I want you to meet one of the hardest working people I have ever met- David Hammersley. A 24 year old retail workers who has been playing and studying Jazz/Contemporary music at NMIT, preparing for an audition into the VCA or Monash Jazz course. In what little free time David has he also teaches himself secondary instruments. Tenor Sax and Singing, Electric Bass being his primary instrument.
Not only can David play music but he is passionate about fitness as well. A Personal Trainer and Powerlifter/Bodybuilder having recently started working towards his first Bodybuilding competition. David is also an ex-martial artist and runner up in his division for the AFBJJ Vic State Championships in 2012 and 2013 as well as a competitor in the Abu Dhabi World Trials.
He also enjoys doing Ballet and Archery and one day will start Ballroom dancing and perform in musicals.
A man of many passions and talents- but comics is something very special to David. They are a reward for all his hard work. I never see him without a smile on his face when he comes to visit the comic store each week. I couldn't wait to share his comic book story with you all.
For my 22nd birthday my close friend Michael got me Planet Hulk. I hadn't read much about the Incredible Hulk in the past, most of my reading came from the internet and I rarely ever picked up a comic but it was a gift and came highly recommended. I was surprised to say the least!
In my mind I always devalued how interesting a brutish ogre could possibly be. Well, reading about a savage alien planet, oppressed barbarian tribes, a corrupt emperor, deadly warriors, gladiators, slaves, monsters, heroes and an emotionally driven story put me in my place!!
Then it occurred to me. If I clearly misjudged this character how many others have I let fall through the cracks?
I knew the stories but had no clue what the characters were actually like. It was shortly after that I made my first trip to the comic store and was hooked for life.
2. What comic would you recommend to someone who has never read one before?Picking one is not how I would approach this situation, I'd select at least 10. Just to make sure. But if I had to pick one... Which I do! I would say Superman: Red Son.
Red Son is an alternate world story that shows what might have happened had Superman landed in Soviet Russia rather than America. It deals with Superman/Clark and the different values he developed growing up under a Communist government, showing him rise to power as a political leader and expanding the Soviet Union globally.
Despite being a Superman title we see a number of other popular characters appear including Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern as well as the Superman ensemble cast. All with their own unique twists.
My favorite feature of this book is that it doesn't follow the standard Communism = Bad, Capitalism = Good formula. The story is very neutral in it's political views.
I'd like to comment on the end but would spoil it for those who haven't read it yet but I will say that it is one of the most mind blowing endings I have ever read.
I'd chose this particular book because it features a popular and familiar hero to all but is different enough to not become a stale read.
Initially I found this question quite hard to answer and it wasn't until I pulled on my left Batman sock, right Superman sock and grabbed my Deadpool beanie as i dashed out the door that I realized, the smallest everyday actions that are so routinely practiced they have fallen from my consciousness are my way of sharing my love of comics with the world.
I couldn't possible tell you how many timesI've spoken to friends, family or strangers about my Deadpool beanie that can be worn as a mask, my Superman and Batman shirts from an unknown independent designer, the Green Lantern plush I keep on the dash of my car or the red and black, Harley Quinn style of my braces.
Despite these automatic day to day processes I still enjoy going out of my way every now and then to make a big deal about comic books. This mostly comes in the form of cosplay. My ideas for costumes begin months in advance, at the gym. Depending on the character I have my heart set on I will alter my training and diet to accommodate. For example to cosplay Bane I tried to put on as much mass as I could but for Harley Quinn I leaned down for a more athletic look. Not only does it add to the costume but helps me stay motivated to keep in shape.
My most common answer to the question "What are you training for?" is "To look like Superman!"
4. What is your favourite comic book memory?
My favourite comic book memory would have to be the first time I cosplayed at a convention. Oz Comic-con Melb 2012.
I was a little nervous having never done something like that before but I was lucky enough to have the support of two of my closest friends doing their first cosplay convention as well. The three of us all picked our favourite characters (Nightwing, Zatana and Deadpool) and were joined by our friend who went casual and was dubbed Peter Parker due to his glasses and the fact that he was made to take pictures all day long.
I enjoyed that particular experience so much because whether costume or casual, boy or girl, Marvel or DC, everyone there had a common passion and that helped in creating one of the friendliest environments I have ever experienced.
This was a toss up between Star Lord, Harley Quinn, Deadpool and Red Hood. These are the four characters I best relate to and can easily superimpose myself into their stories.
Until very recently I would have given the edge to Deadpool but, being completely honest, Red Hood wins this battle.
My first encounter with Jason Todd as Red Hood was in the animated movie Batman: Under the Red Hood (highly recommended) and at the time I didn't think much of the character. A few years later one of the first four single issues I ever brought was a Red Hood and the Outlaws one shot. He made more of an impression but the series was too far along for me to pick it up. (I like starting from #1)
Post DC Convergence, with the release of Red Hood and Arsenal #1, I took the opportunity to get to know him better. The stand outfeature for this read was easily the chemistry between Jason Todd and Roy Harper. The back and forth, love/hate banter with the underlying sense of fierce loyalty instantly reminded me of my best friend... who does archery... and from that moment it was no longer Red Hood and Arsenal but me and him on the pages. I quickly spent all of my retail cash collecting the past Red Hood and the Outlaws and to date I can't remember an issue I haven't enjoyed.
6. What message would you like to give Nerd Burgers readers who are too nervous about reading comics?
Talk to a friend who reads comics. Someone that knows you pretty well or enjoys the things that you enjoy. That person will be able to recommend or lend you something that you'll enjoy and relate to.
For me that's what it's about, seeing myself on the pages. As the hero, sidekick, villain or cameo doesn't matter, if I can imagine being part of the story I'll keep going back for more.
If you're worried of what people may think of you for reading comics I'd suggest visiting a local comic shop event not necessarily to buy a book but to see how many regular people buy comics. Anyone from school teachers, musicians, tradies, body builders, retail managers, footballers, psychologists, archaeologists, chefs, hockey players and bar tenders are all people I have come across that share my passion for comic books.
I want to thank David for being a part of this series. I am having so much fun introducing you to some of the raddest people I know. I hope hearing their stories will help inspire you to pick up a comic book and get reading.
Check out the other interviews below.
Check out Dan Kent's interview here
Check out Mama Jane's Interview here
Check out Savanana Ganucheau's interview here