Back Issue #64 (magazine review).

The subject of Back Issue # 64 in 2003 was to look at the back-up strips in the various DC Comics titles. When sales dropped for the likes of ‘Green Lantern’, rather than let the characters lie dormant after cancellation, they were turned into 8 page back-up features in the likes of ‘The Flash’. Indeed, Green Lantern and Green Arrow, along with the Black Canary, went their own ways, chiefly because GL went back into space for adventures and he was the guardian of sector, not just Earth. I think these days, the top two comicbook companies tend to reset their universes rather than shake-up the lives of their lead characters if their current direction isn’t getting enough readers.

Having lived through the era, it is rather interesting seeing the other side of the business and even some areas where I missed out on, like ‘Rose And The Thorn’ in ‘Lois Lane’ as a back-up strip. Likewise, the resurrection of the ‘Seven Soldiers Of Victory’, the Vigilante’ and, Jason Bard being split from the ‘Bat-Girl’ strip as Julius Schwart wanting to divide up from 1966 TV series associations. Don’t forget, Bat-Girl was created for the tie-in. The success of the ‘Manhunter’ resurrection came largely because of Archie Goodwin and Walter Simonson working together and after the writer’s death, the Paul Carr version also stayed that way as well.

The ‘Whatever Happened To…’ run which had a look at some of the early DC characters and their fates got a bit more complicated when Roy Thomas was getting the ‘All-Star Squadron’ off the ground and asking Julius Schwarz not to use particular characters and goin on deaf ears somewhat.

Shannon E. Reily interviews Martin Pasko and Keith Giffin about their version of Dr. Fate as a back-up in ‘The Flash’ comic where the focus was on having three in a marriage with Kent and Inza Nelson when the helmet based sorcerer replaces her husband. From there back to ‘The Brave And The Bold’ as John Trumbull discusses the comicbook ‘Nemesis’ strip which ultimately had s finite ending.

The odd thing about picking up early issues of any TwoMorrows publications is potted histories of early characters are less likely to age and it might intrigue you from the likes of the letters pages to seek out earlier issues from time to time which makes me wonder if I’m becoming an addict to them or their material. Whatever, as with ‘Back Issue’, it stirs up a lot of nice memories.

GF Willmetts

March 2020

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing, 2003. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 8.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 5.37 (US))

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