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Alter Ego #68 May 2007 (magazine review).

July 7, 2020 | By | Reply More

Jerry Bails (1933-2006) lit the touch-paper in the early 1960s that gave America its comicbook fandom, starting off several fanzines and even the first comicbook orientated APA before off-loading them to others, seeing himself more as a historian tracking down the creators of early Silver Age comicbooks.

A year after his death, editor Roy Thomas devotes an entire issue of ‘Alter Ego’ to his friend, pointing out that Jerry Bailes was self-effacing and uncomfortable with being in the spotlight. However, his contribution, as you will read here, means his contribution to fandom shouldn’t be ignored. Picking out highlights is a lot trickier. Sean Kleefeld did an interview with Bailes back in 2004, 3 years before the release of this issue. Amongst its pages, there is a illustration of ‘Gary Concord, Ultra-Man’ from 1939 that no one seems to have spotted his costume and certainly helmet looked like they were used in the later Adam Strange.

There’s also plot details next to original art pages of ‘Doctor Strange’ by Steve Ditko that ultimately were scripted by Roy Thomas and something I had never seen before and not dependent on the artist putting info in the margins.

We also have an interview with Hames Ware, who co-authored with Bailes, the 4 volume ‘The 1970s Who’s Who Of American Comic Books’, https://comics.lib.msu.edu/rri/index.htm, hitting on everything outside of DC Comics and can be looked up on-line. This isn’t as easy as it might have sounded as many of the early comicbooks did not identify all the people who worked on them, let alone those who worked under different names.

Another anniversary covered here relates to an obscure 1977 film called ‘Star Wars’ and Roy Thomas recounts his full history of being talked into the project comicbook version while the film was being made. I love the bit where he meets Harrison Ford who thought his career was going to go down the tubes with the film. Then again, no one knew it would be such a hit and film studio exec Alan Ladd, Jr. had put his career on the line with it.

There’s the usual examination of the Fawcett Publications to end with. Comicbook artist Marc Swayze has a quick look over ‘The Phantom Eagle’. Meanwhile, P.C. Hamerlinck follows Captain Marvel as he did a city-wide tour of America so landmarks were placed in various stories to garner sales there.

Even with early issues, there is always much to learn from any issue of ‘Alter Ego’, so take advantage of their 2020 isolation sale and get 40% discount off their magazines.

GF Willmetts

July 2020

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 100 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 6.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6890. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 4.17 (US))

check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com and https://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_55&products_id=547&zenid=e0c2dd600889313c6425d6c52ae197af

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Category: Magazines, Superheroes

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 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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