Alter Ego # 144 January 2017 (magazine review)

January 10, 2017 | By | Reply More

A new ‘Alter Ego’ for the new year. Yah! Editor Roy Thomas announces that the magazine is going bimonthly because he’s doing too much and that list is staggering, so not surprised so less of an ‘Oh!’. The good news is the next issue will be up to 100 pages, so you’re only going to get a little less. Yah!

This issue has a big look at Ace Comics. Something I didn’t know was the company also later did Ace Books as well and although its only touched on briefly, but for those who didn’t know, Donald A. Wolheim was editor of its Science Fiction line. For Ace Comics, you do get an insight into its publisher, A.A. Wyn, who was especially tight although seeing some of the artist stalwarts that became big names at Marvel drift in and out because of the poor wages will be an eye-opener. Likewise, character names that also cropped up elsewhere as well when Ace Comics closed its doors and stayed with fiction.

Until I read this 32 page article by Mark Carlton-Ghost, I didn’t really know much about the company. It didn’t create many comics but you can see the pattern as it moved from super-heroes to westerns to war to romance as readership tastes changed. The samples do show art development and if you want to see the likes of Jim Mooney’s early art, you should have a good sampling. This article is quite an eye-opener.

The main interview is with Bill Harris, editor and writer at Dell, Gold Key, King Features and the New York Times. His reason for moving was no increase in wages. Amongst his writing credits is scripting ‘The Phantom’ comic but he was productive in all genres before writing books. Something I hadn’t known was the reason that Western and Dell could hold onto TV licence properties was because they could also do everything from jigsaws and colouring books as well so didn’t need to spread the licences around.

Michael T. Gilbert goes into further detail at his attempts to work at DC Comics before getting into the underground comics. After the ‘Rocket’s Blast Comicollector’, G.B. Love devised and ran the ‘Trek’ fanzine with Earl Blair, Jr. who is interviewed on the subject

The final article is a look at Steamboat Bill, Fawcett’s Captain Marvel’s only ever stereotypical black character and was swiftly dropped when objections were raised by black kids before the race movement took hold. I never knew the character existed until now but it was the stereotyping and miscasting that struck home the most.

As ever, ‘Alter Ego’ is a joy to read, not only for nostalgia but for information of a bygone age. Seeing what’s coming up in April, will hit the 1970s heartstrings when I say, ‘Master Of Kung-Fu’.

GF Willmetts

January 2017

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 8.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6890. Direct from them, you can get it for (US))

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Category: Comics, Magazines

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About UncleGeoff

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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