If ever there is a cover that will guarantee sales, then put one illustrated by Neal Adams on it. The opening interview in this issue of ‘Back Issue’ examines his creation of Ms. Mystic and several other characters who essentially were designed as part of a limited edition portfolio before becoming comicbook series. I have a copy of the portfolio in my own collection. He explains how she ended up appearing in Pacific Comics before moving to Continuity Comics, which is largely what this issue is covering. The American independent comicbook companies or rather some of them. As always with interviews with Neal Adams there is a lot to learn. I didn’t realise the blue pencil usage started off in animation until now, although did think it started around the same time with advertising.
The ten year history of Continuity Comics follows how the characters survived the tenure. In contrast, The Justice Machine had 5 publishers and multiple creator changes. Neither of which I saw much of in the UK. From a British perspective, there was just too many super-hero types out there and it was becoming something of a blend house with so many independent companies when I was indulging. Even so, the histories given here do give some insight into what was going on.
Next is a look at Bill Black’s three comicbook companies, Paragon Publishing, Americomics and AC Comics, all used as the vehicle for Captain Paragon over the years, adding other characters along the way and the various creators who helped him from time to time, including Pat Broderick and Erik Larsen.
Red Circle Comics isn’t left out and if you haven’t bought ‘The MLJ Companion’ book yet, then reading about them here might persuade you, even if you just want to see illustrators you’ve seen elsewhere doing work here.
The T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents was revived after the 1960s also moved across several companies. Initially at Archie/MLJ and then various companies, mostly under the belief that after the death of Wallace Wood that their copyright had run out. The article filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge.
Although TwoMorrows’ ‘Rough Stuff’ is long gone it hasn’t been forgotten and a feature is now incorporated into ‘Back Issue’. This time seeing the pencil work from sample pages from T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and Justice Machine, the latter showing the how to get architecture done.
The final piece is an interview with writer Steven Grant and artist Norm Breyfogle about the ‘Whisper’ comics that went from Capital Comics to First Comics in its run. As with the others in this issue, it all added to my learning curve.
If you thought you knew everything about comics, you’re suddenly going to realise there are huge areas in the independent comics arena that you might have missed.
(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated softcover. Price: $ 8.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 7.61 (US))
check out websites: http://www.twomorrows.com/ and http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_54&products_id=1261