Monday, April 13, 2015

Back In Action!

I've been wanting to get my mitts on the seventy-ninth issue of Back Issue since I first glommed my eyes upon the Al Milgrom cover featuring Captain Atom battling his arch-enemy The Ghost. These are my heroes, the ones who fired me up when others let me down. They ended quickly, making them more about potential than reality, but then that's often the way.

This particular issue of Back Issue eschews the regrettable arbitrary division that was made many years ago that Roy Thomas and his Alter Ego would handle all Golden, Atomic, and Silver Age comics while Back Issue handled all Bronze Age and later comics. It's led to some intriguing crossovers with the mags, but it also unnecessarily limits the capacity of either to fully render some of the creators and characters which are so dear to me, since my prime period spans both times.

Happily this time that was ignored and we get a nice history of the "Action Heroes". It begins with Charlton Comics attempt to cash in on the superhero craze of the late 60's as detailed by Michael Eury (who gets most of it right but doesn't seem to have a clear handle on Peacemaker).  Charlton fan #1 Michael Ambrose traces the heroes through the 70's and early 80's when Charlton had largely lost interest but fans had not as evidence by CPLGang productions and the work done by Bill Black's AC Comics through 1983.

Then we see that the heroes are brought to DC, as something of a present for Dick Giordano, the editor who had overseen the creation of some and developed the "Action Heroes" designation.  We see how the heroes were slowly  worked into the larger DC Universe with some stalled efforts at first.

Nice articles on the Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Thunderbolt, and Peacemaker, as well as some info on the failed attempt to launch them along with Judomaster in something dubbed Comics Cavalcade. And of course we have musings on the transformation of the Charlton heroes into the fan-fave anti-heroes of The Watchmen.

All in all a great package for any Charlton fan. This issue I will read cover to cover for sure, maybe more than once.

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  1. I’m going to hunt myself down a copy of Back Issue #79 as well Rip. Thanks for the heads-up. Unrelated: That (apparent) Altus Press release of: The Sinister Shadow! (Doc meets The Shadow) – is that an actual, forthcoming book – or just a paste-up, fan-inspired wish-title? (I’m not seeing it anywhere online.)

    1. It's supposed to be a real book but like you I'm danged if I can find information on it to link to. Altus is hard that way. I think it's supposed to be the 200th Doc novel or something like that.

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