Back Issue # 9 April 2006 (magazine review)

Another ‘Back Issue’ from that recent bought pile. # 9 is sub-titled ‘The Ultimate Comics Experiences’ which, even back in 2006, would be a test of those words. The first begins with writer Glenn Greenberg having a look at ‘Star Wars’, as originally dramatised by Marvel because George Lucas wanted them to release a comicbook version before the 1976 film came out. When you consider how film studios want such adaptations to come out after and then keep everything secret shows how insecure Lucas was about his film’s success. Then again, everyone, including cast and British production people didn’t think much of the film’schances neither, so Lucas wasn’t alone in that assessment. The problem with the comicbook was what to do between films, more so with Lucas pointing out what they couldn’t do was clues to the various comicbook personal as to what was going to be used. Back in the day, I never considered what was canon when I was reading the ‘Star Wars’ comicbooks but then all mags were relatively cheap in those days and didn’t burn the budget and information covered is pretty much as I remembered it.

Jim Starlin and Mike Mignola’s ‘Cosmic Odyssey’ at DC Comics occurred in 1988 when I was moving out of comicbooks from lack of money so Dan Johnson’s interview with these two creators filled in some gaps for me about the mini-series where good and bad people got together to stop the anti-life equation. I do agree with the sentiment here that this series then got side-lined because the equation was thought too good to just stop.

There’s a brief two page guest-editorial by Mike Gold about his time as editor at First Comics and the situation at Marvel and DC Comics at the time in the early 1980s that still has some relevance today.

This then is the move into First Comics’ ‘GrimJack’ as writer Brain K. Morris goes over the mercenary’s middle-age history.

‘Rough Stuff’ as a magazine hadn’t happened yet but as a feature here this time spotlighting Gil Kane’s pencilwork comparing his designs to final work including a lot of covers in comparison. I think my favourite was a page from Amazing Spider-Man # 123 that was originally lost in the post but eventually turned up. At the time, John Romita Sr. had to ink over a vellum photocopy but it does show how tight Kane’s pencils were.

Although I’ve read a much more recent interview with Steve Rude, this one with his writer Mike Baron, as conducted by Anina Bennett tends to be more, shall we say, dude-ish. It took a while to work out that Rude were calling Bennett ‘Dollface’. Although I never read ‘Nexus’, reading its history across three independent comicbook companies told me more about that than the book itself.

Writer Peter Sanderson interviews Jim Starlin about his creation, Thanos, showing an early illustration showing it predates Darkseid. Interestingly, the most significant change made was suggested by Roy Thomas in making him heavier. Nothing beats gravitas.

Going back to single figure issues, ‘Back Issue’ was still learning the ropes but the content was still strong.

GF Willmetts

May 2023

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 100 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ (US). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them, you can get it digitally for $ 4.99 (US))

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