Dr. Norge has Hawkman.

The Sensei has Robin.

I…well, I have The Question.

I figured my first order of business as a blog writer for Raging Bullets needed to be an introduction of sorts. But when it comes to introductions, I’m sure no one wants to be bored with my day job as an English teacher or my residence in an Illinois town best known for having a toilet factory until recently and home of the tallest totem pole east of the Mississippi River. The website is about comic books, after all.

My secret origin in the world of comic books comes from being a devout viewer of Smallville. While perusing the Smallville fansite Kryptonsite (www.kryptonsite.com), I kept seeing references to a Superman comic book that told a modernized origin of the Man of Steel, much like what was being told on Smallville. That would was entitled Birthright, and because I’m a nerd and inherently curious, I sought out the book. Perhaps because I already had a good deal of knowledge about Superman (I vaguely remembered hearing about his death in the 90s), he quickly became my go-to character and I started to seek out more stories about the Big Blue Boy Scout. I searched high and low, many times finding books on eBay so that I could feed this new passion.

And then, I picked up a hardcover book called Infinite Crisis. My comic book reading up to this point was completely made up of Superman trades, and much of what was included in the book confused me because of all the history involved. Once again, I was curious and started to seek out books that would help fill in the gaps. I wasn’t always able to get what I needed because of budget constraints, so I sometimes had to rely on the Internet to satisfy my curiosity.

So how did I go from Superman freak to The Question? It was the 52, Volume One. I had absolutely no idea who Renee Montoya was when I started reading the book. Come to think of it, I didn’t know who many of the characters in the book were, or what significance they had to the DC Universe. As I kept reading my way through 52, she quickly became my favorite character in the series. And when she made her first appearance as The Question, I jumped for joy.

The allure of Renee as The Question for me is that she got her start as a hero at the same time that I was lunging headlong into comic books. She was a character that, as a hero, I could essentially follow from the beginning. I have, of course, since gone back and read all her previous appearances—Gotham Central: Half a Life comes to mind immediately. I know there’s still much more to read, and I’m slowly getting there.

I have since expanded my horizons. My pull list is evolving every month, and I’m finally starting to feel like I’m up to date with what’s going on in the DC Universe. But I don’t for one second think that I’m any kind of expert. This blog is going to be a learning experience for me, and I’m sure everyone will find holes at one time or another. So if you have something to recommend, let me know. I’ll do my best to give it a try and let you know what I think. One thing I don’t want to do is limit myself to a specific topic with this blog. Sean and Jim have been nice enough to let me have an outlet for my curiosity here, so I invite them to hand out suggestions (or editorial mandates) whenever they wish.

By Mandy Stegall