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Back Issue #53 December 2011 (magazine review).

September 5, 2021 | By | Reply More

Going back ten years, this ‘Back Issue’ is unique in having its title at the bottom of the cover. Looking at the Walt Simonson picture, it was either that or top right and then you have other problems of where to put the other copy without getting in the way of the barcode.

OK, this issue is all about gods, not just Thor, although he does get three articles inside. The first covers Gerry Conway’s 4 year tenure, at the age of 18, on ‘The Mighty Thor’ following on from Stan Lee’s work there. Something that quickly becomes apparent is how Conway worked up the other characters around Thor so it wasn’t just about the Thunder God.

Jack Abramowitz examines Jack Kirby’s ‘New Gods Saga’ at DC Comics as a replacement for the Norse gods at Marvel to their replacements which then bounced back to ‘The Eternals’ at Marvel and then to ‘Captain Victory’ at Pacific Comics. I think I would counter that in thinking that Kirby got caught in his own promotion of doing cosmic adventures than trying a variety of different stories. Part of the appeal of Kirby’s work at Marvel in the 1960s was his diversity from ‘Sgt. Fury’ to super-heroes both grounded on Earth and beyond.

Jonathan Miller’s look at Marvel’s Moondragon points out an oddly on-the-edge character she is. The daughter of the man who became Drax The Destroyer, Heather Douglas was trained by the Shao-Lorn monks on Titan in all things mental before returning to Earth with a big chip on her shoulder and touching on bi-sexuality before it became common in later decades. Considering Moondragon also wore a revealing costume and was one of the first bald women in comicbooks so she always stood out. I would contradict something in the photo comparison as the late Persis Khambatta shaved her head for the role of Lieutenant Ilia in ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ and not her normal state.

The second stint with ‘The Mighty Thor’ is a look at Walt Simonson’s tenure on the title where he moved over from drawing and writing it to just doing the latter with Sal Buscema taking over the art. If ever there was needed to be proof of giving creators their heads on a title than this is it. Interestingly, Thor # 355 has the distinction of being in space on board one of the space shuttles by the youth astronaut organisation.

I often wonder why Hercules is rarely described as a demi-god. Jarrod Buttery’s article on the Marvel incarnation doesn’t but he does go over his history at Bob Layton’s two mini-series and graphic novel. There’s enough here to make you think about the contrast between him and Thor that makes you wonder how the two of them get on when he hung out in the Thunder God’s title. I do like Mike Eury’s piece at the end, showing the front covers of the different companies version of Hercules, some 17 beyond Marvel.

Alan J. Parker’s interview with Michael Moorcock shows how productive he was in Fleetway comics in the 1950s-60s before his fictional work took over is going to have some of his fans seeking them out if they really want to be completest. Even so, Moorcock saw it as a means to make money quickly. His take on his own works being turned into comicbooks is much smaller but also informative.

The third piece on Thor is an interview with writer Tom DeFalco and artist Ron Frenz by Jason Shayer on their 7 year stint on the title and ‘Thunderstruck’ after Walt Simonson’s tenure. They really wanted to work on Daredevil but their doing a couple Thor fill-ins for editor Ralph Macchio ended up there instead. Someone really needs to wonder on how these tenures on Thor last so long and can it be applied to other titles.

Finally, P.C. Hamerlinck’s interview with Batman/Dark Knight producer Michael Uslan about his childhood comicbook life.

Age doesn’t have any problems with these magazines, mostly because they are dealing with events from the 1970s-80s so they are essentially time capsules. They steer memories and fill in gaps in knowledge and behind-the-scenes info in a way you wouldn’t necessarily get elsewhere.

GF Willmetts

September 2021

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing, 2011. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 8.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them, you can get it digitally for $ 4.00 (US))

check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com and https://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_54&products_id=1000&zenid=7d8cf2ef9c9f95c9dcf049b53a3f6e0c

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Category: Magazines, Superheroes

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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