Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Review: 'Retro Fan' Magazine

The very idea of starting a magazine so deep into the digital age is totally retro, so it is appropriate that you can read TwoMorrow Publishing’s Retro Fan without the aid of any electronic device. Reading the quarterly magazine on a kindle would spoil the feeling, and this thing is all about the feeling. Maximum nostalgia is editor Michael Eury’s (author of the excellent Hero A-Go-Go) battle cry as he loads his pages with stories of the TV shows, comics, and toys that defined our mid-twentieth-century childhoods. Think of it as Dynamite for the adults who read Dynamite when they were kids. 

Issue #1 includes Eury’s interview with Lou “The Incredible Hulk” Ferrigno transcribed from a Comic Con appearance, and another with Betty Lynn of The Andy Griffith Show, as well as deep looks at Filmation’s Star Trek cartoon, Mego’s line of Stretch Armstrong rip-offs, and The Phantom. These pieces are all collected in a colorful, glossy package intended to stimulate the nostalgia glands, yet there is also intelligence behind these looks at the trivialities of our youth. Eury’s pieces exude a palpable yearning for a less troubled time in our lives without pretending that the era surrounding our childhoods didn’t have its own troubling baggage (though, as a rebuke to one of that era’s biggest problems, it would have been nice to have some female voices on Retro Fan’s currently all-male writing staff).

Some of the articles are a bit rambling (Ernesto Farenio’s memoire “I Met the Wolf Man”), but even when these pieces are not supremely informative, they always stoke that nostalgic feeling. I never watched The Andy Griffith Show, so I personally wasn’t riveted by the series of pieces on that series, but anyone who spent their childhood whistling down at the waterhole surely will. I never was a fan of The Phantom either, but Martin Pasko’s piece on the pioneer superhero who just can’t seem to endure was fascinating in that it filled valuable details into the more general topic of superhero history. And with a cover depicting Elvira, the Groovie Goolies, and Ben Cooper Halloween costumes, the upcoming autumn issue of Retro Fan looks like a can’t-miss item.

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