It is going to be a busy week of reviews here at the Comic Box with Action Comics, Worlds' Finest, Smallville, and an interesting issue of Earth 2 coming out this week.
Before running the scanner ragged, I thought I would briefly review Alter Ego #112 which also came out yesterday. Alter Ego is a comic magazine published by TwoMorrows publications and edited by comic book legendary writer Roy Thomas. It focuses on the creators of comic books and influential runs as well.
This issue promised a story about Mort Weisinger's run as Superman-books editor back in the Silver Age. As that is one of my favorite eras for Superman as well as one of the more prolific times for Superman, introducing many parts of his history as well as a chunk of his classic villains, I was extremely interested to read this issue. Heck, Supergirl was introduced in the Weisinger era. Of course I would want to read this.
The article itself is more of a visual montage of many of the aspects of Weisinger's legacy interspersed with some of Weisinger's own words as well as some from his son. For example, here Weisinger talked about how the owners of DC weren't his boss, the readers were his boss. (Can you imagine 60 million people read Superman at one point??)
Of course, there is Action Comics #252, one of the crucial issues of the era.
This was also a time where the stories showed how unflinching Superman was in his battle for truth, justice, and the American Way. It was interesting to hear Weisinger mention the need to infuse education and an 'American way of life' into the stories. Elsewhere, he states that his favorite stories were those where Superman has lost his powers and needs to use his wits to be successful.
But I thought it was extremely interesting to hear Weisinger say Superman had a schizoid personality, as Clark is 'insanely jealous' of Superman because he wants people to love him for who he is. It solidifies the concept that Superman considers his 'true self' to be Clark. But I never felt that the character was internally conflicted, jealous of himself.
Later Weisinger talks about how he felt handcuffed to Superman, almost defined by him, and feeling he needed to walk away from him as a character so Weisinger could reclaim his life. (In a bit of hubris, Weisinger says 'You [Superman] can't do without me; I know I can exist without you.)
The quotes are all great and the piece is visually stunning, a mix of covers, panels, and new art done in the style of the time. That said, I was hoping this would be more of a true text piece. It could include those quotes but also delineate just what Weisinger introduced to the Superman mythos, as well as point out issues that illustrate the points made in his quotes. Maybe a future article?
As a result, the piece I liked the most was an article about Paul Cassidy, one of the earliest Superman artists and someone I had never heard of! Cassidy is created with bringing back a more 5-sided S-shield (as opposed to a simple triangle) as well as adding the shield to the cape. His biggest body of work was the Superman dailies.
Imagine, a major contributor to early Superman and I had never heard of him! That's why I love comic magazines like this!
I highly recommend the TwoMorrow magazines for the comic historians out there. Best of all, the issues tend to have a central theme so choosier consumers can buy based on interest.