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Back Issue #3 April 2004 (magazine review).

March 24, 2021 | By | Reply More

I thought pulling the second issue of ‘Back Issue’ on the main auction website last year was a fluke but had similar luck this year with getting a copy of the third issue. The fact so few early TwoMorrows magazine issues pop up is probably more a testament to their readers not wanting to give them up.

I tend to be a sucker for early issues, not just for completest but also to content and seeing the early stages of a magazine’s development. Let’s pick some highlights from 17 years ago.

This issue also spotlights the Keith Giffin/J.M. DeMatteis run on the ‘Justice League’, although you would hardly spot it from the Joker cover. The interview with them and, later, artist Kevin Maguire and their editor Andy Hefler as interviewed by Dan Johnson reveals how they wanted to do a lighter book compared to ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘Watchmen’ at the time and went for funny. As they explain, they didn’t disrespect the characters but had some fun and the title sold and grew over JL groups which ultimately burnt them out. In the comicbook industry, getting the right combination of creators on a book is often more by luck than judgement and hoping things gel and hook fans.

Editor Mike Eury looks at Warner Bros desire to create a Plastic Man film and why it fell through. Seeing various actors dressed as Plas does show it could be effective and in the CGI world of today could probably work as a film or TV series.

I didn’t realise ‘Rough Stuff’ had had started in ‘Back Issue’ but seeing the original work of many artists in their pencil state shows how far they go before the inking stage.

Peter Sanderson’s examination of the Joker’s history up to 2014, shows how far the evil clown’s since jumped in the past 7 years. As a villain, the Joker was diluted over the early years, forgetting just how much of a psychopath he was. When Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams reinvented the character and then with Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers with their brief stint, they looked at his early appearance to return his insane edge.

I do agree with O’Neil’s comment that the 9 issue ‘The Joker’ comic in 1975 was a mistake, especially under the strict CCA regulations at the time which has gotten lax since. Makes note to look at the recent film. In many respects, the Joker is a deadly force of nature and his appeal comes largely from him doing things we would never do but watch like rabbits in a car’s headlights not believing what we are seeing.

Mark Evanier makes a very strong point that comedy comics were there long before super-hero comics but not given as much praise. I would add that a lot of writers either don’t have a sense of humour or have difficulty writing it. I can do both and do it frequently but I work like that. I’m less prone to read humour comics or even comedy books though but that might be professional mental choice.

Despite its age, it is worth looking at the early ‘Back Issues’ because the material is less likely to age because it refers to material even earlier.

GF Willmetts

March 2021

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing, 2004. 98 page illustrated magazine. Price: I pulled my copy on Ebay for about £17.00 (UK). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them, you can get a digital copy for $ 4.99 (US))

check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com and https://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_54&products_id=421

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Category: Magazines, Superheroes

About the Author ()

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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