In the late 1970s, a young cartoonist named Jim Davis began collecting cartoons.
Davis’s collection became one of the most enduring collections of cartoons in the world.
Now in its seventh decade, Davis’s cartooning has captivated millions.
But the man behind the books has never been able to explain the origins of his collection.
The story begins with a very specific childhood.
“My mother was a comic book writer,” Davis told Business Insider.
He describes himself as a “fairytale girl” and believes he began collecting comics when he was five years old.
The first time he went to a comic shop was in 1973, when he bought an old “Kirkman & Co.” poster for “Saga” that he found at a comic store.
He loved the illustrations, and when he saw that “Sailor Moon” was coming out, he knew he had to have it.
Davis said he thought of the comic book as “an adventure game.”
He said he wanted to get into the world of the Disney characters, which he was drawn to by a love of the classic comic strip characters.
In 1980, Davis began working at his parents’ comic book shop in South Dakota.
He remembers that his first assignment was to draw the covers of some comic books.
Davis started collecting the covers, which featured characters like Spider-Man, Captain America, Wonder Woman, Superman, and the Fantastic Four.
Davis was hooked.
“I started collecting a lot of comics,” he said.
“It was the first time I had any interest in comics, really.”
Davis began buying comics, and he also became a comic collector.
“There was no place in the library where I could find a comic,” he explained.
“You’d have to go to the book store, and I was just in love with them.”
Davis bought more comics and started to write about them.
“All the cartoons I read, they all ended up being comics,” Davis said.
His favorite was “The Amazing Adventures of Superman” by Roy Thomas.
Davis loved the cover art for Superman and wanted to make a Superman comic.
He started looking at other covers, including “Captain America” by Joe Shuster.
“When I saw Joe Shusters cover, I knew that I was onto something,” Davis recalled.
“What I did next was start to collect the Superman comics that were published by Marvel.”
Davis decided he wanted a superhero that was both strong and cool, and so he started collecting Superman in the 1970s.
Davis began researching comics when Marvel began publishing “Superman” in 1973.
He went to the comic shop where he bought “Supermen” and was stunned by what he saw.
“They were all very different,” Davis remembered.
“The first thing that came to mind was, ‘Wow, there’s so much different in them.'”
He decided that Superman was too complicated and the character too powerful for a boy to draw.
“That’s why I wanted to draw him as a girl,” Davis explained.
The two became best friends and became friends for life.
Davis went to work for Marvel as a story editor, but his life changed when he met another man, cartoonist Jim Davis.
“Jim Davis and I became friends,” Davis recounted.
“He was just a great artist.
We became friends and started a comic together.”
When he was hired as a writer for Marvel, Davis got a call from Marvel editor-in-chief Stan Lee.
“We were just getting started at Marvel and they said, ‘Hey, do you want to do a story for a Superman?'”
Davis said Lee said.
Davis agreed to work on a story called “Spiral of Steel.”
“I don’t know if you know about the character, but Superman has an aura of strength and he’s super strong,” Davis continued.
“And they said that we should do a character story for him.
So that’s how the story started.”
Davis had the idea to draw Superman.
He drew his first Superman sketch, and his inspiration came from his mother.
“She used to be a cartoonist,” Davis recalls.
“Her family owned a bookshop and she was a little bit into the cartooning business.
She got the idea that Superman would be a cool character and it would be great for her to draw.”
Davis started to draw his first sketches in his bedroom.
“In those early drawings I was thinking of a little girl who was super strong and super hot,” Davis shared.
“Then I came up with this idea that I could just draw him, without any lines, without anything,” Davis added.
He sketched the character and got some feedback from Lee.
Davis had no idea what he was getting into when he started drawing.
“Stan said, `Oh yeah, this is the right character for you, and that’s why we hired you,'” Davis said, “and I was blown away.”
“Superboy” was published in 1986 and Davis’s career took off