Back Issue #133 February 2022 (magazine review).
Believe it or not, I do try to give a couple days between different TwoMorrows publications. More a matter of regrouping my thoughts before moving onto the next one. Alas, I looked inside the latest issue of ‘Back Issue’ yesterday devoting itself to characters or groups with ‘Star’ in their names and just dug in the next morning. Mind you, the cover does look a little too red and I can’t place its lead character. More on that later.
In comicbooks, its rather amazing just how many characters have been called ‘Starman’, let alone other permutations and mostly from DC Comics. Several of them have been covered before as given in the introduction so you’ll probably be rummaging for…er…back issues to read about those. This feels more like the round-up of the rest.
The Star-Spangled Kid and Stripsey as explored by writer Bryan D. Stroud from the 1940s is the reverse scenario where the adult is the side-kick. When you consider Stripsey is now mentoring Star-Girl in the new TV series, you might get some useful history here and about his cosmic rod, an inheritance from the original Starman.
One group I would have thought would have been covered before now is the Starjammers. Created by Dave Cockrum and embellished by Chris Claremont in their introduction in Uncanny X-Men # 107 when there were enough characters to make your head spin. James Heath Lantz explores their history and a few mini-series and through Christopher Summers, we get the connections to his two and later three sons.
I have vague memories of ‘Starstruck’ which means I have its first graphic novel hidden away somewhere. Zack Smith interviews writer Elaine Lee and artist Michael Kaluta about its theatre source to paper and its mini-series which got cut short.
As I said, DC Comics has probably got the biggest number of characters called Starman. Ed Catto examines the 1980s version created by Roger Stern and Tom Lyle which had a Marvel influence even if it only lasted a couple years. I remember it from its time. Interestingly, he also had two decent costumes. However, with no connection to the originals, when he was gone, those related to Ted Knight, the original Starman, could be started with his son, Robert, in the title row as Bill DeSimone recounts. I’m less sure about connecting them all together, especially as Thom Kellor from Xanthu aka Star Boy is pushing it a bit.
Ah, then we come to the final biggest interview conducted by John Trumbull with writer James Robinson and artist Tony Harris about Jack Knight, their Starman (1994-2000). It is their evolution of the cosmic-rod into a lance, more familiar now with its current user, Star-Girl. Although I’m not familiar with this particular version, the cover art shown here, including a collaboration of 6 covers of Harris with Alex Ross is delightful. Oh, the ‘Back Issue’ cover is based on a proposed graphic novel of this Starman that flatly got a refusal from DC Comics, despite the fact that their original comicbook is still selling well. That’s comicbiz.
Who would have thought an issue devoted to all characters Starman would make for such an entertaining read.
(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $10.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them, you can get it for $10.95 (US))
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