Wednesday, May 20, 2009
HUMP DAY Q&A: BACK ISSUE! Magazine editor MIKE EURY
The just-released "Brave New World" issue, BI # 34, featuring a cover by Jim Starlin.
Meet MIKE EURY....
Back in 2003, when editor Jon B. Cooke jumped ship from TwoMorrows and took his thorough and illuminating fanzine COMIC BOOK ARTIST with him to Top Shelf, TwoMorrows publisher John Morrow needed to fill the void with a new magazine that would cover American comics in the 1970s and 1980s.
Enter BACK ISSUE! Magazine, edited by MIKE EURY.
Whereas an issue of CBA used to tackle a specific company, each issue of BACK ISSUE! goes by a playful theme, which allows Mike to mix things up and please a good breadth of fans (of Marvel, DC, the independents, the art comics, even animation and television) with its diversity. Mike pulls this off with a skeleton crew that includes his art designer, RICH FOWKLES. The formula has worked: according to the Internet, the bi-monthly BACK ISSUE!, in its six years, has become TwoMorrows’ top-selling magazine.
I myself began contributing articles to BACK ISSUE! fairly regularly in January 2007. Beginning with BI #20, I’ve written pieces that fell into such themes as secret/multiple origins (THE HUMAN FLY), devil characters (SON OF SATAN), dynamic duos (CAPTAIN AMERICA & FALCON), men of steel (DEATHLOK THE DEMOLISHER), spies and tough guys (MR. T comics), and the data/tech issue (ROM: SPACEKNIGHT). (My next piece, an interview with artist MIKE VOSBURG, will appear in the “villains” issue, # 35, in July).
BACK ISSUE! is truly a magazine which I enjoy as both reader and writer, and that’s largely because of Mike’s laid-back, grinning style. He strikes a great balance between academic and levity, never taking the topics too seriously, but definitely treating his subjects with an air of respect. As Mike once summed up in an email to me, every comic out there, whether it ran for 19 issues or 190 issues, is someone’s favorite. So there’s no comic-book series too short or slight to be omitted from its moment under the BI microscope.
In addition to BACK ISSUE!, Mike has written and edited for lots of comics companies. He has written or co-written nine comics-related books including this spring’s THE BATCAVE COMPANION and this summer’s second edition of CAPTAIN ACTION: THE ORIGINAL SUPER-HERO ACTION FIGURE. You can find Michael’s books and BACK ISSUE! Magazine at www.TwoMorrows.com.
Issue # 34 of BACK ISSUE! Magazine (the futureshock extravaganza “Brave New World,” with the Jim Starlin WARLOCK cover) drops today at your finer comic-book shops.
---- Which single issue of BACK ISSUE! magazine do you feel has been your most successful (in other words, based on content, which has been your favorite read)?
MICHAEL EURY (ME): That’s like asking a parent to choose a favorite child! (I’m not a parent, but if I had to choose my favorite child in the Brady Bunch, it’d be Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.)
Seriously, though, I can’t single out one issue as the most successful. Since the subject matter varies issue to issue, “success” in some readers’ minds relates to content appreciation. I will say that we’ve honed the format and departments since our earliest issues, which were good but still a work-in-progress.
----- In the classic BRAVE AND THE BOLD run, which pair up did you enjoy the most and which superhero did you want to see team up with Batman but never did?
ME: I enjoyed Batman/Deadman team-ups. The first two (B&B #79 and 86) nicely complement the original Deadman series, along with their Neal Adams art, and #104’s was brilliantly drawn by Jim Aparo.
I’m surprised there was never a Batman/Martian Manhunter team-up back in the day. J’onn J’onzz teamed with Green Arrow (the FIRST B&B team-up) and later, Flash, but never with Batman.
And a Batman/Dial H for Hero team-up would’ve been fun.
---- Why is The Phantom Stranger so damn cool and is there any superhero out there who is a snappier dresser?
ME: What’s cool about the Phantom Stranger is the element of mystery. No known origin, a clouded backstory. And that Aparo art back in the 1970s remains some of the industry’s finest.
And for those of us who had boyhood crushes on Mrs. Emma Peel, I’d say that Diana Prince as the “new” Wonder Woman could out run(way) the funky Phantom.
---- Hawk or Dove?
ME: Dove. I’m a pacifist.
An unsolicited aside: HAWK & DOVE (the late 1980s version) was the first comic I was assigned to edit at DC in 1989. Greg Guler, the artist, told me that he was approached by a fan at a convention who asked for a Hawk and Dove (pronounced as the past tense of “dive”) drawing. That cracked us up. Okay, I can understand someone not understanding the political connotation of the original “Hawk and Dove” concept’s names, but c’mon, they’re birds! D’oh(ve)!
BI # 35, the "Villains" issue, out in mid-July.