It’s hardly likely to be surprising that with a certain Batman/Superman film on the horizon that ‘Back Issue’ wouldn’t have a look at their historic confrontations with their eighty-seventh issue. Where better to start that a look at ‘World’s Finest’, which often as not, was one step away from their individual titles at the time. It was hardly then surprising such tales also featured some imaginary scenarios and some obviously twisted on themselves versions with each masquerading as the other from time to time and the odd fight between them. This was more to catch the villains than outright hostility. Interestingly and something I hadn’t known or hadn’t seen, Neal Adams drew some issues and the sample shows the less pointed cowl on Batman. Even he balked at drawing thirteen characters or so per panel and was happy to move on. The examination of these did focus on the number of times Batman and Superman resulted in fights between themselves and as pointed out, was hardly a rare occurrence. Indeed, the cover gallery makes it some 35 times this happened.
As the cover shows, there is an exploration of the Super-Sons, where both Superman and Batman have brattish teens but not really seen as part of regular continuity. There is also a look at the Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane titles although no one knows why they were so successful. Objectively, they always seemed to be the titles that were left available in school cupboards in the UK to be read in rainy breaks, after the other school kids grabbed the main ones before any of us geeks (in my case, the geek) could get to them (although I would read them later). Then again, these were the days when any comic with 20 or so pages was a new discovery for us youngsters and I suspect many teachers raided their own children’s comics for what they would give up.
Looking at the times when the various Robins and even Barbara Gordon (when she was a senator) teamed up with Superman seems an unusual mix as indeed Batman being teamed up with the Man of Steel’s friends or even Supergirl. Of course, the biggest oddity was Superman having to team up with the Joker a few times in a reluctant partnership prior to making the villain a lot more murderous.
As this issue goes ever more deeper into team-ups or pair-ups, there is also a look at the promos down for Radio Shack and the promotion of their computer at the time long before the PC came to the fore.
Also from the cover is a look at Justice League Of America # 200 where there was a mix and match of artists for a big cross-over. The preparation was done over a longer period allowing for them all to fit the work into their schedules.
The final piece is an interview with ‘Batman And Psychology’ author Dr. Travis Langley on his thoughts on both Batman and Superman and they lives. He lets on who he thinks would win in a battle between them. As this interview was conducted in 2015, this is prior to the new film. As I’ve kept away from looking anything up relating to it, I do tend to think there is a downplaying of how smart Superman is supposed to be and I doubt if he would rely on his brawn depending on who he’s fighting. If anything, he has to fight anyone with restraint, even those who can be more powerful than himself because, if he goes flat out, then the environment would also be a true battleground. Not something you want to do to a city on a regular basis.
As usual, ‘Back Issue’ will supplement your background comicbook knowledge. I do like seeing the pictures of the creators, especially of some I’ve never seen. Most of them are modern and it would be nice to see a then (pertinent to them in their prime when they wrote these stories) and now comparison to put them in perspective. Some of them, I met at the time look different to how I remember them. Seeing the covers for the next two issues on the back cover also looks like there’s some equally good issues to come in 2016.
(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 8.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them, you can get it for$ 7.61 (US))
check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com and http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_54&products_id=1222