovered so many new series I had never even heard of that immediately intrigued me, and I had met many friendly people. I expected the comic book vendors to be like the many storeowners I had met in my lifetime – hurriedly rushing to get you out of their store (with something, of course, to line their pockets with) and ignoring you as a person completely. Only my wallet was a concern. But when I met these comic vendors, their stark personalities were enjoyable and I found myself enjoying the company as much as the numerous colored panels in my little comic book world that had started to form.
So many things caught my eye in that issue of Alpha Flight – the characters reminded me of myself. Marrina was a nice girl that cared about the other people around her, but was also very shy sometimes. She reminded me a lot of what I try to be like and her character is still one of my favorite characters of all time. Then there was Puck, the sarcastic and stubborn man that reminded me of a garden gnome. I always like to think that while I was shy I would still speak up and be stubborn when outraged (though I don’t get outraged as often as Puck). These two characters were the first I saw in this issue and they made the comic all by themselves.
I wonder how different I would be today if I had not picked up that issue of Alpha Flight, unaware it would trigger my obsession with the comic realm full force. All I know is for the last year I have had so many fun experiences: meeting new vendors, reading new comics and joining this community. As a high school student I still do not know what I want to do with my life. But I know comics will always be an important part of my life that I can now enjoy beyond reading, by reviewing them. And even though I’m often hard on comics that I find disappointing or terrible and critique the writers or artists, I also thank all of them for making the comic and adding another experience into my life (no matter how terrible that experience was). Comics are my life, as corny as that sounds, and without Alpha Flight I don’t know where I would be, but it couldn’t be as good as where I am now.