Back Issue # 92 October 2016 (magazine review).

October 13, 2016 | By | Reply More

If you read the top headline on Back Issue # 92’s cover, you will see it is called the ‘Bronze Age Halloween Issue’. If you’re going to buy and be ready to read on the 31st October, then this review has to be on-line a few weeks earlier than that so you can buy your copy so you can be ready. As the cover also shows, much of the content is devoted to DC material, principally, ‘Swamp Thing’ by Martin Pasko and Tom Yeates, not to mention the films made about Swampy that rank him the fourth more filmed DC character, ‘Phantom Stranger’ and ‘The Witching Hour’ and then a sprinkling of Marvel with ‘The Living Mummy’ and a checklist of their horror anthologies.


Before Alan Moore got to ‘Swamp Thing’, it was written by Marty Pasko and drawn by Tom Yeates. Although I did try a few issues of each at the time, I tended more towards ‘Man-Thing’. As we don’t have swamps in the UK, I suspect it was more a question of not really understanding the swamp appeal at the time. There are separate interviews with Pasko and Yeates that will fill you in on their tenure.

We all know that DC Comics and Marvel Comics jointly have the copyright term ‘super-hero’ and ‘super-heroes’ (that second ‘s’ is important, too) between them but did you know the problems before that happened? John Cimino recounts the history of the term and you can read into it the reason why the Legion Of Super-Heroes had it so pronounced on ‘Adventure Comics’ and why their opposition had a ‘Marvel Super-Heroes’ title. Although I thought Cimino was recounting too many known facts before getting into the swing of the article, ultimately you do learn more that you probably didn’t know.

Rob Kelly looks at the appearances of the Phantom Stranger over the years, even if none of us wiser just what he really is. There are some interesting reveals and the Phantom Stranger does seem to be something of a party guy but I bet he doesn’t touch the spirits. The real topping is the interview by Bob Greenberg with Paul Kupperberg who wrote the Phantom Stranger in the 1980s. As you’ll learn here, the original shouldn’t be confused with the ‘New 52’ version which was given an origin and they don’t regard as the same character.

Marc Buxton’s look at Marvel’s ‘The Living Mummy’ and why it wasn’t so successful, mostly because it came at the end of the bandwagon of released horror characters. ‘Supernatural Thrillers’ was hardly a comicbook that I picked up on but then I was already reading most of Marvel’s output at the time and, if memory serves, I don’t think was amongst the distributed UK priced titles sent over here and didn’t really place it highly in the Marvel Universe canon. Reading the article, the Living Mummy only appeared elsewhere once in Marvel Two-In-One # 95, so it’s no wonder he wasn’t promoted that heavily.

For those who like check-lists, Jarrod Buttery has the ‘Marvel Bronze Age Horror Reprint Index Series Index’ showing just how many of them you have to collect if you want them all. Along the bottom of each page is a selection of covers in case you need to know what they looked like.

Like the other TwoMorrows publications, ‘Back Issue’ has a friendly atmosphere that reels you in, even on the most unlikely subject matter. Even though I thought, before reading, that I might have been away from what I normally read here, I did come away knowing more which is always a good sign. If you’re out for a nostalgia kick, then this is a magazine you should be reading.

GF Willmetts

October 2016

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated softcover. Price: $ 8.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 7.91 (US))

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Category: Magazines, Superheroes

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About UncleGeoff

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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