These are some of the great comics that influenced Justin Aclin’s first creator-owned work, S.H.O.O.T. First, due from Dark Horse on Oct. 16:
X-Men by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee Omnibus Vol. 2, Marvel. I started getting into comics around the time X-Men #1 was a cultural phenomenon, and the X-Men were my comic book touchstone for a long time. I can still pick out some X-Men influences in S.H.O.O.T. First.
Sandman: Fables and Reflections, Vertigo. Sandman was the first time I realized how deep and affecting comics could be, and this volume was my gateway. I don’t think I’ll ever write like Neil Gaiman, but he was a big influence.
B.P.R.D. Vol. 5: The Black Flame, Dark Horse: A big part of the appeal of comics to me has always been the shared universes of Marvel and DC, and the Hellboy/B.P.R.D. universe by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi and Guy Davis was the first time I understood what kind of world-building is possible when it’s a small creative-team shaping the universe with nothing taken off the table. You don’t have to look far to see a big B.P.R.D. influence in S.H.O.O.T. First.
Absolute Top 10, DC. I’ll also never write like Alan Moore, but I can at least try to take some influences from his funniest and most humane series. Top 10 is a book I want to re-read every few years.
Superman: Secret Identity, DC. I’ve mentioned elsewhere how much Kurt Busiek influences me, and this book with Stuart Immonen is where that influence really crystalized for me. It tells an incredible, moving story about a human life, but it’s also one of the greatest Superman stories of all time.
Justin Aclin is a writer based in upstate New York.
A version of this story first appeared in the New York Post’s Parallel Worlds blog.