Category Archives: Magazines

And Then I Read: THE SHADOW #13

Shadow6MenImage © Condé Nast Publications

My former work-mate Anthony Tollin has been publishing these Shadow pulp magazine stories in handsome trade paperbacks for some years under his Sanctum Productions imprint, and he gave me this one a few years ago. I’ve just gotten around to it.

I’ve read quite a few pulp magazine stories and novels, but nearly all of them in the fantasy and science fiction genres. I’d read some Shadow comics, even lettered a few, but never read any of the original pulp stories by Maxwell Grant from the 1930s and 40s until now. While I did enjoy them, I have to say they certainly are “pulpy,” with mounds of purple prose, melodrama, and unlikely plots.

In the first story from 1933, a group of six men with the same exact face are able to commit crimes that the law doesn’t even notice, but The Shadow does, and he moves against them. The writing in this story dwells on The Shadow’s every move and idiosyncrasy with almost fetishistic fervor, but once he gets into the action, it does have action aplenty. The build-up is rather slow, though.

The second story from 1942 features monsters of a supernatural type, or are they something else nearly as unlikely? Lots of spooky thrills in this one, and the addition of Margo Lane and other Shadow assistants to the plot, as well as The Shadow’s alter ego Lamont Cranston taking a larger role, makes The Shadow more real and less of a cypher. That’s good, because the intricate plot and over-the-top villains and monsters become harder to believe as the story moves on.

This issue also has an excellent feature on The Shadow in comics by Tollin, which I learned a lot from. Very well done, and nicely filled out with art and photos of creators.

This was interesting from a historical perspective, and generally fun, but I don’t see myself searching out more. I do have one other similar book from Tony that I will get to in time. If The Shadow appeals to you in any form, it’s worth giving these original stories a try.


And Then I Read: BACK ISSUE #80

BI80Image © DC Comics and TwoMorrows.

The main attraction for me in this magazine is a lengthy article containing memories and remembrances of many of the New York offices of DC Comics, put together by Robert Greenberger. While there weren’t many surprises for me, as I’ve researched this topic myself, some of the anecdotes were new, and very entertaining. Offices covered range from 575 Lexington (the 1960s) through the most recent offices at 1700 Broadway, and comments/memories/stories come from a wide range of folks beginning with Roy Thomas and including Marv Wolfman, Bob Rozakis, Denny O’Neil, Michael Uslan, Al Milgrom, Jack C. Harris, Barbara Kesel, Mark Waid and many others. The article covers 20 pages, I thought I’d read it in an evening. Silly me! The type is tiny, and closely spaced, and even with photos, it took me several hours and several evenings. If you’re at all interested in DC history, you should have this issue. It makes a great companion to some of my own articles about the DC offices that can be found on my blog HERE.

Great work by everyone involved, especially Bob Greenberger! Highly recommended.


And Then I Read: BACK ISSUE 57

Image © TwoMorrows.

If “behind the scenes at DC Comics” interests you, as it does me, I suggest you read the interview of Jenette Kahn in this issue, conducted by long-time DC staffer Bob Greenberger. It’s lengthy, detailed and full of information. Yes, Jenette doesn’t remember some things (and is probably being diplomatic in other cases), but what she does remember and talk about is fascinating. It’s the kind of insider view one rarely gets of any large company, and hats off to everyone involved in making this happen.

Highly recommended.

Dave Stevens, Back Issue 47

Image © Dave Stevens estate and TwoMorrows Publishing, Inc.

If you’re at all interested in the life, career and art of Dave Stevens, have a look at this latest BACK ISSUE magazine from TwoMorrows, available now as a digital download at, or very shortly in printed form. It’s a long interview with lots of information and pictures I haven’t seen elsewhere, and while I only had time to skim through some of it, I hope to get back and read it all soon.

And Then I Read: DODGEM LOGIC 1 & 2

First thing you should know about these is they are clearly marked FOR ADULTS ONLY, with good reason. DODGEM LOGIC is a slick-looking magazine masterminded and edited by Alan Moore, with some articles and art by him, but lots of contributions from friends and colleagues. In spirit it’s very much like the underground newspapers of the 1960s, such as the “East Village Other” that I used to pick up in New York City occasionally in my youth, with a wide variety of subjects and styles, but all with a distinctly counter-culture or aiming-to-shock flavor. The focus is also on Northampton, England, where Alan lives, and features arts and culture news for that area. I have to say I enjoyed Alan’s lead essay in each issue the most, and probably his self-written and drawn underground comic (whose title I don’t want to even type here) the least, though it’s no more outrageous than some of R. Crumb’s work. Issue 2 has a CD inserted containing a sampling of local Northampton music in a wide variety of styles, from folk and country to hip hop and hard rock. It’s a good listen, and I might run it a few more times.

Here’s the opening page of Alan’s essay on “Anarchy” from issue 2, in issue 1 it was on the history of Underground Comics. Also contributing are Melinda Gebbie and Kevin O’Neill (with some oddly pornographic art), writer Steve Aylett, and Steve Moore. The other names aren’t familiar to me. There are comic strips of varying quality, essays on gardening, cooking and sewing, photo essays, including one on three strippers like the one featured on the cover above. Wide variety, and most pieces are a page or two, so if you don’t like one, the next might work for you.

I don’t know quite what to think of this as a magazine…is it an anachronism, a predictive hybrid, or just an oddity? In an age when many aren’t reading magazines of any kind, it’s certainly a gamble, but apparently is doing fairly well, as I just read that profits from it have funded an admirable holiday food gift program in Northampton, so that’s certainly a good thing. I guess I’d say I’d recommend it to Alan Moore completists, and folks who remember the 60s counter-culture fondly and would like to see what it might look like in today’s clothes, so to speak.