Back Issue #116 October 2019 (magazine review).

As Mike Eury explains in his editorial that the Mike Golden draw cover was drawn for him as a homage to Superman # 138 years ago and with a proper colour job used here. This ‘Back Issue’ falls in line with Halloween so the slant for horror is here this time. This begins with a look at Superman versus a variety of supernatural creatures where his vulnerability to magic is explored.

Interestingly, we get an explanation from writer Dennis O’Neil that his attempts to reduce Superman’s power levels failed because other writers failed to apply and comply with it.Even making for allowances of stories being written 6 months ahead of his, there was no planning as there would be today.

Of course, the Batman himself is synonymous with the supernatural using it as a terror tactic and as explained by writer Michael Kronenberg had to have run-ins with similar but actual terrors. There is some focus on Kirk Langstrom and his transformations into the Man-Bat as envisaged and created by Neal Adams.

From DC Comics, we switch over to Marvel, looking at ‘Marvel Team-Up’, mostly with Spider-Man and assorted creatures as told by Dan Johnson and Mike Eury. Considering how many monsters were in Marvel’s Atlas Comics’ phase, it would be harder not to spot the transitions with the Hulk and the Thing. With the latter in ‘Marvel Two-In-One, it gave an opportunity for Ben Grimm to meet people who were in a worse situation than himself.

Glenn Greenberg’s look at how Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan and Tom Palmer’s ‘Tomb Of Dracula’ rarely played in the Marvel Universe happening only after they left makes for some odd sequencing although there is some continuity about it. Then again, when you consider how the more scientific aspects accept the magicks of Doctor Strange and other beings, who’s to say what is impossible.

Who’s big and green and not the Hulk or any other gamma-induced creatures? Oddly, although I’m not a great fan of ‘Godzilla’, I did follow his Marvel Comics title, after all he was part of the Marvel Universe with various characters trying to stop but not necessarily kill him. They also had some of the best covers from that time. Marc Buxton goes over his history and interviews writer Doug Moench over his involvement.

Back to DC Comics and the ‘Otherworlds’ version of Batman versus Dracula as explained by Christopher Larochelle was at a time when I was moving away from comicbooks. It allowed writer Doug Moench to go for all over death as he was asked to do three more volumes aided by artist Kelley Jones and inked by Malcolm Jones III.

To get Batman to face off against the Predator and Superman against the ‘Alien’ xenomorphs, DC Comics paired up with Dark Horse Comics in the early 1990s as James Heath Lantz goes over the battles. Objectively, I tended to think it was a bit one-sided but fans like to see such battles in any combination.

There’s an interesting balance of horror-orientated characters and their tales here and, if you’re predisposed that way, I suspect you’ll use this as checklist to track them down. If you’re wanting to fill in gaps in your knowledge or to remind yourself of favoured stories, then ‘Back Issue’ is the magazine to buy. Just don’t let these creatures creep up behind you. Some of them have bad breath.

GF Willmetts

October 2019

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 8.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 7.61 (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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