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Alter Ego # 145 March 2017 (magazine review).

Despite having a ‘Monark Starstalker’ cover, this issue of ‘Alter Ego’ is devoted to that little known film from 40 years ago called ‘Star Wars’, long before it got referred to as ‘A New Hope’. Actually, it’s more to do with the comicbook adaptation. In the editorial, Roy Thomas says they couldn’t get permission in time for a Howard Chaykin ‘Star Wars’ poster, hence the cover.

The first half of this issue is devoted to a Roy Thomas interview by Richard J. Amdt about his involvement in getting the comicbook adaptation off the ground and scripting it. Roy didn’t mean for the interview to go on for so long but had to give a lot more clarifying detail over things you might or might not have read on the Net on the subject.

Even if you’re not a ‘Star Wars’ fan, you will find this interesting reading and insight into various mindsets. I’m still amused by Thomas thinking Dave Prowse had a Scots rather than west country accent when he watched the film before James Earl Jones did the over-dub with Darth Vader’s voice. The dialect is somewhat different from a British perspective. This is an intense read so be prepared to read it in chunks over a few days. I’m even more startled to realise I own not only the original comics but also the treasuries and paperback reprints. ‘Star Wars’ fever was pretty hot back then.

The smaller interviews with penciller Rick Hoberg and inker Bill Wray, with Dave Stevens, about the limited time they had to completed Howard Chaykin’s breakdowns for Star Wars # 6 shows how much of a mammoth task in less than a week. It does make sense that inker Steve Leiahola could never have completed it on time as he was still working on the previous issue. The only advantage they had over Chaykin was being able to see the completed film and not relying on black and white photos prior to it being released. When you consider that in 1975, photo quality was not on par to the likes of today and Chaykin pointing out how indistinct Darth Vader was, I’m amazed he did as well as he did.

Just in case you think this issue of ‘Alter Ego’ is all about ‘Star Wars’, there’s a nice little feature showing many famous black jazz musicians and singers were fans of 1950s comics. On top of that, a further look back at Fawcett Comics and how they depicted African-Americans in the 1950s. I wish such examinations went beyond this to not only other companies but also to eastern/oriental depictions as well. Then again, look at how slow it was to show strong female characters and move away from token appearances. It’s all a matter of the times.

So, is the bigger ‘Alter Ego’ a success. Yeah! Can’t wait for the next quarterly, especially as I’ve seen the next cover.

GF Willmetts

February 2017

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 100 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 9.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6890. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 8.46 (US))

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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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