Alter Ego # 150 January 2018 (magazine review).

January 12, 2018 | By | Reply More

150 issues of ‘Alter Ego’ would need to cover another milestone and as you can see from its cover, the 95th year of Stan Lee. Editor Roy Thomas’ introduction says that there is little difference between the public and private faces of Stan Lee, who comes over as very open and honest.

To start, there is an interview with Stan by Will Murphy done some 30 years ago. Don’t treat the time period lightly as his focus is on Lee’s childhood influences and early part of his career. Objectively, I suspect Lee read as much as any literate American youngster in that 1920s time period. Even he couldn’t determine if any of it, outside maybe Lovecraft for Doctor Strange, had that much of a major influence on his writing. Logistically, I would tend to agree with him because the bigger variety you read, the less fixated you are on any one particular thing. The interview is supplements with showing samples of what Lee read so you can get some idea of what was around in the 1920s-30s.

If you ever wondered what else happened between the last use of super-heroes by Timely in the 1950s until the early 1960s, Ger Apeldoorne’s piece ‘“Get Me Out Of Here!”’ documents Stan’s work in the newspaper strip business. Oddly, he went for comedy than drama but the samples presented are interesting. I’m still puzzled why cartoonists thought comicbook artists as being lower than themselves. I mean, the latter draw more on a regular basis. Maybe it’s a money thing as the newspaper cartoonists certainly made a lot more money, even in the Depression.

Robert Menzies piece, ‘The Second Coming Of Stan’ covers Stan Lee setting up Marvel UK and his many visits over here. One thing I would correct is that the previous ‘attempt’ to have Marvel material over here in the 5 comicbooks that made up the Odhams’ Power Comics line couldn’t have been a failure as it lasted two years and got a lot of us interested, not to mention breaking the so-called DC/Marvel rivalry where you didn’t buy the other company’s comies. If anything, even Marvel UK had similar problems having to come up with new titles every couple years because their readership suddenly dropped. I think I’ve mentioned before how over a chat with editor Bernie Jaye I pointed out that the tail-off came when they found they could buy the American colour versions in the newsagents. Other than that, this article is fairly well documented.

In comparison, the pieces on comicbook writer John Broome artist Pete Morisi pale in comparison. It is with the latter, there are some interesting observations about Joe Simon and Stan Lee himself. Ted White focuses more on his novel, ‘Captain America: The Great American Gold Steal’ and how it came about and why Otto Binder’s novel, ‘The Avengers Battles The Earth-Wrecker’ hadn’t followed the Marvel technique.

Of note from their letters pages, Roy Thomas points out Stan’s preference for the word ‘comicbook’ as a single word than as two words. As you might have noticed, I’ve been spelling it that myself for years as well mostly to ensure it was distinguished from books and it deserved better than being a hyphenated word. Can I also endorse Roy Thomas’ own comment that Harry G. Peter, Charles Moulton’s artist on his original run with ‘Wonder Woman’ deserves a credit in all future ‘Wonder Woman’ films.

Finally, a look at Captain Paragon which was originally going to the original Captain Marvel, written by Bill Black, who created him.

As usual, ‘Alter Ego’ is brimming with info and still with enough variety that if one subject doesn’t appeal, then another will.

GF Willmetts

January 2018

(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))

check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com and http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_55&products_id=1291

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Category: Comics, Magazines, Superheroes

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 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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