This ‘Back Issue’s sub-title is ‘SPIES AND P.I.S ISSUE!’. I’m keeping it capped from the cover because that ‘S’ should have been lower case cos from a British perspective, it’s literally taking the pis*.
Interestingly, there is a gap between the two features on Nick Fury to cover PI Tim Trench, created by writer Dennis O’Neil to feature initially in the ‘New Wonder Woman’ when she went solely as Diane Prince and popped up a couple other times. He didn’t catch the readers’ eye and went out of business according to writer Bryan Stroud..
It’s unusual for Nick Fury’s commando days to be covered by James Heath Lantz here considering he wasn’t a secret agent then but a lot of the focus is in how it went half-reprint and the issues still sold at a constant rate. I often think that the war comics from both companies put out went to a sub-niche of fans who probably didn’t read the super-hero genre. Patrick A. Reed looks at Fury’s S.H.I.E.L.D. career over the years. I’ve always seen a problem with Marvel Spotlight # 31. Not because Fury’s longevity after World War Two has to be accounted for, but also of the three commandoes that joined up with him in S.H.I.E.L.D.. He had to have let them in on his secret and certainly it would have to be on record how they can still be active being so old. Just needs someone with a calculator.
Ben Herman’s look at ‘Mike Mauser, Private Eye’ interviews its artist Joe Staton, alas writer Nick Cuti is no longer with us. From starting as a bit character in ‘E-Man’, Mauser had an interesting career and looks like I missed a lot of his tales.
One that definitely didn’t come over here is junior detective, ‘Encyclopedia Brown’, who had a book and newspaper strip life as Dewey Casell explains.
I’ve been toying with the idea of looking at Ms. Tree. Stephen Friedt interviews her writer Max Allen Collins and artist Terry Beatty. I’m still puzzling how she got the first name of ‘Michael’, the same as her late husband. She’s had quite an eventful career.
It takes two writers, Ed Lute and Joe Norton, to cover the Hydra organisation. I guess cut one writer off and two writers rise in his place. As they point out, Hydra is the backbone criminal organisation on Marvel Earth. Although I’m not going to go over their history here, read the article, it did make me ponder why they tolerate other criminal organisations and then it dawned on me. They can use them to mask their own activities but also as a means to recruit seasoned people to their own organisation. Considering they also infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D., it shows a lot about their operations.
I hadn’t realised that Will Eisner’s ‘John Law, Detective’ had some of its material moved over to ‘The Spirit’. Writer Ed Catto goes over it and the fact that Sand Saref started her life there and her name derives from the font. ‘John Law’ was going to be part of a three different series sets of comics originally in the late 1940s but never got past the preparation time but ultimately had three tales under one cover for Kitchen Sink productions. It’s still out there, so expect me to grab a copy.
I have only vague memories of the DC Comics series ‘Checkmate!’ starting in 1988. Ian Millsted looks over the title and interviews people involved and the plans to have made it their version of S.H.I.E.L.D..
Looking over some of these series, I think the secret agent organisations in the comicbook realities would probably work better as mini-series than continuing series simply because not all missions can be that important all the time. They certainly can’t be allowed to be seen publicly all the time or they wouldn’t be secret.
This ‘Back Issue’ should make you think and covers a lot of subjects here.
(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))