Back Issue #41 July 2010 (magazine review).

Last year, I successfully acquired the 41st early Back Issue magazine, primarily because it features ‘American Flagg!’ on the cover. For those of us who are old enough, this character brings back fond memories. While ‘American Flagg!’ and Captain America both represent authority in their respective realities, I wouldn’t say that ‘American Flagg!’ is as patriotic as Captain America.

In this issue, an article by Philip Schweiser interviews Howard Chaykin, the creator of ‘American Flagg!,’ and discusses the character’s journey as a First Comics success. Chaykin admits that he struggled to keep up with the monthly page output and allowed others to take over for some time before returning. While Chaykin believes that his replacements erred in moving Ruben Flagg out of Chicago, it is possible that they wanted to avoid stepping on Chaykin’s toes and simply chose the wrong direction. Regardless, this issue offers a comprehensive history of ‘American Flagg!’ for those seeking reprints.

Dan Tandarich’s article on ‘Contest of Champions’ reveals that the comic was initially slated for release to coincide with the 1980 Olympics. However, America’s withdrawal from the Olympics due to the USSR invading Afghanistan led to delays and ultimately a revamp of the series. The comic’s release resulted in the creation of more international superheroes, although few have made significant appearances since.

Two articles on Wonder Woman are featured, with Jim Ford examining her transition from spy attire back to her traditional costume in 1974, and Dewey Cassell interviewing writer Roy Thomas and artist Gene Colan about their time working on the title. Additionally, the magazine includes two Captain America-focused articles, one by Lex Carson discussing Cap’s permanent home and the other by Mark DiFruscio, which features an interview with writer Roger Stern and artist John Byrne.

The issue also covers the Red Skull, Captain America’s arch-nemesis, and the Freedom Fighters, a Quality Comics Group team acquired by DC Comics. Lastly, the magazine delves into the short-lived motorcycle team ‘Team America,’ created to fulfill Marvel’s merchandising requirements.

Overall, this Back Issue offers a diverse collection of articles centered around “red, white, and blue” characters, making it an enjoyable and informative read for fans of the genre.

GF Willmetts

March 2023

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price:  (US). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them, you can get it digitally for $ 4.99 (US))

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