The year was 1995 and I was only a lad of 14, well I would be by the time Aug 4th rolled around, but you get my point.
Besides a later move in residence to another state that year that would prove crucial later on, 2 big events that year would impact and heavily influence my life from here on out:
My discovery of ECW and my full-on discovery of Image comics.
I can probably guess what you're all thinking: What!? He actually choose those 2 "events" that impacted his life instead of something more meaningful and newsworthy like the OJ Simpson trial or the Oklahoma Bombings. Well they were and they did, but I'm talking about fun,impactful moments.
I was living in Vero Beach, FL at the time, and I was up late one Friday or Saturday night. I was flipping through the TV channels looking for something interesting on, when I find on the Sunshine Network this strange new wrestling show. They had some compilation tapes they were advertising set to the the music of Rob/White Zombie's "More human than human." Oh cool! I thought. Even though I probably caught this new show in the middle, I was instantly transfixed. I was seeing wrestlers go through tables, bleeding, and I even saw Raven(I'd quickly later learn all of the wrestlers' names) and Tommy Dreamer fighting. 2 wrestlers fighting each other wasn't anything new to me, but when Raven grabbed Dreamer's hands and started seemingly breaking his fingers one by one, Oh sweet god I was hooked!
This wrestling show/company was called ECW, which stood for Extreme Championship Wrestling, and man did I think all the violence they performed was real! I really did. I though, "Oh these guys are real, they have to be." They were hitting each other with metal chairs, trashcans, taking weapons from the fans at ringside which could be pies, metal pans, or anything else they handed the wrestlers. This definitely wasn't the stale WWF or even staler WCW, this was real.
Of course later on I'd quickly smarten up about the fact that ECW was more real in portraying their brand of wrestling than any other company; they weren't, but thanks to the mad genius of Paul Heyman, I and countless others, including PPV companies, also thought the same way. To find this all out didn't kill my enthusiasm for ECW any less, well maybe a little, but the blood and pain was all real and that's all that mattered to a 14 year-old boy back then. I'd also later buy DVD's of the show, such as their 1st PPV Barely Legal 1997. Hell even my parents bought an ECW PPV for me to watch, this one being 1998's Heatwave.
I also own a few ECW DVD's such as "The Rise and Fall of ECW", and some of the others that the WWE released a few years back.
To sum it all up about ECW: I discovered it during a very impressionable time in my life, and I'll never forget my 1st time......watching the show of course. What did perverts think I was talking about?
Two years earlier, I'd happened upon the 1st issue of Marc Silveresti's Cyberforce while searching the comic rack(God I miss those days!) at an old store that went out of business about 2 or 3 years later called Keens.
That and discovering Spawn was probably as far as I went during that time period. Flash forward 2 years later, and I'm at a local comic shop looking for something to pique my interest. That's when I discover some Image comics. At the time, they were heavily into their own company crossover event called "Extreme Sacrifice." Hey it was the 90's what'd you expect?
Anyway, I was lured in by the art and stayed for the story, which I know is an oxymoron, but still.....
I was instantly hooked, and with all the allowance I had on me, bought as many of these Extreme Sacrifice issues as I could find. One was an issue called Prophet, which featured wicked-ass artwork by Stephen Platt. I knew his work from 2 issues of the old Moon Knight series I had that Marvel soon cancelled after that in 93' or 94' I believe. Haven't seen his work since those Image days, but if you seen it, you might remember it.
I could go on about how much I deeply cared and was interested in these groups, but I'll leave that for a future blog. Suffice to say, Image gained a loyal customer that day, and that continued on for at least a few more years.
Just in case you wanted to know, Extreme Sacrifice was all about this government killer name Chapel who had been infected with HIV and killed himself. I know, what a great message to send to kids right? Anyway, Chapel goes to hell and basically takes over the place. He goes shit nuts and unleashes a cloned killing- machine of the hero Prophet, named Crypt, and lets him go and basically slaughter most of the members of the various Image teams. There, I just saved some time......
And that was 1995 for me.
I also discover the wacky world of Sam Keith's The Maxx via MTV, got braces, and enjoyed sex education from HBO the only way HBO know how to provide sex ed. What can I say? I'll always have a place in my heart for Real Sex, Pimps up, Ho's down, , and Taxi Cab Confessions. They helped make me the emotionally-stunted young man I am today.....Thank you HBO!