Alter Ego # 16 July 2002 (magazine review)

Amongst those three lucky lot bids I won was Alter Ego # 16 with this fabulous Alex Ross painting of Mary Marvel. What’s not to love as she exhibits a joie de vivre about flying in the sky. Quite why DC Comics chose not to use it was TwoMorrows find.

Let’s pick some highlights. The interview with Otto and Jack Binder, taken from The Comic Crusader # 15 from 1973 gives some highlight to their time at Fawcett which is enlightening. There’s also a modelsheet of Uncle Dudley.

The look at how DC Comics didn’t know how to deal with the Quality Comics characters and mostly the Shazam! family fitting into their universe gets arguments from all sides. I do think it might be better for you to read this for yourself. From my perspective, it also shows a sound argument of how different Captain Marvel was from Superman. One still has to wonder why DC Comics and not any of the Independents didn’t go over them. I suspect it was more about ownership than getting into legal arguments like they had in the 1950s.

The interview with Alex Ross focuses on his work on Shazam! material and his surprise that the Fawcett Collectors Of America didn’t even acknowledge it, especially as he kept to the original premise. Something that has struck me is Captain Marvel is the adult embodiment of Billy Batson, why isn’t the wizard him as a very old man?

Flipping the mag over, we have an extensive interview conducted by Mark Evanier at the 2001 San Diego Comicon with Marie Severin, John Buscema, Gene Colan and John Romita Sr. going over the 1960s Marvel era. There’s quite a contrast in their characters but they do give different insights into their work and people they worked with. Well, apart from Buscema who worked from home. The art samples here are worth the price of admission, especially Severin’s gags illustrations that were in the offices. I do agree with them that Don Heck was under-appreciated but equally he could have done with better inkers as I cite Uncanny X-Men # 64 as inked by Tom Palmer.

Back in the mid-70s, John Buscema ran a two year art course teaching his students the business of comicbook art as well as reminding them it was a business. Here, two of his students from then, Joe Heffeman and Kevin Weremeychik, recount how much they learnt, especially from the guests brought in making for an entertaining read.

Finally, Bill Schelly interviewed Paul Gambaccini about his early fandom days in America. We Brits know him more from our side of the pond as a radio DJ but in his home country he was one of the youngest in the developing fandom there but looked older in print because he used a typewriter.

As usual, there is a mix of everything enough to appeal to a range of comicbook interests.

GF Willmetts

July 2023

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 108 page illustrated magazine. Price: varies and luck. ISSN: 1932-6890. Direct from them, you can get it digitally for $ 4.99 (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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