Back Issue # 103 April 2018 (magazine review)

May 3, 2020 | By | Reply More

By one of those quirks of getting lost in the post or something, I didn’t actually get a copy of Back Issue # 103 so only now getting my own copy and getting around to it. The subject focus is on editors and the problems they have to resolve.

The opening article, ‘How I Defeated The Dreaded Deadline Doom’ recounts six editors having to organise fill-in issues at short notice and a general lack of time to get a comicbook which would normally be completed over 3 months done in less than a month. Considering, back in the day, many creative freelancers had a tendency of running late and putting everyone else further back costs both companies a lot of money with the printers so getting some completed rather than putting a reprint in became a necessity.

Next we have a look at the life of Archie Goodwin (1933-1998) as both an editor and writer. Highly creative and prolific and it was interesting to see how Jim Shooter ensured how Goodwin didn’t have the problems he previously had as editor-in-chief with the business end when given the ‘Epic’ titles to run.

Allan Asherman goes over his career at DC Comics from woodchuck to editing and insight of the various people in their bullpen. You can never beat first-hand experience and this makes for a fascinating read.

‘The E. Nelson Bridwell Interview’ by John C. Pierce was done a year before Bridwell’s death. For those who didn’t know, Bridwell was the walking encyclopaedia of DC Universe lore and other realities, including the Bible, because of his eidetic/photographic memory. If anything, I wish Pierce had gone beyond Bridwell’s recollections of the ‘Shazam!’ characters.

The largest chunk of this issue is devoted to editor/writer Mark Gruenwald (1953-1996) from his widow, Catherine Schuller and from 19 people he worked with. I think the most interesting thing that builds up an image from all of this is the weekly Monday morning classes for the assistant editors teaching them the ropes. I did wonder on the choice of day and time and think it also allowed the editors a chance to get their own heads together for the week, although Bobbie Chase indicates they were brought in from time to time to lecture as well. Sadly, such a practice isn’t employed today. Editing, as far as I know, in any medium, isn’t actually taught. You either have a knack for it or you don’t when it comes to organising people and their creative needs against a deadline and, if you’re looking, having the talent to do the same jobs. Mark Gruenwald was of that breed and sorely missed.

John Trumbull looks at the ‘Assistant Editors Month’ and, although they did have some assistance from above, there was some experimental work done at the same time. Looking at who was involved, they all went onto being editors themselves, so something must have worked. It’s also useful to point out that Amazing Spider-Man # 248 was amongst those was the classic ‘The Kid Who Collected Spider-Man’ story.

Editor Diane Schutz is interviewed by Mike Eury about her time at Comico and Dark Horse and why she wasn’t cut out for the corporate comicbook companies.

Finally, a look at one of the oldest editors in the business, Perry White, and his relationship to Clark Kent by John Schwirian.

When I looked over all of the above, the only editor really missing is that nice chap over at the Daily Bugle. You would think Joe Robertson should have gotten a mention.

GF Willmetts

May 2020

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 8.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 5.37 (US) with their 40% discount)

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Category: Magazines, Superheroes

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About UncleGeoff

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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