Retro Fan #4 Spring 2019 (magazine review).

April 17, 2019 | By | Reply More

The fourth issue of ‘Retro Fan’ and the cover shows things from the past are catching up with the present with a certain red-garbed guy but let’s start off with Martin Pasko’s look at the history of the Green Hornet which filled in a lot of gaps. I always thought that making Kato the inventor in the 2011 film was something recent for the script but it goes right back to his comicbook origins.

About the only thing Pasko didn’t reference is Brett Reid’s great grandfather being the Lone Ranger. I thought the 2011 film at least reasonable and now find it’s a little more accurate about Kato’s involvement.

Of course, the biggest chunk of this issue is devoted to the TV version of ‘Shazam!’, as in Andy Mangels’ article, touching briefly on ‘Isis’ when they shared the programme slot. I can’t ever recall seeing it in the UK but aware of its history. Considering Filmation normally did animation, going live-action must have been a change of pace for them. The anecdotes of the actors signing sessions and the kids being confused by having both Billy Batson and Captain Marvel actors on stage at the same time does show how much they got into the series. Logistically, I think I would have switched spots during the day so only one at a time was there.

P.C. Hamerlinch looks at the various merchandise promoting the DC Comics version of Captain Marvel himself. I should point out that ‘Northampton’ in the UK is a single word not two and someone should have spotted that error considering Alan Moore hails from there.

Something I am more familiar with is the 1985 ‘Spirit’ TV movie as I own a copy and watch it more or less on an annual basis. Dan Johnson interviews Sam J Jones on his starring role who is also happy that is the third topic brought up at his convention signings.

Bill Spangles look at ‘Thunderbirds’ came over as a bit choppy, mostly because I know the subject and picking out the odd error wasn’t any stretch. We all know that John and Alan took monthly shifts in Thunderbird 5, not ‘other Tracy brothers’ which would mean any of them. As to what was added to the additional scenes to make them up to 50 minutes, I think Brains’ stutter was there before that, as indeed the character. Also, the first film, ‘Thunderbirds Are Go’, was filmed between the two seasons not afterwards. I know there are always problems with word counts in articles that can mean not quite saying things right but it’s also the reason why misinformation can be passed on. I do wonder if you’re going to have British icon material in this magazine that it might pay to solicit British writers familiar with the subject.

‘Ray Harryhausen: The Man Behind The Monsters’ is Ernest Farino’s observations of knowing the man personally. I hadn’t realised that Harryhausen was such a fan of ‘Laurel & Hardy’ but considering his father had built props for them does make perfect sense. There’s also a neat photo of the internal skeleton of the cyclops from ‘The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad’ made by his father.

Scott Shaw! has a look at the now defunct Pacific Ocean Park aka P.O.P., whose intent was to become a rival to Disneyland by the sea. It certainly had enough features but eventually failed and was auctioned off in 1968.

‘Star Trek Set Tour’ by Robert Greenberger has a look at a recreation of the original ‘Star Trek’ sets by James Cawley and friends which is now used as an exhibit because of Paramount being touchy of fan films. From the photos, of the Ticonderoga, New York site look accurate. Check link: for details.

This issue’s collector’s guide belongs to Jonathan Sternfeld’s ‘The Road To Harveyana’ which is his collection of Harvey Comics merchandise. I think getting the comicbook spinner rack has to be an interesting choice to add to any collection but you want to put comics in it?

Although I was going to do the usual don’t forget to buy this latest ‘Retro Fan’, it is now getting past the first 4 prepared issues now so it’ll be interesting to see where it goes and whether editor Mike Eury will go over similar material from a different perspective. In the long term, this has to be explored because otherwise there will be a limit to the number of fresh subjects each issue. If I was going to add an extra subject, I think I would have a running article on the collectors’ lodestone or top of the bucket list want and seeing if it’s worth pursuing it at any cost. A sort of tat or gold if you like. At least if you only have a limited number of choices, you’re likely to have a more informed choice.

Did I say you should buy this issue of ‘Retro Fan’?

GF Willmetts

April 2019

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 80 page magazine. Price: $ 8.95. (US). ISSN: 2576-7224. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 7.61 (US))

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Category: Comics, 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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