Back Issue #2 (magazine review).

I have a current bugbear looking for Back Issue # 61. It was originally released double-size representing giant-size comicbooks Marvel and DC released in the 1970s with an Alex Ross Legion Of Super-Heroes cover, reprinted 18 months ago at its regular size and both sold out. Like any of you looking for something, I was scanning the websites and I came across Back Issue # 2 and, not believing my luck, ordered it up.

Hands up all of you who look for the early issues of anything, especially if they are sold out. Exactly. Low numbers are important because they tend to have lower print runs and we’re always curious as to how they started and the decisions made then having an impact on what we see today. Let’s look at the content first.

With his second issue, editor Mike Eury starts off looking at the 1980s independent publishers Comico and its brief time in the world. I can’t really recall much of Comico’s output being in general release over here. Having said that, the interview with Mike W. Barr and Adam Hughes about ‘The Maze Agency’ and seeing its art has piqued my interest to seek out a volume about the detective agency.

‘Grendel’ I had heard of but with the interview with is creator Matt Wagner and his editor Diana Schutz, I learnt more about it being an allegorical fantasy. Then a brief look at Steve Rude’s version of ‘The Space Ghost’ and then, for me, an eye opener.

A lot of TwoMorrow short run publications started off as sections in their main books. I was just surprised that ‘Rough Stuff’ this time showing the work of Adam Hughes started so far back before getting its own magazine. Looks like I shall have to keep my eyes open for other early issues.

From there, we move onto Pacific Comics and two of their anthology comic series, the SF-orientated ‘Alien Worlds’ and the slightly more horrific ‘Twisted Tales’ as described by writer Dan Johnson as he interviews Bruce Jones and the different artists he drew (sic) in to contribute art.

Mike W. Barr returns to go over the DC Implosion of 1978 where as a staffer/proof-reader wasn’t laid off. He gives insight of the times from the inside, how the ‘Superman – The Movie’ got them back on the map and then reveals the ‘Cancelled Comic Cavalcade’ isn’t the pot of gold some comicbook fans believe.

Unlike ‘Alter Ego’, ‘Back Issue’ back then varied it text from one to two columns and double space lines which editor Mike Eury describes as being spacious than filling out space. Then is a lot more art here, though. It’s also in black and white, as indeed were all the early TwoMorrow magazines back in the turn of the century. A glimpse into the past that is well worth the opportunity to explore.

GF Willmetts

April 2020

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing, 2004. 96 page illustrated magazine. Price: originally $ 5.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them, you can get a digital copy for $ 4.99 (US))

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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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