Alter Ego #174 March 2022 (magazine review).

Looking at the cover of the latest ‘Alter Ego’, you might be forgiven to thinking that the issue is dominated with the original Captain Marvel. Actually, its only a quarter starting off with P.C. Hamerlinck given snippets of information from his main artist C.C. Beck that he gathered over the years but hadn’t used.

The real gold comes from Javier Gonzalez and seeing the Spanish art from the 1949 FHER Hazanas de Capitán Marvel 144 trading cards. Unlike modern day cards, this is actually a story with the Marvel family versus the Silvana family. Actually, this is also the first time that I discovered Dr. Silvana had a family, Georgia and Celso, who are also equally nasty. It also shows the problem Freddie Freeman has telling someone else his name as Captain Marvel, Jr. and promptly turned back to normal.

Not one of Shazam’s brightest choices of exchange words when Freddie can’t identify himself or talk to Captain Marvel himself. Interestingly, in Spanish, Captain Marvel Jr. is called ‘Little Marvel’ and might not really have had the problem otherwise although I doubt if it would work in the USA.

Then we get to the second part of Alex Grand and Jim Thompson’s interview with William Foster III who looks at black characters from 1970 onwards and, other than a few exceptions, discusses them from various companies. This might be a British thing, but up into the mid-20s, regardless of colour, a boyfriend would still be called a ‘boy’ in just the same manner, a girl-friend would be called a ‘girl’. I would raise a response regarding Storm’s blue eyes that 10% of the black population actually have blue eyes depending on a latent gene coming to the fore.

We both share distain for Tyroc’s costume in the Legion Of Super-Heroes. What I didn’t recall what that on Krypton, there were black Kryptonians but lived in their own community. An interesting interview that should be required reading.

If you want to have your jaw dropping over cost, John Cimino goes over the time when he takes Roy Thomas to sign the original John Romita designs for Wolverine. Looking at Romita’s design, there is no indication of how tall Wolverine is so I doubt it would have helped Herb Trimpe in scaling him on the page when he first drew him and lacked the barrel chest. Don’t forget, Wolverine first appeared in the last panel of Incredible Hulk # 180 and the original page sold for over half a million dollars in 2020. That should make all people, including myself, who have original early X-Men page art with Wolverine in them think about their work.

Michael Gilbert’s ‘Mr. Monster’ pages continues his exploration of ‘Mad Magazine’ and some of its imitators, pointing out that ‘Cartoons Magazine’ predates them all in 1921 with parodies and gags.

Peter Normanton’s ‘From The Tomb’ explores the 1950s and the depiction of executions on EC Comics and other comicbook companies covers. None of which is designed to be pleasant and am surprised that in the Wertham led enquires this was never raised as a deterrent. Normanton tends to gloss over why the UK stopped executing murderers which was largely because several innocent people were hung. In many respects and my opinion, execution is actually an escape from prison, being locked up for a lifetime must be a lot worse.

Finally, tributes to the late artists Richard Corben (1940-2020) and Román Arámbula (1936-2020). The latter is especially interesting and how his Mexican heritage caused some problems with some people at Disney where he worked.

As always, lots to read and understand about comicbook history.

GF Willmetts

March 2022

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $10.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6890. Direct from them, you can get it for $10.95 (US))

check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com and https://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=133&products_id=1646

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