SFcrowsnest

Alter Ego #148 September 2017 (magazine review).

Back in 9-11 June 2000, Joe Petrilak ran the ‘All Time Classic New York Comic Book Convention’, where he had pros mainly from the Golden and Silver Ages of comics. With some of them in their advanced ages, this would be one of the last times that it would be possible to gather them all together. Not only is there a look at the comic convention for its time but also how the unexpected union catering bill put Petrilak out of pocket.

What makes this issue gold is the interviews from the panel discussions. The Flash 60th Anniversary Panel brought together the creative people from the original Jay Garrick Flash and the Barry Allen Flash in the shape of Harry Lambert, Carmine Infantino, Frank Giella, Frank McLaughlin and hosted by Ron Goulart. Something I hadn’t known before is someone is always late for any discussions about the Flash and, in this case, it was Infantino. Much of the panel was videotaped and transcribed here. You might know how these people got to do these books but getting it from them all together makes for a fascinating read and who they credited with what. The most significant person with the Flash was editor Sheldon Mayer.

Roy Thomas hosted a panel of Carmine Infantino, Joe Kubert and Julius Schwarz shortly before they all received the RF Outcault Award. Before you ask, Outcault created the Yellow Kid, the earliest significant American comicbook character. Much of this was a Q&A session covering a lot of subjects. Schwarz was quieter than usual because he was plugging his book, ‘Man Of Two Worlds’ which, if he were alive today, would want plugged again.. Saying that, his explanation about updating characters for a new generation makes sense but my thought was only if the new versions are better than the originals. After all, some characters have become more iconic. Joe Kubert explained he rarely remembered any of the art he had drawn and hadn’t even worried about getting the original artwork back. Roy Thomas’ comment that publisher Martin Goodman was afraid that the artists would sell the pages to foreign countries to reprint wasn’t something I’d thought of before. Seeing their reaction to Frederic Wertham shows how uneasy things were in the 1950s and how it nearly totalled the comicbook industry. There is a lot to learn here and I’ve just picked a few points.

There’s a look at Russell Rainbolt’s massive 20 foot by 60 foot mural and a 4 page spread showing it all. Although they ask to see if you recognise all the characters, I think for those who find that easy is to recognise some of the source material used.

Michael T. Gilbert examines mail between the late artist Peter Anthony Morisi with, by his permission, correspondent Glen D. Johnson. As Gilbert points out, Morisi was drawing in comics from 1948-2003, so there is knowledge from a large slice of comicbook history, included ‘Peter Cannon—Thunderbolt’. There’s also some reveals of tricks of the trade from copying to using photos and how their eyes go cross-eyed when reduced in size.

Bill Schelly continues his conversation with Ted White and the start of comics fandom in the USA and early printing. Reading about their early printing processes, they had a few more choices than we had available a decade or so later when I was involved to do it economically.

Alas we have two obituaries. Although I didn’t know about artist Michael Docherty (1955-2016), I do remember letterer Gaspar Saladino (1927-2016) as he contributed to so many comicbook titles…literally. Look on the covers.

Finally, PC Hamerlinck has a look at the original Captain Marvel and how his visage was based on actor Fred MacMurray, much to his distain when it was finally pointed out to him although his wife loved it. This did make me wonder if comicbook creators today model new characters faces on existing people.

‘Alter Ego’ might be down to bimonthly status but the variety of material as shown here clearly shows they haven’t run out of steam yet. If you were brought up in this period, there is a nice feeling of nostalgia and the occasional smile of I’ve got a copy of that.

GF Willmetts

August 2017

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 98 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 9.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6890. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 8.46 (US))

check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com and http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_55&products_id=1289