Alter Ego #46 March 2005 (magazine review).

I recently acquired Alter Ego #46 from an online auction, which features a cover illustration of Bill Everett (1917-1973) by Marie Severin, surrounded by his characters drawn by himself. The issue reprints an interview with Everett, conducted by Roy Thomas and originally published in Alter Ego Vol. 1 #11. This version presents the interview in its entirety.

With minimal art training, Everett began his career in advertising before moving into comics, a medium he had never read. He created Namor the Sub-Mariner for Timely, and the interview provides fascinating insights into the character’s development. Notably, Atlantis was never part of Everett’s vision; he envisioned Namor’s people coming from beneath the Antarctic.

Although I’ve only read a few early Sub-Mariner reprints, the character resonated with me. Everett was unique in the 1940s-50s, as he both wrote and illustrated the comic books he worked on. He returned to the industry when Stan Lee invited him to draw the first issue of Daredevil, even though he was working as an art director at a birthday card company and had a tight schedule.

Everett’s work on the Hulk was challenging, as Stan Lee was unsure about the character’s appearance. His time on Doctor Strange involved taking cues from Ditko. Interestingly, Everett and other Marvel artists wanted to incorporate modern art techniques into their work but were denied the opportunity—until Steranko was later allowed to do so. This interview is definitely worth a read.

This issue of Alter Ego also includes a reprint from the 1969 edition of Alter Ego #7, in which E. Nelson Bridwell discusses literature’s monsters, predating Shelley’s Frankenstein. The article highlights humanity’s affinity for monsters, which may explain our love for characters like the Thing and the Hulk.

Bill Schelly’s article examines the origins of Alter Ego’s original volume 1 and American comic book fandom. Schelly argues that comic book fandom was inevitable, and notes that although Jerry Bails may not have been familiar with science fiction fandom, Julius Schwartz certainly was.

Jim Amash interviews self-taught artist Lew Glanzman (1922-2013), who began his career at Centaur Comics before the company disappeared and he was drafted into military service. Glanzman later became a painter.

Michael T. Gilbert’s “Mr. Monster” highlights amateur artists who worked with Warren Publications, some of whom eventually turned professional or became writers. The loyalty shown by these artists to Jim Warren, who helped launch their careers, is noteworthy.

Obituaries for writer Bob Haney (1926-2004) and publisher Irwin Donenfeld (1926-2004) are also featured in this issue.

Among the Fawcett Collectors of America items, an incomplete original script by Otto Binder for a never-produced Captain Marvel story stands out. The script reveals the pre-digital age editing process, with corrections made directly on the typed draft rather than retyping the entire document. This demonstrates both an awareness of deadlines and the importance of self-editing.

Overall, this issue offers valuable insights and information about the comic book industry’s past.

GF Willmetts

April 2023

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 100 page illustrated magazine. Price: $10.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6890. Direct from them, you can get it digitally for $ 4.99 (US))

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