Alter Ego #81

A book review article by: Jason Sacks
It's interesting how creators go in and out of style. I've been collecting fanzines from the early '70s and the big creators of that day are artists who are obscure names to many fans today. It's not that artists like Bernie Wrightson, Mike Kaluta, Frank Brunner and Jeffrey Jones are unknown in 2008. I think the issue is more that fashions have moved on, that fans' idea of great comic art has changed and evolved in that time.

Of course, that's as it should be. Tastes in anything change over time, whether it's clothing, music, comics or even our standards for beauty. It doesn't mean that we had the wrong opinions then, or the right opinions now. How else could you explain some of the horrific music that was popular in the '70s?

This issue of Alter Ego presents a wonderful article discussing some of the earliest professional work by creators like Wrightson, Kaluta, Brunner, Jones and other art in an obscure magazine called Web of Horror. For those of us who care about that era, this article is a long overdue treasure.

Well written by Richard Arndt, and featuring dozens of sample illustrations from Web of Horror, this issue of Alter Ego is a treasure for any readers who still have a passion for the artists of that era. Arndt delivers the behind the scenes story of that publication, along the way delivering gems like the inside story of how Brunner stole back the artists' originals from the publishers.

It's a very nice article, which fills in an interesting gap in comics' history. This is exactly the sort of thing for which Alter Ego is justifiably famous.

Similarly, readers get the inside story of how Marvel's muck-monster, the Man-Thing, was created, in a piece that includes a copy of the original plot for the first Man-Thing story. For those who care, it’s a remarkable discovery and a remarkable bit of comics' archeology.

Editor Thomas also presents a few other interesting pieces in this issue. Noted artist Everett Raymond Kinstler is the subject of a very nice interview. Despite the fact that Mr. Kinstler is an octogenarian, he still has a vivid memory. Kinstler's fond tales of his comic book days are quite entertaining.

We also get another charming chapter of Bob Rozakis's alternate history of DC Comics, in which he imagines Green Lantern taking the place of Superman in DC's pantheon. I find these articles just wonderful, and full of charming in-jokes about the comics industry. They're consistently among the most entertaining items in every issue of Alter Ego for me.

Alter Ego is a treasure every issue for longtime comics fans, the kinds of people who remember and love the work of Wrightson and Kaluta and Ralph Reese.

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