Alter Ego #153 July 2018 (magazine review).

Fabulous Flo Steinberg died last July at the tender age of 78, missing out on the ‘Alter Ego’ devoted to her presence in Marvel Comics first 5 years back in the 1960s. Neither an artist or writer, she was employed as Stan Lee’s secretary but, these days, she would be closer to an office manager but really a jill-of-all-trades for what she did.

That is, monitoring the people who could come into the office or not, more so as Marvel Comics popularity grew, handling the mail and doing the things Stan didn’t have time for. Ultimately, Flo became the image of Marvel Comics when her photo appeared with others from the Bullpen in Marvel Tales Annual # 1. She only left after 5 years because Magazine Management, who owned Marvel, wouldn’t give her a $5 dollar a week pay rise seeing her only as a secretary.

Through the articles here we map her career and interest in fandom and even her one-shot publication ‘Big Apple Comix’ in 1975 that I wish someone could get into reprint, based on the sample that are shown here. The fact that she could draw (sic) favours from so many of the pro-artists and writers shows how popular she was. With those moon-like eyes, happy face and persona, as seen from the interview here, Flo knew the business and was liked by all. Seeing the remarks of the people here, often from kids who grew to adults in the business will show what a profound effect she had on the comicbook business.

Flo was also the design pattern for Betty Brant in ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ and examples by other artists, including Kirby, showed how much of an influence she had. The fact that Flo was used as part of ‘What If-?’ and had an issue dedicated to her shows how much she was appreciated within the industry.

There’s also a look at a couple of her successors. Robin Green stayed only for a few months before becoming a writer at ‘Rolling Stone’, where her first assignment was writing an article about Marvel Comics. It’s presented here and gives some insight into the people, especially Jim Steranko, at the time because she had worked with them and literally could get in the door.

Michael T. Gilbert investigates Dan Atkins who to emulate Steve Ditko on ‘Doctor Strange’ and swiped the odd panel. As is pointed out in the article, it is something a lot of artists do and I love his Wallace Wood quote, ‘Never draw anything you can copy, never copy anything you can trace, never trace anything you can cut out and paste up.’ I think as long as it isn’t too obvious and the artist does do more than swipe, it just blends in. I think the worse I ever came across was in one of the 1980s ‘X-Men Annuals’, when every page was a Neal Adams swipe by a newbie who said he was giving up after that. Being subtle is one thing but to do it continually of art everyone has remembered is asking for trouble.

There’s a memoriam for Carolyn Kelly (194x-2017), the daughter of Walt Kelly who drew ‘Pogo’ and an artist herself by Mark Evanier. You would think someone would have known when she was born.

Finally, Mike Tiefenbacher look at copyright extending beyond the Big Red Cheese Captain Marvel and his family to the likes of the Blue Beatle and the Shield. American copyright, when compared to British copyright, had to be paid for periodically until a couple decades back so no wonder why it was so easy to lapse.

This issue of ‘Alter Ego’ covers a lot of ground that you wouldn’t necessarily see in traditional magazines but all the better for it.

GF Willmetts

July 2018

(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))

check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com and http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_55&products_id=1352


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.