Alter Ego #56 February 2006 (magazine review).

Another issue of ‘Alter Ego’ I picked up from the Neal Adams website was this one, # 56. Who couldn’t resist an Adams cover with the Man Of Steel holding his two creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster on his arms? Here’s some highlights.

The first interview is from 1975 with Jerry Siegel with his wife, Joanne, and daughter, Laura, taken at the San Diego ComicCon of that year by Murray Bishoff and Alan Light. Principally, this is all before the legal tussle with DC Comics to get recompense for Superman and restored Siegel’s confidence to try. It’s a crucial interview in that respect although that issue isn’t really looked at. Instead, they look at Siegel’s career and his work at both DC Comics and Marvel. Although Joe Shuster isn’t there, they do give some insight into the art and who various Superman characters were based on. Interestingly, Siegel points out that Superman was never supposed to become as invulnerable as he ended up being depicted.

The biggest surprise was an interview with DC Comics colourist Jack Adler. His place in history seems to be neglected as he was the colourist on Action Comics # 1 and a certain Superman. However, he was the one who changed the engraving process for colour with a new process that speeded it up from four days to one. He also changed the colouring on ‘Nutsy Squirrel’ in 1949 to reflect mood and had an effect across the funny animal comics.

Oh, something I didn’t know was Julius Schwarz that told John Morrow to include photos of the people TwoMorrows interviewed with any piece. Mind you, with the Adler interview, I think there would always be a problem of fitting everyone in.

Adler does tell interviewer Jim Amash to ask Neal Adams himself about how he got on with Neal Adams and he does just that with an intense interview of when the artist has a desk at DC Comics and the problem with colourists. Well, with the exception of Jack Adler and their endeavours to change the dogmas that existed with colouring that they had there. If ever there was a need to keep up with the times, this was surely it. This is then topped up with a brief interview with Joe Kubert on the subject of Adler as well.

After all these years, I’ve finally found out more about the creator of the original Mr. Monster from Michael T. Gilbert when he finally met Fred Kelly, shortly before his death in 2005. Oddly, Kelly couldn’t remember much about a character that lasted for 7 issues but you can feel the geek moment here for Gilbert.

Now here’s something that I wish I could see the earlier 3 parts of, Leonard Darvin was chairman of the Comics Code Authority and, back in 1966, he attended three comicbook conventions. This is from the New York convention where Darvin took questions from the audience, although chiefly from established names about EC Comics, especially their ‘Judgement Story’. It’s not quite what you expect, more so as Darvin acknowledged the different aged audiences and that a higher price would probably have divided the age ranges and avoided some discrimination.

A memorial to Jack Gill (1913-2005) is more significant by the number of inkers, like Joe Sinnott and Danny Crespi, who he taught their skills.

We know Michael Uslan as producer of the first modern ‘Batman’ film amongst others but here he fills us in at his time at DC Comics as a junior woodchucker as they didn’t call them interns and his brief writing career for them.

All in all, a very satisfying read and top of that list is the Jack Adler interview and lots of art.

GF Willmetts

February 2019

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 9.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6890. Direct from them, you can get a digital copy for $ 4.99 (US))

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