Alter Ego #165 September 2020 (magazine review).

September 13, 2020 | By | Reply More

In many respects, you would have to wonder why it’s taken so long for ‘Alter Ego’ to focus on Timely/Atlas/Marvel publisher Martin Goodman, a tenure that went from 1939-1971. With the 80th anniversary last year for the company, the attention was on Stan Lee. Editor Roy Thomas says it was time Goodman was covered and we have a 30 page article by Will Murray and added details by Mike Tiefenbacher. Much of the early history and the company’s decisions came from Goodman.

We know Timely followed trends than make them and it was Stan Lee’s decision to give normal problems to super-heroes as a nothing to lose strategy that catapulted Marvel to the top of the tree.

Although I knew Goodman followed trends and would drop titles solely on sales figures, he did allow his editor, Stan Lee, some latitude and did offer some alternatives so we didn’t get ‘The Fabulous Four’ or ‘The Mutants’ as titles. Goodman did make mistakes with distribution and not thinking a character called Spider-Man would be successful. When you consider the number of different creatures super-heroes and super-villains have called themselves over the years, anything really has gone on since then. I did wonder if anyone ever explained to him that ‘The Silver Surfer’ comicbook was not about surfing though. An interesting analysis and reasonably fair.

The memoriam to Bill Schelly, who died last year, is going to be spread over a few issues covering his career as a comicbook historian and I was surprised by how many books he had written on the subject.

Peter Normanton’s ‘Into The Tomb’ looks at the life of horror comicbook artists Rudy Palais (1912-2004), where his chief work was in the 1950s. Seeing his art here, he didn’t rely on the standard panelling and had an interesting flare for page design even if a couple publishers didn’t really appreciate it.

Michael T. Gilbert’s ‘Mr. Monster’ section continues looking at the correspondence from comicbook artist Peter Morisi now into the 1970s. The most relevant part focuses him not thinking there is a place for relevance in comicbooks.

Another part of comicbook writer John Broome’s autobiography is more stand-out for something not associated with him directly about Burt Lancaster showing how a difference in stance and his smile would suddenly make him recognised on the street.

After an extensive letters section, catching up on the last couple issues, the finale is P.C. Hamerlinck interviewing Harry Matetsky. I reviewed ‘Shazam! The Golden Age Of The World’s Mightiest Mortal by Chip Kidd and Geoff Spear and most of the photos were supplied from Matetsky’s collection and there’s a few here that weren’t included. Even purely from a geek habit of collecting, Matetsky hits all the right bases. Original art, meeting creators, comics and merchandise and he even worked for Quality, albeit after they stopped printing comics. A wonderful close to a great read. Make sure you get your copy.

GF Willmetts

September 2020

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 9.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6890. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 9.95 (US))

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Category: 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.

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