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Back Issue #1 December 2003 (magazine review).

June 16, 2021 | By | Reply More

I saw a couple paper copies of the first issue of ‘Back Issue’ on EBay recently so thought I ought to complete my TwoMorrows first issues. Well, at least work towards them. ‘Back Issue’ as editor Mike Eury explains in his editorial came about when Jon B. Cooke wanted to go in a different direction with ‘Comic Book Artist’ focusing on newer artists and switched publishers.

‘Back Issue’ was created to stay focused on comicbook history from 1970s-1980s. Just thinking aloud here, I do wonder would a new magazine focusing one the next couple decades or more work or are today’s comicbook fans less interested in the current history. Anyway, let’s pick out some highlights from 18 years ago.

For a while now, I did wonder where the New Teen Titans/Titans was being covered in ‘Back Issue’. Looking at the cover, depicting Batman and Captain America, you would not think this would be in the first issue. Andy Mangels interviews writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez on the subject and some of their history leading up to it and some failed projects. I think one of the most telling remarks was Pérez facing criticism from Neal Adams before breaking into the industry and then later explaining that if you can’t take criticism then you shouldn’t be in this kind of work I tend to think this is applies to all the creative arts.

It’s not so much being thick-skinned or disregarding criticism but taking on-board valid comments and being critical of your own work and always wanting to improve. Wolfman considered the Titans were the equivalent of Marvel’s Fantastic Four in terms of family values even if everyone else saw them as X-Men equivalents at least in terms of their place in the market and age range. Then again, I saw the X-Men as a family.

Mike Eury’s look at the failed attempt at a JLA/Avengers cross-over treads a fine line on blame although reading this I tend to side with Jim Shooter in that a proper plot wasn’t laid down and a problem of giving the characters equal time and doing a kid fan treat of what would happen if the hero equivalents face off against each other. Shooter is quite correct in that Quicksilver is a slowcoach compared to the Flash. The same would be true of all but Green Arrow and Hawkeye but then they were both skilled archers. At least when it came to the X-Men and Titans, they were more power equivalents.

The ‘Rough Stuff’ feature focuses on Jack Kirby, although mostly at his DC tenure and beyond. No one disputes he was the king of dynamic action but I do think it might have been fairer to show and compare to his earlier work and how much his inkers, like Joe Sinnott, polished his lines.

Although not my subject matter, Tom Stewart’s look at Tarzan at DC Comics and Marvel Comics and dealing with ERB Inc. certainly shows the problems of working with a licensed property with the latter not really understanding the problems of adaptations.

Was it worth going after this first issue? It is if you want to see the magazine evolved. Here the text was double-spaced with a lot more art and settled down in the successive issues with more material coming in. Even after 18 years, the material is still pertinent so less of a time capsule into the past. You might be lucky to afford a paper version but if you just want a read, then consider the digital version.

GF Willmetts

June 2021

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 100 page illustrated magazine. Price: I pulled my back copy for about £25.00 (UK). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them, you can get a digitial copy for $ 4.99 (US))

check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com and https://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_54&products_id=419

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Category: Magazines, Superheroes

About the Author ()

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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