Alter Ego #52 September 2005 (magazine review).

Working my way through my backlog, I recently read Alter Ego #52, which features an extensive interview with inker and occasional penciller Joe Giella (1928-2023), conducted over two decades ago by Jim Amash. Editor Roy Thomas noted that Amash had a backlog of interviews at the time, and they were deliberating on which ones to publish first. It was only when I looked up Giella’s lifespan that I discovered he passed away this year, making the interview an even more important read for understanding his career.

Although Giella was capable of penciling, he admitted to being slow at it. However, he was quick at correcting and inking, which allowed him to earn money more efficiently. What I found particularly interesting was his description of himself as not being a “line follower.” He didn’t strictly adhere to what the pencil artist had laid out; instead, he corrected and embellished as needed. Giella had a long list of collaborations with Silver and Golden Age artists and later transitioned to penciling and inking newspaper strips. Interviews like these make it worthwhile to pick up early issues of ‘Alter Ego.’

I initially planned to read only half of the 32-page interview in one sitting but ended up reading it in its entirety, which speaks volumes about its engaging content. The issue also features shorter interviews with other artists. For instance, artist Jay Scott Pike (1924-2015) may be best known for his one-shot DC character Dolphin, but he is also recognized for his skill in drawing women in romance comic books. Similarly, artist/writer Martin Thall (1930-) once collaborated with Wallace Wood, and both artists would draw while intoxicated. These interviews offer a fascinating glimpse into the past.

Michael T. Gilbert dedicates a third issue to the life of Will Eisner, leading up to his passing. Gilbert mentions that Eisner painted a wall mural in Copenhagen, and a quick Google search confirmed that it’s still there.

In summary, these are the highlights, and what highlights they are! The issue provides invaluable insights into the early days of comic book artistry and is well worth a read.

GF Willmetts

August 2023

(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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