Alter Ego # 49 June 2005 (magazine review)

As you should be able to tell form the cover of the 49th Alter Ego, this issue is primarily about the original Human Torch. He was created by Carl Burgos (1916-84) in 1939. Jim Amash interviews his youngest daughter, Susan, about her father revealing he was a creative craftsman away from the artboard but kept her away from comicbooks. It was only after his death that his family pieced together his career and anger over not securing copyright over the Human Torch, mostly because of the name reused in the Fantastic Four. Something I hadn’t realised was the significant characters Burgos created were all androids. These included the Iron Skull, the White Streak and the third Captain Marvel (the one who could split his body into parts to attack). An interesting enlightening interview.

Also from that time period, Roy Thomas presents a selection of cover designs from that time period showing the Human Torch. Design-wise, the Torch is very easy to sketch out when aflame as you only really need the basic figure. Just to balance things out, there are also some designs of the Sub-Mariner’s covers as well.

Roy Thomas also looks at 10 super-heroes with similar powers, well mostly, jumping on the Human Torch bandwagon. I did wonder why Fire Lad from the Legion Of Substitute Heroes wasn’t included but that’s just me thinking if he missed anyone out.

Probably the most significant article here is writer Thomas G. Lammers bringing together all the information about the Atlas Implosion of the 1950s where publisher Martin Goodman dropping his own distribution arm, relying on ANC which then collapsed and then IND, effectively working with the National Periodicals who limited the number of comicbooks they put out. We all know about the progression and Lammers says Goodman didn’t make the wrong decisions just fell into misfortunes. Ultimately, it all came together but this really is a must read and you can a look at some of Timely/Atlas’s other non-superhero titles.

Michael T. Gilbert explores his love of Will Eisner’s ‘The Spirit’ and how it influenced his own art style.

Have I said enough to get you having a look for this issue? Something I haven’ really said much about before is when reading the letters pages about earlier issues is you do get a tendency to want to go after ones you missed if it hits on subjects you want to read about.

GF Willmetts

June 2024

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 98 page illustrated magazine. Price: varies. ISSN: 1932-6890. Direct from them, you can get it digitally for $ 4.99 (US))

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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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