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Back Issue # 76 October 2014 (magazine review)

December 11, 2020 | By | Reply More

As editor Mike Eury points out in his editorial, this early ‘Back Issue’ focuses on small people or rather the size-reducers, like Hank Pym, or those who are already small, like the Micronauts.

Ian Millsted looks at the relationship between Ant-Man and the Wasp and through Pym’s various guises and there’s a superb illustration by Dave Cockrum of them. It’s useful to point out that the Wasp was the first Silver Age Marvel super-heroine to have solo stories. Henry Pym being a fallible super-hero never made him that popular. When you consider all Marvel’s characters have problems, you would have thought that wouldn’t be a problem. Mind you, considering the number of mental breakdowns he’s had, Pym must hold the record.

Probably the smallest entry is the one shot from Gold Key called ‘The Microbots’ as a tie-in for the Kenner toy as Stephan Friedt relates it which clued me more in on its manufacturer’s history that I hadn’t known.

The oddest is John Cimino’s look at the Marvel Value Stamp series from 1974, used to up Marvel Comics’ sales when they were down in 1974. Granted even if you buy a second-hand comic sans its cut-out can still have some value, but it does up the price on an uncut copy. That brought me some relief a few years ago when I realised I had both versions of The Incredible Hulk # 180-182 featuring a certain Canadian mutant’s appearance. I do have to wonder how many people kept the stampbook album rather than return it to Marvel, although can’t recall them ever coming on the market.

Speaking of Wolverine, John Cimino also looks at FOOM # 3 where there was a competition and amongst the winners was one by Andy Olsen who created a Wolverine earlier to those ‘Incredible Hulk’ issues. We’ve all created super-heroes in our youth so the odds of creating one that would be parallel latter ones in the comicbook companies isn’t impossible so an interesting trivia question.

I have been wondering when the history of DC’s Atom character was going to be covered but 79 issues in did seem a long time in as John Trumbull has a look at Ray Palmer’s alter-ego. Looking at his checklist, it’s obvious the Atom had a short run in his own title but many appearances elsewhere. ‘Sword Of The Atom’ gets a feature all to itself, mostly because of the change of direction for the character even though it was done primarily to preserve the trademark and then, because of its fantasy aspect, became successful for a time.

Of course, the real biggie of this ‘Back Issue’ is a look at the history of ‘The Micronauts’ and probably the most successful of the toy-related comicbook series. Reading James Health Lantz’s article and my own memories of the series is that it didn’t have to depend on any histories with the original toys, mostly because it didn’t have any. Despite its editorial criticisms, it’s writer Bill Mantlo’s opus who made it work, although I have to confess raised question marks at naming a lady character, Slug.

A change with looking at DC Comics’ Reprint Digests by John Wells should make some of you LSH fans out there stop and think as there were a couple original stories in the mix. When they first came out, it was those I primarily went after those and it pointed out that with the LSH reprints, there were short article pieces by Paul Levitz about them with each one. There’s also a big checklist of the issues and contents here.

Finally, Andy Mangels has a look at DC Comics’ Super Jrs. And SuperKids, baby versions as toys and as a comicbook. Thankfully, I can’t recall seeing them in the UK.

This ‘Back Issue’ is quite a potpourri of tiny material and covers a wide ground of tiny material in various formats and characters. Don’t come out short.

GF Willmetts

December 2020

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

check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com and https://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_54&products_id=1161&zenid=ffad7ec1517ab26bcabadcd006e12fd7

Category: Magazines, Superheroes

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 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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