TITLE: The Best of Amazing Heroes Issue #1
COMPANY: Redbeard Inc. (an imprint of Fantagraphics Books)
Executive Editor: Kim Thompson
Editor: Steve Ringgenberg
Art Director/Designer: Brian C. Boerner
Writers: Tom Burkert, J. Michael Catron, George Guay, Richard Morrissey, Bob Sodaro
Founding Fathers: J. Michael Catron, Peppy White
Before “Wizard: Guide to Comics Magazine” and “Hero Illustrated”, the only other major comic book magazine in the ’70s and ’80s was “The Comics Journal” (also published by Fantagraphics Books). But as “The Comics Journal” was seen as an analytical journal, in 1981, “Amazing Heroes” was created and was made to be a comic hobbyist magazine.
“Amazing Heroes” was published from 1981 to 1992 and a total of 204 issues were published, before the publication folded in July 1992.
The first 13 issues of “Amazing Heroes” were magazine-sized until the format changed to a comic book size starting with issue #14 and the publication was known for showcasing characters in bikinis in special editions and swimsuit editions.
But while the change to a comic book size was a big test back in 1982, the fact is that “Amazing Heroes” was one of the coolest magazines to read with wonderful articles.
While there are some publications that release a collection of articles in book format, back then, the crew decided to release their first collection of articles in what they called “The Best of Amazing Heroes”.
In “Devil’s Advocate”, an article by Michael Catron interview Frank Miller about “Daredevil”, it’s quite interesting because of Miller’s concept for “Daredevil” and wanting to make it less grim.
This is actually quite interesting because Frank Miller’s “Daredevil” is one of the most remembered run for a Marvel comic book for being grim and literally putting the character in his lowest of lows. And because of that, Daredevil/Matt Murdock has had the worse of luck. Not just with relationships but seeing women in his life die.
Of course, things changed with Waid’s “Daredevil” vol. 4, making Matt Murdock happier and enjoying life in San Francisco.
But back then, many wondered how Matt Murdock will be and this article covers up to issue #191, as the Hand are trying to revive Elektra.
The next article is “The Justice Society of America” by Richard Morrissey and is more or less a primer on the JSA, the timeline, major milestones and also how Earth-Two was created to accommodate the Justice Society of America.
Another article is “Ka-Zar Goes to Hell!” by Michael Catron and how the character was one of the three regular monthly titles from Marvel Comics to establish a beachead in the direct sales market (along with Moon Knight and Micronauts). And how issue #10 was sold exclusively through comic shops and bypassing the traditional newsstand distribution. Also, focusing on his storyline at the time and how the title is being sold via direct sales market, it does not have to be approved by the Comics Code Authority.
The next article is “The Ditko Says” by Bob Sodaro and a interview with Steve Ditko about his work on “The Amazing Spider-Man”.
Another article titled “A New Phase for Moon Knight” by Michael Catron and similar to the Ka-Zar article about the series being sold via direct sales market and the plans for that series now it doesn’t have to be approved by the Comics Code Authority. Interesting is the interview with Doug Moench, who created and wrote”Moon Knight” and with a dispute with Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter, left Marvel Comics and became lead writer for DC Comics for “Batman”. Moench reflects on working on “Moon Night” and leaving the character he created. You could tell that Moench loved working on “Moon Knight” but because of circumstance, he had to leave Marvel Comics and abandon working on the character and the series.
The next article “John Byrne Gets Back to the Basics!” and this article is about John Byrne coming to work on “The Fantastic Four” and his goal of wanting to correct problems with the series and rekindle the excitement and enthusiasm of the book.
“Teen Titans” by Tom Burkert is a primer-based article about the Teen Titans, their origin and more.
Another article featured is “The Life and Death of Doom Patrol” by George Guay, another primer about the series and the characters. And to tackle which came first, Doom Patrol or The X-Men because of the two similarities between each series.
The final article is “Dial H for Hero” by Richard Morrissey and is a primer to the series and the characters.
Overall, there is a lot of awesome insight in these classic articles and the mindset of these writers/artists back in the ’80s. From Frank Miller and his work on “Daredevil”, John Byrne for his work on “The Fantastic Four” and of course “Ka-Zar” and “Moon Knight” going on the direct sales market and more!
A fantastic old school issue worth tracking down on eBay or at your comic book shop if available.