This specific issue of ‘Back issue’ is devoted to ‘creatures of the night’ on the cover although this is a wide brief or why include Marc Spector aka Moon Knight for its opening volley cos he’s hardly a creature. Here we have an intensive interview with his creator/writer Doug Moench and artist for much of the title’s original run, Bill Sienkiewicz. I think the biggest surprise was Moench never saw Moon Knight as anything more than an incidental character but whose appeal to his various editors kept him going. Moench always saw him as a design to take on ‘Werewolf By Night’ not a take on Batman as many thought back in the day. With his multiple identities, I tended to see Moon Knight more akin to The Shadow myself. Of particular interest is reading Moench discussing how he prepares his scripts and more detailed than the traditional Marvel way.
Given equal length is the history of the Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider. Unlike Moon Knight, Ghost Rider was a deliberate attempt to mesh horror and an anti-hero. I do wonder where this places ‘Morbius, The Living Vampire’. If you’ve only caught the modern interpretations, films and ‘Agents Of SHIELD’ of Ghost Rider, then you will certainly get more of his history here.
Adding ‘Night Nurse’ as a creature of the night does seem an odd choice, too, but it does look like the other short run titles ‘The Cat’ and ‘Shanna The She-Devil’ have already been covered. Not a title that I picked up and it was interesting to discover it wasn’t actually a romance comic for all of its four issues.
Someone that definitely falls either way is Eclipso, an odd DC villain who appeared all over the place, often competing against his brave host, Dr. Bruce Gordon, to keep him in place. Article writer Shannon E Riley describes him as a C-level villain although looking at the various writers who used the character tends to suggest he was liked by them.
One of DC’s characters I only ever read once and that was in ‘Brave And Bold’ was ‘I, Vampire’, covering the life and times (literally when he becomes a time traveller for a while) of Andrew Bennett as he tries to stop his betrothed, Mary Sewart, after he sires her into vampirehood and who gets the yen for power unlike himself. That said, everyone gets a mission in life and death.
Back in 2015, editor Mike Eury interviewed writer Mike W. Barr at the Fayetteville Comic-Con and the transcript written up by Steven Thompson is shown here. It gives a snapshot into Barr’s career and his writing of the Batman titles. I have to confess I was amused by Eury having to explains to what must have been a new generation of fans who some of the people they were talking about. I know that many of them weren’t born when many of the comicbooks originally came out but are today’s comicbook fans totally without a clue? Then again, I would probably look that way with some of the new creators today but I have and suspect would quickly catch up.
Following this is a two page comic strip looking at the various Batman costumes over the years. About the only one missing is when Batman looked like a zebra.
Some interpretation sketches of the Batman by Neal Adams, Ramona Fradon, Frank Miller and Jim Aparo and a page of Brian Bolland’s art from ‘The Killing Joke’ should have some of you jumping for this issue.
Finally, a look at Marvel’s one shot, ‘Nightcat!’, together with the actress Jacqueline Tavarez who was her model and Nikki Gregoroff who voiced her on the album, which oddly is still available. Marvel’s attempts at blending real life and comicbook seems an odd choice looking back over the years but tends to reflect they were willing to try anything.
This issue of ‘Back Issue’ is certainly a varied number of characters. Several of them you wouldn’t want to bump into in the night. Even without the histories, the creators comments are worth the admission.
(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))
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