Back Issue #69

Back Issue #69

Back Issue #69

TwoMorrows Publishing

Back Issue is to the world of super hero comics as Soap Opera Digest to the televised “Stories” – a meta publication concerned more with the background of its chosen media as opposed to the media itself. This is issue 69 of Back Issue, and for ten years it’s covered the authors and illustrators of this evergreen media genre, providing insights and interviews and the general “under of the hood” look at comics. Comic magazines have influenced generations of American artists, writers and fans, they’ve set standards on how stories are constructed as well as delineating the complex fantasy world rules for their protagonists: some are affected by odd radiation, some by twisted psychological upbringings, and more than a few showcase antagonists specializing in inexplicable vengeance that is weak on why but oh so strong on how. This is a densely written and through publication but at 96 pages I can’t comment on everything, but here’s a sample of what caught my eye.

The topic of Anniversary Issues opens the magazine, in the day (1930’s and 1940’s) the comics were a little disrespectful (ask your grandmother) and they didn’t always last very long as publishers battled each other for readers and distribution space on the news stand. Today we have the perspective to see the winners and losers, but before Batman or Superman became the icons we know, they were just another voice in the din. When they self-promoted their 25th or 50th issue, it was more a brag to the other publishers than it was fan service, surviving 25 issues was a financial milestone more than an artistic one.

As we flip pages in Back Issue, brilliant color illustrations mix with long text blocks, we see profiles of authors such as Mike W Barr (Batman – the Brave and the Bold) the writing team of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster who created Superman and then battled to retain the rights, and Marv Wolman and Keith Pollard who recently collaborated on extensive stories surrounding The Fantastic Four. The stories have a depressingly similar thread: if you create a successful hero and he battles the super villains, you will end up battling the super villains of publishing as they scramble for rights in a competitive yet occasionally profitable universe. Entertainment of any flavor is a tough, brutal power struggle; Back Issue details the battles and casualties.

Naturally, there’s’ a great collection of anniversary covers, my favorites for no sane reason are “The Care Bears,” they don’t wear Spandex and they aren’t very scary, and the parody “Peter Porker as Spider Ham.” Super heroes cartoons can take themselves a bit seriously but this all just fantasy entertainment. There’s even a page devoted to Michael Eury who created the Back Issue Magazine with the story of how he got it off the ground. The focus in Back Issue is the DC / Marvel worlds, but they do give nod to the lesser lights and the real interest today is in the steady reincarnation of the Golden and Silver Age heroes that still sell product in the new century. Like All TwoMorrows publications, it is a bit specialized but thoroughly and crisply written and provides a clear perspective on where the cartoon universe came from and where it’s heading.

www.twomorrows.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Christian Scott
    Christian Scott

    Rebel Ruler (Ropeadope / Stretch Music). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Kivanç Sezer
    Kivanç Sezer

    Turkish director Kivanç Sezer’s powerful debut feature, My Father’s Wings, puts the spotlight on the workplace safety crisis that is currently taking place in his homeland. Lily and Generoso Fierro spoke with Sezer at SEEFest 2017 about his film and his need to draw attention to this issue.

  • Temples
    Temples

    Supporting their just-released sophomore record, UK synth-pop poster boys, Temples, attracted an SRO crowd to one of Orlando’s premier nightspots.

  • Rat Film
    Rat Film

    Baltimore. Rats. A match made in Maryland.

  • Bishop Briggs
    Bishop Briggs

    Bishop Briggs brings a stacked bill of up and comers to Orlando for a sold-out party at The Social. Jen Cray joins in the fun.

  • Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World
    Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

    There’s more than black music influencing the evolution of Rock and Roll. Native American rhymes and ideas are every bit as significant, once you know to look for them.

  • Keith Morris
    Keith Morris

    Ink 19 slings a few questions to the punk rock pioneer Keith Morris on Trump, Calexit and looking back.

  • Soul Understated
    Soul Understated

    Soul Understated was a swizzle stick of jazz, funk, pop with a dash of Radiohead in the delightful DC cocktail.

  • Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu
    Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu

    That Trip We Took With Dad is the debut feature by acclaimed Romanian short film director Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu. Generoso Fierro sat down with Lǎzǎrescu during SEEFest to discuss the comedy and drama within the adaptation of her deeply personal family story for the screen.

  • Aware
    Aware

    The Book Of Wind (Glacial Movements). Review by Carl F Gauze.

From the Archives