Back Issue #67 September 2013 (magazine review).

I pulled ‘Back Issue # 67 September 2013’ last year for a look at two principle things which you’ll soon spot as you read this review. Anything else was purely a bonus. The theme of this ‘Back Issue’ is alternative realities with characters outside of their usual timelines. This also includes time travellers who also want to manipulate time for their own benefits.

The first is ‘Batman: Gotham By Gaslight’ and an exploration of said title with two interviews. Actually, the first is a collected one with writer Brian Augustyn, artist Mike Mignola, inker John Workman and editor Mark Waid who worked on the title bringing the Dark Knight out in a story loosely based on Jack the Ripper. This was what really started the alternative realities line at DC Comics as their version of Marvel’s ‘What If…?’.

This is followed by an interview with artist P. Craig Russell looking at his career, including his work on Marvel’s ‘War Of The Worlds’.

My main interest was a look John Wells take at the 15 issue run of the ‘Karate Kid’ title when Legion Of Super-Heroes’ member Val Armourr came to live in the 20th century for a while. Jim Shooter originally created him in 1966 as a means to introduce a needed action hero into the otherwise finger-pointing powers of the Legion and long before the martial arts trend of the 1970s. Ultimately, it also resulted in his demise, I suspect because he simply wasn’t powerful enough. I mean, there’s a singular absence of Karate Kid in most of the later versions of the Legion since.

It’s hardly surprising that Claremont/Byrne’s X-Men tale, ‘Days Of Future Past’ is explored by Dewey Cassell. Please tell me that you’ve all read the story. Jason Shayer examines The New Mutants Special/X-Men Annual # 12 where the two teams are in Asgard felt a bit. Looking back, they even beat the Avengers in going there first if memory serves.

It’s hardly surprising that Kang is covered, especially his multiple identities. Stephen Friedt goes through all his history, including a Marvel paperback, picking out the pieces of his life and the odd times he meets himself.

Christopher Larochelle looks at DC Comics’ Michael Jon Carter, otherwise known as Booster Gold, and how the self-promoting super-hero finally found his niche. In some respects, he’s also a reminder that one can’t live off super-heroics alone. On the other hand, Carter did steal what amounts to his super-powers in the first place to fulfil his part in the past.

While we’re on DC time travellers, we also have the Bob Greenberger edited ‘Time Master’ back in the day and brings together its writers, Bob Wayne and Lewis Shiner, to discuss it and how the mini-series, following the adventures of Rip Hunter in different eras, finding itself properly years later in ‘52’. There is also a brief interview with its penciller Art Thibert.

Finally, Michael Aushenker looks at the comic-book adventures of ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’. Something I share with its writer/artist Evan Dorkin is I haven’t seen either film and he’s only seen the second one. Seeing the list of comparable films that were spun off it, I also realised I avoided those as well. Do I have issues with screaming idiots with education issues who prefer to party? Very probably.

As ever, which ever issue of ‘Back Issue’ you pull, you have something to learn and this one is no exception. Keep an eye out for time machines.

GF Willmetts

February 2019

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 8.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 7.61 (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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