Alter Ego #148 September 2017 (magazine review).

Back in 9-11 June 2000, Joe Petrilak ran the ‘All Time Classic New York Comic Book Convention’, where he had pros mainly from the Golden and Silver Ages of comics. With some of them in their advanced ages, this would be one of the last times that it would be possible to gather them all together. Not only is there a look at the comic convention for its time but also how the unexpected union catering bill put Petrilak out of pocket.

What makes this issue gold is the interviews from the panel discussions. The Flash 60th Anniversary Panel brought together the creative people from the original Jay Garrick Flash and the Barry Allen Flash in the shape of Harry Lambert, Carmine Infantino, Frank Giella, Frank McLaughlin and hosted by Ron Goulart. Something I hadn’t known before is someone is always late for any discussions about the Flash and, in this case, it was Infantino. Much of the panel was videotaped and transcribed here. You might know how these people got to do these books but getting it from them all together makes for a fascinating read and who they credited with what. The most significant person with the Flash was editor Sheldon Mayer.

Roy Thomas hosted a panel of Carmine Infantino, Joe Kubert and Julius Schwarz shortly before they all received the RF Outcault Award. Before you ask, Outcault created the Yellow Kid, the earliest significant American comicbook character. Much of this was a Q&A session covering a lot of subjects. Schwarz was quieter than usual because he was plugging his book, ‘Man Of Two Worlds’ which, if he were alive today, would want plugged again.. Saying that, his explanation about updating characters for a new generation makes sense but my thought was only if the new versions are better than the originals. After all, some characters have become more iconic. Joe Kubert explained he rarely remembered any of the art he had drawn and hadn’t even worried about getting the original artwork back. Roy Thomas’ comment that publisher Martin Goodman was afraid that the artists would sell the pages to foreign countries to reprint wasn’t something I’d thought of before. Seeing their reaction to Frederic Wertham shows how uneasy things were in the 1950s and how it nearly totalled the comicbook industry. There is a lot to learn here and I’ve just picked a few points.

There’s a look at Russell Rainbolt’s massive 20 foot by 60 foot mural and a 4 page spread showing it all. Although they ask to see if you recognise all the characters, I think for those who find that easy is to recognise some of the source material used.

Michael T. Gilbert examines mail between the late artist Peter Anthony Morisi with, by his permission, correspondent Glen D. Johnson. As Gilbert points out, Morisi was drawing in comics from 1948-2003, so there is knowledge from a large slice of comicbook history, included ‘Peter Cannon—Thunderbolt’. There’s also some reveals of tricks of the trade from copying to using photos and how their eyes go cross-eyed when reduced in size.

Bill Schelly continues his conversation with Ted White and the start of comics fandom in the USA and early printing. Reading about their early printing processes, they had a few more choices than we had available a decade or so later when I was involved to do it economically.

Alas we have two obituaries. Although I didn’t know about artist Michael Docherty (1955-2016), I do remember letterer Gaspar Saladino (1927-2016) as he contributed to so many comicbook titles…literally. Look on the covers.

Finally, PC Hamerlinck has a look at the original Captain Marvel and how his visage was based on actor Fred MacMurray, much to his distain when it was finally pointed out to him although his wife loved it. This did make me wonder if comicbook creators today model new characters faces on existing people.

‘Alter Ego’ might be down to bimonthly status but the variety of material as shown here clearly shows they haven’t run out of steam yet. If you were brought up in this period, there is a nice feeling of nostalgia and the occasional smile of I’ve got a copy of that.

GF Willmetts

August 2017

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 98 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.

2 thoughts on “Alter Ego #148 September 2017 (magazine review).

  • Alter Ego is not on a bi-monthly status because of sales, or lack of them. It’s gone bi-monthly because Roy Thomas is 77 years old and his wife demanded he slow down. The magazine has increased in size–to 98 pages from 84 pages so you’re basically getting seven issues of the previously eight times a year title. Thanks for taking up the job of reviewing each issue. It’s nice to hear comments on where we went right, and helpful to hear comments on where we didn’t.


    Rich Arndt

    • Hello Rich
      I never said it was for sales. Check back to last year and I gave that explanation.
      As to reviewing. It’s a tough job but someone has to enjoy doing it 🙂


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