Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #105, April 1986: There Can Be Only One!

Highlander takes the cover spot this issue. The movie was a surprise hit (though I'll admit I never saw it; I was, however, subjected to its first sequel, which was a truly terrible movie, and I've always retroactively judged Highlander by the sequel – unfair, I know). But Highlander is only one of a new batch of genre films that ruled the screen (and the fan magazines) for a while. Others – Aliens, Big Trouble in Little China, Star Trek IV, Legend, even the finally-released Brazil – are also represented here, which makes one wonder why the magazine had to put Star Wars on the cover so many times in recent months.

Starlog #105
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $2.95

Starlog never really did anime well. Though it did very well covering American animation, especially in its spinoff Comics Scene magazine, it really missed the boat when it comes to Mobile Suit Gundam, and it gave some welcome but only limited coverage to Space Cruiser Yamato (aka Star Blazers). It did some nice feature articles on anime in the final decade or so of its life, but it was too U.S.-focused for most of its 374 issues, and in the process it probably missed an audience of burgeoning anime and manga fans. This issue includes part one of Fred Patton's look at "Japanimation," and it's a good opening salvo. But there wasn't enough follow-up to make it stick.

The rundown: In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O'Quinn unveils the cover design of Starlog/Fangoria's upcoming new video release, featuring Tom Savini; Communications letters include a number of negative reactions to the Amazing Stories TV series, Entertainment Tonight's Leonard Maltin writing to share a story about a recent convention, a Canadian reader who has had it with Starlog's attempts to inspire him, and more; in the Medialog section, Lee Goldberg previews Big Trouble in Little China, David Hutchison announces that Starlog will be saluting Star Trek at an upcoming special convention, Lee Goldberg quotes William Friedkin praising Starlog (am I wrong to read that and think the editors are still smarting over Harlan Ellison's criticism?), David McDonnell provides a roundup of happenings in the SF media world, and more.

Steves Swires goes behind the scenes of The Manhattan Project; Patrick Daniel O'Neill profiles actress Mia Sara about Legend; Fan Network includes info on a Japanimation association, The Stuff contest winners, reader queries (such as, "Will we ever see the Star Wars Holiday Special on TV again?"), and more; Patrick Daniel O'Neill interviews the sixth Doctor Who, Colin Baker (plus a sidebar by Julius Fabrini on the new productions of Who); author Ron Goulart gives his "Confessions of a Zany Sci-Fi Writer" in the Other Voices guest column; Adam Pirani talks with actor Christopher Lambert about Highlander; the Future Life section includes Rick Kolker on where the Space Shuttle Enterprise will end up, a report from the Ames Research Center on the detection of ice on Halley's Comet, Douglas Barton on regulatory acceptance of genetically engineered drugs, and a PBS note about a public television program, "The Rise of a Wonder Drug" (aka penicillin); Fred Patten begins a two-part overview of Japanese anime, such as Astro Boy, Star Blazers, Marine Boy, Force Five, Voltron, and more; David Hutchison's Videolog announces new genre video releases; Joe Russo, Larry Landsman and Edward Gross revisit Beneath the Planet of the Apes; Daniel Dickholtz interviews actress Grace Lee Whitney; Adam Pirani interviews actor Jonathan Pryce (1984, Brazil, Something Wicked This Way Comes); Will Murray profiles The Shadow creator Walter B. Gibson; in Booklog, Kathleen M. Gooch gets Barry Longyear's reactions to the filming of his Enemy Mine, and Chris Henderson provides a roundup of new print releases; Steve Swires highlights a Dr. Pepper SF-flavored commercial; Bill Cotter puts together a complete episode guide to V; and David McDonnell's Liner Notes compiles a number of obituaries.
"Starlog, I think, is a very well-edited magazine. ... It's very interesting, and it's a little more fan-oriented than something like American Cinematographer, which I think is the best magazine of its kind for imparting technical information. I think Starlog goes a little too far from time to time in the gee-whiz school of journalism but buried in there generally is an interesting little piece about how a film got made. It's that aspect of the magazine that I like and on which I focus. Some of those pieces are the kind of thing that Hollywood should be doing itself, trying to explore the workings of this or that particular film."
–William Friedkin, director, interviewed (briefly) by Lee Goldberg in Medialog: "William Friedkin on Starlog"
To view previous Starlog issue descriptions, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below or visit the Starlog Project's permanent home.
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