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Back in '86


Just about every person I know who reads comics mentions Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" as "the book that changed comics" or "the comic that changed my life", etc. I concur.

Back in the late 80's and early 90's, my family and I would make our weekly visit to the mall on Saturdays. With my trusty Casio calculator watch and cash in pocket I would set off to the tiny kiosk about fifty yards from the food court - Cardco. The kiosk's dimensions were probably no greater than 15" x 10", but that place seemed huge to me as a boy. There were more comics in there than I could count, and this neo-punk, dressed in shredded acid-washed jeans and combat boots (Wayne Harris) was my role model. Still is, lol!

I distinctly remember seeing TDKR in trade paperback, and costing way more than I could afford - a whopping $12.95. Something drew me into it, maybe the lightning striking behind the silhouette of a leaping Batman, or maybe my notion that this comic was different than the others. But every Saturday I would always check to see if it was there in the long, white box of back issues and trades. I saved up for several weeks and purchased it.

I remember opening it for the first time in our Ford Aerostar at a gas station with Rod Stewart's "Rhythm of My Heart" playing in the background - must have been around '91. Every time I hear that song I think of TDKR...

Needless to say, I was changed. For good. I've read and reread that book more times than I can count, and certainly more times than any other comic. A couple years ago I made it a personal mission to locate one of the rare "artist proofs" with Frank's signature. In fact, I signed up for an eBay account specifically for this. With a little patience and a lot of luck I finally found a copy and purchased it. It remains my most prized comic to this day.

I'm sure that Frank Miller is sick and tired of hearing how his rendition of Batman has changed so many comic readers' lives, etc, but if I ever get the chance to meet him or drop him a line, I'll be sure to tell him the same.

So will all that being said, the above pic is my personal tribute to the man who contributed so much to my interest in comics. Thanks, Frank. If you only knew...

J out.