Back Issue #18 October 2005 (magazine review).

With Green Lantern as drawn by Neal Adams on the cover and the proclamation that Back Issue # 18 is the ‘Big Green Issue’, it’s hardly surprising what the topic is. Surprisingly, the opening interview with Peter David is about the Hulk, although considering he regained his intelligence by going grey, might have been an odd choice.

Saying that, I doubt if the ‘Big Grey Issue’ would have been equally effective name, although there are fewer grey named characters. Let’s hit some highlights.

An interview with Neal Adams explores his interest in science and a bit more detail on changing the number of colours used in the 1960s at DC Comics and creating a 3D picture, putting that into perspective with knowledge. Although I’m not contesting his view that the continents were created by the Earth expanding, after all, continental drift is caused by lava coming out from between the tectonic plates which goes back as far as Hubble. The Earth’s crust is on an a global ocean of lava so things are always moving but I doubt if it would affect gravity as this is caused by mass and I doubt if that’s changed that much.

It should hardly be surprising that this issue looks at Green Lantern and Jim Kingman looks at what happened to him when his own comicbook was cancelled and became a back-up strip in ‘The Flash’ and allowed other Lanterns to be displayed.

Which brings an analysis by Al Nickerson of that nice Guy Gardner. Well, not really nice. I do think he worked better as an abrasive personality and does address the question that if you have access to a great power ring with a strong will, then you have to accept all the baggage that would carry as well. A strong will does tend to show aggressive tendencies.

Mike Grell goes over his time with Green Arrow from ‘The Longbow Hunters’ to his 80 issue run on its own title. Added to this are his design sketches for the costume changes.

The ‘Rough Stuff’ section focuses on Dave Gibbons showing his layout work to full pencils which is quite an education. I’d like to know how the light blue was identified that wouldn’t photocopy though for printing before inking as pencils.

Gerry Conway and John Romita, Sr. go over the decisions they made to kill Gwen Stacy and the original Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man # 121-122, although neither expected it to be so sweeping in the mythos. Romita compared to how Milton Caniff took the same approach with ‘Terry And The Pirates’ newspaper strip, limiting a character’s life before bringing in new blood.

Michael Browning explores Now Comics problems with resurrecting the Green Hornet and Kato and remembering a licence to print couldn’t forget that it still had to appease its owners.

John Wells has a depthy look at J’onzz J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter and his career on Earth. In many respects, he is the Mars equivalent of Superman with a few more powers like shape-shifting. I suspect his actual look is probably what has held him back from getting a higher profile.

As usual, ‘Back Issue’ is always a good read. Alas, I just checked and it’s no longer on the Neal Adams website, so looks like I pulled the last physical copy so, unless you get really lucky, you’ll have to rely on the digital copy.

GF Willmetts

February 2020

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 100 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 6.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them, you can get it digitally for $ 4.99 (US))

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