My friend got me into comic books back in highschool. We read the usual fare: The
X-Men, Spiderman, Batman...lots of spandex. Almost every week we'd go to the comic book store and check out what's new. After a while I started noticing this book called The Sandman. The covers drew me in; it was unlike the ones I normally see. It had paintings and photos mixed together. Great stuff! After a while I went ahead and got it. I really didn't care what the book was all about. For all I know it was just a loose adaptation of Robert Smith's fantasy life.
For me, I thought the cover alone was worth the price of the book.
The storytelling was at first hard to follow. I started with #57, "The Kindly Ones", which was close to the end of the entire series. The pace was slow, not a lot of things blowing up, clever one-liners, fighting (let alone The Cure references). There were gods, yes, and fairies, and monsters but most of the time they just talked and acted like regular people. I guess that made me want to find out more about the
characters. They're jerks like any one of us. Cliche as this sounds, they were living.
I was amazed at how much Gaiman mixed elements from horror, literature, religion, and created his own mythos on top of it. And how can I forget Dave McKean's art! It made such a big influence in how I see things. For me, it became a portal. Since then I wanted to read and learn more about all sorts of things--art, history, mythology--not just comic book characters; what ties them together, where the key light is.