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Back Issue #121 September 2020 (magazine review).

September 21, 2020 | By | Reply More

One question that is never asked in the latest issue of ‘Back Issue’ is why does sword and sorcery in the likes of a barbarian like Conan and the other examples here so popular? Magic, although much older, being depicted as bad or at least by its users does have shades of luddites in the industrial revolution. You would think if magic was that good then it would never be beaten. Of course, it could all be about semi-naked men and women playing it rough.

Anyway, it is 50 years since Roy Thomas sold Stan Lee on licencing ‘Conan’ from the Robert E. Howard Estate and made it into a comicbook franchise. Steven Thompson goes over the top 50 best stories over these 5 decades.

Marc Buxton then looks at the other barbarians at Marvel, followed by Mike Eury doing the same for DC Comics, who were a little late to the party in the 1970s. For both companies, looking collectively, they are pretty much variants on a theme than develop beyond the basics.

Going back to Conan, there is a look at Marvel’s newspaper strip by Dewey Cassell for much of its life written by Roy Thomas and a variety of its artists over the year, some of whom, like John Buscema, weren’t particularly fond of the size limitations and didn’t stay long.

Then back to DC Comics and James Heath Lamtz goes over ‘Arak, Son Of Thunder’ and Roy Thomas explains how he and his wife, Dann, devised the reality so as not to resemble the other barbarian too closely.

An oddity in the bunch is a look at the Remco 6 inch DC figures figures that included Mike Grell’s Warlord Deimos, Machiste and Mikola plus Arak, Hercules and the comparisons and lawsuit by Mattel for similar bodies and er…legs. Being objective here, considering the size of all their bodies, the shorter divided legs probably made it easier for them to stand up.

‘Gray Morrow’s Edge Of Chaos’ covers his two issue comic as writer Stephen Freidt goes over its history which mixes SF and fantasy elements.

Finally, a return of Conan, but this time his licence tenure under Dark Horse and much of his art pencilled not inked but still coloured as writer Ian Millsted goes over it.

Oddly, although none of this is my subject, I found this a fairly easy read and, to be truthful, confirms the titles I avoided in my youth. Maybe it’s a scientific thing. After all, to be this powerful with broadswords, you need the muscles and I fight better with a test tube.

GF Willmetts

September 2020

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 9.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 9.95 (US))

check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com and https://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_54&products_id=1533

Tags:

Category: Comics, Magazines

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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