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Meeting Jennifer, my penpal of 16 years

X-Men 33
Cover of X-Men 33

Back in August of 1994, I can remember standing in front of a carousel of comic books in our neighborhood grocery store, debating whether or not to purchase X-Men 33. I had long since lost my heart to Rogue of the X-Men due to the awesomeness of the 1990s X-Men the Animated Series, even going so far as to pause our VCR at certain frames so I could sketch them. Nonetheless, I was daunted by the prospect of purchasing my first comic because I knew my collector’s spirit would be committing to a lifelong monetary investment (which likely made XTAS one of Marvel’s more lucrative investments). I actually left the store that day empty-handed but for the next seven days was haunted by the idea that all copies of the issue would be bought. As you might have guessed, I did return to purchase the issue, breathing a huge sigh of relief to find several copies still available.

If you’re one of the young women lucky enough to be a teenager in today’s world where “geek” doesn’t necessarily equate to “social pariah,” you might be surprised by the fact that my love of comic books didn’t exactly make me Ms. Popularity. Eager to find another girl I could “geek out” with and not feel like an aberration of nature, I decided to write to Jennifer, the author of one of the letters published at the end of X-Men 33. (This was before the Internet exposed the dangers of information sharing, and comic book companies still published the full addresses of their fans; I imagine that this resulted in many young women receiving unsolicited letters from incarcerated persons which is why this is no longer standard practice.)

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