Alter Ego #156 January 2019 (magazine review).

January 25, 2019 | By | 2 Replies More

The potpourri that is Alter Ego # 156 enters January with part 6 of a 2000 New York Comicon with creators from the Golden Age of Comics being conducted by Ron Goulart with participation from the audience when appropriate. The main panel consisting of Charles Cuidera, Henry Boltinoff, Irwin Hasen Lew Sayre Schwartz and Alvin Schwartz. A lot of it centres on how they broke into the business and their claim to fame in creating various characters, samples of which are shown throughout. There’s also a lot of insight into Bill Finger and Bob Kane, the latter’s father having the biggest influence in him not signing away the rights to Batman to National Periodicals.

The ‘Bronze To Present Age Marvel Comics’ interview from the New York Comicon 2000 has only the middle part of the interview. In this panel are Marie Severin, Walt Simonson, Jim Shooter, Marv Wolfman and Roy Thomas. However, when you have three of these people who had been editor-in-chiefs at Marvel, panel host Craig Shutt got them comparing in position order on the work, tape running out before it got to Shooter and I’d loved to have heard what he had to say about the subject. Editor Roy Thomas asks if anyone recorded the rest of it to get in touch with him, more so as it ends at a place I wish had continued. The most significant element coming out of it is that they had to deal with the business end more than the creative aspects and that is why they relinquished their roles, as did the others in between. To have both aspects in an editor appears to be a rare beast.

Just in case you think all the convention panels are about the Big Two, the Gold Key/Western/Dell Panel at the same Comicon was moderated by Ken Gale with Arnold Drake, Wally Green, Frank Bolle and editor Tom Gill gives some insight into their operation and why the writers and artists rarely met. Likewise, why credits were rarely given, except in the case of Disney giving the illusion that he did all the work.

Another section of John Broome’s book explores cats and why they are never given dog names. Well, at least in his time. I’m sure I’ve heard of a cat called ‘Fido’.

Michael T. Gilbert’s ‘Mr. Monster’s Comic Crypt’ has another look at Larry Ivie’s artwork. This time its samples mostly of work he did to get jobs at National Periodicals/DC Comics but wasn’t successful. Although much of it is pencil layouts, it does seem odd that he wasn’t taken on. Loved the sketch of Wonder Woman in her invisible plane.

Just in case you think all panels are recent, one with fans, including a young Roy Thomas and Paul Gambaccini, from 1962 explored the membership of the Justice League Of America. I found the comments relevant as I was reading some of the JLA at that time. I like the point about the number of alien menaces they fought as a collective but then Earth-born super-villains would have been stupid to take them on as a team. As I also was reading around this time, I tend to think DC Comics stories were written to serve the plot than the characters, whereas Marvel tackled it from the opposite direction.

There are two Memoriams this time. The first for artist Jay Disbrow (1926-2017) and the other for ‘Mad Magazine’ ‘insulting’ editor/writer Nick Meglin.

The focus of the Fawcett Collectors of America (FCA) this time Richard Arndt interviews author Richard J. Arndt with a little bit of focus of him and his wife Pat dressing up as Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel back in 1960 which must surely have been one of the earlier cosplay for super-heroes. He also started off his own fanzine, Xero, at the time so you get some exploration of how it was done in those days. In many respects, I’m glad I got into fanzine production when we had off-set litho.

As usual, ‘Alter-Ego’ tends to have me begging for more and these magazines provide so much history of comicbooks and creators that they will fill holes in your education on the subject. Don’t miss out.

GF Willmetts

January 2019

(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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Category: Comics, Magazines, Superheroes

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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.

Comments (2)

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  1. Richard Arndt says:

    Dear Geoff;

    The Fawcett interview was with Richard Lupoff, conducted by me. Your review makes it sound like I was the subject and that Pat Lupoff is my wife. Both Mr. Lupoff and myself having the same first name can make it a little confusing, I guess. The comments about the article, as well as the whole issue, are quite kind, however. Thank you!

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