My father died when I was 6. Of the few clear memories I have of him, a preponderence of them are comics related:
-Sitting in his lap in our living room, he reading me "The Origin of the Atom" from Secret Origins. That story is closely connected to my heart for this, and helped get me through high school. I've told that story, and I'll tell it again if the need arises.
-In the same chair, reading me the cover of an issue of Brave and the Bold.
Superman (blinded): Batman! Help me! I can't SEE!!
Lizard like aliens (walking to the rear, off camera right): And now the Earth is OURS!
He really hammed it up, and I loved it. Many months later, as his illness was advancing, I asked him to read it again. He couldn't get to that level of drama again. It upset me slightly.
-On a cruise to Italy, buying me a small stack of Italian-tanslated comics, including Quino's Mafalda and a copy of Green Lantern's (Lanterna Verde) first meeting with Tomar Re.
So comics have been there in my life pretty much all along. They were 20 cents each when I started readong them in earnest.
I became a mid-range letterhack in the early 90's and started my own APA, THWACK! I also started The Internatinal Norbert Conspiracy, currently over 250 members strong. After an interview with Jim Shooter about the new upstart company Valiant, we got somewhat friendly. When I told him I was working on a timeline of the Unity Crossover as an experiment on how to use this new "Hypertext" thing, he asked if I'd write it for him instead. Some short time later he gave my wife a job at his new (and short-lived) company, Defiant.
I ran a convention in Phildelphia, Comicfest '93, which I'm flattered to say was still getting talked about nostalgically when I visited Wizard World Philly a few weeks back.
After a financially-based gafiation from comics at around the time of DC's Underworld Unleashed maximegacrossover, I jumped back in with both feet at about the time of Blue Beetle getting headshotted just before Infinite Crisis. I'm back to old habits; reading way more than I really have time for, sharing my opinions with everyone who'll listen, and generally caring more about the hobby than a grown man really ought.
Now with the miracle of the electric-type internet, I can share my opinions without any filter or editing. The cybernetic equivalent of Open Mike Night at the local comedy club. For a loudmouth like that, it's a dream come true.
So rather than spray my comments willy-nilly all over Newsarama, my comics bulletin board of choice, I'll try and collect the longest of said essays here. We'll see how long that lasts.