Back Issue #137 August 2022 (magazine review).

This edition is a relative to Back Issue # 132 which focused on Marvel’s mini-series, only here its with DC Comics’ mini-series. 51 of them have already been covered elsewhere in this magazine’s run, so these really are the straddlers, all 11 of them. Here’re some of them of particular interest.

Jim Ford’s look at the ‘ Secrets Of The Legion Of Super-Heroes’ did pop up something I hadn’t known that Jim Shooter had originally meant for Ferro Lad to be black but was vetoed by editor Mort Weisinger because it would affect sales in the southern states. When you think of all the coloured skins the Legion has, you wouldn’t have thought it would have made that much difference, especially as Ferro Lad always wore a helmet so became ugly instead. Saying that, he could still be black underneath. Considering the resurrections of dead characters today, that should make someone think, although not ugly, please. For all Legion fans, we also know what the secret of this mini-series was, hence my focus on the above point of interest.

I would have thought the first ‘Tales Of The Green Lantern Corps’ would have been covered by now, although I’m reasonably conversant with it because Brian Bolland did the covers and got him into DC Comics proper. Bryan D. Stroud gives the lowdown here and how Joe Staton created so many of the Corps, including one that looks like a crystal mountain. Diversity here as well in all colours, including brown. Something else I am puzzled by is why has Sector 2814 got at least three back-up Lanterns and none of the other sections appear to have any back-ups.

If you thought seeing Superman’s ancestors in TV shows was something new, ‘The Krypton Chronicles’ written by E. Nelson Bridwell and drawn by Curt Swan back in 1981 will stir that up. As writer Eddy Zeno points out, Bridwell was a walking encyclopaedia of DC trivia and well suited for the task.

I hadn’t realised how Green Arrow lacked his own comicbook title, no doubt just counting the stories he was in, until the first mini-series, written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Trevor Von Eeden. Writer Brian Martin interviews them and how they defined the character. This 1983 mini-series has never been reprinted and the last time he used his trick arrows. Archers are really the most dangerous super-heroes.

I only have vague memories of the 1984 mini-series ‘Spanners Galaxy’. I would question writer Ed Lute about the origin similarities to ‘Star Wars’ and think more of Heinlein. Written by Nick Cuti and drawn by Tom Mandrake, the casting technique of teleportation to difference worlds was certainly unique.

As I didn’t really follow ‘Warlord’, I didn’t know about the back-up storyline ‘The Barren Earth’ by writer Gary Cohn and artist Ron Randall that was allowed a short mini-series to cover up loose ends but no further. They are interviewed by John Schwirian. You can see the SF elements they borrowed from to build the reality from the sample art and background design work here. I think the line that struck home the most came from a Dick Giordano quote that a quarter of your work will be stuff you love and the rest is drawing comics.

The second Legion mini-series is ‘Legionnaires 3’ has Jonathan Brown exploring it. I think the only thing he missed out on was it being the starting point as to who Validus was or got people thinking in those terms.

Lastly, Andy Mangels interviews artist Trina Robbins and writer Kurt Busiek about ‘The Legend Of Wonder Woman’ mini-series. I think the most significant thing I learned here was DC Comics don’t actually own Wonder Woman, but licence it from the William Moulton Marston Estate. The contract means they have to produce an annual comic title with her in it or she reverts to his estate. This series was essentially a stopover before the ‘Crisis’.

I learned some important information from this edition and there’s bound to be more you didn’t know if you get your own copy.

GF Willmetts

September 2022

(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))

check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com and https://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_54&products_id=1669


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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