Alter Ego #168 March 2021 (magazine review).

February 27, 2021 | By | Reply More

I have to confess that when I saw the cover of the latest ‘Alter Ego’, I did feel a bit disorientated. After all, we are so used to seeing full page subjects rather than a noticeboard cover.

However, this is contrary to the opening and truly nugget of the work of Paul Norris (1914-2007). Not his work and co-creation of Aquaman but his activities in World War 2. Like several American cartoonists, the military wisely decided to employ their artistic talents than send them to the front. With the war with Japan, the Japanese government led their own people to believe the Americans would massacre them and reading how Paul Norris found two Japanese POWs who could speak English and used their text with his art to prepare a counter-propaganda and undoubtedly saved lives.

He later did a similar thing in Korea. His sons, Reed and Michael, found a lot of missing material when sorting out their father’s effects and is shown here with their interviews, together with a piece by their late father. Norris also avoided in doing caricatures of Japanese and Koreans that we’ve seen elsewhere. All of this is a powerful piece and highly recommended reading. He saved lives. Respect.

If you think you were going to be swept away by that, have a look a Chinese-American Willie Ito (1964- ) who is interviewed by Richard Arndt. Like most of his countrymen in WW2, he was a developing cartoonist in his early teens and, after the war and out of confinement, got to work for Disney and you would undoubtedly have seen his first animation scenes in ‘Lady And The Tramp’s spaghetti meal. He also worked for Warner Bros and Hanna & Barbera, moving up from animation to design and into comicbook art when he wanted a change.

Seeing his work here is, again, jaw-dropping stuff and he’s one of the last who worked in the older animators.

Michael T. Gilbert’s ‘Mr. Monster’ feature looks to the cartoon and writer works of William P. Langreich from 1916 and Everett E. Lowry from 1918 who give some insight into cartoon life in that time period and where original art did not have the value it has today. In many respects, some of their problems mirror current illustrators although oddly as original artwork has gone up in value so many produce digitally now. Many there ought to be a comeback.

John Broom’s autobiography focuses on his friend and fellow writer, David V. Reed who also wrote under variations of his name like David Verne and a bit of a rogue. I remember reading Batman stories in the mid-70s. There’s a good reminder out of this that we creators are an odd eccentric bunch.

We should also remember the passing of ‘Mad’ cartoonist Mort Drucker (1929-2020) and illustrator/jazz pianist Cal Massey (1926-2019). With the latter, I read an interview with him in Alter Ego # 105 last month so this completes his life here. Both will be missed.

One piece in this issue that I didn’t really get was the Fawcett Collectors look at the ‘Jackie Robinson’ comicbook based on the baseball star, mostly because it’s an American recreation.

Aside from that, those two major nuggets above should surely ensure you get a copy of this issue, proving that the ability to cartoon has in different areas of life. Get drawn in.

GF Willmetts

February 2021

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

check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com and https://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=133&products_id=1558


Category: Magazines, Superheroes

About the Author ()

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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