Alter Ego #176 July 2022 (magazine review).

Your minds aren’t being clouded by the Shadow as Mark Carlton-Ghost has a look at his publisher, Street & Smith who began their company in 1855 as they bought ‘The New York Weekly Dispatch’ on a sweetheart deal from Quintin Reynolds, needing only to pay him when they got into profit which they achieved 4 years later.

When they died, their relatives took over for a time and the company released The Shadow, Doc Savage, The Talking Toad (no, really) and a host of other characters with varying success. There does seem to be an odd choice for some of them to be dressed only in trunks and hoods. Even Doc Savage was dressed that way for a time.

Reading this extended article made me realise what an empire the Street & Smith company held back last century, filling in niches in both detectives and super-heroes of every age as you’ll see with Supersnipe, in not only fiction but comicbooks.

Of course, much of it was from the writing hand of Walter Gibson, whom Will Murray interviews in 1985 prior to his death and this is also shown here. This also extends to Shadow newspaper strip artist Vernon Greene.

Anthony Tollin points out the Bob Kane and Bob Finger ‘borrowed’ elements of the Shadow for the Batman and seeing them together here with the former 4 years out earlier, it is rather blatant. I suppose we should be glad that they didn’t give Bruce Wayne a big nose.

Michael T. Gilbert’s ‘Mr. Monster’ has a look at John Severin and his tenure at ‘Cracked’. There’s also some art samples that weren’t in the recent TwoMorrows book on the artist and showing his the mascot Sylvester evolved and lost a few years in age.

There are also remembrances for early American fandom godfather Richard A. Lupoff (1935-2020), rpg writer Steve Perrin (1946-2021) and artist Dan Nakrosis (1963-2020).

Carl Lani’Keha Shinyama gives the argument as to whether Billy Batson and Captain Marvel were actually two individuals. After reading his piece, I did have a ponder, thinking both could be correct. After all, the adult Captain Marvel could simply have been transported back in time in the transformation and have an adult personality. That doesn’t work with the recent film but the two don’t have to be a perfect match.

In many respects, this edition of ‘Alter Ego’ is literally a special edition for Street & Smith and I came away with an extensive knowledge on the subject and a good starting point for those who want to know more about them.

GF Willmetts

July 2020

(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))

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