Category Archives: Magazines

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 www.twomorrows.com, 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.

And Then I Read: THE BAUM BUGLE Vol. 53 No. 3

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© The International Wizard of Oz Club, Inc.

It’s kind of unfair to review this, as you have to join The International Wizard of Oz Club to get it. I’ve been a member since the late 1970s, which means I’ve received and read about 100 issues of the Bugle, and I still enjoy them and find they have new insights and things to say about the Oz books by L. Frank Baum and others, as well as all things Oz, like movies, TV shows, books, sound recordings, and so on. If Oz interests you, it’s well worth joining.

This issue focuses on “The Road to Oz,” the fifth book in the original series by Baum. Unlike all the others, this one did not come with color plates. Instead, all of artist John R. Neill’s drawings were printed in black and white (except the dust jacket) on a variety of different colored papers, meant to represent the different color themes of particular regions of Oz. I always thought that was a cool idea, and I finally found an early edition on the colored paper. It’s kind of a novelty trick, and I was a little disappointed to see that the colors of the paper don’t correspond perfectly to the areas of Oz the text is about, but it is clever. Later editions dropped the paper colors to cut costs, and Neill’s pictures only saw print in color once in a Rand McNally junior edition, which is what the cover of the magazine is taken from.

If you’re a fan of Neill’s art, the lead article features “Hidden Details” in the art for this book, many of which I had never noticed. There are also some interesting errors, as where Jack Pumpkinhead appears in the Emerald City’s royal palace illustrations a day before he arrives there in the text. Plus there are contemporary reviews of the book when first published.

Then there’s an article by Peter Maresca on his lavish Sunday Press reprinting of Oz comic strips from the early years of the 20th century, primarily one called “Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz.” As a long time reader of the Bugle, I’ve seen all those strips, but the Sunday Press edition reprints them in color and at the original huge size, and it’s a stunning book which I’d like to buy someday.

judy Bieber and Eric Shanower (known to many for his comics work) both review a recent book about Oz and Baum by Evan Schwartz, and basically rip it to shreds. Not a book I’ll be reading!

And another article I enjoyed greatly is one by Paul Bienvenue on how collecting rare books has been impacted by the internet. Sadly, the days of finding great treasures in dusty old used book stores are pretty much over, but online treasures can now be found, and much easier.

A fine issue, as most are, and highly recommended.

And Then I Read: THE BAUM BUGLE Vol 52 #2

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If you’re an Oz fan and a member of the International Wizard of Oz Club, you’ve already received this latest issue of their magazine, which is a treat for art lovers, Oz and otherwise. The front cover features this charming watercolor by John R. Neill, the artist most associated with the Oz books, having illustrated all but one of the original L. Frank Baum series, and many of the ones by other authors. The accompanying article is about his granddaughter Jory Mason and her project to put many unpublished or long unseen pieces of his art online, and eventually (she hopes) into a book, one which is long overdue in my opinion. Have a look at her website to enjoy lots of wonderful Neill art.

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Also in this issue is an article about and by book cover painter Michael Herring. Herring dropped out of the cover art scene some years ago at the top of his game to follow a new path toward more personal work, and he’s currently living and painting in Australia. You might know his work from covers for science fiction and fantasy novels for Star Wars, and Tolkien’s books, among many others. He also painted the paperback covers for the Oz books published by Del Rey. Michael describes his workaholic life as a cover painter, and why he decided to quit, but since you can only get the magazine if you’re a club member, I’ll summarize: he really enjoyed the actual painting, but the market was going more and more into the computer world, which he didn’t like as much. So, he and his wife decided to give it all up and moved to a small village in Australia. Sounds pretty cool to me, and they had enough saved to live on, so that made it work for them. Michael doesn’t seem to have any online presence, but there are two of his Oz paintings for sale here.

I’ve been an Oz Club member for decades, and just when I think every possible Oz subject has been covered in the magazine, they come up with new ones. Well done.