Back Issue #28

A book review article by: Jason Sacks
This is the "Heroes Behaving Badly" issue of BI. The magazine comes to a glorious beginning with a very funny cover by Darwyn Cooke. On the cover, Cooke depicts drunken party animal Iron Man having a great time with a glorious starlet. The cover is filled with funny gags. There are alcohol taps on Tony Stark's shoulders, while ice is sloshing into the shot glass he holds in his hand. And the look of sheer, leering madness on Tony's face is just priceless.

Inside, the magazine presents its usual set of nostalgic and interesting pieces about comics of the 1970s and '80s. There are always a few pieces in each issue that I just love.

My favorite this issue is an interview with longtime comics artist Ron Wilson. Wilson was the sort of professional that basically vanished from the business by the mid '90s. He was a working professional, a man devoted to doing his best possible work on a book, earning a decent paycheck and moving to the next assignment. I don't remember ever seeing an interview with Wilson before, so it's nice to see him get some recognition in the fan press.

CB's own Jim Kingman presents a nice piece on the history of Paul Kirk, Manhunter. Jim's wonderful at rounding up all the appearances of a character and presenting them in coherent form. I wish I had Jim's ability to forgive bizarre continuity gaps and character lapses.

Glenn Greenberg presents a nice piece on the '80s Rampaging Hulk magazine, a magazine that will soon be collected in an Essential book. He presents a fun survey of the series and doesn't shy away from some controversies that arose from the magazine.

An intriguing piece this issue is a chapter of Bob Rozakis's alternate history of All-American Comics. In the piece, Rozakis wonders what would have happened if DC and All-American Comics had remained split, as they were for a short time in the 1940s. Among other things, EC Comics might never have been created, and Flash and Green Lantern might never have been updated. This is a wonderful piece in part because former DC production guru Rozakis knows the real history so well. I can't wait to read more in that series.

The only piece I really didn't enjoy in this issue was Michael Browning's meandering take on the "Trial of the Flash", a series that ran for many months in the Scarlet Speedster's comic before Barry Allen's death in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Like the trial itself, Browning's piece never really seems to find its rhythm as it ebbs and flows around itself. Give the man kudos for talking with the creators of the original comics, but the piece wasn't quite as compelling as it could have been.

Other features in this issue include an interview with Silver Age legend Herb Trimpe, a conversation with John Byrne about heroism, and an article about the treacherous Terra from '80s Teen Titans issues.

Back Issue #28 is another solid issues of one of the more pleasant "prozines" around.

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