I was one of those kids who only had a dozen or so comic books to my name but still read them constantly anyway. We’re talking constantly. Most of them were Batman titles, a few were Spider-Man or Darkhawk, one was an old Justice League issue featuring Eclipso. One was an issue of Weird War Tales with a soldier kneeling at a grave on the front cover and exclaiming to the soldier behind him “Hey! According to this…you DIED three weeks ago!”, and for some reason that shit freaked me out. Outside of the occasional Saturday morning cartoon, these precious issues were my sole window into the superhero world.
My favorite of the batch might have been a 64-page Annual issue of The Punisher, featuring a few different Punisher yarns and Part One of the mini-crossover The System Bytes. I read that thing until the cover and inside pages wore out and started to fall away and I had to cradle it like a fragile science project on the bus ride to school every time I wanted to read it. Punisher wasn’t my favorite superhero — I’d probably have told you he’s not a superhero at all, and that my Punisher issue was more similar to the Weird War Tales issue than to the guys-in-costume stuff. Spidey was the coolest and Batman was for some reason automatically my favorite, but I still went back to that Punisher comic over and over.