Back Issue #124 December 2020 (magazine review).

Whoever knows fear is going to burn at the touch of this ‘Back Issue’, sporting a cover of the Man-Thing as, inside, Roger Ash goes over his origin and first comicbook history. Oddly, I never made the name connection between Man-Thing and Ben Grimm’s moniker that I couldn’t tell them apart, although I do understand Roy Thomas’ worry from that time. Mind you, it would have been interesting had Man-Thing wanted to join the Fantastic Four and ambled in.

If anything, we were spared a Woman-Thing but see the results of a failed super-soldier drug similar to the one Steve Rogers had taken. Must be those vita-rays he had that Ted Sallis probably didn’t know about. Like all later swamp-creatures, Man-Thing has a passing interest in The Heap from the 1950s but reading here, he certainly brought in a mighty selection of artists and cemented writer Steve Gerber’s reputation. In many respects, the Man-Thing is very much a guest-star in his own book, often coming in to burn people at the end but a lot of people, myself included, loved his early adventures.

So, too, over at DC Comics, when Steve Ditko created the Creeper, a character who often portrayed himself as a crazy villain while doing heroic things. John Wells does a tour of his history and appearances and you really do wonder why no one has thought to give him a film or TV career in our current reality.

Mark Arnold’s look at Harvey Comics is also an examination of how they could do ghostly things within the Comic Code Authority by going for laughs. It did make me wonder why other comicbook companies didn’t ponder on this alternative to get around the CCA.

Although I know Martin and Chip Goodman left Marvel Comics and started their own brand of horror with Atlas Comics, I never realised how gory their product was there, as well as them not lasting that long but see why. Marc Buxton’s examination of their product will certainly make you think that perhaps they were a little too far, especially with ‘The Brute’.

Now we’re back to Man-Thing and his second spin in 1979 five years after the last time. Bryan D. Stroud in his article points out that even with Chris Claremont at the helm, it only lasted eleven issues. You have to wonder why no one thought to just use Man-Thing as an interloper whenever anyone got too close to his everglade swamp.

Finally, Peter Young looks at the Danny Ketch version of Ghost Rider and how this version is the one that had the most influence on his film and TV appearance than the Johnny Blaze version. Comparing the two, it’s pretty obvious how the hell-flame around his skull looks more like it really was coming out of hell, not to mention the motorbike’s wheels. It is also the major career starters for artists Javier Saltares and Mark Texeria, the latter turning from inker to penciller here.

It was very weird (sic) with this issue. Normally, I like to read ‘Back Issue’ over the better part of a week and yet this one took a couple days. Not because it was a fast read but more because I really got stuck into the articles which should speak for itself. Don’t burn.

GF Willmetts

December 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=1534


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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